Pass-Sporting: Tip #8: “Be Tony Robbins”

Pass-Sporting: Guide not to be a terrible import
Tip #8: “Be Tony Robbins”

You remember in college during film sessions when you blew an assignment, gave marginal effort or used poor technique? Coach would stop the film and bluntly tell you, “You suck” or “You won’t see the damn field, if you do this again” or on a bad day “I would pull your scholarship/grant money if I could”. At that point you would get pissed and in your mind you already knew what time it was. It’s time to go out and bust anyone ones ass to get your shit right. 

Most of us know that coaches are critical of the players that they feel have the most potential. We also knew that if your coach wasn’t correcting you then it meant you were worthless and he had given up on you because he and the rest of the staff knew that you weren’t going to amount to anything on the field. If you didn’t make that connection until now…Umm sorry you weren’t good. That whole concept backfires like crazy. The player you don’t correct thinks he’s doing everything right and the player that you are always pushing the hardest because he has the ability to be the best player on the team if not the league, will think you’re an asshole and lose confidence in his ability or worse stop listening all together.

Now guys are tricky. They will tell you. “Be hard on us that’s what we need”. NOPE! It’s a setup. It means positive reinforce us. Playing years of defense I don’t believe there is a defensive coach that positively reinforces a damn thing. I’ve been told, “Look at you. He just rubbed his nuts all over your face” after I was doubled into the linebacker. How’s that for motivation? Well I kinda didn’t want to get yelled at in front of 50 people so I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen again. 

The point being is that what seemed normal to me isn’t normal everywhere. I had to adjust how I was accustomed to being coached because outside of the US no one really grew up with the football coach experience. So that level of, I guess, “honesty” or constant pressure is confusing. I’m aware playing football is supposed to be about the process of constant pressure, competition and perfecting small details. From the outside looking in it’s hard for players to adopt that level of approach quickly.

Believe me, I’m definitely not trying to tell anyone about how to coach a player. I’m not implying that guys are soft either (feelings get hurt easily though). Finding what motivates a player to be great is tough as is, but I had to understand that not everyone wants to be great. Yeah, it confused me too. For some, its just recreational or they just want to get out of the house. Our aspirations through football were different because it brought us more rewards. 

For your teammates the majority have real world problems, school, wives, work, bills, kids or a kid on the way etc. Putting in extra work in gym, film study and film work really doesn’t improve their life that much. It just adds more to their current plate. After 6 seasons I really didn’t grasp the concept probably until my last 3 weeks of playing. Shout out to the Trojans D Line Enes, Alexi, Juho, Passi, Joni, Mikka, and Simo for making me a less mean person. I stopped yelling once we stopped giving up contain.

Aki "Not Euro" Jones