A compelling Passionate Reason

By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 2002
Want to create a big edge for yourself? Sure you do-who wouldn't? But how much time and effort does it take? The answer is surprisingly, Not much; all it takes is a smart, thoughtful approach.
I first discovered the importance of this process in 1976 with SMU's football team. The Mustangs invited me down to Dallas to set up their strength and conditioning program. After going through the basics of the program, I had everyone assemble in a small auditorium. I challenged them, “What is it you most want to accomplish next season?” After some lively group discussion, one senior-captain stepped forward. “We want the Cotton Bowl.”
“Man,” I answered, “that's going to take a lot of work and it's going to be very, very difficult. See this weight? It's 600 pounds. Your captain here is going to lift it. The weight represents the Cotton Bowl. If he misses, you won't go.”
We started the spotted deadlift with 235, then 325 and finally the last warm-up of 415 pounds. The captain was strong and so we put on 505 pounds. Everyone started clapping in unison. Head football coach Ron Meyer was eating it up. The big captain, who was a linebacker, chalked his hands and with a mighty pull completed the lift. Now 600 pounds was eased onto the bar. The Cotton Bowl was at stake. The place was going nuts. Everyone was clapping and chanting in unison, “Bowl, bowl, bowl!” The captain charged the bar. The weight came off the floor and slowed as it got to his knees. His teammates were going absolutely crazy. Finally, with one last-ditch flow of adrinalin, he completed the lift. There was pandemonium. The captain was mobbed by his teammates.
After the chalk had settled, the team was incredibly focused. They now had a compelling, passionate reason to work at the highest level during the off-season, to practice without flaw during the season and to play with uncommon intensity during their games.
We've used this same formula literally thousands of times at BFS Clinics since my experience with the Mustangs. Recently I did a high school clinic in New York. They had at least two leaders from each of the boys' and girls' sports. I wanted their experience to be special. How could I lead this school? Suddenly, it hit me on what to do.
That night I explained to the leaders and coaches, “I looked at all the championship banners in your gym. So far, in this century, the record number of banners is two. The all-time record is eight in 1989. First, let's set a record for banners for this century and second, let's beat the all-time record. Every sport is important for these goals. We can all cheer for each other and help each other. What do you think?”
They went wild with enthusiasm and voted unanimously to adopt these goals. Everyone in every sport now had a compelling, passionate reason to have an uncommon commitment towards excellence. They chose to Be An Eleven in every phase of life.
Try using this strategy as you set your goals. You'll find it will make a dramatic difference in your school and teams.