Archive for September 2015
When Jamaal Charles fumbled twice last night during the Chiefs-Broncos game, it was as much the coaching staff’s fault (and the front office’s fault) as it was Jamaal’s.
Here’s why: Jamaal is a professional athlete but even professional athletes are human beings first, and then athletic performers. They have problems just like the rest of us mortals. And I’m not talking about deep-seated psychological problems. I’m referring to problems they might be having with their wives, or girlfriends, or financial problems, problems with a coach, or problems with a teammate. If they keep their problems bottled up, if they withhold them and don’t tell anyone about what’s bothering them, it will negatively affect their game during competition. They will not be focused and are more susceptible to fumbles, dropped passes, and missed tackles.
Former NFL coach Joe Gibbs realized this late in his career when he was negotiating an athlete’s contract and figured out the athlete, even though he was making millions of dollars a year, was having financial problems. Former NFL running back Eddie George, when Tiger Woods’ issues became public, stated: “Ninety percent of all NFL athletes are having extra-marital affairs.” If true, why doesn’t the coaching staff and front office do something about it?
Much has been written about the importance of the turnover/takeaway ratio in the NFL. Few however are able explain the reasons turnovers happen.
Some say it’s because the opposing team has focused their defensive efforts on the practice of ripping the ball out of the runner’s hands, or other reasons.
While there may be some truth to these theories, my experience working with athletes and players has made it clear that when athletes are carrying around unresolved issues in their lives, they are more prone to making mistakes. When they are withholding their feelings, when they have misdirected anger at their teammates or coaches, or when they’ve had an argument with their wives or girlfriends (or both) they are prone to fumbling the ball, or dropping a pass that hits them in the numbers, or jumping off sides, or, if the player is a quarterback, throwing multiple interceptions in a game.
The reason is simple: They are not focused.
And it all starts with the coaches and assistant coaches (and the front office) and how they interact with their players, how they listen to their players issues and personal problems, and the type of feedback program they have created internally that allows players to air their grievances (both personal and team related) without being punished.
It’s no coincidence that the NFL teams with the best turnover/takeaway ratio are successful, while those with the worst are not.
Posted September 14, 2015on:
Psychokinesis (PK) is an umbrella term for an ability that involves manipulating matter with the mind. Like the completion of two “Hail Mary” passes during two NCAA football games resulting in winning both games.
According to USA Today: “The 11th pass of his (Mangum’s) college career was a game-winning Hail Mary as time expired to shock Nebraska…Trailing by a field goal with less than a minute left against Boise State, Magnum opted against a safe play – the 8-plus yards needed to convert a fourth-down try – and went for it all, again finding (Mitchell) Juergens for the winning TD.”
Two games, two miracles? Not quite. You see, Mangum has something special going for him. The 24-year old freshman previously opted to spend two years for his mission in Antofogasta, Chile, a port city near the country’s northern tip, helping indigent people of that country to improve their lives.
“I see the lessons it taught me every day,” Mangum said. “It carries over to football. Having to work hard, having to do hard things, having to be independent.”
What Mangum didn’t say is that he is happy, that his life is in harmony, and how working with those Chileans enhanced his own feelings of self-worth, which subsequently enhanced his ability to manipulate matter with his mind.
Posted September 6, 2015on:
Very often when colleges and professional teams are looking for a new head coach they look for someone who is strong-willed, who is a take-charge type of guy and will instill the fear of G-d in his players. The Marine drill sergeant type who isn’t afraid to “kick a few butts” and will let the team know in no uncertain terms that it’s “my way or the highway.” This is the type of person a team should hire, right? Wrong!
The best head coaches are those coaches who have been through some type of adversity or tragedy in their personal lives that makes them have great empathy for their players. And that’s one of the most important characteristics a coach can have. When his players know he cares about them as human beings first and then as athletic performers, they’ll play their hearts out for him. And this is something a coach can’t fake. Either he has it, or he doesn’t. Here are three examples of coaches who have it:
Andy Reid, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2012, his oldest son Garrett, died of a heroin overdose.
Cuonzo Martin, men’s basketball coach at the University of California, is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed in 1997 while playing professional basketball in an Italian League in Europe.
Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, is a former alcoholic and has a daughter who has been diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome.
All three of these coaches have been highly successful and the primary reason is because they have great empathy for their players. They don’t want their players to fear them. But rather, they want their players to know they love them.