Winning, Losing and Coaching

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It’s football season, which calls for the requisite sports analogy tied to our roles as Leaders / Difference Makers for our teams.  Here are three examples of perspective from three colorful coaches…

“Oh, we played like about three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon.”

–     William Taylor “Spike” Dykes (1938 – 2017), American football coach

Losing stinks.  Yet, no one wins all the time.  As coaches, we want our teams to learn in every practice and game, in every meeting and presentation.  We want to #getbettereveryday.  Sometimes, that calls for abject candor.  No one doubts what Coach Dykes thought of his team’s performance on this day.  Twelve-step programs talk about admitting / acknowledging the problem as the first, most critical step in recovery.  When we’re off our game, let’s don’t try to convince ourselves that we were awesome.  Let’s acknowledge our suckitude, and grow from it.

“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.”

–     John Madden (b. 1936), American football coach and expert TV commentator

Winning more frequently than losing is about process. Getting the wagon loaded correctly with the right payload will lead us to success.  There are multiple ways to move a wagon, but if it ain’t loaded, it won’t matter where we get it headed.

I’m an Iowa Hawkeye fan all the way through my DNA. No program’s process is more firmly engrained than Kirk Ferentz’s — and no program gets better results from second-tier recruiting profiles than Iowa.  Iowa State, the perennial “little brother across the state,” has emerged as a legitimate contender, largely because their coach, Matt Campbell, has a process, and is fanatically committed to it.  “Fall in love with the process and the process will love you back,” he says.

Tomorrow is Iowa v Iowa State, the Cy-Hawk matchup that is, around here, like the Yankees / Red Sox, Celtics / Lakers and Packers / Bears all rolled in to one.

Whichever team focused on loading the wagon better will win, and because both coaches “get it,” both wagons will likely be well-loaded.

Reporter:  “Coach, what can you say about your team’s execution today?”

Coach:  “I’m in favor of it!”

–     Post-game with John McKay (1923 – 2001), American football coach and folk legend

It’s not rocket surgery.  We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously when we win, and we shouldn’t consider ourselves losers when we come up short.  Remember, unless we’re a surgeon, air-traffic controller or in the military, no one dies and no one loses a limb when we make mistakes.  Let’s poke fun at ourselves, pull some laughter out of good days and bad – and #getbettereveryday.

Enjoy your weekend.

Go, Hawks!

 

 

 

 


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