In the offseason, it is fun to look at how coaches advise other coaches, and the article below by legendary Coach Tony DeMeo got me to thinking about how Coach Mario Cristobal is assembling his team. How much of Aristotle’s advice are we seeing with this current team? More coaching advice can be found at Coach DeMeo’s site right here if you want to learn more football. – Charles Fischer
What does an ancient Greek philosopher know about coaching football? How can studying the great Aristotle help a team get a first down? Was he an offensive or defensive guy, anyway?
To answer these questions (most of them, at least), let’s look at a famous Aristotle quote: “The purpose of education is to pass on values.” There’s no doubt in my mind that football is a big part of a young man’s education. A coach’s job is to pass on values to his players. No sport involves more values than football. Here are a few of them:
The value of hard work. If a player works hard in football, there will be a place for him on the football team. It may “just” be as a special teams player, but every spot is important. He may not be a great athlete, but his heart and determination will get him on the field. This is not the case in other sports. Hard work pays off.
The value of courage. The physicality of football requires courage. Golf takes great skill but not a lot of physical courage. I’m a big proponent of safety, but the collisions in football are almost a “rite of passage” for a young man. Overcoming the fear of contact is a lesson unique to football.
The value of perseverance. The ability to keep giving everything one has when all seems lost is necessary in football. If you want to know who the competitors are, watch film of a team when they are behind. One of our own team mottos was, “The Fourth Quarter Is Ours.” We were always 60-minute men.
The value of preparation. Football is a sport that takes a tremendous commitment to offseason conditioning. Strength and conditioning programs are grueling, both physically and mentally. The great Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” The job of a coach is to make sure the team never gets fatigued through proper preparation.
The value of teamwork. No value is more important to learn in today’s “me, me, me” society. The sacrifice of individual goals for the good of the team is one of the greatest lessons that a player can learn. Players must develop the “WE not ME” attitude for their team to be successful.
These values create the foundation for success throughout a player’s life, not just in football. Aristotle also said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Players need to learn that excellence can’t be turned on and off like a faucet. It must become a way of life.
Regardless if they’re in the classroom, the weight room, the practice field, or a championship game, athletes need to strive for excellence. And to be clear, excellence is about what you become, not what you receive. Teaching excellence is big part of a player’s education. Perhaps the biggest part.
So maybe Coach Cristobal can study up on Aristotle a little in the offseason. It might give the Ducks the edge they’re looking for.
Coach Tony DeMeo
Charleston, West Virginia Top Photo by Ahsan Awan
Spencer Thomas, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, is an attorney for the Social Security Administration in Atlanta, Georgia, and coaches High School Football for Hillgrove HS in Powder Springs, GA.
Tony DeMeo (Football Analyst) has 25 years experience as a head college football coach, racking up an overall record of 137-108-4. Coach DeMeo recently retired after a six year stretch as the head coach of the University of Charleston, following previous stints at Washburn University, Mercyhurst College, and Iona College. Tony Demeo also spent time as an assistant coach with Richmond, Murray State, Temple, UMass, Delaware, Penn, and Pace University. He has been named Coach of the Year four times, and was elected into the Iona College Hall of Fame in 1997 as a player and coach. He will also be inducted in the Mercyhurst University Hall of Fame in June of 2017 as a coach.
Coach Demeo’s “Triple Gun” offense has set numerous records at multiple schools, and he is an expert on spread offenses, having written numerous books and creating tutorial DVDs on the topic, and is a popular speaker at coaching clinics.
Visit http://tonydemeo.com/ for more information.
New! Oregon Sports News and Articles Curated Every Day for All Duck Fans!
Want to read all the Oregon Sports Articles in one place? Check out our new FishDuck Feed for Oregon Sports News and Articles aggregated every day for Duck fans and it is free. Over 50 articles curated in one day recently!
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Be a part of the forum and stay caught up! When you wish to post there, do know that you are protected just as you were on FishDuck. Join us on the free forum right here!
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!