Football is a game of numbers, angles, and leverage. Essentially, to some degree, it could be considered an extracurricular geometry class. Successful football requires proper alignment, a sound scheme, and players that understand leverage. We are firm believers that every play is won and lost in the first 3 steps. Each play has 11 individuals facing a one on one battle and they must gain leverage to win. Regardless of talent or ability level, the player that has the best leverage at contact, has the best position to win. This doesn’t mean that he always wins, but he does have the advantage. We call this advantage, “The Edge”…. Everyday we practice, from the first day to the last day, we have what we call the “Edge Period.” Every player works stance, start, and contact points in multiple ways. The players are reminded that, “We might not be great in other areas today, but not in this period, this must be our best of the day.” They hear the words echo across the field, “First to Contact, Best Contact, Win the Battle.” The basic emphasis and teaching points are:
- Great Stance: Puts you in the best position for a start with no false steps (any movement not in the direction of the attack point) with winning leverage (angle and lower pad level).
- Great Start: Gets you to the contact point first (gunfighter mentality) with the best contact point (winning leverage).
- Win the Battle: Once in position… Team culture, competitive spirit, fundamentals, and physical conditioning takes over. Compete and do what it takes to win, this is a mindset that every player must choose on every play.
This time for us each day is the foundation of being a good football player. If we do not practice this consistently, and assume that other things are more important, then our foundation will soon be a slippery slope to failure. This mindset can be said for us as well off the field or in our daily lives. We need to practice foundational principles that will help us be successful, and give us the best chance to “Win the Day.” I was once asked, “What if you planned for your life and family with the same intentionality that you do for your team in practice each day?” That question hit me right between the eyes and made me quickly realize areas in which I was failing miserably. To this day, the balance is still a struggle, and one that all of us are trying achieve. Balance however is not as much about time spent in any one area, but our mindset and mental energy. When we are all in the struggle to win, we can lean on some basic principles that gives your “Edge” back:
- Great Stance: Remember what you stand for, who you are, and what you believe in. This gives you the best chance for no false steps (any movement in the wrong direction of your purpose). Sets your mindset to win and gain leverage on your problems.
- Great Start: Have a positive routine that matches your personality (feed your physical and mental health). Do not procrastinate on problems, “What is one conversation or issue I need to get off my plate immediately?” Be the first to contact someone positively (phone call, text message, etc). We can find the greatest joy in helping others and relationships. Crossing items off the list and positive action sets a snowball effect of accomplishing more daily goals and connecting relationships.
- Win the Battle: A great stance and start gives you great leverage to “Win the Day.” Just like in football, life is a series of battles that we have daily. On a team, we have a culture in place that encourages and helps everyone be accountable to a standard. We also need a culture of people on our daily walk. Surround your self with people on the same mission and that makes you better. Remember you are made to compete, the greatest muscles you have; is your brain (what you think) and your heart (what you believe). Once you are at the daily leverage point, compete for others, compete for your dreams, and compete to make a difference. This can be a daily, hourly, or even a minute by minute choice….
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” – 2 Timothy 1:7