SportsLeader is a virtue-based mentoring and motivation program for coaches. This blog shares stories from coaches all over the country transforming lives. For more information contact Lou Judd -

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No Stickers & a Great Act of Sportsmanship


I had a great conversation with a coach I had not spoken with in months yesterday. He told me about a Running Back - Kick/Punt Returner on his team who is one of the best athletes in the state of KY. The young man's nickname is "Flea" - not too big but hard to see and hard to catch ...

They hand out award stickers on Mondays from the previous game so the players can put them on their helmets ...

Coach hands Flea 2 more for his performance and he begins to walk away. "Flea, where are you going?" "I'm going to give these to my offensive linemen ... without them I don't get any yards"

Coach later sees the back of Flea's helmet - which should have over 20 stickers on it ... NOT 1. He has given them all away.

Coach then told me, "You see, we talk about humility and charity ... sometimes you don't think they're listening ... well at least we know Flea was listening."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Texting and Virtue

Helping your players stay focused throughout the week can be challenging. One tradition that is working and bringing a lot of results is the idea of texting or emailing quotes to your players that center around the virtue theme of the week.

For example, let's say you are focusing on on being "Self-Less" this week. In the morning you could text the quote and then in the afternoon you could text them the little resolution. This enables you to be in constant contact with them in a "format" that they use all day - their phone. SportsLeader has this all developed for you.

Our kids get a million bad messages a day. How about we give them some good ones?


“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Ask your Mom/Dad about their hobbies as a teen

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Speak well of a teacher

“The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

Visualize a perfect play

“Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” – Horace Mann

Catch up day – do one of the resolutions you missed

“There is no happiness in having or getting, but only in giving.” – Henry Drummond

Go to a sibling’s next sporting event

“Man is not on the earth solely for his own happiness. He is there to realize great things for humanity.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Serve your team by doing something to help without being asked

“Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.” – Mother Teresa

Treat girls/women with respect and kindness 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2 Great Experiences

What a 18 hour span!  We left for East Lansing at 1:00 PM on Saturday afternoon from Cincinnati.  Myself, Bob Crable and two great guys from Winton Woods H.S., Donnie Gillespie and Adam Gergen (both BB coaches).  The Spartans were playing Notre Dame at 8:00PM and we had to move to get to East Lansing.  Bob Crable and I had coached Greg Jones at Moeller but he had never seen him play, collegiately live in person.  Watching a Spartan victory, and Greg Jones play well especially vs. ND...... would be priceless.

Well, we made it (despite that terrible U of M traffic outside of Ann Arbor, something Crable and I could agree on!).  What a great game!  As most of you know, the Spartans pulled it out in overtime with a fake field goal.  I celebrated the whole way home.  We waited for Greg after the game.  Crable and I were able to congratulate him, and his parents.  Greg was spent, but the look on his face seeing us was worth the trip.  We drove that night back to Cincy, from 1:30Am until we pulled in at 7:00AM.

All of us realized the significance of our trek up North.  All of us were able to see an incredible game in person.  We all worked together on the trip up and back, celebrating football, coaching, playing and friendship.  To see Greg Jones and so many other young men playing and knowing you had a part in their success was such a joy.  It gave us all new energy to coach our current Greg Jones's, knowing that the impact we have on their lives is immeasurable.

Go Spartans!!
Coach Willertz
Winton Woods Wrestling
MSU Alumni 1985-1990


I had the opportunity to see Ohio State play Eastern Michigan this past Saturday with 4 friends who run a Conquest boys club with me. It was the first time all 5 of us could do something fun together. The day was amazing but to top it off we got to meet Archie Griffin - the only 2 time Heisman Trophy winner. His humility and virtue was inspiring.

Do something fun with your friends. It refreshes the soul.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Show Some Class

A tale of two football games I attended. I had a sideline pass for both games.

Coaches, I encourage you all, if you don't already, to follow the example of Game 1. We need overt examples to help bring back some of these noble traditions of class and sportsmanship. If you coach another sport - follow it as well!

Game 1: Public HS vs Public HS
Player is down on the field and it looks like it could be a serious injury. 

Opposing team - every player and coach drops to one knee whether they are on the field or sideline. All players take off their helmets and hold them in hand. All look in silence toward the player down on the field. All in the stands - the opposing fans - standing in silence.

The player is finally helped off the field. All players put helmets back on, stand and all coaches, players and fans give - the opposing player - a very loud standing ovation.

An outstanding display of overt class and sportsmanship.

Game 2: Catholic HS vs Catholic HS

Player is down on the field and it looks like it could be a serious injury. I remembered the example of Game 1 stated above and knelt to say a prayer.

Neither team pays any attention what-so-ever. Coaches call players to discuss strategy.

Player is helped off the field. His own team - maybe, maybe 10% of his coaches and teammates clap. A majority of their fans clap.

The opposing team - not a single coach, player or fan clapped.

The solution? We need to show overt class and sportsmanship. We need to transform the culture of sports.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One of my greatest SportsLeader memories

This is a story from a few years ago but it continues to be one of my greatest "SportsLeader" memories. I remembered it having lunch with a coach-friend of mine yesterday, thanks Jim!

I was at a game with the Indianapolis Roncalli High School football team. They had lost their starting running back, a senior, to injury and the second string junior to injury as well. So for this game, starting at running back was a Sophomore.

Roncalli had instituted what we call "Senior Mentoring" where Seniors mentor a few Sophomores on the team.

Roncalli had an excellent and long drive at one point in the game, most of the yards coming on runs by this "3rd string" RB.  He wasn't a big guy, maybe 5'8 175 more or less, but he had an enormous heart.

They were hard-earned runs ... gains of 4 here, 3 there ... and on every run this "little" RB was breaking at least 1 tackle.

I'm standing on the sidelines just outside of the "Roncalli box" watching the game and watching the 2 RB's who were hurt ... watching the game. It was truly moving. 

These 2 upperclassmen were not sulking about injury or playing time - they were going crazy routing for this Sophomore whom they had come to love by mentoring him.

Then came one of the most amazing runs I've ever seen. Power toss coming right at me, RB breaks at least 4 tackles and carries 3 guys with him about 10 yards till they finally drag him out of bounds and still they didn't bring him down. He gets up and immediately points to the 2 upperclassmen RBs, tears are absolutely gushing ... the 2 upperclassmen, drenched in tears as well, are physically being held back by other teammates so they wouldn't run out of the box or on to the field ...

It was an absolute confirmation of what SportsLeader is about: LOVE. These kids loved one another and they were playing their hearts out for one another, leaving nothing on the field - whether they were injured or whether they were in the spotlight ... it was not about them individually. It was all about the relationships they had built up with one another.

If we as coaches can have this same passion, this same love at building relationships with our fellow coaches and our players by mentoring ... great things happen. Maybe you don't win State but you'll win something much much greater than that - a memory like this!

The Roncalli Team after "running the hill" at virtue camp. If you want to do a virtue camp with us email me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Song Worth Listening To

Since music is such an important part of the lives of our young people it is good to offer them songs that help them think. Here is a good example:

My Own Little World - Lyrics
By Matthew West

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I've never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket, shoes on my feet
In my own little world, population: me

I try to stay awake during Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give 'til it hurts
And I turn off the news when I don't like what I see
Yeah, it's easy to do when it's population: me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world

Stopped at a red light looked out my window
I saw a cardboard sign said, "help this homeless widow"
And just above that sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, God, what have I been doing?
So I rolled down the window and I looked her in the eye
Oh, how many times have I just passed her by?
I gave her some money than I drove on through
And my own little world reached population: two

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
I could be living right now
Outside my own little world
My own little world

Father, break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there's a bigger picture?
What if I'm missing out?
What if there's a greater purpose?
That I could be living right now
I don't want to miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now

Outside my own little world
My own little world
My own little world

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pope to Youth: Choose to Love Every Day

Oftentimes the word Love is frowned upon in sports as being "wimpy or not applicable". Check out what the Pope was telling the thousands of youth gathered in London:

"I ask each of you, first and foremost, to look into your own heart. Think of all the love that your heart was made to receive, and all the love it is meant to give. After all, we were made for love."

"Every day we have to choose to love and this requires help, the help that comes from Christ, from prayer and from the wisdom found in his word, and from the grace which he bestows on us in the sacraments of his Church."

"I ask you to look into your hearts each day to find the source of all true love," he said. "Jesus is always there, quietly waiting for us to be still with him and to hear his voice."

"Deep within your heart, he is calling you to spend time with him in prayer.

"But this kind of prayer, real prayer, requires discipline; it requires making time for moments of silence every day. Often it means waiting for the Lord to speak."

"Even amid the "busy-ness" and the stress of our daily lives," he acknowledged, "we need to make space for silence, because it is in silence that we find God, and in silence that we discover our true self."

Still think Love doesn't apply?

God bless, Lou--- --- ---

LONDON, SEPT. 18, 2010 (
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bench Him or Mentor Him?

I'll give you some bullet points that really emphasize the need for mentoring.

1. Player 1 under performing on field...old school way = bench him, mentor = find out his mom had a nervous breakdown and is no longer living with him. Once he shares that with coach and lets it out, he comes out of that weeks game with best grade amongst linebackers.

2. Player 2 has all of the physical skills but lacks the confidence and explosion to finish plays. Old school way = bench him, mentor= find out he grew up in a house where mom and dad constantly yell at each other and get divorced, to this day they continue to yell and scream in front of kids when they are together. Player says when a coach hollers at him for a mistake or constructive criticism he hears his dad screaming at him. We change our approach with coaching him up and lo and behold the kids level of play rises immediately.

3. Player 3 runs the ball like a pro but does not run or pass block. This was and still is a tough one to crack, but have found this stems from an abusive dad who has criticized him to no end since youth ball. Thus, any coaching he receives he shuts down as he does not want to hear even kind and constructive coaching. Making progress because of mentoring, but old school methods put him on bench too.

Sacrificed time tweaking my game plan to spend it more with players one on one. Ended up having a great, great practice yesterday. If you think it's about the x's and o's you are wrong.

By Tim Racki
Head Football Coach, Nazareth High School
LaGrange Park, IL

Monday, September 20, 2010

Letting His Dad Win

God gave me some great opportunities to witness his purposes in action while I was on vacation. It was inspiring to see so many Dads playing with their kids ... 

I was swimming in the pool one day with my wife and kids. Right by the pool was a ping-pong table with a father and son playing ...

The son was about 16, tall, very muscular ... the Dad "much older", looked much weaker, had some leg issues etc.

The son was obviously letting his father win but what was moving was the expression this young man had on his face. I really wish I could have filmed this. He was basking, delighting in his father having a good time, just being with his Dad was "winning enough" for him.

On another occasion, there was a grandfather, Dad, older son and younger son shooting hoops. All 4 of them were really blessed with athletic talent. The same inspiration came to me as I watched them enjoying being with one another ... the kids showing respect to their grandfather ... it was beautiful.

Let's encourage our players to grow in their relationships with their Dads.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Running From Self Destruction - Athlete Essay

This is why I love SportsLeader. A must read.

Lou, a new senior football player who I have been coaxing into coming out for football for a couple of years has come out for the first time this year. He is impressed with what we do. He calls me at night with spiritual questions often. He is a very intrigued young man. Below is an essay that he submitted today to his English teacher, the theme was to be something about "chases", a good "chase" scene essay. Cleverly and profoundly, yet very personal, he writes about being "chased by his emotions".

Very touchingly, he gives credit to myself and football for some great spiritual gains in his last paragraphs.
Dan Duddy
Head Football Coach Monsignor Donovan

“Running From Self Destruction”
Not once, have I ever been chased by the cops, a person or an object. I have never had anyone after me or out to get me or just chasing me. I have been chased by emotions though, a lot of them. I was six years old when my brother passed away. Nothing has been the same since them. Ever since that day questions such as “why me, what did I do, how am I going to move on with myself?” have daunted me. My chase story is about me running from the fear of going into depression, character change and hate towards God. I never stopped running though. 

Family relatives happen to pass away all the time throughout the course of life. Losing your brother is something not many people can relate to or understand. I was young when it happened but I still understood the circumstances and as I grew older, it hit me ten times harder. I was about nine or ten years old and I cried to my mom every night before bed. I kept getting older and I thought I was heading down the road of depression. I was thirteen when I really overcame being upset with the death of my brother. I saw it as a challenge life threw at me and I had to overcome it. Nothing is simple or set in stone in life. The challenge, I beat it. I overcame being depressed by getting closer to my family and doing better things to help the loved ones around me. At the age of only thirteen I felt like a man in the house, I enjoyed making my family days joyful just how my brother Kyle would have made mine. Don’t be depressed because there may be a hundred reasons to be sad but a million reasons to be happy. 

Growing up I had a mother, father and my half brother Patrick. We did not look at each other as “half brothers” because we knew we had a better relationship than normal brothers do. Patrick did everything for me, he made me feel loved, he led by example, and we got along better than best friends do. We did everything together and had the same interests (except he was a Cowboys fan while I was a Giants fan, still something we fight about today.) As I grew older I realized I could have been an awesome big brother to Kyle as Patrick was to me. After understanding that I lost that opportunity when he passed away, it crushed me. I didn’t feel like I had to impress anyone, I wanted someone to look up to me the way I admired my older brother. It was like my entire character just changed, I became less responsible and I did not feel like I had to lead by example for anyone. Then my beautiful little sister Hannah was born and I realized I had someone to be a role model for. This inspired me again to be that “big brother figure.” After seeing my character almost go through a self destruction point, I got it back on track. I outran the fear of going through a character change, it didn’t catch me. 

Religion and faith, well I lost all of it when Kyle passed away. I was a soldier and felt as the world was against me. God, I thought he hated me. My prayers, felt like they just “didn’t work.” Well I was proven wrong when my little sister Hannah was born. I guess I started to believe in the saying, “everything happens for a reason.” I am probably not the best brother I could be to Hannah but deep inside I love her a lot. It was not until this year where my football coach Mr. Dan Duddy made my religion and faith an important component in my life. My “chase story” has been going on since I was six and it just recently ended. I have overcome every fear I had after Kyle passed away. I now pray about three times a day, sometimes less, sometimes more. God, well I now know he doesn’t hate me, he loves everyone. 

I ran for about ten years, and my fear of going into depression, character change or my hate towards God, never caught me. I out ran all of those fears over the course of ten years and I won the race. No one will ever hold you back from out running your dreams. “Never let the fear from failing, stop you from trying.”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ESPN College football headlines - 7 of the 10

The need for SportsLeader is urgent. Please consider encouraging a fellow coach to get more involved.

ESPN College football headlines for September 15, 2010

7 of the 10 are about a lack of character - a lack of virtue

• Heisman Trust: 2005 award will remain vacated
• Ingram to return for No. 1 Alabama vs. Duke
• S. Carolina dismisses controversial TE Saunders
• Man at center of Green probe facing drug rap
• Notre Dame QB Crist played with blurred vision
• Arrested Douglas' Pitt career in doubt after DUI
• New domestic assault charges for ex-Mizzou RB
• Florida to use WR Hines for suspended Rainey
• Texas reserve RB McGee academically ineligible
• Joyner: Why Tennessee should beat Florida

SportsLeader - It's about building the person

If you care about building each person
then each person will care about building up each other
then each person acting as a unit - the team - will care about building the season - the wins

Too often we skip the whole "person thing" and we want to "take" the wins directly without having "given" anything to our fellow coaches/players/community.

Let's GIVE to each person on our team by building them up, mentoring them, caring about them!

Take some time to thank God for some of the individual people on your team.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Player Regains Contact with his Mom

I had a great conversation with Coach Mike Stine of Naperville Central High School near Chicago, IL. 

He told me about some traditions they have in place at their program - one being Mom's week. The Sunday before the first game of the season the players don coat and tie and bring their Moms to a banquet hall for a brunch. Some Mom/Son photos are taken, the players read a letter to their Mom and the Moms put a logo sticker on the front of their son's helmets to symbolize their love for one another.

One player had his Mom abandon him and his family a few years back. The Dad asked Coach Stine if his son could just get the sticker so he would't feel left out.

Coach had a much better idea. He pulled the player aside and they talked for a while ... Coach asked him, "Have you ever written a letter to your Mom?" "No, Sir ..."

"How about it?" The player said he would think about it. Three days later the player went up to Coach to tell him that he had written the letter and mailed it.

About a week after that, on a Wednesday following a tough loss where their last second field goal attempt hit one of the uprights ... Coach said he was pretty down in the dumps about the loss ... this same player comes to talk with him again with a look on his face Coach had never seen before.

"Coach, my Mom got the letter. She read it and she called me for the first time in years. I spoke with my Mom, Coach." He welled up and that was all he could say. 

Coach told me, Lou, I was moping about some game and then here comes a player whose life had changed forever. He was going to visit his Mom and regain one of the most important relationships we have in life. It really woke me up and gave me a whole new perspective on coaching.

SportsLeader has been so well received at Naperville Central that the Superintendent, the Principal and the Athletic Director are now mentoring young men as well. 

Don't let your season slip away!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sacrifice / Prayer Request: Coach's Wife Asks for a Divorce

An important facet of the SportsLeader program is the virtue talk

Paul Passafiume, head football coach at Louisville St Agnes, does these extraordinarily well. He is what I call "positively aggressive". I really recommend you watch this video of him giving a talk on the virtue of sacrifice - the strength to give up a good for a greater good. He blends virtue, football, stories, Emmit Smith's Hall of fame speech and practical tips to help his football players learn how to train their wills and grow to be virtuous men.


I have asked for prayers a few times and so many of you have been kind enough to make these intentions your own. Here is another. This husband and wife have been married for 11 years ...

Please consider praying for this couple. You can see how the virtue of sacrifice is very relevant in our everyday lives by reading this.

Thank you so much. God bless you.


I met with you a few months back, while you were near here for a wedding. I've always been touched by your emails. I am asking for your help. I am at my lowest I've ever been in my life. My faith is being tested. My wife is at a terrible point in her life, very confused, and has asked me for a divorce. We talked for months, and finally she presented me with divorce papers to sign. I have been praying daily to ask for God's guidance and intervention. I am broken hearted. Would you please offer up a prayer for me?
I need God's help as this appears to be out of my hands.

I could use all the prayers I can get. It does appear that God is talking to me, but I may not be patient enough. Everything God shows me is positive...I've asked him that if our marriage is in his long term plans, then I want him to reach into my wife's heart...I am scared...

Thank you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Blessing at Wal-Mart

While my family and I were on vacation in South Carolina, I was put in my place pretty good by a wonderfully genuine and authentic woman at the cash register at Wal-Mart.

We were buying a bunch of food and stuff ... She asks me how I was with a very warm smile on her face (I don't remember what I said) ... I ask her and she said, "I'm Blessed". I was taken a back. What a great reply. We chatted a bit more.

The total for my purchase came up and it was a bit more than I expected - I must have had a shocked look on my face or something. She asks me, "What's wrong?"

I responded, "I don't feel so blessed anymore." Her come back was exactly what I needed. "You can pay for everything you are buying, correct?" Yes, Ma'am, I can ...

"Well then - you are BLESSED that you can pay for all that. Look at it from that point of you - see how Blessed you are?" 

She made my day ... just doing her job at Wal-Mart ... but she did her job with a PERSONAL interest in others ... a stranger on vacation at the supermarket.

Imagine if we lived our lives with this sort of personal interest in others instead of being so wrapped up in ourselves.

God BLESS you, Lou

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Accountability Tree

I visited with the Lakota Stallions recently. Awesome sight seeing 443 kids playing football all at the same time, same enormous field, all doing mentoring at the same time, virtue talks ... My friend Carl Brown and I visited with a number of parents and coaches getting testimonials and feedback.

I had a great chat with one of their 6th grade coaches - Trent Todd. He has been with the Stallions since they began and we have become very good friends.

The other night as he was coaching he had his team run across a field and touch a tree - the farthest possible thing ... When they came back he talked to them about the commitment they had made to each other, that they were letting each other down, etc.

The next day he comes to practice and he sees a player running out to the tree on his own. He comes back and hands him a leaf. Trent asks him, "What's this for?" The player says, "I was disrespectful to my mom before practice today and I know that is not what being a Stallion is all about." Trent had him tell his teammates this and now for the past week players have been running to the tree and coming back with a leaf - they are doing this on their own ...

Trent has leaves all over his truck now (smile). Poor tree is going to be bare pretty soon!

He also told me about a player who had to go to the hospital in the off season. His parents called him and said that Jimmy wants to see you - can you please come visit ... a testament to the relationship they had built ...

Many youth coaches have told me ... "I'm just a youth coach, just a pop warner coach ..." as if a high school coach was more important or more meaningful to kids - not so.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mentoring is simple and fundamental

As the season gets more and more serious it is easy to forget about mentoring because we are "too busy." Here is a reminder ... 

I coach football at Monsignor Donovan High School in Toms River NJ. I have been Head Coach there for five years as this season gets underway.
We have just finished our third annual “Virtue Camp”, a sleep-away camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania for five days and four nights. It is at this camp that a tremendous evolution is borne each year.
The cornerstone of our “Virtue program” is a man-to-man mentoring component that lays down the foundation for intimate relationships between staff and team, a resolve to specific actions in our young men’s lives, and a brotherhood amongst teammates based on trust. We don’t continually struggle and strive to get these things. We have them because we take three minutes a week mentoring in an organized fashion.
Through the consulting, leadership and guidance of the Sportsleader program we mentor our individuals in a weekly theme that has been picked from a list of typical character traits that our team is in need of for the upcoming game, like ‘courage” for example.
The weekly theme is presented on Saturday, or Monday, to the whole team. Each day after practice I holler “Grab a kid”! This has become a tradition. Each coach summons a player from his mentoring group and they talk as they walk off the field together.
It goes something like this:
“Hey John, nice job today with your reach steps” (SportsLeader Coach Paul Passafiume calls this “getting the player into the funnel”). You’ll get a smile, and a “thanks coach”.
“This week is ‘courage week’”, “where in your life do you think you can flex some courage this week?”
He’ll say something like “I need to tell my older brother to stop drinking”, or “I have to stop letting people steer me into doing things that are against my will”.
You will say, “Well lets do something specific”, “let’s agree to this”, “Go home and take your brother out to McDonalds and tell him you’re buying”, “tell him you love him but the drinking is breaking your heart and is killing your relationship”. “Tell him that he needs help and get him to agree to get it”, “at least you will tell him that you don’t like what he’s doing, and you are putting the relationship on his shoulders”.
He’ll say “Ok coach, I’ll try”. You simply reply, “I know you’ll try John”, “You are courageous.” You will follow up one week from then, briefly discuss his successes, and lay down the next “resolution of the week”.
On game day your fifty kids or so will run onto the game field having accomplished something that they otherwise wouldn’t have if not for having you in their lives. They will play the game courageously, knowing personally what “courage” really means.
Mentoring is simple and fundamental. You just can’t win without being simple and fundamental. A practice can take 120 minutes. Make it 117, or 123, and your whole life will change, because theirs will.

By Dan Duddy

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Joe Lukens, co-founder of SportsLeader, and his wife Kim are celebrating 25 years of marriage this week. 

If you have a moment, maybe you could offer up some prayers and write a note about how SportsLeader has helped you as a person, parent, coach ... maybe even if it has helped your marriage.

I'm sure Joe and Kim would really appreciate it. You can send an email to and I will make sure that they get it. 

Thank you so much in advance. God bless, Lou

Monday, September 6, 2010

How many friends do you have on Facebook?

In the past few weeks I’ve learned through family and friends that several married couples have decided to split up and divorce.  The news of divorce has become so common in our culture that most times I don’t even pause.  However, when you personally know the people involved in a divorce, the news hits you like a ton of bricks.  I automatically think, “What happened?”, or “How could this happen?”  These people were in love, they seemed so happy!  Or if we knew they were struggling with financial, or health or child issues(aren’t we all?!), we figured they’d find a way to work it out.
I’m no marriage counselor or expert on marriage.  And I’m not going to even try to solve the problems of marriage. (most of you know, my wife and I have plenty of struggles.)  But what I think is missing in many relationships (whether that be, husband-wife, father-son, mother-daughter, coach-player, etc..) is quality time together and quantity time together.  Many people have friends, relationships; in person and on-line.  We love to communicate, love to talk, love to know the latest gossip, the latest story.  Cell phone use is at an all-time high.  Web browsing and chats and blogs and twitter are all the rage.  In the meantime, people in our homes are dying.  People in our neighborhoods are dying.  Kids in our schools are dying.  Grandparents in nursing homes are dying.  They are not physically dying (at least in most cases), but they are dying of neglect, dying of loneliness, dying of boredom.  They are dying of lack of human contact…nobody has time for them.  And I am guilty like you.
Let’s stop worrying about what’s going on in other people’s lives we don’t even know and start to get to know the people in OUR lives.  Start getting to know your neighbors, start training your children, start teaching the people in your work that are seeking your knowledge, start talking to your spouse, DAILY, about things that matter. Share yourself with others and start learning and caring about other people….live and in-person.  God meant for us to live and communicate in community, thus building community.  Really, look around….do you have any community in your life?  Do you share your dreams with people, do you share your home with people, do you share your time with people?  Let’s start giving quality and quantity time to the people we can touch.  The people that are for real.  I know I have more than enough of that type of person in my life to keep me busy for the rest of my life, and I don’t have to go on a computer to find more.  
Love like a Madman!
Coach Willertz-Winton Woods Wrestling

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Trust: “To trust is like having a firm anchor in a stormy sea.”

Trust has several definitions, but the one that fits into this chapter is that of believing that others, friends, colleagues, advisors, are in your camp. The opposite of trust, or distrust, usually leads to loneliness, which is a recipe for discouragement and failure. 
Usually, others earn our trust and we theirs. Keeping someone’s trust is of vital significance in sport as in the greater world. When a teammate shares something with us of a personal nature, they trust us not to blab it to the rest of the team. We can instead pray with and for that teammate.
While I can honestly say that I have a healthy distrust of some people or situations, a trait learned the hard way, I have been blessed with people in my life who I can trust totally, without reservation. My wife, and faithful and beautiful companion, is someone who I trust constantly with my inner-most thoughts and feelings. 

By Fritz Knapp

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Greeting Players with Great Love

How do we show great love for our players?  One important way is how we greet our players when they come to practice, a meeting, a weight lifting session, etc.  How did you greet your players the last time you met with them?  Did you greet them all warmly, or just a select few?  We need to do a better job of this. We need to clearly communicate our “Great Love” for our players every time we greet them.

From the very first greeting, our players need to know that our love is not based on who they are, how big or fast they are, or what they can achieve athletically. It is not dependent on who their parents are or their status in our community. When they are good we love them and when they are bad we love them. When they work hard for us we love them and when they don't work hard for us we love them. They need to be constantly reminded that our love is unconditional and not based upon their “on field” performance as a player.
We need to love each and every one of our players. They are not just a number amongst the dozens of other kids on our roster. Each player desires a personal relationship with their coaches. They long for the time when you simply talk to them, when you ask about their family, their grades, their hobbies, their goals, and when you speak to their hearts. They want to know that you are concerned about every single aspect of their life.
The other night after a weightlifting session, when everyone had gone home, I started thinking to myself about who had come to weights and who had not. As coaches typically do, I was feeling anxious about missing a few of the team “stars” from weightlifting that night. You know, the favorites. But then I got to thinking about all the guys that did come to weightlifting.  Did I greet them all and thank them for showing up?  Did I talk to each of them personally to find out what’s going on in their life this summer?  Did I miss an opportunity to counsel a young player because I was too lazy to get around and talk to each of them?  Surely I had more time that night to strengthen our player’s souls as they were strengthening their bodies. 
I am going to do a better job of showing “Great Love” to each and every one of the players on our team. I am going to commit to doing a better job of warmly greeting our players by name, and of telling them each just how much we appreciate them being a part of our team. How about your team?

By Randy Traeger