How 3 Dimensional Coaching Turns Burnout into Purpose

Nov 22, 2019 | Program Development

By Lucas Smith 
Head Football Coach 
Hicksville High School (OH) 
Twitter: @acesfbcoach 


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