Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Value of Team

OK - I'm going to give it a shot - to officially get in the blogging game. I'd like to post some musings on leadership in the church, the spiritual life, and some personal stuff along the way.

I foolishly agreed about 4 months ago to be the head coach for my son, Caleb's, 9-11 year old football team. It is an indoor, tackle football league, 11 on 11 with full pads. My dad agreed to help run the team - do the major instruction and practice scheduling - (my dad is a long-time football coach, an all-americal football player from college, a member of several different halls-of-fame, and also played a couple years in the NFL). Needless to say we had the most experienced coaching staff in the league! Anyway- a lot of these kids never played football before and when we hit our first game after only two weeks of practice we were in trouble.

Here's why we were in trouble early on. We decided to teach fundamentals. While other teams were putting in half-back passes and double reverses - we were showing our kids how to make their first step a playside step, how to do their job and their job only, how to reverse pivot on the midline on some plays but not others. We walked in to our first game with only a handful of plays ready, but having made progress on the basics. We got beat 8-6 against a sub par team. We struggled and lost 2 of our first 3 games - but could see our kids slowly "getting it." We have won our last three games 48-14, 52-0, and 66-0. They got it.

Now I swear we don't go to the Belichek school of coaching! We tried our absolute hardest not to run up the score, but it's hard to hold back kids who are just doing the little things right and it leads to touchdowns! Our success is an outgrowth of fundamentals - doing the little things right. Our kids understanding that they don't need to make a tackle on every play -they just need to do what they're supposed to do on every play.

I have learned great leadership lessons from teams. Some of the most poignant to me as of late:
1. The fundamentals of leadership are character related.
2. There is someone who is perfect to do every ministry job - and that someone is probably not me.
3. Do the little things right and the big things take care of themselves (Lombardi)
4. Tell people exactly what their job is and then reward them for doing their job - they will do it with joy even if it's not the job with the most glory.

We have our final game on Friday night at 6:45... i pray you'll take the lessons from running a team and lead well!


Danielle said...

This is awesome. Thanks for the practical lesson. Also, I'm starting a Powder Puff team...we could sure use a coach to teach us the fundamentals.

Larry Shallenberger said...

Danielle, seriously? That's awesome...No, wait, you're totally being sarcastic and I bit.

Nice first post, Sanford.

Derek said...

Powder puff is something that's always freaked me out a bit - even the name gives me the skeeves.