The Coach's Corner
Published Dec. 14, 2011 @ midnight
The name Howard Hill probably does not sound familiar to you, but you can Google him see who he is. He was probably the greatest archer who ever drew a bowstring. He was so accurate; he killed a bull elephant, a Bengal tiger, and a Cape buffalo with a bow and arrow. In newsreels, Mr. Hill would repeatedly hit the target dead center. After sending the first arrow to the center of the bull’s eye, he would then literally split that arrow with his next shot.
However, and of you could out shoot Howard Hill if given the chance. You could hit the bulls eye with more consistency than Howard Hill and beat him in every shot…..it would be necessary to blindfold him and turn him around real fast several times, then I guarantee that you would have hit the target more than he could. I hope you think the analogy is ridiculous and that you are saying, “Well in that case of course I could. How can a man shoot a target that he cannot see?” The same goes for each of us, “How can we hit a target that we do not have?”
Picture a basketball championship game. The teams have warmed up and are physically ready for the game. The adrenaline is flowing and it’s obvious the players feel the excitement that goes with a championship game. They return to their dressing rooms and the coaches give them the last motivational speech. “This is it. It’s now or never. Win one for the Gipper. Nobody remembers who the best man was or who finished second in the Indianapolis 500. The whole season is tonight. Yada, Yada…”
The players respond. They are charged up and they almost tear the door off the hinges as they rush back out of the dressing room and take the court. As they get to the court and stop short and in complete confusion, which gives way to anger and frustration, because someone has removed the goals! How can the game be played now? They know that without goals, they would never know the score, never know whether they hit or missed, never know how they stack up against the best and they would never know whether they were on or off the target. As a matter of fact, they wouldn’t even attempt to play the game without the goals. Goals are important. What are the goals in your life? Do you have goals, and if you do, what is the proverbial score?
There is an interesting phenomenon that takes place in rest homes and in hospitals around the country. The death rate declines dramatically before the holidays and anniversaries, and birthdays. Many of the people set a goal to live for one more Christmas, or one more anniversary, or one more birthday. Immediately after the event, when the goal has been reached, the will to live declines and the death rate shots up. An old coach once stated that there is only one big event left after retirement and he wasn’t ready for that, when he was asked how long he was going to keep on working?
Life is valued and is sustained only so long as life has something valuable as its object. Goals of life are important and virtually everyone knows this. However, by choice or indifference, the average man on the street continues to meander through life following the path of least resistance. Athletics teaches young men and women to have goals, to reach for goals, and when reached, to set new and higher goals. It is the life lessons learned in athletics and applied to life that make athletics an important endeavor and a necessary institution in the education of our youth.
Many young athletes come into our program without direction. Some have enormous ability and some have limited ability. It is our jobs as educators and coaches to take the ability they have and harness it, to give them direction and purpose. I have never met an athlete that wants to be bad or even mediocre. Every player wants to be great. Most do not know how and do not what choices to make. What we try to instill is a plan, a goal for each individual and then a goal for the team. We then go to work to help them reach their goals and what they can do for the team to help it reach its goal.
The goals of this athletic program will not only make us successful in athletics, but by learning the formulas and the discipline and persistence it takes to achieve a goal, our young men and women will be able to relate and transfer lessons learned in the arena of competition to apply these skills to life. Be Bold in your plans, and set your sights for the Gold. Live and act with purpose every day because if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace, it just may not be the place you want.