A Football Life – Lombardi and Gifford

Some don’t remember that Gifford and Lombardi are connected… this was a post from about a year ago, but I wanted to resurrect it today in honor of Gifford’s passing.

gifford lombardi

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THE Conundrum

Think about this conundrum

coaching puzzleIf, as a coach, you tell a player that doing (X) will make them perform better (X could be anything… fill in the variable)

And they consistently choose not to do (X)

Then either:

A) they do not believe or trust that what you are saying is true…

OR

B) performing better is really not that important to them

As a coach it is probably a good idea to try to figure out the answer to this question, if reaching this player is important.

If the answer is A) then what can you do to improve the trust factor in that player/ coach relationship?

If the answer is B) then what can you do to make that player’s performance more important to him or her?

Most any coach can reach the high achievers… the ones that are easily motivated… the low hanging fruit.

The really good coach tries to reach ALL of their players… even those tough, hard to reach ones… the ones high up in the tree.

You will not reach them all, but in making a great effort you will reach MORE.

As Vince Lombardi said…

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Lombardi Effect

Yesterday was Vince Lombardis birthday.  He would have been 100 years old.

Vince_LombardiFor people of my generation, especially young boys who aspired to coach, he was an iconic figure. I wanted to be a coach so I could diagram plays like Lombardi, sure; but I really wanted to be a coach because I wanted to inspire like Lombardi.

Being a Kansas City Chiefs fan, the first Super Bowl will be forever burned in my psyche.  If anyone was to beat my team, the Chiefs, let it be the legendary Green Bay Packers, led by my idol, Vince Lombardi.

I remember watching the Ice Bowl in 1967, and then the Packers defeating the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II. Lombardi retired from coaching following that season.  I did not understand.

A year later he left the Packers organization to try his hand at rebuilding the Redskin franchise.  I did not understand.

A year later Lombardi died.  That was 1970… I was 13… at that age I understood what I wanted to do with my life… Coach and Teach

lombardi on football2When I graduated from high school, one of my most treasured gifts was a two volume, green leather bound set of “Vince Lombardi on Football”, that my sister gave me.  I still have it today.

 

The first speech in my college public speaking class my freshman year (one of the first times that I stood up in front of a group of students and spoke) was based on Lombardi’s classic speech, “What it takes to be #1

I just realized today that a line in that speech “you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time” was (unconsciously) surely the basis of the Mantra we started using in our program, and that I wrote about in my post, Do Things Right.

I am not trying to compare myself to Lombardi, but just reflecting on how much this man affected me, and I am sure many others from our generation.

Some excellent links to Lombardi info:

  • Rare Lombardi photosabout 30 pictures with narratives.
  • Complete text of his speech, What it Takes to be Number One
  • A REALLY great film of Lombardi called Second Effort”.  This is a sales training film.  It is about an hour long, and has Lombardi relating football to sales … and life.  It is a little hokey because it was staged and scripted, but it is still moving to hear Lombardi talk about football, life, and success.

Two of my favorite Lombardi books:

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

100%

When it comes to effort, 100% is IT…. it is the gold standard…. perfect… perfection… totally and completely spent…. nothing more to give…. everything…

Sorry, but there is no such thing asgiving 110%

The whole concept behind the phrase, the concept that drives this blog, You Can Do More!,  is that most of us don’t approach giving 100%.  When things get tough, physically or mentally, our brain goes into survival mode and we start shutting down and slowing down.  It is our job as coaches to get our athletes (and ourselves!) to ignore that lying brain and start inching closer to that magic 100% mark.

In 1959 during his first meeting with the Packer Quarterback group that included future Hall of Famer, Bart Starr,Coach Vince Lombardi had this to say:

“Gentlemen,  we’re going to relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not catch it, because perfection is not attainable.  But we are going to relentlessly chase it because, in the process, we will catch excellence

lombardi chalk talk

Chase perfection… chase 100%… inch closer to it by doing more… even a little bit more… achieve excellence!

Thanks to former players Jake Wingo (@JakeWingo) and Trevor McKie (@tbmckie01) for the inspiration behind today’s post!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Good Reads

pinkfloyd2I am just getting ready to start a new book, Out of My League, by Dirk Hayhurst.  I am no literary critic, but I do have my favorite sports related books, one of which was written by Hayhurst.  So here are my favorite reads by category… winners of the First Annual “Pinky” Awards… ok… maybe a few of you will get that.  Click on any of the covers and go directly to Amazon for more information.

  • Best Sports Biography
  • Best Football Book
  • When Pride Still Mattered – David Maraniss

prideIf you are interested at all in the history of professional football, and especially coaching genealogy, then I guarantee you will enjoy this biography of legendary Packer coach, Vince Lombardi.

When Pride Still Mattered, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author, David Maraniss is the quintessential story of how Vince Lombardi, the son of an immigrant Italian butcher, rose to the top, and how his character and will to prevail transformed him, his wife, his children, his players, his sport, and ultimately the entire country. It is also a great football story, filled with accounts of Lombardi’s life, from his playing days with the Seven Blocks of Granite at Fordham in the 1930s to the glory of coaching the Green Bay Packers of Starr, Hornung, Taylor, McGee, Davis, and Wood in the 1960s.

  • Best Running Book
  • Born to Run – Christopher McDougal
  • A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen 

bornIn Born to Run, McDougall tracks down members of the reclusive Tarahumara Indian tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. After being repeatedly injured as a runner himself, McDougall marvels at the tribe’s ability to run ultra distances (over 26.2 miles, commonly 100 miles or more) at incredible speeds, without getting the routine injuries of most American runners.  This book covers everything from the evolution (and de-evolution) of running shoes to the evolution of the human species.

 

  • Best Rags to Riches Sports Book
  • That First Season – John Eisenberg
  • How Vince Lomardi took the worst team in the NFL and set it on the path to glory.

first seasonThat Fist Season chronicles Vince Lombardi’s remarkable first year as head coach with the franchise he would reinvent and etch forever in football history. In a single year, as the grizzled coach who took no bull, he would transform a team of underachievers into winners and reignite a city known for its passion for its sport. Based on exhaustive new research and interviews, That First Season is the seldom-studied prequel to a football career marked by greatness.  I thought it was such a great story of doing things the right way that we had our entire Truman High School football squad read it prior to our District Championship 2011 Season.

  • Best Baseball Book
  • Bullpen Gospels – Dirk Hayhurst
  • Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

bullpenSomewhere between Bull Durham and The Rookie, The Bullpen Gospels takes an unforgettable trot around the inglorious base paths of minor league baseball, where an inch separates a ball from a strike, and a razor-thin margin can be the difference between The Show or a long trip home

  • Best Book from a former college football player turned intellectual and founder of an entire Literary movement (Beat Literature)
  • On The Road –  Jack Kerouac

roadOK, full disclosure – On The Road is my favorite book, by my favorite author, Jack Kerouac.  Putting in into a list of sports related books is a bit of a stretch, BUT, Kerouac did attend Columbia College on a football scholarship.

On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac. On the Road is based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation with its protagonists living life against a backdrop of jazz, poetry, and drug use.

  • Best Strength and Conditioning Book
  • Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning, 3rd Edition

nscaNow in its third edition, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning is the most comprehensive reference available for strength and conditioning professionals. In this text, 30 expert contributors explore the scientific principles, concepts, and theories of strength training and conditioning as well as their applications to athletic performance.  Perfect for studying for the NCSA Certification Test.

  • Best Sports Business Book
  • Anything by Seth Godin from
  • Purple Cow to
  • The Icarus Deception

purple-cowicarusAlthough business/ marketing books, as I have referenced many time, Godin’s thinking aligns perfectly with athletes and coaches trying to achieve more.

I would love hearing from you… what are your favorite books in these categories?  What other categories and favorites do you have?  Please add to this list!

Comments and Questions always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Making Short Work of a Long Road

CoolHandLukeThe Academy Awards were last Sunday, so I am a little behind with this, my “movie” post.  One of my all time favorite movies was Cool Hand Luke.  It was released in 1967 and at the 40th Academy Awards, Cool Hand Luke won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (George Kennedy), and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Music, Original Music Score and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

My favorite scene from the movie is called “Making short work of a long road“, and it illustrates perfectly how attitude is everything.  Even though the quality is not great, I hope you view the clip of this scene here… it is a classic!

Luke (Paul Newman) is in prison, and nearly every day his chain gang goes out and puts in a long, hard days work.  In this scene, Luke and the rest of the chain gang, are given the task of tarring a long road.  As one member of the chain gang comments, “man, you think you’ve been workin’  hard …, this mothers gonna break your back”.  Another hard days work in a string of hard days work.

But something happens.  Luke’s attitude changes, “They want speed, I’ll give them speed” he comments. Soon everyone else in the chain gang is following Luke’s lead.  All of a sudden, they are running, smiling, laughing, and working harder than they ever had before.  And before long, they beat it…. “Where’d the road go?” They make short work of a long road. In the words of Vince Lombardi (although he is probably rolling over in his grave for me using his quote referencing a movie… and a prison movie yet)

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

It is all about attitude.  Nothing else changed… they were still in prison, working on a chain gang under miserable conditions.  They were given a task harder than any they had been given before.  But, because their mindset had changed they attacked and beat the job…. And had fun doing it.  Sometimes it’s more than not believing your “lying brain”… it is changing how and what your brain is thinking.

luke

How many times can you remember you and your friends laughing, regaling and remembering how hard, hot, and exhausting a particular practice or workout was?  You get together and share stories, commiserating about the pain you all suffered together.  You bond… it is a shared experience that makes you stronger individually and as a team.

We all have our “long roads”… make short work of yours!

  • The road was not Luke’s enemy
  • The “grind” is not your enemy
  • Summer practice is not your enemy
  • The weight room is not your enemy
  • The heat and pressure are not your enemies

All of these things are making you better… smelting you… turning you into steel.

Tomorrow, data about pound for pound ratios in our athletes.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Recruiting – Get a “Great Motor”

This excerpt from my eBook “How to Become….. Wanted… and Rewarded. – Take Control and Market Yourself- The Complete Guide to a Successful Recruiting Experience”, is all about effort.

 “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”   Vince Lombardi

lombardiThe next quality to discuss, the next quality that will set you apart from all the other high school athletes wanting to get a college scholarship, the next quality that will make you a remarkable recruit, a Purple Cow recruit is effort.

As was discussed in earlier recruiting posts, it is very important for you to “show up” on film; show your speed (Purple Cow Quality #2-Speed) , and athletic ability (Be a Quick Purple Cow), and show that you can play fast (Playing Fast!).  In addition, if you really want to stand out, show recruiters that you play with great effort!

During my collegiate coaching and recruiting days (University of Central Missouri and William Jewell College) , one of the biggest compliments that I would give when analyzing film on potential college football players was that they had a “great motor”.  It was a compliment that I did not give often, because it is a quality that unfortunately does not show up that often.  When I saw it on film, it was remarkable, and I took note. It is also why most recruiters (me included) want to see a complete game video along with a highlight film.  Most players can go back through a seasons worth of games and come up with a few good plays to slap together into a “highlight” video; playing consistently with great effort and technique, play after play during the course of a game is not as easy to do.  Often players get exposed.

Many consider it a character issue if players take a play off  – that it displays a lack of character.  Normally I do not think that is the case.  I think it is the norm.  Most high school players do not really understand what it means to go hard EVERY play.

I think the opposite IS true, though.

While effort really has nothing to do with athletic ability, I think it does show that you have good practice habits, have developed good character, and are “in shape“.  I don’t believe that playing with great effort, having a “great motor” is something that a player can just “flip on”.  It is a habit that they have developed over days, months, and years of doing it consistently in practice. If an athlete plays with great effort – has a “great motor” – it exhibits great character.  It is remarkable, and recruiters will notice.  I did.

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

 

Any Questions? Just leave a comment or email.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com