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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Discernment, Intuition, and Wisdom: Three Biblical Character Qualities for Success

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My all-time favorite passage in the Bible is 1 King 3:3-15. These verses of scripture take place after King Solomon has been placed on the throne in the city of his father, David. God appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God tells him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”  In verse seven, Solomon replied by saying “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (NIV pg. 185)  Because Solomon asked God to bless him with the gift of wisdom and discernment, God blessed Solomon with not only what he asked for, but also with riches and wealth as well.  This week we will discuss the power of discernment, intuition,  and wisdom in critical times, and how it plays a vital role in your success.

Whether it be in the field of athletics like me or in the corporate world, making good sound decisions will always be a primary part of experiencing success.  Not everyone has been gifted with the ability to make good decisions.  It is indeed a skill that you must learn if you are serious about your profession, and care to take your craft to the next level.  As great and mighty as King Solomon was, even he had to ask to be blessed with such a gift.  All great leaders, successful men and women at some point in time had to develop a level of wisdom and discernment that was necessary to accomplish the things that they were able to achieve.

Demonstrating a great deal of wisdom doesn’t necessarily mean that you know everything. In my opinion, the wisest thing you can do is to admit that you don’t know everything.  What do you do then, when you are faced with a situation where you don’t have the understanding you need? Seek someone that may be more knowledgeable than you in that area should be your response.  As we reflect back on the passage of King Solomon, we can see that he recognized his own weakness.  The scripture explains that he was just a child, but he demonstrated wisdom by identifying his lack of experience, and seeking a higher a power for assistance.  Turns out that his higher power was God, but the example still illustrates that even the most esteemed individuals in life are vulnerable to ignorance at some point on the route to success.  We shouldn’t use that as an excuse for failure, but a time to exercise wisdom.

To make sound decisions, you have to do research and collect information to assist in your decision making process, regardless of topic.  Based on the information you collect, you are able to formulate an organized, well thought out plan that you can execute.  But not all decisions are made that way.  Some of the most important, critical decisions that you make will come from your natural intuition.  Your own intuition plays a vital role in your decision making, and going with your gut or instincts can lead you to much more favorable results. I offer two separate illustrations, one that represent me going with my gut, the other where I chose not to trust my instincts.

The coaching job I had prior to the one I currently hold was with a high school team in 2010.  I thoroughly enjoyed the staff that worked with me, and we all got along for the most part.  I was there for two seasons; the first season we did really well finishing up 8-2.  During the second season, we weren’t nearly as talented, and didn’t win as many games. The team wasn’t as organized as the year before, and the leadership was inconsistent, especially considering how my former head coach handled the staff and the players.  Because we were losing, the head coach figured that we as a coaching staff were doing something wrong and he placed the blame on us. I don’t run from shortcomings when I’m at fault, but on this one I couldn’t disagree more. I didn’t like what I saw nor did I like what was heard on a consistent basis, and all signs pointed to me not coming back the next year and I didn’t.  I chose to work on finishing up my master’s degree in professional counseling, knowing I would only entertain coaching again if it was in the college ranks. Early in 2012 I was hired at my current job, and that same head coach was asked to step down, and another coach was brought in to take his place. In this instance, trusting my instincts worked very well, but let me explain what happened when I ignored my instincts.

In 2009 I was teaching and working with special education students.  I didn’t like the job at all.  The children were alright to work with at times, but administration made the job harder than what it really was.  The summer before my last year my intuition told me to find a new job.  I chose to ignore what my gut told me to do, and that last year turned out to be the worse year of my professional career.  My work load was tripled and it seemed like I was given the worst class in the whole building! An incident involving two of my students got me into quite a bit of trouble; I was demoted and removed from my classroom.  I can’t blame anyone but myself in that situation because I ignored what my intuition.   I ended up suffering from more frustration than if I had just found another job to begin with.

Discernment, wisdom, and intuition are all characteristics that work hand in hand.  I’ve learned in my experience that you develop these skills when you take time to listen to what your heart and your mind are telling you. In other words, trust your gut.  Many times when you randomly decide to execute a plan it seems to never work out in your favor.  Important decisions take careful consideration and time, but once you make a decision you must roll with it and be prepared for the results.  You should aim for the ability to make a decision where you can look at yourself in the mirror and know that you made a decision in the best interest of everyone involved, and you are able to live with it. If you have to question yourself about why you are doing something, it’s most likely not the best decision. Always remember you don’t have to know the answers to your problems; knowing where to get the answers is where wisdom lies.

 

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

No Pain No Gain: Your Pain is Worth your Progress

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I tend to draw inspiration from wherever I can find it.   A TV commercial, an interview on the radio, or even side conversation in a restaurant can serve as an inspiration.  I am also often inspired through music.  This week’s blog was influenced by an old school, oldie but goodie “No Pain No Gain” by Betty Wright.  As the song concludes she sings a line that I find very profound; she says “In order to gain something, you got to give something. In order to be something, you got to go through something”.  Although Ms. Betty Wright was speaking of pain in terms of a relationship, it still served as a moment of reflection for me.

Every successful person goes through incredible tough times and pain on their journey to become successful.  It’s an inevitable part of life. But there is true value in the experiences that cause us the greatest amount of pain and frustration. I’ve encountered my fair share of dark days in my quest to accomplish goals and dreams.  Not everything works out in your favor.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals, but sometimes the process requires you to suffer some uncomfortable circumstances to get to where you desire to be in life.  Today’s blog will explore the topic “Your Pain is worth your Progress.”  Hopefully by the end you will be able to find ways to value the struggles you face on the journey to accomplish your ultimate dreams.

As a former football player I used to hate losing with a passion.  Losing hurts.  There is an invisible black cloud that seems to hang over you with every loss.  The emotional anguish that one experiences in suffering a loss can be tough to handle, and it can take a major toll on your confidence.  But losing plays a major role in your eventual success.  You have to experience loss in order to learn how to win. Losing, as tough as it may seem helps you grow as an individual.  It teaches you the ultimate lesson in humility and it makes you appreciate and cherish the wins as they come.

There are very good lessons to learn while experiencing the pain of tough times.  As a player myself I had to learn how to compete on a high level, how to train to outlast my competition, and learn who I was as a player.  I had to learn how to practice with intensity and enthusiasm, how to follow directions, and how to become a leader.   There was so much that only experience could teach me and being taught those lessons were some of the toughest of times.  Through my growing pains I developed a drive, a focus, and relentlessness that would fuel me to not only to be better than my competition, but to dominate them.  Losing has its ways of changing you; you can either except it, or learn from it and do something about it.  I chose the latter.

Pain, without a doubt, must be part of your process for future success. Not only should you expect some sort of difficulty on your journey to achieve the impossible, but you should welcome it as well, for without pain there is no process, without the process there isn’t growth, and without growth there is no success.  But you must be willing to practice resilience and mental tenacity to withstand the battles of defeat. In order to find true value in your pain you must understand that pain is temporary, but only if faith and strength are permanent.  Only persistence and perseverance to get through each day will be rewarded.  Don’t be a slave to your tough times.  Get up and fight back.  Make a conscious effort to learn something from the challenging times.  There are promising days ahead. I am a product of my very words.  I am nowhere I would like to be in life yet, but I understand that there are tougher and more hurtful experiences just ahead.  But my attitude and my mindset won’t waver one bit.  All I have to do is forge ahead and let the process lead me to my desired destination.  Don’t give up or give in.  Your pain during your journey to the top isn’t meant to discourage you, but meant to only prepare you for the greatest days of your life.

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

1 Peter 4:10

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1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I’ve never had the experience of being locked away in a jail cell before, but I’m sure it’s not a very good feeling.  I love my freedom and have always protected it at all costs.  If I had to guess what the experience would feel like, I would have to say that it is a very lonely place filled with lots of dark emotions. It’s you against the world, and every man for himself. I would also guess that hope runs at an all-time low.  But there is another form of imprisonment that very few people discuss. I call it the prisoner within, and that is when we convince ourselves that we can’t get ahead in life, and that we are stuck where we are.

Thoughts have power. Your thoughts can either build you up or kill your chances of growth and success.  We emotionally and spiritually imprison ourselves with the thoughts we live by.  Thoughts become our reality.  If we tell ourselves that we can’t accomplish something, then that is our reality.  If we tell ourselves that great things can’t happen to us, then the reality is that great things will never happen to us.  Your predominant thoughts have power over your circumstances. I know this first hand because I suffered from a case of self-imprisonment myself. I told myself I was trapped working a job that was not only tough to perform, but that also showed no signs of getting any easier.  Because I told myself this, my attitude enforced my reality.  I felt like I had very few options, and nowhere else to go.

Your real friends always have a vested interest in your battles and struggles in life. I had a really good friend share with me something that will probably serve to be the best advice that I have ever received, and in today’s blog I will share that same message with you. She talked to me and made me realize that everything I needed to change my situation was already in my possession; that God had already given me many talents. When I was feeling trapped, I gave away my power willingly and without an ounce of a fight.  I gave away my power to be creative, to be resourceful, and most importantly the power to dream and to dream big.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for my current job.  I am the youngest defensive coordinator at a great junior college  that plays in a tough and competitive  junior college football conference.  I have coached against some of the countries most talented football players, and I have experienced a good amount of success. I understand most people might say I should be satisfied and content with where I am now, and continue to enjoy my success here. But if you know me, you know I’m always thinking well in advance about the next step in my career, and how I will get there.

The higher you climb in your profession you must understand that employers hire the best qualified candidates for the job. In my profession however, they hire the candidate with the best reputation for results.  In my situation I knew I hadn’t established a strong enough reputation for my abilities, or gained a great deal of respect from the coaches that I wanted to take notice of me. I started thinking of how could I gain the recognition necessary for other doors to be opened.

I thought about how I have a degree in Communications Studies with a concentration in Television Broadcast, so speaking in front of crowds doesn’t intimidate me. I also taught for three years serving special education students, and enjoyed having the opportunity to positively influence them.  I have completed a good portion of my graduate courses in professional counseling and have some experience in that field. And I must admit that I am a great football coach.

I have an assortment of talents, but it’s my responsibility to use them.  I can’t expect new opportunities to come my way if haven’t fully explored the ones that I already possess.  With all that in mind, I organized a plan that would allow me to use my natural gifts to my advantage. I recognized that all of my gifts are geared towards one particular mission, and that’s to inspire and motivate others.  I believe it is my life’s mission to get others to maximize their God given potential.  For many years football was the only thing that I cared about, but God is helping me understand that I must explore my other talents, because they may lead to the doors that I desire to be opened.

Let’s take for instance the Get in the Huddle blog that I post each week.  The majority of the time I never get the chance to see who views my material on a weekly basis, but I’m almost confident that someone one day will read my post, and that will lead to another avenues for me to help more people reach their maximum potential. I also hope that my new video series will help open other opportunities as well, so be on the lookout for Get in the Huddle video series coming in November 2013.

Your own resourcefulness and creativity at times could be your only saving grace.  Don’t be afraid to channel you own abilities and put them to good use. We all want others to take notice of the super great things that we are doing, but you have to ask yourself, do people have a reason to stop doing what they are doing a take notice of your accomplishments?  If you answered no, then you have work to do.  I know I do.  I’m not any more special than the next person suffering from a self- imprisoned mindset.  You have the same ability and power to set yourself free from whatever lie that you are letting run your life.  But you have to make the choice to exercise your powers.  Your strengths are your biggest asset.  Whether it’s making people laugh, caring for the elderly, or just being someone that can and will listen to those you come in contact with, everyone has a gift, and as simple as it may be, you have power in that gift. Take the time to set yourself free.  Exercise your power.  Most of the time the power to be creative will lead you to the answer on how to solve your problems.  You have a gift, if not many.  Why not show the world what they are?

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

1 Peter 4:10

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1 Peter 4:10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I’ve never had the experience of being locked away in a jail cell before, but I’m sure it’s not a very good feeling.  I love my freedom and have always protected it at all costs.  If I had to guess what the experience would feel like, I would have to say that it is a very lonely place filled with lots of dark emotions. It’s you against the world, and every man for himself. I would also guess that hope runs at an all-time low.  But there is another form of imprisonment that very few people discuss. I call it the prisoner within, and that is when we convince ourselves that we can’t get ahead in life, and that we are stuck where we are.

Thoughts have power. Your thoughts can either build you up or kill your chances of growth and success.  We emotionally and spiritually imprison ourselves with the thoughts we live by.  Thoughts become our reality.  If we tell ourselves that we can’t accomplish something, then that is our reality.  If we tell ourselves that great things can’t happen to us, then the reality is that great things will never happen to us.  Your predominant thoughts have power over your circumstances. I know this first hand because I suffered from a case of self-imprisonment myself. I told myself I was trapped working a job that was not only tough to perform, but that also showed no signs of getting any easier.  Because I told myself this, my attitude enforced my reality.  I felt like I had very few options, and nowhere else to go.

Your real friends always have a vested interest in your battles and struggles in life. I had a really good friend share with me something that will probably serve to be the best advice that I have ever received, and in today’s blog I will share that same message with you. She talked to me and made me realize that everything I needed to change my situation was already in my possession; that God had already given me many talents. When I was feeling trapped, I gave away my power willingly and without an ounce of a fight.  I gave away my power to be creative, to be resourceful, and most importantly the power to dream and to dream big.

Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for my current job.  I am the youngest defensive coordinator at a great junior college  that plays in a tough and competitive  junior college football conference.  I have coached against some of the countries most talented football players, and I have experienced a good amount of success. I understand most people might say I should be satisfied and content with where I am now, and continue to enjoy my success here. But if you know me, you know I’m always thinking well in advance about the next step in my career, and how I will get there.

The higher you climb in your profession you must understand that employers hire the best qualified candidates for the job. In my profession however, they hire the candidate with the best reputation for results.  In my situation I knew I hadn’t established a strong enough reputation for my abilities, or gained a great deal of respect from the coaches that I wanted to take notice of me. I started thinking of how could I gain the recognition necessary for other doors to be opened.

I thought about how I have a degree in Communications Studies with a concentration in Television Broadcast, so speaking in front of crowds doesn’t intimidate me. I also taught for three years serving special education students, and enjoyed having the opportunity to positively influence them.  I have completed a good portion of my graduate courses in professional counseling and have some experience in that field. And I must admit that I am a great football coach.

I have an assortment of talents, but it’s my responsibility to use them.  I can’t expect new opportunities to come my way if haven’t fully explored the ones that I already possess.  With all that in mind, I organized a plan that would allow me to use my natural gifts to my advantage. I recognized that all of my gifts are geared towards one particular mission, and that’s to inspire and motivate others.  I believe it is my life’s mission to get others to maximize their God given potential.  For many years football was the only thing that I cared about, but God is helping me understand that I must explore my other talents, because they may lead to the doors that I desire to be opened.

Let’s take for instance the Get in the Huddle blog that I post each week.  The majority of the time I never get the chance to see who views my material on a weekly basis, but I’m almost confident that someone one day will read my post, and that will lead to another avenues for me to help more people reach their maximum potential. I also hope that my new video series will help open other opportunities as well, so be on the lookout for Get in the Huddle video series coming in November 2013.

Your own resourcefulness and creativity at times could be your only saving grace.  Don’t be afraid to channel you own abilities and put them to good use. We all want others to take notice of the super great things that we are doing, but you have to ask yourself, do people have a reason to stop doing what they are doing a take notice of your accomplishments?  If you answered no, then you have work to do.  I know I do.  I’m not any more special than the next person suffering from a self- imprisoned mindset.  You have the same ability and power to set yourself free from whatever lie that you are letting run your life.  But you have to make the choice to exercise your powers.  Your strengths are your biggest asset.  Whether it’s making people laugh, caring for the elderly, or just being someone that can and will listen to those you come in contact with, everyone has a gift, and as simple as it may be, you have power in that gift. Take the time to set yourself free.  Exercise your power.  Most of the time the power to be creative will lead you to the answer on how to solve your problems.  You have a gift, if not many.  Why not show the world what they are?

 

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

No Pain No Gain: Your Pain is Worth your Progress

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I tend to draw inspiration from wherever I can find it.   A TV commercial, an interview on the radio, or even side conversation in a restaurant can serve as an inspiration.  I am also often inspired through music.  This week’s blog was influenced by an old school, oldie but goodie “No Pain No Gain” by Betty Wright.  As the song concludes she sings a line that I find very profound; she says “In order to gain something, you got to give something. In order to be something, you got to go through something”.  Although Ms. Betty Wright was speaking of pain in terms of a relationship, it still served as a moment of reflection for me.

Every successful person goes through incredible tough times and pain on their journey to become successful.  It’s an inevitable part of life. But there is true value in the experiences that cause us the greatest amount of pain and frustration. I’ve encountered my fair share of dark days in my quest to accomplish goals and dreams.  Not everything works out in your favor.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals, but sometimes the process requires you to suffer some uncomfortable circumstances to get to where you desire to be in life.  Today’s blog will explore the topic “Your Pain is worth your Progress.”  Hopefully by the end you will be able to find ways to value the struggles you face on the journey to accomplish your ultimate dreams.

As a former football player I used to hate losing with a passion.  Losing hurts.  There is an invisible black cloud that seems to hang over you with every loss.  The emotional anguish that one experiences in suffering a loss can be tough to handle, and it can take a major toll on your confidence.  But losing plays a major role in your eventual success.  You have to experience loss in order to learn how to win. Losing, as tough as it may seem helps you grow as an individual.  It teaches you the ultimate lesson in humility and it makes you appreciate and cherish the wins as they come.

There are very good lessons to learn while experiencing the pain of tough times.  As a player myself I had to learn how to compete on a high level, how to train to outlast my competition, and learn who I was as a player.  I had to learn how to practice with intensity and enthusiasm, how to follow directions, and how to become a leader.   There was so much that only experience could teach me and being taught those lessons were some of the toughest of times.  Through my growing pains I developed a drive, a focus, and relentlessness that would fuel me to not only to be better than my competition, but to dominate them.  Losing has its ways of changing you; you can either except it, or learn from it and do something about it.  I chose the latter.

Pain, without a doubt, must be part of your process for future success. Not only should you expect some sort of difficulty on your journey to achieve the impossible, but you should welcome it as well, for without pain there is no process, without the process there isn’t growth, and without growth there is no success.  But you must be willing to practice resilience and mental tenacity to withstand the battles of defeat. In order to find true value in your pain you must understand that pain is temporary, but only if faith and strength are permanent.  Only persistence and perseverance to get through each day will be rewarded.  Don’t be a slave to your tough times.  Get up and fight back.  Make a conscious effort to learn something from the challenging times.  There are promising days ahead. I am a product of my very words.  I am nowhere I would like to be in life yet, but I understand that there are tougher and more hurtful experiences just ahead.  But my attitude and my mindset won’t waver one bit.  All I have to do is forge ahead and let the process lead me to my desired destination.  Don’t give up or give in.  Your pain during your journey to the top isn’t meant to discourage you, but meant to only prepare you for the greatest days of your life.

 

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry

Instilling a Standard of Excellence for Success

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We are a very young team this year.  Much of our roster is pretty much filled with freshmen.  With youth comes immaturity, with immaturity comes ignorance, and any time ignorance is involved you can certainly count on mistakes.  It’s been quoted, “Adversity doesn’t build your character. Adversity reveals your character.” I would definitely have to attest to that quote whole heartedly. However, I can see the potential in what we are currently building, and it gives me the highest confidence for the future.  The only way you see the potential in a group during tough times is with a strong standard of excellence in place. 

Even though the scoreboard doesn’t look pretty at the end of the game, we still continue to press on.  Why? Because when you have a standard of excellence in place, the push for excellence won’t let you live in the past; only the present and the future are what truly matter. It’s my job to help my players understand that there is fruit at the end of their labor, but it is only attainable through positive attitudes and a willingness to come to work every day to get better.  That’s what I’ve challenged them with each day, and it has paid dividends this season.  In today’s blog we will explore six standards of success I  have implemented during this season that have helped me keep my players focused and moving forward.  Hopefully you will read something that will not only inspire you, but that you can also apply to your life as well. 

The first standard is patience. No two groups of players are the same from year to year; therefore extreme patience must be exercised.  Whenever you encounter a group with limited experience, you must understand that very rarely do they understand the process that it takes to achieve your level of greatness.  Furthermore, the standard they think it takes to accomplish greatness seldom comes close to reality of what it really takes to compete on a high level.  For example, ten out of the eleven players on my defense are playing college football for the first time, so during the first couple of weeks of practice with the team, they had no idea of the level intensity that was expected.  Practice intensity and tempo would be very inconsistent from day to day.  When I asked them how they thought they practice, some would give an honest account, but the majority weren’t even in the ball park of understanding the level intensity that it takes to get prepared for a season.  That was evident in their response by telling me that they had a great day’s work.   Good coaches understand that teaching their players championship qualities is a never ending job.  Whether it is tempo, practice intensity, or teaching simple fundamentals of the job, patience should always be your number one approach.

Secondly I realized that repetition is essential, and is a necessary tool of learning standards of excellence.  Repetition also instills confidence in the players as well. Nothing excites a player more than knowing he is gaining the trust of his coach by building a consistent pattern of doing the right things repeatedly.  It is good for the players to make mistakes while practicing, as this allows the players to learn from their mistakes. One great tool that coaches use is filming each drill throughout practice.  I would strongly recommend implementing the same tool in your operation.  Recording your students or players will allow them to observe or hear themselves in action.  This will help enforce the majority of your coaching tips that you provide on a constant basis.  Not only do they get see their mistakes, but also view and hear the consequences of their mistakes.  Encourage your players to make mistakes.  Performing the fundamentals of your job in a repeated fashion is the only way you will learn how to perform your job effectively.

Thirdly I must be firm and consistent.  Nothing spells dysfunction like inconsistent standards.  My players must understand that the system of standards that I have in place are the same today as they were yesterday, and will also be the same tomorrow.  It would be a major disservice if I ignored their wrongdoing, and let them get away with substandard performance without consequences. The players don’t have to agree with my standards, but ultimately as a coach, my challenge in this profession is to take them to a place where athletically they have never been.  I understand what it takes to be great, so anything outside of what I teach is wrong, and must be corrected.  My standard is the only one that applies during this process, because it helps to develop championship habits. 

 

Respect has to be established whenever you work with people. I’ve been coaching long enough to know that players play for those that they have general and mutual respect for.  Even though I am in a role of leadership, it’s my belief that the golden rule still applies.  You must treat people with the same level of respect that you desire. The head coach I work for now coached me when I played football in college.  I desire so much to do a good job for him because I have respect for him.  He saw something great in my ability, and because of that I always perform at my best for him.  I want to help him win.  The same principle applies when you are in leadership; you have to earn a level of respect to the extent that your team will want to help you win.  There are certain players that I have developed a strong dislike for, but that is beside the point.  Whether I like them or not is irrelevant. I try my hardest to give them the same amount of respect that I want in return.    

I must be resilient, and always press forward to enforce my standards even in the face of disappointment. Young people may show their frustration about a particular situation in ways that are not always in the best interest of the team, but even still they want to know that when adversity shows up that their leader will be in the forefront still continuing to lead them.  Regardless of the age or maturity, players want to see their leader battle in the trenches right alongside with them.   Beware of the whispers from those that are outside looking in.  It never fails. When you are winning everybody is happy and satisfied.  When you are losing, like we have this year, everyone has an opinion about what they think you should do.  And at times you may consider a different approach to how you go about your routine.  This is the time to really impress upon your team the importance of resilience.  Stay steadfast on your core beliefs and your standards of excellence.  Any waver in your approach will surely cause doubt and uncertainty among your players.

Your players must always know exactly where they stand.  Their growth as a member of your team as well as a productive member of society is heavily dependent on your honesty.  When I am being honest with my players I have to first make them understand that my feedback is not personal.  My honest critique is to only help them excel at their craft.  I personally had an amazing career as an athlete.  I have had the opportunity to do some amazing things through football, and it has taken me places that I never thought I would go.  I coach my players hard with great passion and plenty of enthusiasm because I want them to experience everything that I have had a chance to experience, and much more.  A large part of that process is being up front and honest about their production.  Without your total honesty they will never be able to grow to their fullest potential.  

In closing I encourage you to keep plugging away. People, especially youth, sometimes struggle seeing the big picture, but that’s where you come in as a coach.  You just keep pushing them every day, showing them piece by piece of what the overall mission is.  In time they will fully understand what your true process what all about.  I would like to leave you with a text that I received from one my former players soon after he graduated.  This young man was one of first players that I coached, and it serves as a reminder of why I believe in what I do, and why I must continue to do all that I do for my team.  I hope you are inspired to continue doing what you do for your team as well. 

“Hey coach.  Last week I had the awesome opportunity to walk across the stage and receive my degree.  I am officially a college graduate.  I would just like to take the time to tell you thank you for all that you are to me because without you much

Staying in your Zone

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I love coaching ambitious players.  They make it an absolute thrill to come to work each and every day knowing that they will give their all in practice and in games, and are willing to do whatever it takes for the benefit of the team.  They come to practice with a great attitude and always put in the work necessary to compete on a high level on game day. 

As the defensive coordinator, it is my job to put together a defensive game plan that puts my players into good position, so they can make good plays and reduce the offense’s chance of scoring.  Every week we work on two phases that will help us get ready to face our opponent each week.  Those two phases are the running game, and the passing game.

In practice we spend a great amount of time working on defending what we think the offense will do in the passing game.  Most often we work zone coverage.  Zone coverage is when everybody except the front defensive line drops to an area of the field to defend the offensive players going out for a pass.  In zone coverage everyone has to work together to defend the whole field.  If one defensive player gets distracted or lured out of his zone, it causes holes in the defense for the offense to take advantage of, and that could mean disaster for the defense.   This is how big pass plays for touchdowns are developed.

Right now I coach a very ambitious player, and he is a joy to work with the majority of the time.  He works hard, and gives me everything he has whenever he is on the field.  But there are times when he is too ambitious.  He illustrates his overt ambition sometimes in the coverage portion of his game, and as a consequence he puts the defense in some very vulnerable positions.  Here is what I mean.  Sometimes he will see a play develop in front of him and aggressively attack what he sees, without considering what is developing around him.  Well that is what the offense wants him to do. Most often, offensive pass plays are designed for the defense to become distracted with the seemingly easy play. The defensive player will leave his zone, allowing the offense to take advantage of an even bigger play in the area in which is now vacant. Most of the time the receiver is wide open because my player has left his zone for something seemingly much more attractive in front of him. The result may be an offensive touchdown. 

Sounds a lot like life doesn’t it?  How many times have you come up with a solid plan to carry out a specific goal?  You start the execution of your plan, things are going well, and then you get side tracked by something right in front of you instead of sticking to the plan.  What do you do?  You jump all over it, but the quarterback throws the ball right behind you into the zone you just left wide open.  Distractions are momentum killers.  Sometimes we hurt ourselves the most by not waiting patiently for what we originally planned for.  In other words, we settle for short term satisfaction instead continuing on with the process that will lead us to our desired destination.     

The majority of the time it is the opportunities that side track us, and sometimes we leave our zone for opportunities that only make us more frustrated than we were in our original position.  Last year I had an opportunity to leave my job for an opportunity to move up the professional ranks of being a football coach.   At first it sounded like a great idea and I accepted.  The new job seemed like an opportunity for me to position myself for better professional advancement. I have a tough job now and all I saw was a chance to leave, but I had to really sit back and evaluate the whole situation.  If I accepted the new job I would take on a much lesser role, make less money, and the job offered no benefits.  I began to feel uncomfortable just thinking about it and I hadn’t even stepped foot on the campus yet.  Most of all, the main factor that caused me to stay is that I knew I deserved much better than what I was being offered.  I understood that I would have brought more value to the position than what I would get in return; I turned the job down and I just stayed in my zone.  I admit I got distracted from my overall goal, but it served as a valuable learning tool for the future.  I’m willing to bet I will thank myself later on in life for not making that decision to leave.  Instead of improving my situation, I know it only would have delayed my original plan from being fulfilled. 

My advice to all of my players is stay in your zone and defend the long ball.  Stay patient and watch everything happening in front of you, so when the quarterback throws the ball you will be in the right position to make a play.  That is my same message to you.  Stay in your zone and watch things develop in front of you.  Trust me. It may seem as if you are not doing very much, but your mere presence in your zone is the key to success.   Eventually the right opportunity will come your way, and then you will be able to capitalize on it. If you get distracted by something that only satisfies your short term, it is impossible to be in position to take advantage of something much greater. You are worthy of the very best things in life, but without patience, the greater things in life are just thoughts. I encourage you to focus on the goal at hand with the full intention of carrying out the full process.  It may take you some time to get where you would like to be, but after you get there, you will definitely have an appreciation for the process.     

 

Written by Coach Aaron DeBerry