Some tips on team motivation you might find helpful when you are coaching youth football this season. I attended the University of Nebraska coaches clinic last weekend and listened to Brian Cargill, the head coach of a Cozad, Nebraska High School team that won a State Championship this year. His topic on player motivation and his views are something I have been preaching to my team, my players and my coaches for decades.
His thoughts on what Winners Do:
Winners Expect to Win
Winners know they have put the time and effort in that will put them in a position to win ballgames. Winners see themselves deserving of wins because of that effort and time.
Winners Celebrate Process Wins
If your only goal is to win every game, you set yourself up for failure. You can also win every game and fail to play to potential. Focus in process wins, when you are achieving relative to your process. If your process says to practice in the moment and have the heart and mind to prepare like a champion and you achieve that for an entire practice, celebrate it.
Winners Don’t Worry About Competitors
Winners concentrate on doing what they can do, to make themselves better and win games. The only actions they can control are their own. They understand the only two things they can really control are their effort and attitude and they are experts at giving great effort and having a positive attitude. They believe if they take care of what themselves and limit their mistakes, they will consistently win.
Winners Don’t Blame Others for Their Failures
Winners don’t blame the referees, weather, injuries, dog ate the homework etc, for when they don’t play well. Winners point the thumb, not the finger.
Winners Embrace Challenge
They appreciate the opportunity to test themselves and see how good they really are. They are anxious to take their shot at winning the big prize. They respect the other team, but they don’t put them on a pedestal again getting back to the mantra of if we take care of ourselves, good things will happen.
Let me add a few of my own to this:
Winners Focus on Playing to Potential a Standard of Excellence- Not the Score
Winners Appreciate Excellence in Others
Winners Look to Emulate Excellence in Others
Winners Look to the Next Goal as Soon as One has Been Achieved
The very successful youth football coaches I’ve known over the past 20 plus years almost to a man have this philosophy consistently win Championships. On the flip side, think about the guys you know who coach youth football and seem to be on the opposite side of the coin on every one of these approaches. How do they do every year? If I’m looking to win most of my games, retain most of my players and make sure the kids have a positive experience, I’m copying the successful guys and doing the opposite of the guys who are consistently failing.
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