The BIGGEST LIE in all of 4th down is...
I hear it nearly every conversation I have with a specialist in HS or College…
It is, in my opinion, perhaps the greatest roadblock to a kicker enjoying their time playing football and it is this lie:
My coach hates me.
Here are 3 reasons why this is false:
Your coach does not hate you. What person would choose to, for a meager stipend give up basically 20% of their year to be with a bunch of 14-22 year olds daily? No one becomes a coach because they hate working with young people.
Your coach was likely not a K/P/LS themselves and cannot relate to you like they can an offensive or defensive player.
K/P/LS is a lot like car insurance - you hate to pay for it but are glad you did when you need it. When a K trots onto the field it represents failure to the average coach because their game plan just blew up in their face that they likely missed time with their family for all week.
It’s not your fault - it’s just how it is.
Here is another good one:
I don’t care if my coach likes me, I just want to play.
Friend, all things being equal, people who DO LIKE YOU are going to give you more opportunities over those they DO NOT like.
We idolize people who go against society’s grain, do, say whatever they want without SEEMING to care what others think of them and for folks like Kanye West or Eminem, it works. But for the rest of us let’s be real - we like to be liked, and being LIKED and WELL-THOUGHT-OF by your head coach, teacher or boss is the quickest way to ensure better opportunities for us and our futures.
Here are 3 things you can immediately do to begin building your credibility with your coach:
Daily Conversation - a 2 minute conversation, firm handshake and eye contact x 300 times a year you might see your coach in the hallway will do more for your playing time than attending more camps. Go out of your way to check in with your coach.
Favorite Subject - Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and influence people was a best seller and has been for almost 100 years on building relationships with others. Carnegie says everyone’s favorite subject is themselves. So ask your coach (1) how they are, (2) how their family is and (3) how planning for the season is going.
Be Ok With It - This is not sneaky or being petty. You should genuinely care about how your coach is doing - he is your leader after all, is older, likely has more wisdom on a great many things than you do and by showing interest, by having a firm handshake, by simply even making eye contact by putting your darn phone away in their presence, you are going to already significantly separate yourself as a player of character and respect that all coaches want to give opportunities to.
You cannot take money out of an account you’ve put NOTHING into.
The same is true of your relationship with your head coach. If you haven’t been working all winter, spring and summer to establish a stronger relationship with your coach, it won’t happen in season.
Look, I presented at the Nike New England Clinic last year to about 60 high school head coaches across the Northeast and I can tell you one thing, while YES they all thought kickers were a little weird, they each showed up with notebooks, questions and a shocking level of engagement to become better coaches for you.
Let’s meet each other half way.
Your coach does not hate you. Get off the couch and go make your playing time happen.