COACHES CORNER: Chasing dreams and playing for a championship

Bishop Luers coach Kyle Lindsay holds up the semi state trophy in 2020 after the Knights beat Pioneer to advance to the Class 2A state finals. (Photo by John Felts)

It’s playoff football time in Indiana!

This is the best time of the year for high school football teams. The road to a state championship begins now! This is what programs work so hard for throughout the entire year, day in and day out. Now, they finally have the opportunity to prove anyone who doubted them wrong.

I am excited to see Fort Wayne area teams compete for the top prize – a state title. In this week’s Coaches Corner let’s discuss what it takes to get the opportunity to play in a state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

It may sound cliche, but during playoff football it is a must that teams have a ‘win or go home’ mentality each and every week. The phrase I love to use about the playoffs is “be 1-0 this week.” Past and future games do not matter and it is crucial to just focus on the present. Never overlook your opponents.

To win a championship, it takes resiliency from every single player on the team – from starters to scout team players. Every player has a role they must know and accept. It is very important to not have division between starters and scout team players because it takes everyone to win the game. The postseason is so unpredictable and you never know what can happen, so being resilient is a key component that goes into winning the big games.

You also have to have the ability to adapt and overcome. There are many different scenarios that will be thrown your way that you must be able to overcome. Championships are so hard to win at any level, from high school to professional. There are some unbelievably skilled players that may go a lifetime and never win a championship.

Championship-caliber teams must have the ability to handle adversity. Circumstances of the game might not always go your way, but you must be able to stick together and not flinch when adversity strikes.

You have to have the utmost confidence when playing for a championship. Having confidence in your team’s ability to win will help significantly with the team’s overall mentality and success. You cannot only have confidence in yourself, but also in the players next to you, the coaches, and the entire team.

There is so much more that goes into winning than just showing up and playing on Friday nights. Perfect execution is a must when trying to win a championship, and that starts in practice. Preparation is always the key to success and the lack of preparation in practice can really hurt a team. You must practice how you want to play.

The difference between playing in a championship game and watching it is the preparation and hard work that you put in. If you want to be a champion, work hard and handle your business in a professional manner every single day and practice.

As teams continue preparations for sectionals, I want to wish you all the best of luck! You have practiced day in and day out all season long and have given it your all. Now it’s your time to go shine and win a championship!

Coaches Corner appears weekly at Outside the Huddle. The author Wes Painter played football at both Snider High School and Indiana State University. Following his playing career, Painter coached defensive line and special teams for the Sycamores before moving back to Fort Wayne. He served as an assistant coach at North Side from 2019-20.

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