Coach and Athletic Director

June 2017

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50 J U N E 2 0 1 7 WINNING EDGE motivating your players Most programs have their ups and downs, but if your program seems to be more on the downward trend over the last few seasons, there is certainly some cause for concern. Your program might not be taking a drastic nosedive, but the wins are much harder to come by and the losses add up in your mind and the minds of your athletes, staff, administrators, parents and fans. The level of success you were once able to attain is now only a fleeting and distant memory in today's world of instant gratification. There are many reasons why programs decline. Here are six of the most common problems that contribute to the downfall and demise of programs. 1 Recruiting/selection misses and mistakes. One of the quickest ways to devastate a program is to have its talent pipeline dry up. You obviously need a high level of talent to complete with the elite programs in the world. Once you start to slip and suffer in the level of talent you bring into your program, you will almost inevitably see your number of wins slip as a result. "College football really is changing," said former Florida International football coach Mario Cristobal. "Just think about the divot or the hole that you put in your roster if you have one bad recruiting year. All of the sudden your second- team tackle who was supposed to be a stud and this can't- miss guy, only he didn't work out and your starting tackle gets hurt. Now you might have to play someone who is not capable, and it's all because of your recruiting miss." You can't afford to miss out on talented recruits or make too many recruiting mistakes, because both will quickly cause your program to decline. Whether you are a high school coach developing a great feeder system, a club coach trying to enhance your downward SPIRAL By Jeff Janssen, contributing writer organization or a college coach trying to build or maintain your program, you must consistently identify, attract, select and keep great talent on your team. If you don't, your record will eventually show it. 2 .Arrogance. Some programs slip because of hubris. The .coach achieves a certain level of success and thinks he or she knows it all. They stop learning, stop growing, stop scrapping and stop innovating. And because of their refusal to get better, the rest of the world catches up and passes them by. Legendary San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh wrote about the problems of hubris in his book, "The Score Takes Care of Itself." "When you reach a large goal or finally get to the top, the distractions and new assumptions can be dizzying," Walsh wrote. "First comes heightened confidence, followed quickly by overconfidence, arrogance and a sense that 'we've mastered it; we've figured it out; we're golden.' But the gold can tarnish quickly. Mastery requires endless re-mastery. In fact, I don't believe there is ever true mastery. It is a process, not a destination. That's what few winners realize and explains to some degree why repeating is so difficult. Having triumphed, winners come to believe that the process of mastery is concluded and that they are its proud new owners." Hubris and overconfidence can also infect the players. Former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden, whose program slipped noticeably from the championships he won during the 1990s, said "Champions are prone to see themselves as having arrived. They've already done what it takes to get to the top. They worked hard, listened to their coaches and did everything asked of them. Now that the championship has been attained, they don't need to pay nearly as much attention to all the little details. They don't need to practice as diligently or push themselves as hard as last year because, hey, they've arrived." 3 .Complacency. Other coaches may not succumb .to hubris, yet they and their athletes get tripped up because they quit doing the little things that were so critical to their success in the first place — they become complacent. Former NBA coach Pat Riley said, "Complacency is like a disease sitting on your shoulder, just waiting for you to let your guard down." Complacent coaches don't work as hard finding great talent, quickly throw together a practice instead of carefully planning one, delegate too many responsibilities to their assistants, don't watch as much video in game preparation, and don't seem to have the same insatiable hunger and drive to reach the top. The athletes of these coaches pick up on the complacency and have a tendency to mirror it with sloppy practices, uninspired workouts and missed classes. All this complacency erodes the high standards necessary to win at the elite level and nicely greases the wheels for a slide. 4 .Declining energy levels. Some programs decline .because the passion and energy that helped them be successful in the first place is not there anymore. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, focus and organizational Six reasons why programs slip and stumble

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