The 14th and final leadership trait in our series A Leader in Every Locker is Endurance. Endurance is mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, adversity, and hardship. This quality allows one to withstand physical and emotional discomfort, pain, and distress while persevering to achieve a goal, objective, or desired outcome.
(Many years ago) When I was a player, coaches often quoted the legendary Vince Lombardi who said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” When I was speaking at a Nike Coach of the Year Football Clinic several years ago, I attended a session presented by a United States Marine Corps Captain who shared a complementary phrase that I have embraced ever since: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Football is a game of mental and physical adversity and stress. Either can be a lot to bear, but the combination is even more daunting. Hot or cold, tired and sore, bruised and sometimes bloodied, combines with mental and emotional pressures to perform against a determined foe, and an unrelenting clock. This is the type of mental and physical pain players who lead by example, must endure to stay on the field of play and contribute to the good of the team. It must be noted if a player sustains an injury, they must be evaluated by a certified athletic trainer before their status is assessed determining their ability to return to play. We try hard to help our athletes make a distinction between pain and injury and would rather err on the side of caution and safety.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about the ways team sports “inoculate” student-athletes against fear, loss, and adversity. From both my own experience, and from decades of witnessing others encountering circumstances requiring “endurance” and the willingness to push through the “uncomfortableness” of physical, mental, and emotional stress, it’s clear a little “uncomfortableness” now, seeds the ability to endure more later in life. I have a close friend who gave me Alfred Lansing’s book “Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage,” which recounts Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic expedition and their 24 months locked in an ice flow, battered by the Southern Ocean, and yet undaunted, they endured returning to England without any loss of life.
Football is said to be a game of inches. Those inches are earned by the team who finds a way to give one more try, one more ounce of strength, and who (after every possible consideration) admits defeat last. The game is often won by those who persevere one run, block, tackle, or catch longer than their opponents. The game of life requires endurance as well.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!