Monthly Archives: April 2011

Motivation Memories

Motivation by Coach Hays

Half the battle in strength and conditioning (and coaching, for that matter) is motivating people to work harder and more efficiently than they want to. Here are a few of my “tools” I used over the years.

A. 6:30 AM

We always had summer conditioning at 6:30 AM sharp.  We did this for several reasons.  One, my real job is a 40 minute drive from town, so we had to start early enough to allow me to still be able to get to work without ticking off too many folks there.

Second, what the heck else is going on at 6:30 AM?

And finally, I made this promise to myself when I first started coaching.  If the kids were willing to get up and get themselves to the weight room from all over the county (and we have a BIG county), I would make their effort worthwhile with a tougher than hell workout.  Every day.

B. Anyone?

I liked this one a lot.  Usually on the first day of summer conditioning, I would have all the boys sit on the floor.  I would ask for all 6’5″ offensive lineman to please stand up.  Nobody would stand up.  I would ask for all 6’3″ 215 lb. safeties who hit like a cannon shot to please stand up.  Nobody would stand up.  Finally, I would ask all running backs who run 4.4 second 40’s to stand up.  Nobody would stand up.

The boys would laugh a nervous laugh, there would be a few snide remarks concerning the mental stability of their coach, then I would deliver the goods in my outside voice, “We don’t have those physical attributes here in our town.  We don’t have those physical attributes sitting here on this floor.  But, I know what we do have.  We have a lot of bad ass SOB’s sitting right here.  We have kids who will fight and compete until somebody makes them stop.  IF, and I say, IF, you listen to me and do what we ask you to do, this strength and conditioning program will turn you into a human weapon.  You will hit people harder than they have ever been hit.  You will play with such intensity and fire you will wreck havoc and create chaos.  We may not be big, we may not be fast, but we can be Human Weapons!

C. 540

Usually around the fourth of July, some of the initial enthusiasm would die off and effort would suffer.  Motivation time.  Time to light the spark again for the second half of the summer conditioning period.  Here is a synopsis of one speech.

“Gentlemen, when you’re lying in bed and the alarm goes off at 6 AM, you don’t really want to get up, do you?  In that moment of indecision, think about this.  There are 9 teams on our regular season schedule. Let’s say, there are about 60 kids per team.  That is 540 people that want to kick your ass.  Write that number down on paper then tape it to the ceiling and walls around your bed.  See it first thing when you open your eyes.  If the thought of 540 people wanting to eat your lunch doesn’t drive you to get up and come workout or drive you to work your ass off while you’re here, then go back to sleep.  I don’t want you here and we don’t need you here.”

That drop some jaws.

Motivation.  I love it.  The energy.  The adrenaline rush. The engine clicking on all cylinders.  Motivated athletes get it done.

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Forest of Peace

Rest Day Read (SR-83)

Shantivanam, Forest of Peace

I haven’t been a lot of places in my lifetime, but the Shantivanam House of Prayer in Easton, Kansas is the most holy place I have been to.  When my uncle was the resident priest there, the family would attend midnight mass on Christmas and Easter sunrise mass every year.  It was and still is a magical place.  As a kid, I think I felt God for the first time in the silence of the walking trails. It is a place of retreat, a place of solitude and spirit. I learned of (and learned to appreciate) the power of silence in finding God’s presence there. I ate my first turnip fresh out of its gardens and met numerous wonderful people of spirit and faith during my brief visits.  Great memories of Shantivanam.

Check out the link by clicking the title above or their slideshow HERE.

Have a happy and safe Easter.

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Good Friday

Ellis Unit One by Steve Earle

I think the S. Earle’s point of view of the executioner in this song hits home when talking about executions (i.e capital punishment).  Especially hits home on the remembrance of the day Jesus Christ was executed.

Good Friday had to happen in order to get the joy of Easter Sunday, but the account still drives a fist into the pit of your stomach, even after all these years and all the times I’ve heard the tale.

Pray for the imprisoned and condemned today. They need it.

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The Beginnings of Arlington National Cemetery

The Beginnings of Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington House

Union Quartermaster General Montgomery  Meigs appropriated land around Arlington House from its owner Gen. Robert E. Lee in June 1864 for use as Arlington National Cemetery.  General Meigs wanted to make Arlington House uninhabitable for the Lee family by placing Union soldier’s graves right to the front porch. In his excellent documentary,  The Civil War, filmmaker Ken Burns adds that General Meigs had previously lost his son, a Union soldier, in battle against Lee led forces and the appropriation of Lee’s land was particularly satisfying to the Quartermaster General.

I have only seen Arlington by photo or film.  It is a place I must visit before I die. My daughter has been there on a school group trip led by my good friends, and excellent teachers, the Lane Brothers.  She loved Arlington and everything about Washington, DC.  Coach Lane once gave me a football scout VCR tape, on which at the very end of the tape was copied the film he took of the changing of the guard at the Tomb on the Unknown Soldier.  I still have that tape safely stored away.  Incredible. Solemn. Beautiful.

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PLAY CALLING

Play Calling by Coach Hays

One of my all-time favorite things about football is play calling.  I loved it as a coach, especially on the defensive side of the ball.  As I was a fan long before I was a coach, I learned the bleachers are the perfect place to appreciate the fine art of play calling.

One solid fact about play calling I learned in my time as a fan was this little nugget of wisdom; Plays called from the stands AFTER the actual play is over have a 100% No-Fail Rate.  Seriously, if a 4th and short iso run play gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage, there are at least 50 guys in the stands hiking up their jeans, sucking in their gut and exclaiming to everyone within a 12 row radius, “I’d a passed right there, a quick slant.”

Now, let’s take the same 4th and short situation.  If the call of a quick slant pass falls incomplete to the turf, those same 50 guys hiking up their jeans in the stands are saying, “Shoulda run the iso, that’s what I called in my head while they was still in the huddle.” This still cracks me up today as a fan and used to cracked me up as a coach.

One JV game night, we played after the freshman squad’s game at our home stadium.  We arrived in the 2nd quarter of the freshman game and we had time, so we let the kids watch some of the game from the endzone before we began warming up.  The double wing team the freshman were playing were moving the ball well.  After a couple long runs, what sounds like a older gentleman from our home stands started screaming “WATCH THE RUN!  WATCH THE RUN!”, in that maniacal voice one often finds in the stands of sporting events.  Very next play, the opponent threw a long play action pass that put them inside our 10 yard line.  Guess what the older gentleman screams now.  “WATCH THE PASS!  WATCH THE PASS!”  Classic.  And the best part was he kept this up well into the fourth quarter.  I giggle just to think about it.

Another play calling story.  We hosted the opening game of district playoffs with our rival and challenger for the district championship in town.  We control the first half against their highly potent (and relatively rare for that time) spread offense, thanks to the secondary gameplan of Coach Smith.  We get the ball back with a lead less than two minutes in the first half and with Coach Smith calling the offensive plays, we methodically move the ball down the field.  We don’t call any timeouts, the clock is running down to half and our plan is to score or hold the ball until the half runs out.  We know we don’t want to give their offense a chance to score.  So, we’re moving the ball, not calling timeouts and for the first and only time I become aware of a fan in the stands screaming, “YOU STUPID COACHES!” over and over again.  Well, screaming is too nice a term.  As I look to the action on the field, the voice I hear emulating from the stands sounds like Mama Alien from Alien 2 if she were to sit in the stands of a high school football game and scream, “YOU STUPID COACHES!” at the top of her lungs.  Well, to make a long story short, led by us “STUPID  COACHES”, we score with less than 10 seconds left, run the clock out on the kickoff and go on to win the game handily.  Not bad for stupidity.

Want  to know what it is like to call plays?   I give you this representative scenario to describe what it is like.

Stand up and hop on one foot around the kitchen while a pot of spaghetti noodles boils over on the stove next to the bubbling pan of sauce and the garlic toast sits on the white hot griddle.  You are hopping because you dropped the heavy pasta pot lid on your big toe.  Then your three year old sextuplets knock over the 20 gallon aquarium and are currently “bathing” in the fish juice soaked carpet.  Next, the doorbell rings and in marches a gaggle of Girls Scouts hawking the world’s best thin mint cookies. Broken toe, dead fish, wet kids, houseful of precious little angels selling fattening discs of chocolate heaven, soggy pasta, charred garlic toast, smoky sauce and …THE PHONE RINGS.

It is Alex Trabec saying that if you can provide the correct question to the clue “65 Toss Power Trap “ within ten seconds you win 1 million dollars.

You get excited, you know this answer and shout into the phone, “Play Hank Stram called for a Chiefs TD in the Super Bowl IV”.

“Sorry, correct answer, but it was not in the form of a question.”

Ladies and gentlemen, that is play calling and that is why I liked it so much.

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