All good football coaches put in a lot of time and effort. Everyone knows that! They make countless personal sacrifices, most of which involve their own families. And for those of us in the parochial school system, there are even financial sacrifices. Putting in the necessary time in the off-season, training your kids in the weight room, preparing for practice during the season and working those long weekends breaking down opponents and watching films says that you care a lot. But what does it say you care a lot about? Is it the sport of football, victory, beating an archrival perhaps?
Many of us claim to be in this for something greater than those things I just mentioned. But as we tell our players on a daily basis, “Talk is cheap”. Ask yourself this question; what do you do within the framework of your football program to go the extra mile, to labor down the road that far too many parents and other coaches ignore - the road of building great young men?
Can you win without great young men? Let me re-phrase that, can you win consistently without great young men? We all know that different schools at different times “catch a class” and they win a bunch of football games because they have a few studs and a loaded class. But what sustains that success? What differentiates the ‘flash in the pan’ program from the perennial powers? I believe the difference lies in the development of strong young men, men of character, virtue and faith.
We all believe strongly in the techniques and schemes we teach. We all believe that they give us a competitive advantage. But those techniques and schemes don’t mean a thing if your team isn’t truly bonded and cannot withstand the ups and downs that each season, each game and each practice brings. To me, this is the silver lining. This is the difference. What do you do for your team to help them bond, to break down the class barriers of SR-JR-SO-FR?
How do you train your players to handle adversity, to show fortitude and courage? Without those skills, without character, without faith, our players are helpless out there on that field. No scheme, no techniques or play calls can help them if these internal battles have not already been fought and won. That’s why we go the extra mile at Cov Cath, beyond the film sessions, long weekends, missed family parties, etc. Our extra mile includes the development of young men. Instrumental in that development are our retreats. We have always done team retreats here at Covington Catholic, but this year was our first in conjunction with SportsLeader. It was a great experience! Our players and staff really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. For those of you that are afraid to pull the trigger on something like this, just do it and you’ll reap the benefits. You’re gonna come home with a team that is closer, that has a better understanding of some of the virtues that make them great young men, and consequently………better football players too.
We are fortunate here at Covington Catholic. We have 6 State titles, the tradition is strong, the facilities are great and our community and administration support us. But we haven’t won a state title since 2006. Our archrival has reeled off 3 in a row. How do we plan on stopping that trend? Well, I can tell you this – it has very little to do with X’s and O’s and has everything to do with building mentally stronger Jimmy’s and Joe’s. The better and stronger a young man I can put out on that field, the better our chance of winning those tough games and the better our chance of bringing home another title to this school.
Give your players a competitive advantage that goes far beyond the playbook or weight room, help make them great young men. SportsLeader can help you with this. They have been an excellent compliment to the character and leadership education that exists in our program here at Covington Catholic.
Feel free to email or call with any questions.
Head Football Coach
Covington Catholic H.S.
Park Hills, KY