By Randy Traeger
Head Football Coach Oregon
Speak it into Existence
I had been coaching about 10 years and our teams had had moderate success. We were average, ever looking for the secret formula that would propel our program to the next level.
A state contender.
Then one day, it dawned on us. While we all were harboring secret thoughts of playing for a state championship, we never ever expressed that verbally. We never “spoke the words”. So the next day, we started “speaking the words”. We said, “Let’s win a state championship”. The coaches said it, the players said it, and managers said it. Pretty soon, the teachers, parents, and even our fans starting talking about winning a state championship. Nothing was really different other than the fact that we starting talking about winning a state championship. Two years later, we played for the state championship. We literally had spoken it into existence.
What had happened reinforced the school of thought that some things can be “spoken into existence”. For instance, if you tell a player that they are fast, you help them become fast. If you tell them they are intelligent, you help them get better grades.
Speak “virtuous behavior” into existence on your team. Say the words.
Tell your players all the things you want them to be: courageous, loyal, faithful, perseverant, honest, strong, noble, compassionate, intelligent, kind. Tell them to be men of virtue. Tell them what virtue is. You would be surprised at how many of your players are simply unfamiliar with many virtuous concepts. Our society has filled their heads with facts, but failed to fill their hearts with virtue. Teach them about virtue. If you constantly remind them of virtuous qualities, you help instill virtue in their hearts. When your players exhibit virtuous behaviors, be sure to publicly praise them. Make a big deal out of even the smallest act of virtue.
Young men have a way of becoming what we encourage them to be.
Looking for a good place to start coaching virtue in your program?
“Speak it into existence”.