Core values were never part of my coaching identity for the first five years of my career. I had standards that I held for myself & my players, but they were fluid, changed from athlete to athlete, year to year. In my first year at Midlothian High School, MISD Athletics paid for any coach to go to the DFW Coaches Clinic. The very first presenter I saw was Chris Melson, Head Football Coach/Campus Coordinator of Legacy High School in Mansfield. He never talked X’s & O’s, but talked about the core values that made the Legacy Bronco Football team one to contend with, year in & year out.
Starting from that lecture, I began to put thoughts into core values. It took YEARS, & quite a collection of reading materials such as books & clinic presentations, but my core values started to take shape in the next couple of years. Today, there are on the edge of solidifying. I love a good acronym, so my core values are known as ‘H.O.R.S.E. Power.’ I eventually want to write a book about my core values, & how they can help young, potentially wandering members of the ‘iY’ generation find their foothold & get into a position in their profession they want. These are simply an introduction to my values, if you wish to discuss more on them, please feel free to contact me!
I know, I am already cheating by having two words for my first value, but these are my core values, so I get to have two in one place! My first value is one that I believe is my most important value, & that is HUSTLE. I take pride in being the hardest worker in my program, but that is not the only part of hustle. It is knowing YOUR HUSTLE. As the older part of the ‘iY’ generation (born 1990), I grew up & evolved with technology. My ability to know how to work messaging applications, website design, & other technology skills has allowed me to become a former Hudl Coordinator & Communications Coordinator for our football program. My attention to detail (some coaches call it my OCD) has gotten me leadership positions for travel logistics & subvarsity scheduling for the football program. My hustle also gained the trust of my head football coach, as he made me the lead for the Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment (basically all the small junk such as desks, chairs, & trashcans) for our new athletic field house/weight room. I used what skills I knew I had to take on projects that showed my head coach I could & was willing to do many things to improve the program.
Honesty goes beyond just being truthful to others, but to yourself as well. When you are honest about your how your heart & mind feel, then it makes it that much easier to know what you can do for yourself & your program. Once you are honest with yourself, you can be honest to other coaches, & to your head coach. This is traditionally a very difficult value for me. My struggle with this seems daily. I often take on more projects in the classroom & in coaching than I can handle sometimes. While I am confident in my abilities to complete these assignments, I often overstress & spread myself too thin. The area I have improved on most to help with this is delegating my duties. It takes everything I have to ask for help, I am consistently improving, & that’s ok!
Ownership can mean different things to different people, & there is no wrong answer. It can be similar to accountable, by taking ownership in your mistakes. It can also mean owning your job & projects by putting your heart & soul into it (more on that later). While I believe those are a part of ownership, my definition of ownership is the reflection of myself. This core value ties into all of my other core values. By knowing who I am, I can reflect on things that I have done well, as well as things I could do better! While it may not be a high core value for you, no core values will matter if you do not take some kind of ownership of yourself & implementing that into your values. Knowing your talents, flaws, & limits will help you increase your knowledge of your core values, & will improve yourself as a worker, coach, & person.
“A ready man don’t have to get ready!” This phrase is burned into my brain permanently. Jack Welch & the staff at Copperas Cove High School from 1994-2017 had a strong core value of always being ready. My father coached at CCHS from 1994-99, I played at Cove from 2004-07, & coached 2012-15, & it was always around. This core value has been around me for virtually my whole life, & it has made a major impact on my career & as a person. Unlike before lifting weights or running, there is often no ‘warm up time’ for getting ready. “I’ll get around to it,” is such a negative phrase to Coach Welch, he carries custom wooden circles that have ‘TUIT’ printed on them to give to coaches who say that phrase! I’ll give you a second to figure that one out. You have to able to mentally train my attitude & effort levels to be ready for the new & unexpected, & quickly before it is lost! I am not perfect at this, but compared to where I started, it is almost night at day. There is much more that goes into this than what I will type out here, but being ready to jump at new challenges, whether in sports or life, is essential to climbing that ladder.
This core value is my newest, & probably most evolving as I continue to grow. Self is part personal, & part about others. It all starts with yourself. Taking care of yourself both physically & mentally is as important in your career as it is for your life. I know I am not one to talk about working out consistently (especially during season), but I am improving that by going to bed earlier so I can work out early in the morning before I go to work/before the athletes arrive. I also have to make myself take time off every year to reset my mind. I have a minimum five day period where I go out of the area (hopefully country) & get away from all work. I read books, binge watch a television show, but nothing to do with school/sports.
The other half of self is selflessness. Being able to do whatever it takes for others to succeed, whether it is good for you or not. I will never forget that in the beginning Spring 2019, I was in my fourth year of softball as a second sport, when my head coach told me he had a conversation with my head football coach. My head softball coach knew that my time in softball had run its course, as it was not my passion or goal to climb the softball ladder. He told this to my head football coach, & said that while he would love to keep me around in softball because of how I helped that program, it would be a disservice to do so as the requirements of the program were holding me back in climbing the ladder of football/athletic administration. I will never forget this act of selflessness, & how something simple like that can better another person/coach by simply caring about them more than myself, & doing what is best for them.
My last core value is simple in definition, difficult to master. Execute is about doing your job, doing it well, & finishing it out. My first year coaching, I was the WORST at this. One of my side duties at CCHS, I had a side job called “Annex Beautification,” another way of saying keep the outside of the field house clean. Other than have kids who were late to weights pick up trash around the building, I did not think much of this, especially when I barely had my head above water in the classroom during football season! I unloaded this job the moment I could for anther that suited my strengths. I realized the next year what kind of a ripple effect it had on the man who took the job after me. The coach was out trimming the hedges, power washing the sides, & scheduled maintenance to paint areas that needed to be painted. I never realized that “Annex Beautification” could mean so much. That coach did so well, it made an impression on me to do any assignments right, well, & finishing them instead of ignoring it & making it go away before I ever really started.
I need to end this article before I start writing the whole book here! I know it is a little rough around edges, but I hope to get better in the future! Hopefully as your read, youstarted to think about your core values & how your experiences shaped you. This article will probably be one of my longest, but I wanted my first piece to be about a passion of mine, & hopefully it helps some coaches see that core values can help shape their careers! My next article will be in two weeks; I hope you read that one as well! Be calm, & stay safe!
By Ryan Landrum