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Chapter 12 - Overview

 

Chapter 12:

Character

 

      "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right." "If you start it, finish it." Those extraordinarily instructive quotes were not from a renowned leader, a captain of industry or a famous preacher. However, they were from a great man with only a high school education. That man was my father, Bill Teaff. I loved his words as they became ingrained in my own persona, but I learned the true meaning of his words by watching the man himself living on a daily basis what he was teaching me.

Bill Teaff's Lessons on Character
Have a value system:
      • "Treat others as you would like to be treated"
      • "Be trustworthy and honest"
      • "Never tell a lie, that way you don't have to
        remember what you said"
      • "If you have to use curse words, it is obvious your

        vocabulary is incomplete"
      • "You are who you are when no one is watching"
Work Ethic:
      • "Never fail because you got out-worked"
      • "Be generous - you can't out give God"
      • "Make a difference"
      • "Serve your fellow man"
The modern definition of character is one of the attributes or features that make up a distinguished individual. Character is mental and ethical traits. Character is moral excellence and firmness.
      My dad died in 2002, and prior to and after his death, I had over 30 individuals from Snyder call, write or tell me face to face of something that my dad had done for them, without anyone else knowing about it.
      Teaching a young person to become an individual of character provides a solution for most of the social issues we now confront. Helping the young person develop character and integrity is the greatest possible gift we could give.

      Frederick Bouchard of Staley (MO) High School experienced the concept of this book. That is, what he learned from other coaches, he applied in his own environment and is intentionally teaching those character traits.

Character Lessons
Frederick Bouchard
Staley (MO) High School

     I decided we would begin to institute the principles of "Coaching to Change Lives" by Dennis Parker and D.W. Rutledge. Four years ago, I bought every one of their DVDs and our coaching staff spent a part of each off-season listening to those and putting those ideas into action. I don't think there are many things we have done as a program that will impact long-term improvement as being committed to doing regularly scheduled character development with our team. Truly, I don't believe that more coaching of a technique or fundamental would have made our team as successful as the time we spent doing our character lesson.

Here's how we implemented this program:
      • Pre-season camps and practices - We would do our
        lessons in our locker room at the stadium in our
        teaching area. If we are supposed to be on the field at
        8:00am, we would have the required meeting and
        reporting time for the lesson at 7:30am. If they are
        going to talk football, we would ask them bring them in
        at 7:00am for that conversation or do it after practice.
             Monday: Lesson Introduction
             Tuesday: Lesson follow-up
             Wednesday: Lesson follow-up
             Thursday: Closure
             Friday: Comments related to the lesson, implement
                  and/or make reference for our future

      • In Season: School gets out at 2:20pm and the players
        need to be in their meeting areas at 2:25pm. They
        will meet until 2:45 and practice starts after the
        meeting.
             Monday: JV, Sophomore and Freshmen are often

                  gone (no lesson). Varsity does scouting report and
                  practice.
             Tuesday: Lesson Introduction
             Wednesday: Lesson follow-up
             Thursday: Lesson closure
             Friday: Make references to Friday night's game
                  related to the lesson

     There are dozens of good "character" programs around, but we hooked into this one and it has worked well for us and our needs. I would strongly recommend this to any football program and any football coach for immediate implementation.
     Character lessons prepared by Dennis Parker and D.W. Rutledge in their workbook entitled, "Coaching to Change Lives" addresses following curriculum in their lessons. They stress attitude, responsibility, self-image, leadership, goals and specific character development. The lessons on character development focus in on 1) character to handle diversity, 2) character to handle success, 3) character to handle the

critics, 4) character to accept responsibility and 5) character to never quit.
     As a coach, when teaching character traits to those you are responsible for, please remember the words of Edgar A. Guest (paraphrased): those you are teaching learn more about character by watching you than hearing what you say about it.

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