In a society filled with a “win at all cost” mentality, how can we be the thermostat and not just another thermometer? The key is stepping back and taking perspective. Read how one coach found perspective here...
By Lucas Smith
Head Football Coach
Hicksville High School (OH)
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We are part of one of the best and most influential professions in America. We ask ourselves so many important questions every day. Questions like:
- How can I motivate this group?
- How can I get them to care?
- How do I get my team to play as one and get them to put selfish desires aside?
- How do I make sure I don’t trade my wedding ring for a championship ring?
- How do I give my own children the time and attention they deserve?
- How do I communicate with and gain support from administration?
- How do I communicate with and gain support from the parents and the community?
- How do I maintain my health?
In a society filled with a “win at all cost” mentality, how can we be the thermostat and not just another thermometer? The key is stepping back and taking perspective. Webster defines perspective as “the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed” or “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.” We lose our way or focus because we fail to maintain the proper perspective or relative importance of all that the pressure of life demands of us. I know it’s a constant struggle for me. My goal for this article is to help coaches identify that our “perspective” is a major area for improvement and offer some practical solutions to help us fight the good fight and finish the race.
Success and Burnout
After the 2013 football season, my tank was on “empty.” I had spent the last twelve years coaching HS football, six as an assistant and six as a head coach. I was having success as a head coach. We had taken over a program that only won nine games in three years and turned them into a contender. We started 17-4 in the first two seasons (2008, 2009), had a down year in 2010, but came back in 2011 and went 11-3 and made it to the state semi-finals. We barely missed the playoffs in 2012 but made it back in 2013 and upset the #2 seed in our region. With all that success as a coach, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled at all. Instead of prepping for the next season, I was exhausted and ready to hang up my whistle.
My perspective began to change after I attended an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) coaches training that following March. The speaker was Jeff Duke spoke on the topic of 3Dimensional Coaching. Coach Duke’s presentation pierced my heart and sent me on a new pursuit to coach in all three dimensions (body, mind, and heart). The concept inspired me to retool our team motto “Become Uncommon” based on the book by Tony Dungy. The 3Dimensional Coaching program was exactly what I needed. I spent more time studying the 3Dimensional model and began formulating ideas on how to build strategies into our program. You can access the website at https://3dinstitute.com.
The 3D Journey Begins
The following season (2014) brought a roller coaster of experiences to our program. I was extremely focused on training the minds and the hearts of our athletes. We started doing more off the practice field. We brought in guest speakers, we participated in more team building activities, we played some “tag” games at practice, etc. I was doing everything I could to motivate this group both mentally and emotionally. We also switched to a hurry-up, no-huddle offense, and we also changed our defense to a 3-5 because of our personnel. Our pre-season scrimmages went well and it felt like things were moving in the right direction. In our week one game, we were down 13 points, to a team we had never beaten, with only 2 minutes to go. The kids rallied together and we were fortunate enough to score 14 points in the final two minutes to come from behind and win 36-35. All the extra mental and emotional training was paying huge dividends…. or so I thought.
That week one game was the highlight of the season. It was some of the best football we played all year. The seniors had set a goal as a program. They wanted to achieve something no football team at Hicksville had ever done (to beat our week #1 opponent). We worked extremely hard in all three dimensions to get ready for that game. The most powerful 3rd dimension event came mid-season when I sensed that one of my players was really struggling. Instead of just labeling him as lazy or unmotivated, I decided to try to get to the bottom of it. I came to find out he was really bothered by some things going on at home. We had a meeting with the people it concerned, and he wanted me right by his side for the meeting. My player poured his heart out in an extremely emotional meeting. It was a huge “W” for the people involved. It wasn’t the kind of “W” that takes place on Friday nights, but it was the kind of “W” that can last a lifetime. Later that week at our game, this player played harder and performed better than ever before. It was an amazing feeling as a 3D Coach.
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- The three lessons that Coach Smith and his program learned since using 3D Coaching.
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- 17 3D strategies that Coach Smith has implemented in his program to carry the message of 3 D coaching forward this off-season.
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Maintaining the proper perspective is one of the keys to a long career. You must surround yourself with people who can help you in your journey. Seek out a few other adults who are willing to hold each other accountable in all areas of life. Spend time reading the Bible. Seek out a religious leader who can help keep you focused. Get hooked up with 3Dimensional Coaching and create a purpose statement identifying your “why”. In short, find a way to “Keep the Faith, Love your Journey, and Become Uncommon!
Meet Coach Smith: Lucas Smith and his wife Angie (15 years) have three children, Isabella (13), Josie (11), and Zane (7). He works as an Intervention Specialist, Head Football Coach, and Assistant Athletic Director in Hicksville (OH). Before coming to Hicksville, he was an assistant coach and teacher at his alma mater Woodlan (IN). In his ten years at Hicksville, he and his staff have gone 75-37 with two conference championships (2011, 2017) and six playoff appearances (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) which included a trip to the state semi-finals in 2011. Coach Smith has been the Special Teams Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, and/or the Offensive Coordinator during his time at Hicksville. Coach Smith has presented for Glazier Clinics and is also a certified presenter for 3Dimensional Coaching. He earned his M.A. in Physical Education (coaching specialization) from Ball State University and is also a IYCA Certified High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist. His purpose statement is “To purposely develop the body, heart, mind, and soul of my community; so they can keep the faith, love the journey, and become uncommon.”