Tip #13 – Winning is just an outcome so focus on the Process instead!
A million factors beyond the control of the players or the coach can affect whether a team has more or fewer points at the end of the game. How the ball bounces, the officiating, the weather—these are all factors that no coach or player can control. Size, strength, and speed of the players also impact a team’s win-loss record. Take any of the greatest coaches in football and give them the smallest and slowest team in America and match them up against the biggest and fastest team and the talent gap will be too great to overcome. No amount of preaching about the importance of winning or time spent in preparation will change that. Therefore goals should be made around things coaches and players can better control. For example developing a sounds game plan, reducing mental mistakes, and precise play execution,
An example of how setting an outcome based goal can be counter-productive is when a kicker dreams of watching his ball sail through the uprights at the last second, securing the win for the team. In this fantasy, his teammates and the hometown fans rush the field and hoist him up on their shoulders as he is ushered into the locker room and presented with the game ball. So what’s wrong with this goal or dream?
The problem is, by focusing on the outcome—the ball sailing through the uprights and everything that happens after—the player is ignoring the most critical component of making it all happen: the kick! If a kicker is focusing all of his attention on making the ball go through the uprights, he will very often fail in the execution of the kick itself. Focusing entirely on the result overlooks the most critical part: actually playing well enough to win.
For more information and suggestions on how to improve both the sport and culture of American Football, check out our book Tackling Dummies, Playing Amateur Football Smarter!
Please share these tips with coaches, parents, players, and any fan of the game!