We have four expectations of the players in our football program.
1. Do what you are coached to do (on and off the field)
2. Have good character (on and off the field)
3. Give a great effort to get better (on and off the field)
4. Be consistent
These are our expectations, because these are the areas we need to master in order to succeed. Its really that simple. If you want to win more than you lose, if you want to contend for a championship, this is what you must do. Ultimately, it is the greatest part of football, because by challenging ourselves to be the best, we bring out the best in ourselves.
Of course, at first these areas are ignored or easily dismissed. For many of our players it is the first time they have been told things like this. Many of them are shocked at first as the coaches and older players on the team treat them like the fine young men they will become instead of the boys they are. But competitive kids, who want to get better, soon find there is wisdom in these 4 little expectations. They also begin to see that in order to truly be a success in football you have to become a success off the field as well.
You can only fake it on the field so long before your off the field behavior starts to matter. Kids can be limited by their practice habits, their academic eligibility and study habits, their anger management, their weight room and running habits, their eating and drinking, behavior in class, etc. To be a true winner, ultimately you have to become a winner, and that means more than just faking it through practice and games. It means becoming a better person. A person with the initiative to get the job done, without being told.
For the moment, let’s address #4. The worst part of becoming successful is developing consistency. This step is so painfully frustrating because in order to reach it you first have to work hard in many areas. You have put in a great deal of time and effort. You have to learn how to be humble enough to listen to the people trying to point you the right direction. You have to become wise enough to learn who to listen to and who to ignore. This is tougher than you think because we often only want to listen to those who tell us what we want to hear. You have to push yourself hard enough to discover and address weaknesses in your character. You have to work hard time and again to improve. You do all that and then, you get someone telling you it’s not enough. It’s like scaling a mountain only to find there is more mountain to scale above the clouds.
It’s a hard lesson to learn that anyone can succeed some of the time. Especially if you are hanging out with people who do not succeed very often. To people like that a good game or a good test is satisfying enough. But anyone can have one good game, or really study for one test and get an “A.” Doing these things is important of course. Everyone needs a taste of success. But in order to be truly successful you have to win most of the games. You have to beat the toughest opponents. In order to get an “A” in the class you have get “A’s” on most of the tests.
Learning to succeed over and over again is what consistency is all about.
Developing consistency takes mental toughness. The toughness to stay focused on your goal over a long period of time. Especially after you first succeed and want to relax. The toughness to put the necessary work in towards your goal over and over again. The toughness to be patient when you encounter a set back. The toughness to not let anyone or anything get in your way of winning that next game, or doing well on that next test.
I would say, by definition most of us are average. We win big then we lose big. We do just enough to get by. If you want to be above average, if you want to be excellent, then it will take consistency. The better you want to be, the more consistent you must become ,as a person, as a team, and even as a community.