Pasion burns like fire
After coaching for 5 years in the NCAA, I packed my bags and headed to France to begin coaching in Europe. Almost immediately I noticed one major difference between the players I had been coaching and my players in France, and that was the level of passion my players in France had, which seemed to surpass that of even the most passionate player I ever coached in the US. The difference, in passion for the game, was so pronounced and visible that, within my first month, I saw its potential to increase or eliminate success in the game.
A month after arriving in France, a sports reporter had asked me, “what are the major differences you see in American Football in France, when you compare it to the US? I mean you, probably, dont have the same quality of players here.” Judging by his suggestion, I can only guess the answer he was expecting was something about the level of play or knowledge, but the only thing that came to my mind was, “Sure that may be true that the guys here dont have the same knowledge or experience as my US players did, but it is also true that we are not playing my US opponents. Truly, for me, the biggest difference is the passion I see from the guys. I have guys driving 40 or more kilometers to watch practice when an injury prevents them practicing, but in the US, I had guys that wouldn’t leave their dorm room because they had a bruise on their thigh.”
I went on to describe to him that, passion is a lot like fire. Fire is a very useful tool, but can be one of the most destructive elements. It can mold iron used in buildings, it can be used to prepare food, and can keep us alive when the temperature gets too low, but when allowed to burn out of control it can destroy those same buildings, food, and even kill humans. This, for me, is the most accurate analogy of passion, when applied to any sports environment. Think about it, the passion to get better is what motivates a player to show up to practice when he knows ½ his teammates will skip because its snowing, but likewise when things go bad for the team it is the passion for his team that motivates a player to get 15 yards for hitting a player out of bounds.
Since the time of that interview, I have seen this same passion burns just as deeply in almost all of the players I have encountered in my 7 seasons in 4 countries. As with any import coach, I have had to adapt my normal training philosophy for the European game. One of the biggest differences, for me, is I have had to become a “fire guard.” I have gone from using tools to ignite that fire in my US players to learning how to harness that fire and use it for productivity in my European player.
If there is one thing you should take from this, it is that there is no such thing as too passionate. Much like passion, the smallest of uncontrolled fires can destroy whatever it touches, but the largest of controlled fires can be used for productivity. So regardless of how passionate a player is, the passion needs to be guided. The smallest amount of passion can lead to lost penalty yards and blown assignments, but the greatest passion could be the difference between an opponent scoring or a player making a diving tackle from behind at the 1 yard line. It is our job, as coaches to keep that fire burning, but ensure we control its burn.
autor: Gavin Cambell foto: JS Photography
Gavin Campbell – Swoją karierę trenerską rozpoczynał na Uniwersytecie Kentucky (II Dywizja). Trener trzech poziomów Futbolu Uniwersyteckiego (NCAA Football). Wywalczony tytuł mistrzowski we Francji wraz z Aix-en-Provence Argonautes. Koordynator Defensywy w hiszpańskiej Series A. Przygodę z PLFA rozpoczynał w 2015 roku wiążąc się z drużyną Seahawks Sopot jako koordynator obrony. Kolejną drużyną był klub ze Słupska – Griffons Słupsk. W sezonie 2017 został koordynatorem formacji specjalnych beniaminka Topligi – Tychy Falcons.