As a college football coach, I love this time of year. College coaches are making the rounds of visiting high schools. We get to visit with coaches and check out their prospect list of future potential college football players.
I consistently hear players and coaches say they are practicing and preparing for a championship. I often wonder if they really want to win a championship.
This is beginning my 40th year in coaching and I know what winning teams do to prepare for championships. Many of these players and coaches are simply dreaming, while others are putting the proper championship ingredients in place.
Constructing a championship culture is not an easy task. On the other hand, it is not complicated. I heard Lou Holtz talk and he asked a team if they knew there were only five colors in a rainbow, yet Michael Angelo used these five colors brilliantly.
He also said there are only seven musical notes but look at what great composers have done with music. Consequently, it is not complicated to build a winning culture if you have the right ingredients.
When I speak about winning a championship, I ask players and coaches what they are willing to sacrifice to win. Are they willing to be in the weight program all spring and summer? Are they willing to spend time conditioning and doing drills (7 on 7 and linemen challenges)? Are they willing to attend camps? Will they sacrifice social time and video games?
Teams might prepare to the best of their ability, but do they have the talent and skills necessary to win championships? So, the next question is what does the team have to work with? It takes a team. One man cannot win a team championship.
A all-star receiver might think a team cannot do without him. He fails to realize there was a quarterback throwing the ball. Plus, the quarterback could not have thrown the ball if the offensive line did not give him time to throw. It also took a coaching staff with the wisdom to know when to call the pass play. Yes, it takes a team.
Winning cultures also understand there will be obstacles throughout the season. Things will happen at unexpected times. People will try to distract players and coaches, sometimes these people are parents and so-called fans.
Championship culture is where team members love each other. They encourage one another in the most difficult times whatever events may betide them. They stick together through thick and thin. Winners see obstacles as opportunities and rise to the challenge.
The greatest difference with winning and losing culture teams is confidence. Why do I say confidence instead of hard work or talent as the greatest component to a winning culture? Confidence radiates throughout a person and team when they have prepared and know they have the talent to win.
I recently read a caption on twitter that says it best. If a team lowers its standards, it will lose its winners. It continues to say if a team raises its standards, it loses its losers.
I wish all teams the best for next season. I love to see them working as I visit their schools.
Thought for the week:
“Winning isn’t getting ahead of others, it is getting ahead of yourself.”
— Roger Staubach
Dr. Jack Welch is a college football coach. He holds a Doctor of Education degree and has been a college and high school football coach for 39 years. He is author of the book titled Foundations of Coaching (2020). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.