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Author Information

Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

What Motivates You: Mastery

As a husband, father, coach, teacher and business owner, I am always looking for ways to improve. I’m sure you are as well, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. A book I heard about several months ago, and finally decided to pick up during the Christmas break is Drive by Daniel Pink. The premise of the book is that the rudimentary carrots and sticks analogy does not fully explain human motivation. Our motivations are deeper than the basic drive to either seek pleasure or avoid pain. Pink asserts that our three greatest motivations are: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Those goals can be reached with the Flexbone Association. The first topic I wrote about was autonomy, which appeared on here about two weeks ago.


Solving complex problems requires an inquiring mind. Running a successful football program requires you to solve complex problems almost on a daily basis. You will have tremendous demands on your time, organization, communication skills and problem solving ability. You will need to come up with solutions to problems that you may have never encountered before. 

Compliance does not need to self-actualization. This is what for many people a level of autonomy must be attainable before mastery is possible. Only engagement can produce mastery. It’s the same for your players and the same for you. When you are jasperzxcaffengaged with your players, and you are executing pertinent drills to your offense, only then can your players achieve mastery. If your drills don’t apply to Friday nights, you are wasting time and preventing your players from achieving mastery. 

The pursuit of mastery is essential in our development as people, and primary to our job satisfaction, happiness, and motivation. Engagement as a route to mastery is a powerful force in our personal lives. When you are working on something you enjoy, like coaching football, what happens to your sense of time? How about your weekends? Time flies when you are having fun. This often happens on Friday nights when you are in the midst of a game. Time passes quickly and self-consciousness dissolves. 

A Hungarian researcher calls these “autotelic experiences” In short these experiences are their own reward. He would later call this flow. The highest, most satisfying experiences in people’s lives are when they are in flow. When you experience a state of flow, the relationship between what a person has to do and what they can do are perfect. In flow you live so deeply in the moment, and feel so utterly in control that your sense of time, place and even self disappear. 

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences or business.” – Teresa Amabile, Professor – Harvard University

Moving toward mastery can increase productivity and satisfaction at work. It will also increase your interest and satisfaction in coaching football. You have to believe that you can accomplish mastery first. A professor from Stanford calls these “self-theories”. cache_2434376185How we interpret our experiences set the boundaries on what we can accomplish. If you’ve encountered a setback in your career, how did you approach that setback? Did you ever take a job that ended up being a mistake? Our reaction, our own story to that experience can determine what we accomplish down the line. 

Mastery is a mindset. If you believe intelligence is finite, and you either have some or you don’t, your capacity to achieve mastery is limited. If you believe intelligence acquisition is incremental, your belief is that with some effort it can increase. The second path leads to mastery, the first one does not. If your tuned in to the second theory, you can learn, you can get better, you can achieve mastery. You don’t to get it right away, but you do need to keep working on it. With sustained effort, mastery is inevitable.

Mastery is pain. When Cadets arrive at West Point they all go through seven weeks of Cadet Basic Training called “Beast Barracks”. At the end of summer one in twenty of these new Cadets have dropped out entirely. Four scholars (Two from West Point, one from the University of Pennsylvania, and the other from the University of Michigan)– they wanted to understand why some students dropped out while others stayed. What they found was that the best predictor of success was the prospective cadets ratings on a noncognitive, nonphysical trait know as “grit”  which they defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Sometimes the path to master isn’t much fun. Mastery requires effort, it doesn’t happen by osmosis. 

Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the results of intense practice for a minimum of ten years.” Anders Ericsson – Psychologist

bed9a84993f08f76d3bd210c9f7e8a7cIn every field, grit may be as essential to talent to high accomplishment. Effort gives meaning to life. It shows that you care, that it’s important and you are willing to do what’s needed to achieve results. You can approach master, you can get very close to it, but you might never touch it. Mastery is like perfection. Mastery attracts because mastery eludes.

The greatest motivator in your day to day routine in your job (being the best triple option coach you can be) is making progress in your work. The Flexbone Association provides you the opportunity to make progress in your work. The Flexbone Association Academy will grant you the convenience of progressing toward mastery in a easily accessible manner. Will you make progress toward mastery with the other coaches from coast to coast who’ve already committed themselves to improve themselves and their programs for next fall?

AP Photo/John Bazemore


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