For as much time as we spend preparing for the season, it is often over before you know it. All of us have different records and different potential outcomes for post-season play. However, all of can be leaders and are expected to be leaders through the season and beyond. Here are just a few thoughts for you in each of the following scenarios.
The end of the season is near…
If you are reading this and it is no longer possible for your team to make the playoffs, the opportunity to lead may be greater than you can imagine. Often times leadership is forged in difficult times, not when things are going well.
If you’re a sophomore or junior there may be opportunities to step into a leadership role if the seniors have stopped taking that role seriously. What impact will you have that your teammates can hold on to for hope in the off-season. You can be the person who begins the transformation of your team for the final few games.
If you’re a senior, this is part of your legacy. Will your teammates remember you as someone who fought through the end or gave up easily? For many of you, it may be your last snaps of organized tackle football. Why not give it your all? You have a great opportunity to play with your teammates for a few more weeks. Don’t let that go lightly. I know I wish I could go back to those days and play with my fellow seniors. Additionally, if you are hoping to play in college, coaches take notice of how you play under adversity. They don’t have time to spend on guys who quit. Show your true character and ability in these moments and you will be grateful for it!
It Could go either way…
The fate of your season has come down to the final weeks. Some teams have their playoff hopes in their control, “win and you’re in.” Others need to win and to get some help from other teams losing. Regardless, you should leave no stone un-turned. It doesn’t mean that you abandon your family or school priorities. It means that the other outside distractions need to get put even further on the back burner. You should be encouraging and helping your team to do the little extras. Find ways to meet with your teammates to watch film. Leverage before and after practice sessions to get more throws and catches. Listen and apply every ounce of coaching you can to be more prepared to win on Friday night.
More importantly, on game nights, no setback should be too great to overcome. You can have a multi-touchdown deficit and still be speaking victory to your teammates. They need to believe as a group that winning is possible and worth the effort to fight all the way til the end. While it is not a promise for all of you, good things tend to happen to good people who stay the course. Be the leader who gives hope and who also produces the plays to get the win!
All the way up…
The post-season is locked up and you are focused on making a run at a championship. As the playoffs approach, you need to be the person who keeps your team focused. While an initial goal may be achieved, the ultimate goal is taking it to another level of play.
For your team to have a chance to make a run at a state championship, you need to still be improving every week. All of the little things that have happened, dropped balls, false starts, poor reads will all get magnified in games against high quality opponents. You must work to address those issues with your team. It may be hard for guys to want to accept if they are still winning games. Work with your coach to help you get the message across.
Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure the back-ups are ready to step into bigger roles due to injury. This can be particularly challenging if the coaches are only giving reps to the first group. You may need to spend extra film time or stay after practice. While the player themselves may not feel they’ll have any chance to play or contribute, there are endless stories about back-ups making a name for themselves by playing well in big games late in the season.
Regardless of where you stand at this current moment, we’re proud of you. We would love to hear about your experiences this season and how we may better prepare you and future campers next spring and summer. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!