The Mother of all Positive Thinkers

I suppose the roots of “You Can Do More!” can be traced to my parents, and more specifically my mother.  She always gave me the confidence to think that I COULD do more.   Mine were great, supportive parents regarding my athletic playing and coaching career.  They never missed a game.  I started every game during my collegiate playing days, so that includes 40+ college games.  They didn’t miss many games that I coached, either.

On this Mother’s day, I have to share one of my favorite (and true) stories that illustrates the supportive nature of my mother.

I was getting ready to report for pre-season practice at William Jewell my freshman year.  The whole drive up to Jewell, my mom was talking… encouraging me with phrases like, “You are going to do so GREAT! “… “This is so exciting… you are so smart… and fast!” … “You are ready for this… you have worked so hard!

The whole drive, nothing but encouragement came out of her mouth.

At that time (1975), the Kansas City Chiefs were still practicing at Jewell, and their last day of camp was our report day.  When we arrived the Jewell veteran football players were already on campus, as well as many Chiefs players that were packing up to leave.  The “regular” student population was not on campus yet, so needless to say, there were disproportional amount of BIG human beings roaming around… and I was a scrawny 150 lbs.

Still, my mom was encouraging… “You think these guys play football, too?”… “Won’t it be great to have them for your teammates?”  … “You are going to do so GREAT!”… “You are going to have so much fun!

I leave and say my final goodbyes and head to the dorm to meet my pre-season roommate.  My mom shouts one final time “You will do GREAT!”… then (as I find out from my Dad about 20  years later) she turns to my father and says … “He’s gonna get KILLED!

As worried as she was about me playing college football, she never let on.  She wanted me to know that she believed in me… believed that I COULD DO MORE!

Jeff Floyd –


Confident vs Cocky

namathThere is a fine line between being confident and being “cocky” (overconfident).  I always want my players to play with great confidence, but I never want it to creep into the sector of “cockiness”.  So what’s the difference?  How can you get the positive aspect of confidence, without the threat of “cocky”?

I think there are a few things a coach can do to insure your athletes get the confidence without the cockiness.  True confidence comes from knowing you have fully prepared; that you have put the work and effort in; that you have literally done everything in your power to put yourself in a position to be successful (Do… or do not. There is no try!).   Without this level of work “in the tank“, any “confidence” you display is probably blustering …  overconfidencecockiness.

Seth Godin discussed this last Saturday in his post, “Swagger

The problem with swagger is that if you’re the swaggering marketer, you might run into a competitor with even more swagger than you. When that happens, it’s time to show your cards, the justification for your confidence. And if you don’t deliver, you’ve done nothing but disappoint the person who believed in you.

Substance without swagger slows you down. But swagger without substance can be fatal. Right now, we’re seeing more swagger than ever—but it’s rarely accompanied by an increase in substance…

The rule is simple: it’s essential to act the part. And it’s even more important for it to be real.

I think in athletics it is exactly the same.  Substance (preparation) without swagger (confidence) slows you down.  But swagger (confidence) without substance (preparation) can be fatal (cockiness).

The other piece to this “confident vs cocky” puzzle is humility. I do believe we can coach and teach humility with our student-athletes.  Confidence and Humility are not mutually exclusive traits.  Your athletes can, and should, have both.

In a recent post, (Servant Leadership from the QB Position) Coach Keith Grabowski (Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach at Baldwin Wallace University) discussed how and why he came to coach his QB’s in “Servant Leadership

What I left [Darin Slack’s camp] focusing on as much as technique was the idea of “servant leadership.”.

It’s something that is a huge part of my coaching now, and I wish I saw more of it being coached, especially in youth sports. I have a nine year old son, and I am constantly frustrated when I see the showboating and individualism that is allowed. Kids are being outwardly labeled as “stars” by their coaches to the other kids. I see those kids, “the stars,” pout when they don’t get the ball, don’t get a call by an official, or are taken out of the game. Those kids, who at this point may be superior, need to be taught that their talent needs to be used to serve their teammates rather than the reverse. It’s a disturbing trend.

The other concern I have is that development camps like Darin’s are threatened by combines and showcases that put the emphasis on showing off individual talent. There’s a place for those, but it seems that parents are spending their money on that and not taking advantage of great opportunities for their sons to learn the lessons that this game teaches from men like Darin Slack. I know he’s not the only one out there and that there are others who do it as well, but my point is that it seems to be getting tougher and tougher on those camps that have lasting value for a young man.

The entire theme of his QB manual at Baldwin Wallace University revolves around the theme of Servant Leadership.  Here is the first slide from his 200 slide QB manual.

 servant leadership

Hard Work + Confidence + Humility = Champions for Life

You can get more good stuff, including excellent ideas on the use of technology in coaching by following Coach Grabowski’s Twitter feed @CoachKGrabowski

You can get a daily dose of good stuff by reading Seth Godin’s blog.

Questions or Comments are always welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd –