Newton, Texas has a pretty good high school football team.
According to the most recent United States census estimates, the population of Newton is 2387. Newton is a 3A high school. They are currently ranked higher (61) in football in the state of Texas than 6A football teams, Cy-Fair (70), Plano East (76), Temple (90), 5A schools like Cedar Park (105), Manvel (122), and a ton of 4A schools.
Newton is a 3A school.
Let me repeat that.
Newton is a 3A school.
They just won again this week so they are now 13-0. They won 79-12 against Daingerfield.
This flies in the face of what I hear all of the time from others.
I’ve heard others say:
- We lost because they’re a 4A school and we’re a 3A school.
- We lost because they are a bigger school and have a bigger pool of players to pull from.
- We lost because we only have a few returning Varsity players.
- We lost because we’re a young program.
- We lost because we’re smaller than them.
These are all dangerous (to the team and community), misinformed statements. Statements like these can ruin a team for years if they are coming from a coach, teacher or parent. Statements like these teach athletes how to make excuses. Excuses are cheap and cost nothing.
On the other hand, taking the blame for your lackluster results hurts a little. But that hurt is the spark plug of achievement. It can help to turn things around.
When I came in 3rd at Austin’s Fittest a few years ago, I took responsibility. The guys ahead of me were better that day. I then went about putting in the work to do better next year. The next year I got 2nd. Once again the guy ahead of me, beat me. No excuses, no blaming or having a pity party. Work to get better.
I say: “No Excuses”
Just ask the players, coaches, parents and community in 3A Newton.
They won the 3A Division 2 2017 State Championship in high school football last year. They went 15-0.
They are in the playoffs again this year and are charging towards another State Championship. Do you think they care what “A” school they play or how big that school is? My guess is no, they do not. Apparently, they don’t make excuses, they just work hard and win. When you take a look at their football roster, you see guys listed at:
Now, I know football rosters fib a little here and there about their height and weight but my guess is that these numbers are fairly accurate. My other guess is that these guys spend a lot of time around a weight room with a pretty sophisticated program.
Results. It’s always about results.
Winning is hard but the steps involved to becoming a winning team can be implemented right now. Today. For my athletes, it starts in the weight room.
Number 1 is understanding where the athlete is right now. What is their current strength, agility and speed level? What is their current body weight? What is their mindset?
Number 2 is setting a goal. Bench press, squat, deadlift, pullups, 10 yard dash, 5-10-5, etc. Make sure to have a time frame for the goals. Have a white board front and center. Who’s at the top? Who’s at the bottom? Help those at the bottom get to the top. Praise, encourage,support. Insist on safety. Watch each individual during their lift. If you can’t watch each one, bring in EXPERIENCED coaches already on the staff or enough experienced volunteers who can. An experienced coach can watch 4-5 at a time. Think outside of the box. Set up the lifting schedule so that everyone is getting attention from a coach or experienced volunteer. Get creative. Get passionate.
Number 3 is work intelligently towards the goal(s). This takes hands on experience, education, passion from the coach and consistency, good nutrition, adequate sleep, focus and a “buy in” attitude from the athlete. You’ll have to address and squash negativity, bad attitudes, uncoachable individuals and build a strong team, rep by rep, set by set and individual by individual. Be serious when it’s time to work but make time for fun as well. These are the high school years and they are supposed to be about learning and having some fun. Workout WITH the athletes, spend time getting to know them while lifting weights. It helps if other athletes have walked this path before in your program and have gone on to accomplish amazing things – 1st team all district, district MVP, all time strength board record holders, college offers, pro contracts. Invite those athletes back from time to time to hang out, workout, and speak to the group.
We had Keegan Nichols (2017 5A District Defensive MVP and Austin College freshman football player) back this week and he spoke about a number of things in front of the group. He worked out with us on Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and the following Saturday. Guys that come back keep the group inspired, focused, educated and ensure a high level of intensity. We had an awesome and intense week of workouts during Thanksgiving week and we are grateful for Keegan’s presence. Guys like Keegan help to keep the standards high.
This is a good start to building a winning team culture. The 3 steps that I’ve mentioned don’t take a lot of hard, physical work to put in place – but they do take desire, vision, passion, planning and implementing.
As Nick Saban says, It’s a PROCESS”.
It requires knowing that you need to do it, knowing what to do and then implementing the process.
You’ll have to build this culture and then keep up with it. If you don’t keep up with it, the culture will die.
Things are changing rapidly at the high school football (and baseball) levels. Kids are putting in A LOT of work in the weight room year round. They are becoming more informed about proper training, nutrition and sleep. But they won’t do it unless you – the coaches, parents educate them and then get going. If you do not keep up, your team will most likely have a losing season and won’t make the playoffs. Where would Alabama be without their strength program?
Maybe there’s a reason why they pay their Strength Coach Scott Cochran $585,000 a year plus a $100,000+ team performance bonus…
The question is: What will you do differently next year to have a winning season?
If you do nothing then you’ll probably have another lackluster season. If you embrace strength training and start to follow the steps that I’ve given above, then the sky is the limit. Strength training is medicine. It’s good for the body and the brain. Teenagers need a big dose of it regularly. When they get a big dose of “properly” implemented strength training, great things start to happen. To me, strength training is the foundation of everything else in a football or baseball program. Self confidence, hard work, goal setting, mindset, overcoming, growing, building stronger ligaments, tendons and bones.
Weak things break. And weak football teams lose.
There’s another small school in the Texas top 25 called Carthage. Carthage is a 4A school and is currently ranked #19 in all of Texas high school football. They are making their way through the playoffs right now at 12-0 and are ranked higher than 6A high schools like Midway Waco, Lake Travis, Midland Lee and John Tyler.
There’s even a 2A school, Wellington High School that is ranked #76 in the top rankings of Texas High School football. I’m sure there are a lot more 2A, 3A, 4A schools who are better and are ranked higher than 5A and 6A schools. The point is: block out excuses, block out negativity, block out the “impossible”. Control what you can control and embrace a high level, proven strength and performance program.
For every person who tells me that they lost because the other school was a bigger school and/or had a bigger pool of players to pull from, I think about how this coach or teacher is sending the wrong message of mediocrity to our youth. A better approach is to work hard, inspire, lead by example, talk about Newton, Wellington and Carthage High Schools who are out their slaying the giants.
Think back to your childhood. Who inspired you? Superman, The Hulk, Wonder Woman? Today’s kids need to be inspired just as you
needed it. Paint a picture of the possible not the impossible. Lead by example, think outside of the box.
You have 279 days until September 1st 2019. Each day you’re either getting stronger or weaker.