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 -

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Scoreboard Will Take Care of Itself

If you would like some feedback questions to ask your players just let me know. Thanks Doc for tallying all of this.

Here is a video of a former Chicago Nazareth football player

Player feedback is important for coaches to evaluate their success especially when the scoreboard doesn't go their way. As you know this is our second season with the SportsLeader program at Nazareth Academy. After a 2-0 start, we lost our next 6 games. To make matters worse, our week 8 loss was on the last play of the game. Talk about humility! The next day God put everything into perspective. A former player and 2008 Nazareth graduate, Phil Kaiser, died from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 21. This was a very difficult week for our school community as you can imagine. But as Phil would have wanted, we attempted to carry on with business as usual especially our preparation for our final game which was to be played in is honor.
One of my final week projects was to collect feedback from the players before they headed off to their next sport.

We had the following responses from a group of 120 players (45 varsity,29 soph. and 46 freshmen)

• On a scale of 1-10, the players were asked to score the SportsLeader program and its impact on the football team this season. The team average was 7.30.
• 83% felt mentoring helped them perform better as a football player.
• 79% responded that mentoring helped them perform better in the classroom.
• 83% felt that mentoring was helpful in their personal relationships with their parents, siblings, and friends.
• 86% felt the movie clips and virtue sheets added something special to the team.
• 37% were attending Sunday Mass / Church before the season.
• 71% thought that mentoring helped them appreciate God and their faith more personally.
• 90% responded that SportsLeader should be a necessary part of the varsity football program.

These results were supported by a record low detention rate, few players becoming academically ineligible, and one of the highest  team GPA. There was also several athletes who renewed their faith. Unfortunately these successes are often overlooked during the heat of football competition with the focus on the scoreboard.

That was not the case for us on Friday, October 22. Our humble Nazareth football team proceeded to Phil's wake to pay our respects and support the Kaiser family. Afterwards, the coaching staff was somewhat concerned about the team's ability to redirect their focus on our final football contest later that night. (After all when you dedicate a game it is preferable to win especially when you are playing a strong 8A opponent who is playoff bound and your confidence has been shaken by a some tough losses.) Our message to our players was that the scoreboard will take care of itself. If we gave the same effort and played with the same intensity for 48 minutes like the week before, we would put ourselves in a good position to win.

God willing that is precisely what happened. We finished the first half up 3-0 after kicking a 40 yard field goal. (Several players and coaches commented about the irony of Phil Kaiser wearing #3.) With 2:30 left in the game, we overcame a  21-11 deficit scoring twice and won in dramatic fashion to end our season. As the fans and players stormed the field, I tried to comprehend the significance of what just occurred. I realized that several players that struggled both on and off the football field all season long, actually were the key players on the last two scoring drives. All of the time and effort put forth in mentoring and the SportsLeader program does pay off. You simply have to be patient and persevere.

God Bless
Doc Nelson

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