Tag Archives: Motivation

Never Satisfied

The internal drive. That intrinsic motor that fuels your efforts.

It’s a blessing and a curse. A means of frustration and a means of fulfillment. It’s about never stopping your development and attacking life with the purpose of getting better every day.

Never stopping.
Never resting.
Only looking back to get better at moving forward.

It’s what a coach does. It’s what a player does. It’s what a parent does, a teacher does, a writer does, a “fill-in-the-blank-on-whatever-kind-of-person-you-are” does.

Or should do.

The greatest enemy of progress is not your opponent. Nor your talent. Nor your situation.

Your greatest enemy is complacency.

The biggest mistake you can make is thinking you are totally, completely, and absolutely 100% ready to roll. Resting on your laurels is a sham. I’ve seen many coaches and players fall victim to this.

I’ve done it more than I’d like to admit myself. It’s hard to admit or accept when your efforts aren’t cutting the muster. But you have to fight through complacency. The best person to motivate an improvement is you.

It’s been said, “You are only as good as your last game.” Meaning that you are only as good as your previous effort.
This is misleading.

You are only as good as you dare to be tomorrow.

If you didn’t push yourself today, resolve to do so tomorrow.

Never quit striving to be better.
Never settle.
Never be satisfied.

That, my friends, is a winner’s heart.

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Still Waters

One of the best teams we ever coached was a group of kids who were magnificent running down the rapids. Virtually unstoppable and an honest-to-goodness tour de force when the current flowed swiftly in their direction. But, we would lose focus and intensity when the current became easy and let up. When things should have been easy, when the game should have been packed away neatly under the “W’ column, we’d struggle to tread water and keep our heads above water.

Handling success and maturity means you must learn to navigate the still waters to keep afloat and continue to move in the desired direction. It is one thing working to succeed, but it’s a whole other thing to achieve success and then stay successful. One of the true joys of being good is the scramble, the character, and the discipline invested in order to stay good.

Tom Osborne, the legendary football coach at the University of Nebraska, said that everyone wants to win; it’s human nature. The difference between winners and losers often depends on how willing one is able to go all in and put in the work necessary. And in order to stay a winner, one has to work even harder and with greater efficiency to stay on the mountain.

One needs motivation, an edge. Some sort of carrot to dangle just out of reach in front of you that keeps your motivated. My favorite edge as a player and a coach is the “Chip on Shoulder” approach. Succeed despite the barriers you face. Suceed because there are people who don’t believe you will ever accomplish anything.

The edge. When you choose to play on the edge you have to be careful of two things.

  1. It’s easy to fall over the edge, so you must stay balanced and anchored.
  2. Key an eye on those who will push, nudge, or flat-out kick you over the edge.

The KC Royals in the first month of the season are a good example of this. They found a chip-on-the-shoulder edge which worked very well. But, when this motivator went too far, they fell over the edge and lost their composure. Fortunately, it appears they were able to step back and reboot under control to be successful. Use the edge to motivate your habits and performance, not lose emotional control. Be motivated without becoming consumed by the motivation.

Use the edge to motivate your habits and performance, not lose emotional control. Be motivated without becoming consumed by the motivation.

So you’ve turned things around. Your team and your performance proved to be successful. Pat yourself on the back, smile, and then get back to work. You have things to accomplish. The job has just begun. Find your edge and anchor yourself to your motivation.

To be a success, you need to learn to navigate the still waters. There will not always be a swift stream to move you along, so you need to be able to put your oar in the water and pull yourself forward time and time again.

Word hard.

Work focused.

Play hard.

Play focused.

Just don’t get pushed over the edge.


Courtesy WikiCommons


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Be “Less”

We are always asking and/or being asked to give more. Work harder, work more, work faster.

That’s okay, though. Keep it up and keep those “more” things going strong.

But, I am going to ask you for “less”.

Yeah, you read that right. LESS.

Be ageless, think young and perform young.

Be responsible for yourself, do your job and be blameless.

Boundless. Never quit striving to be better.

Leave opponents, fans, and teammates breathless with your effort.

Perform with reckless abandon.

Be dauntless.

Appear effortless in your execution using technical expertise.

Endless in your energy, enthusiasm, and desire.

Do your job and go on…Be a faceless and nameless force to reckon with.

Be fearless. Identify what you want and go get it.

Be merciless in a contest from the first bell to the final bell. (Then be nice again.)

As you can see, sometimes more is not better.

Sometimes “less” is more.



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Keep moving. The key to getting better at something is to keep moving. Move forward, move backward, move, move, move.

What drives you to get better? Are you motivated by extrinsic factors, like awards, medals, or trophies?

Or are you motivated by intrinsic factors, like a desire to be the best you can be or an unquenchable will to win?

Whichever motivates you, keep moving. Keep pushing forward with the realization there will be the occasional backward move from the inevitable failure that comes with pushing the limits of your ability.

In football, we used to talk a lot in the off-season and preseason about the “450”. We tried to get the kids motivated by the “450”.


Here is kind of how the rant usually went:

We have 9 scheduled games. That’s 9 teams we know we have to play. Let’s say each of those teams is about like us and has around 50 kids on their varsity squad. Do the math, 9 teams times 50 kids = 450 kids. That’s around 450 people who will wake up this morning with the desire to kick your ass on the field of play. 450 people who are probably working their tails off right now, as we speak, to get better. 

So when you’re debating whether or not you’re going to get out of bed for workout, remember the 450 players who want to defeat you. When you are deciding whether you want to put in full effort today or just put it in cruise control, remember those 450. They are out there, so you better be doing the work in here.

It’s not enough to be the best in our locker room, it’s all about being better than the 450.

So, it’s winter and the new year approaches. The perfect time to start the work. Beat your “450”.

Whether it’s your art, your sport, or your career, keep moving. Turn up the heat on yourself and push your boundaries. Find your own “450” for motivation.

Don’t settle; be what you dream.

photo (1)

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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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