Work Through the Garbage

As I have mentioned before, my wife and I have an old schoolhouse chalk board hanging in our downtown loft. On it, among other things, are notes I have written to myself, football plays diagramed by visiting coaches, and a to-do list from my wife.


Awhile back I scribbled a list of “catch phrases” I have used (and still use) with my players over the years…. Ask any of my current or former players and I think they would attest that they have heard these more than once…

  • “You Can Do More”…
  • “Get used to being in front”…
  • “Do Things Right”…
  • “Expect More”…
  • “Hard Work Pays Off…”
  • “It is not a sin to get blocked; it IS a sin to STAY blocked”


“You have to work through the garbage to get to the prize”

The last one was a phrase I use(d) coaching linebackers… the “prize” being the ball carrier… making the tackle.

I explain that when playing linebacker you hardly ever have a play where you line up, the ball is snapped, and you go make a tackle without ever having to…

  • Play off a blocker…
  • Step over an opponent on the ground…
  • Step over a teammate on the ground…
  • Separate from a lineman holding (oh that never happens) you…
  • Redirect after initially going the wrong way…
  • Get up after being knocked down or falling down…

It is hard stuff… it is hard work… but the “prize”… getting to the ball carrier and making a tackle… is worth all of the hard work!

Last week when I looked up and saw that phrase on my board… “You have to work through the garbage to get to the prize”, I realized… really for the first time… that it was more than a coaching point for linebackers.

It was a metaphor for life.

And really… aren’t most things we teach, and many things our athletes learn by participating in athletics, really life lessons?

If they learn what it takes to “get to the prize” playing linebacker, doesn’t that set them up to get whatever “prize” they want in life?

If they know how to “get up after being knocked down” or how to “redirect after initially going the wrong way” won’t that put them ahead of others who have not had to opportunity to learn these lessons?

Ours is an awesome job, with awesome responsibilities.

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –

You Can Do This

My last post was about “doing your best”…

And how, even when you have done your best, “there might be just a little more to give”…

And how that relates to my tag line… You Can Do More.

A little bit about that tag line…

There is a BIG difference between “You Can Do More!” and “you could have done more!

One is an entreat, a plea to ignore what your brain and body are telling you and push on and persevere.

The other is an admonishment for not doing your best and results in guilt and diminished performance.

The mantra “You Can Do More” really is a double edge sword that needs to be wielded carefully.  I do believe an important part of our job as coaches is to get our athletes to do more than what they believe (or their brain is telling them) they can.

I also believe that is an equally important job to acknowledge, praise, and rejoice when our athletes are successful, have given great effort, and have done all that we asked.  They sometimes need to hear your loud positivevoice” in their head to drown out their own (and other) negative “voices” that are often so pervasive.

hard thingsWith young athletes, it is equally important that they first learn that “You Can Do This”… “this” being whatever tasks are before them… hard and challenging tasks… physically… mentally… or both… Initially, when first learning how to compete you don’t have to implore your athletes to “do more”…. just meeting the challenge you have given them is the first step… even if it is just a baby step…

“You Can Do This”

“You Got This”

“You Can Beat This”

Once they get used to being able to meet these challenges head on, and begin to have the confidence that “You Can Do THIS”…. once they get used to COMPETING… once they trust what you are telling them, then it is a simple progression to You Can Do More!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Related Posts:

Jeff Floyd –

Doing Your Best?

Well, I did my best

I am proud of our kids… they did their best

I have used these lines (or something similar) before.

Did I reallydo my best”… did my kids reallydo their best”?

Bestselling author and marketing expert, Seth Godin, has this take on “doing your best”

“Doing your best…

It’s a pretty easy way to let ourselves (or someone else) off the hook. “Hey, you did your best.”

But it fails to explain the way we’re able to somehow summon more energy and more insight when there’s a lot on the line.

By defining “our best” as the thing we did when we merely put a lot of effort into a task, I fear we’re letting ourselves off the hook.

In fact, it might not require a lot of effort, but a ridiculous amount of effort, an unreasonable amount of preparation, a silly amount of focus… and even then, there might be a little bit left to give.”

I think one of the biggest challenges in coaching (and teaching) is to get the kids (and parents) to see that while they may be putting effort into this task (playing football, soccer, basketball, etc), and many are doing a good job, most are not even approaching “doing their best“.

It is a tough job getting them to believe that even though they have worked hard, they can give more… that to “do their best” they need to give …

“…a ridiculous amount of effort, an unreasonable amount of preparation, a silly amount of focus… and even then, there might be a little bit left to give.”

When have you really “done your best”?

I can count on one hand the times that I did my best… produced my best work.

I think this is was of those times…

Defensive Game Planning… All Posts, Forms, and Video.

This series details the defensive game planning process we developed at the University of Central Missouri… the development spanned several years, and the compilation and documentation took one summer of work.

You all do amazing work…. really good work… at times, I am sure, “your best”…

“…and even then, there might be a little bit left to give”

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It! 

Jeff Floyd –

Honorific … Coach

A couple of weeks ago I had the great fortune to spend the evening with a group of former players from my University of Central Missouri coaching days.

It was not a formal gathering, but rather a somewhat spur of the moment get-together organized by one of the players, essentially texting… “hey it has been a while… lets get together some evening this week”… and we did!

I cannot express how proud I am of this group of men. They were great players for us back in the day, and each one very successful in their chosen fields today.   Most have families, and many have sons or daughters that are now participating in sports.

The thing that really struck me, and filled me with tearful, emotional pride later when I thought about it was this one thing…

They all still call me “Coach”

They have not played for me in 20 years.

For them, and for me, the title “Coach” is an honorific… a title showing respect.

I was proud to be their coach 20 years ago, and am proud that they still think of me as “Coach”

Then I started thinking about the people who I still bestow the honorific title “Coach” on…. some who I played for 40 years ago…. some who I never played for…

merrellA few who popped into my mind…

  • Coach Merrell… Fred Merrell at Blue Springs High School
  • Coach Noland… Terry Noland at the University of Central Missouri
  • Coach Temples… Amy Jackson Broughton… at Truman High School
  • Coach Hamilton… Larry Hamilton at William Jewell College



Who will still call you “Coach” twenty years from now?

Who do you still bestow that honorific on today?

Ours is an awesome job, with awesome responsibility.

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –