The Next Play is the Only Play

When I was at the University of Central Missouri, I had the chance to work with, and learn from, one of the really good guys, and really good coaches in the country.  Roy Wittke.

Among the many things I learned from Coach Wittke was a philosophy of his that centered on the phrase “The Next Play is the Only Play

This philosophy really is all encompassing…. it pretty much works with “play”…. or whatever you substitute in for “play”.

  • The next play is the only play.
  • The next game is the only game.
  • The next series is the only series.
  • The next test is the only test.
  • The next set is the only set.

Focus with laser intensity on the one thing that you can control … the next  ______.

lowsThe play that you just finished, whether it went for a 70 yard touchdown, or a 10-yard loss, is over.  At that point in time, you cannot do anything to change that outcome.  Prolonged celebration (or pouting) only serves to take away focus and energy from the one thing you CAN change – the NEXT play… the ONLY play.

Worrying about a play that you will possibly run in the next series, or the second half just serves to distract you from the task at hand… the NEXT play… the ONLY play.

Put all of your energy into the one single thing you have control over… the next _____.

We have all found ourselves coaching and dealing with players in these situations….

  • Transitioning from a Touchdown, to a PAT try.
  • Transitioning from a blocked PAT try, to Kickoff Coverage (or Return)
  • Transitioning from an interception, to defense (or offense)
  • Transitioning from a 35-yard pass completion, to a Tailback Power Run.
  • Transitioning from a sack, to preparing for a 3rd and long
  • Transitioning from a big win, to preparing for your next opponent
  • Transitioning from a crushing loss, to your first District game.

No matter what you do, you cannot change or replay the outcome of the first part of these situations, all you can do is focus on the second part… the NEXT part…. the ONLY part….

If you and your players adhere to this philosophy, it will have a tendency to even things out; your highs are not quite as high – you become a little more grounded.   The lows don’t become insurmountable valleys.

Worry and spend energy on the things you have control over.

Thank you, Coach Wittke!

Jeff Floyd –

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