What great coaches can teach us about life

Relentless effort (not talent or intelligence) is the key to achieving great things in your life. Struggle is part of the process. It is hard and often painful. But it’s also necessary, because it’s in the struggle that great things are achieved.
-Urban Meyer, in Above the Line

Tonight, one of the greatest college football coaches of all time retires.

Urban Meyer concludes his seventh and final season as the head coach at Ohio State. Meyer has amassed an incredible record at Ohio State and throughout his coaching career. Coming into tonight’s Rose Bowl, Meyer is 82-9 as the Buckeye head coach.  In his seven seasons, Meyer never lost more than two games in a season. He lost four conference games total. He won his first 24 games in Columbus.

He’s one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. Three national championships. He won .85 percent of his games. Meyer had four winning streaks of 20 or more games (to put that in perspective, no other coach even has three).

Great coaches can teach us all things. I think of things I’ve read over the years from people like John Wooden, Vince Lomardi, Woody Hayes, Bobby Knight.

For people who have succeeded in competitive endeavors, they have insights from which we can all benefit in terms of work ethic, leadership, and grit.

We so often make excuses for our failures and mediocrity. Great coaches don’t settle for mediocrity. They demand excellence from themselves, from their staffs, and from their players. We so often chalk up failure to a lack of resources, things beyond our control, or the fault o others. Great coaches show us all that excellence comes from hard work. Success comes from preparation and learning from mistakes. Success comes from wanting it more than your opponent.

It’s true on the playing field, on the court, and in life.

“I’ve come to learn that leadership is not automatically granted to you because of your position or your salary or the size of your office. Leadership is influence based on trust that you have earned. A leader is not someone who declares what he wants and then gets angry when he doesn’t get it. A true leader is someone who is going someplace and taking people with him, a catalyst for elite performance who enables people to achieve things they wouldn’t achieve on their own. A leader is someone who earns trust, sets a clear standard, and then equips and inspires people to meet that standard.”
-Urban Meyer in Above the Line

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Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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