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Saturday, July 30, 2011


1. Meaning of motivation poem: I’d rather see a sermon than to hear on any day; I’d rather one should walk with me than merely show the way; The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear; Fine counsel is confusing, but examples are always clear. And, best of all, the preachers are the men who live their creeds; For to see good put in action is what everybody needs. I soon can learn to do it, if you’ll let me see it done; I can see your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run. And the lectures you deliver may be very fine and true, But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do; For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give; But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live!

2. Motivation is the will to do something to the absolute best of one’s ability. A motivated man refuses to surrender even when there is nothing left to give. The enormity of the task does not matter. Neither do overwhelming odds against success. An effort may at times fall short of its goal, but a motivated team never allows itself to come up short of effort. Success isn’t a case of never making mistakes. It’s a case of never giving up after making mistakes. That’s motivation! Ordinary men make promises to achieve excellence. Motivated men are fearless. They take it one step further. They make commitments, and they never compromise. The late Bob Zuppke, who coached the University of Illinois football team for 29 years, once said, “The difference between champions and near champions is the ability to play for something outside of self.” That’s motivation! No one can achieve lasting success without it.

3. The wise coach knows that true motivation comes from within. The successful coach understands how to share that marvelous uncompromising spirit with every member of the football team. People often mistake motivation with the histrionics of a pregame or halftime speech. Normally those kinds of speeches serve only to prove that, given the opportunity, a coach is capable of making as many promises as a double-talking salesman. Speeches are better left to politicians and preachers. Save them for the student pep rallies and the fund-raising affairs. Sometimes the right words can trigger a player’s emotion lying just beneath the surface. But the coach should have planted that emotion in the bellies of everybody on the team a long time ago. A wise old preacher once said, “I’d rather live one good sermon than give a million bad ones.” There’s no better piece of advice for a football coach.

4. Motivation is a passion for the game, a passion for life, and a passion for bringing out the best in every person whose life you have the opportunity to touch. A man must commit himself to that degree of passion before he truly earns the title coach.

5. A coach cannot instill motivation into any of his players, his assistants, or any other member of the football organization unless he himself is motivated. A coach must live his passion. He must breathe it. Above all, he must conduct himself accordingly, not only on the football field but in every aspect of life. He must be the living image of what each of his players aspires to become. Only then will he have a chance of transferring that motivation to his men. Motivation is not restricted to the 11 autumn Saturdays when the team plays games. The team must practice it when preparing for each game throughout the season. Motivation must be paramount during the off-season conditioning when it’s easy to believe that the upcoming season is too far away to worry about. And, most important, motivation must become an integral part of all aspects of life away from the field, where character and morality are the true measures of a man.

6. The team will reflect what the coach is. The team will believe what the coach believes. How can the coach expect any member of his squad to live by the highest standards if he doesn’t apply the same yardstick of judgment to himself? He must radiate his qualities to each member of the organization—assistant coaches, players, trainers, equipment managers, secretaries, every member of the staff. No unit of the team can achieve success without the dedicated effort of the whole. Motivation doesn’t magically start in August when the first footballs are thrown out onto the field. Motivation is a 12-month, 52-week, 24-hour-a-day job. It all starts with the head coach.

7. If you slice open the belly of motivation, I guarantee you’ll find two basic elements—honestly and integrity. No coach, no football player, no person in any occupation will ever become truly successful without embracing each of those qualities with the fury that a football player applies when diving onto a fumbled ball.

8. The core of coaching is honesty. You can develop a trusting relationship only with people who believe in you, the program, the team, and themselves. A coach must lead his team with truth and honesty to confront the untruth, the half-truths, and all the baloney that others may throw at him.

9. The character of a leader, a team, and an entire program depends on honesty from all those involved. You cannot motivate without honesty. You cannot assemble a highly motivated team unless they know you speak the truth. Honesty is the core of coaching.

10. If you live the right way, you’ll play the right way. It begins with the head coach. By living the right way, a coach is free to demand the same of his team. Don’t ever ask anything of another that you are afraid to do yourself. How can a coach expect his players to develop an enthusiastic attitude if he doesn’t have one himself? How can he expect his players to be well disciplines if he himself is not? Players reflect the attitude and motivation of the coach. If you believe in what you’re doing and your heart is in your work, you will be able to motivate others to heights they never believed possible. The coach must establish high standards and expect nothing but the best.

11. A critical aspect of motivation is communication. Only through communication can a coach establish an honest and trusting relationship. Team meetings and pregame pep talks are overrated. I prefer one-on-one relationships. They provide the opportunity to establish trust on both sides.

12. Communication is more than merely exchanging words. Real communication is an art. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes the ability to listen. A coach must learn to accept each player for the individual that he is. A coach must understand that a young man may be reaching out for guidance that he may be unable to get from any other person in his world.

13. Throughout my career at the University of Michigan, no player needed an appointment to see me in my office. In or out of season, the door was always open to my players. Whether it was the starting quarterback or a fourth-string walk-on lineman, each young man was welcoming to visit me in my office any time, day or night. My secretary was careful never to disturb me for anything while I was in a meeting—unless one of my players had come to my office to talk. Then all the rules were off.

14. If a coach is serious about building character and instilling motivation in the young men under his charge, he must practice being a coach at all times and in every situation.

15. All athletes, down deep, want to be challenged. That’s why it is so critical for the coach to understand what method of motivation each individual responds to best. Then the coach must act with care and consistency to ensure that each player demands the best from himself so that motivation becomes self-starting.

16. Motivation takes on a different face in different situations. I have always maintained it is easier to motivate a team after a loss than when things are going well. When your team is on a winning streak and most of the breaks are falling your way, there is a tendency to believe that the good times will never end. If an injury or some other misfortune strikes, a team may not be mentally prepared to overcome adversity. When we were winning, I was a miserable, persnickety SOB while watching a game film. I spotted minuscule mistakes that normally took a microscope to detect. I always believed that sloppy habits, even in victory, set the table for a crushing defeat. I was far more concerned with instilling proper motivation after a victory than I was after a defeat in which our team expanded total effort. Even in victory, a motivated team never accepts lack of effort. Lack of talent is a separate matter. A coach must vociferously approach a lack of effort.

From the book titled "The Football Coaching Bible"