Tag: football life

Coaching is a Business

Coaching is a Business

coaching is a business

This is the time of year when coaches are shifting jobs. Some of those changes are by choice, but many other coaches are unemployed and looking for work because they have learned one of the hardest lessons in coaching. Regardless of how nice the administration is, or how well you get along with your boss, when push comes to shove, coaching is a business.

Whether you coach in secular or private settings there almost always comes a point where you realize that coaching is a business even when you want it to view your work through the lens of ministry.

There’s no way to prepare for the “you’re fired” conversation even when you expect it because rarely do people handle these things well. Rather than look you in the eye and say hey, I’m sorry but we have to go another way they will feel guilty and start to make up excuses and pretend they aren’t the ones making the decision. Or worse, they aren’t courageous enough to have a conversation themselves and the decision-maker actually has someone else deliver the bad news.

Regardless of who tells you that you no longer have health insurance and a salary or why they are likely to leave you feeling as if you’ve been sucker-punched. Colleges have to balance their budgets and the reality is that donors are more likely to give to winning programs and kids are more likely to stick around when they have a chance to play for winning programs as well.

When administrators aren’t willing to trust the recruiting efforts of the coaching staff or if the coaching staff can’t recruit the right players it doesn’t matter how well everyone gets along. Coaching is a business.

Even when things are moving in the right direction it’s possible an administrator, trustee or alum will decide that it’s time to go in a different direction. This feels especially unfair because the coach usually knows the next coach will reap the benefits of their hard work. Regardless, coaching is a business.

At the high school level, things vary depending on whether a teacher has tenure and if they are in the public or private school system. But coaches rarely want to stick around if they aren’t going to coach and teach. Occasionally they will find themselves stuck in that they are so far along years or steps moving would mean a significant pay cut. As it has been explained to me, this can cause a coach to step out of coaching for a few years until they can lock in retirement and then they may start over someplace else. It’s also why so many coaching families are two-income households.

It’s also important to remember that your favorite player’s parents are also going to quickly complain when their kids don’t earn starting positions. Parent’s aren’t above exaggerating to get their way. Where do you think their kids learn that strategy? If we learned anything from Operation Varsity Blues it’s that many parents believe their child is the exception to the rules.

While we can always hope that administrators will believe a coaching staff before a parent, the reality is that it’s not always the case. It’s especially helpful to have a parent to blame when they are looking for an excuse to part ways. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever be friendly with parents, but just like co-workers, it’s important to remember that when you are competing for a promotion some people will choose themselves over the truth when they want something bad enough.

Don’t Limit Yourself

After you’ve been burned in the coaching business the instinct for many is to put up a wall of protection, but in truth, doing so limits your experience. There are so many amazing friendships that happen on a coaching staff when you let yourself get to know each other. But just like any other job, there are limits. It’s important to have boundaries and to understand that ultimately, at the end of the day, every coach must do their job to the best of their ability. Even when they do, sometimes leaders will make bad decisions and in the business world, that means the low man on the pay scale often gets the raw end of the deal.

When things feel unfair it’s easy to second guess your previous convictions. We’re you supposed to take that job in the first place? Should you have accepted that other job offer that came along rather than staying put? It’s hard when things don’t feel good or make sense to remember that God is still present. In those moments where you’re tempted to second guess your previous decisions remember that obedience often requires sacrifice. God knows that we can get ahead of ourselves even when we don’t know the end of the story so because he is merciful he often only tells us what we need to know so we can focus on the tasks ahead.

It’s so much easier to obey God and step into our calling when we know that our goal is to advance the kingdom by serving the people in front of us rather than being paralyzed by the fear of an impending bad ending. The Bible is filled with stories of people who God called to do incredibly hard things. Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Abraham, David, and Joshua are just a few who stepped into their calling without knowing the ending. Their obedience impacted generations and so does yours even when your ending in one location doesn’t come to a close the way you prefer.

Post-Season Musings

Post-Season Musings

Football and Family

January post-season here in Central Illinois is fairly routine. The rules allow for lifting but not much else, so there isn’t much to do afterschool or on the weekends other than monitor the weightroom. This provides a lot of routine for our boys which is something they haven’t had for extended periods of time prior to this move. 

This still doesn’t mean that he is home as much as many assume. When Ordell coached college football many thought that after the season he hung out at home for a few months until practice started and basically worked four months a year.

Now that he’s teaching and coaching at the high school level the question many start with is “Is he a teacher or a resource person? Or does he do something else?” I’m greatful that at the very least there is an undestanding high school coaches work for pennies so my husband must have an additional  career or job of some sort.

However, the conversation that follows is a lengthy one:

  • He’s a strength coach?
  • Well, how does he know about that?
  • Shouldn’t he be at the college level?
  • Wait he WAS?
  • Well, doesn’t he want to go back to working less hours?
  • How are you handling the pay cut? 

Besides the fact that some of these are not appropriate questions (Hint, Hint) it’s hard to explain things without giving more information than I’d ever ask in return. Regardless, let’s just say less hours doesn’t always equal less pay.

Fewer hours away from the family, less stress, a better environment for multiple factors, plus the hope of retiring for the first time ever. Life is good and the icing on the cake is that in the most important years of our sons’ lives, when they need their dad around to ask questions of, talk about things with, and go do things with, he is around. 

Preparation Never Ends

Just because the team isn’t meeting doesn’t mean coaches stop thinking about next season. There is always film to watch, playbook edits to make, and practice planning to script.

Fundraising is also a year round effort for many programs. This year we have the most amazing team on our booster board and we are so incredibly thankful for all their hardwork. But it takes a lot of time and coordination. Since things aren’t mandatory during the post-season and many players are participating in other sports it’s hard to know who will be around to help with a specific event. Regardless, these times fundraising are important because it means there is less to do during the season.

Intentional Choices

With schedule limitations during the season our dates are fairly route as are our committements. The post-season allows us to expand the things we explore. Whether that is a weekend away or joining a small group at church for a little while it’s nice to have the freedom to flex our schedule. 

I know there are many people who find themselves counting down the days until practices start up again. As much as we consider ourselves a football family, we also embrace the post-season. We know practice will start up soon enough. In the meantime we will take each day as it is and enjoy our time together.

Dear Seniors

Dear Seniors

I’m writing over at Friday Night Wives today. Here’s a preview:

Dear Seniors,

Can you believe your last season on our team is over? It’s hard to put into words all the emotions of that last game, that last time stepping onto the field or court as a player for your school. Regardless of this year’s record, we both know it doesn’t reflect how hard you’ve worked the last four years. It’s impossible for two numbers with a dash in between to even attempt to reveal all the time, physical pain, exhaustion, frustration, excitement, exhilaration, and commitment of your athletic career.

When all is said and done, wins and losses are not what define a team. And while I trust you will remember some stats from your time here and the energy of game day, I want you to remember more from your time with us.

Seniors, here’s what I really want you to remember:

You will find yourself in team situations for the rest of your life. The camaraderie you share with your teammates is important. There is a brotherhood on a sports team that is like no other, but that way you treat a good teammate translates well to how you interact with co-workers and family members.

Read the rest here.