We were playing in the state championship game in 2019 and entered the game the favorite with a top 10 ranked team. The team was a veteran group and this was their third straight title appearance. At halftime of the game, the score was tied 32-32. Our number one defense in the state had been giving up an average of 8 points per game but that was out the window! Following the break, our team scored 46 unanswered points to win the game 78-32.
I was asked what I said at halftime that motivated the players to raise their level of performance. My response was our coaching staff does not motivate players. That is the job of the players. We coach technique, provide game plans, tactics, and support our athletes physically and spiritually; but, we do not motivate.
It is the player's responsibility to take care of energy, passion, drive, grit, mental toughness and all the other superlatives which encompass being motivated. Our coaching staff simply challenges the athlete to discover for themselves the motivation they need to perform at a championship level.
While motivation is the cornerstone of success in all that we desire to do, it is not something which nobody is going to be coached into obtaining. If you truly want motivation, then you are better off seeking a higher power.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6
There's no bigger motivator than God Himself. Let God be the one to inspire you to try your best. Don't place your faith in man, coaches or anything of this world. I often tell our players that you need to get your vertical alignment in order if you want your horizontal alignment to function properly.
It is our responsibility to create a culture which will inspire motivation in players. We recognize those who exemplify team focused motivation and those who inspire others to take their game to a higher level. We honor the players who put in the extra work, care for their teammates, and take responsibility for their actions.
Furthermore, it is our job as coaches to know our players and to treat them differently. They are not going to be inspired by the same methods so the more we can watch them and get to know them the better chance we will have to help them light the fire inside.
This is also why team devotions play a significant role in our program. We know that the better our relationship is with God and the more we lean on His and not our own understanding the greater our chance of success in whatever we endeavor to do.
It is no different in our own faith walks as the Holy Spirit works to coach us. Through prayer and scripture, we are motivated to find our own path. We are encouraged to become the hands and feet of Christ on earth and ultimately win the greatest title of all ... a place in the Kingdom of Heaven.