Character & Mental Toughness – Calling ’em Out

The following is from a piece in today’s Boston Globe by Julian Benbow. This past season we tied for the worst record I’ve had as a head coach. But that’s not why I share this. I put this up because too many still have the fear to hold teammates accountable and/or be held accountable. Too many lack the character and mental toughness to realize that these acts of holding each other accountable, while unpleasant, are an absolute pre-requisite to winning. It’s just as easy to look the other way when you see things not getting done right as it is to not get them done right yourself. Speaking up and holding teammates accountable is a trait of winners. So is the ability to accept when you’re getting held accountable.

More than anything else, we need to learn lessons like this in order to win.

Only one team in BC history lost more games than this year’s team — the 1978 team that went 0-11. The lows had been recounted again and again. The last-minute punch to the heart at Army that seemed to leave them airless. The one win over a Bowl Subdivision team.

Once it was done, they were left to think about what malfunctioned and what needs to get better, and the echoing sentiment wasn’t anything on the field — or even on the sideline — it was accountability off of it.

“We’re going to turn it around, that’s the message,” receiver Alex Amidon said. “It’s on the player, it’s on me. I take a lot of responsibility for a lot of what happened this year. Not being a leader, not stepping up and holding people accountable, and the kids coming back next year, we’re going to change it. We’re all going to change it.

“The one thing we can take from it is it’s going to leave such a bitter taste in our mouths for this offseason that we’re not going to get complacent. We’re not going to let people slack off. We need to step up as leaders.”

Clancy’s regret was the same.

“I would have been a lot more vocal in terms of pulling guys aside and letting them know the right way of doing things,” Clancy said. “I think that was something we missed this year in terms of leadership, is guys not calling other guys out. That’s just how it is on a team. You can’t be afraid to call somebody out when he’s not doing something right.

“Then on the other side, the guys getting called out should be man enough to know that what he’s doing is wrong and he needs to change it for the betterment of the team.”

This was the last huddle of a lost season, but players will keep talking, keep thinking, keeping trying to figure out ways to fix it even if they couldn’t do it this year.

Clancy said he will reach out to the players coming back and tell them what they already know — that the need for leadership among players above all else is an urgent one.

“The message from me is going to be you just need to go out there and you need to lead by example and you need to do what’s right,” Clancy said. “You can’t be afraid to call anybody out because that’s just the way it is. Iron sharpens iron, and if you say you want to be the best, you have to perform like you’re the best. You can’t just B.S. people, you’ve got to be about it. You can’t just talk about it.”

Winners spend a ridiculous amount of time learning how to win.


About coachbillmoore

Educator/Author/Speaker/HS & NCAA Coach Character Coach Read Coach Moore’s book “On Character and Mental Toughness” Paperback available at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. "The measure of your character and mental toughness is the space between what you are doing and what you could be doing." -Coach Bill Moore
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