The worst people to associate with are pessimists who sink your soul into hell with a depressing worldview. Chronic complainers will gut your team, rip out its heart, and leave your team for dead. Pessimists will darken the soul off any team, robbing your team of its spirit, its energy, its pulse, its heartbeat, and every fiber of its physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health, fitness, and well-being.

I have an open-admission policy on my team. I’ll take anyone. I am the farthest thing from an elitist. I don’t care about natural talent. I care only about giving the chance to develop it. There is only one condition that you have to fulfill to stay on our team – pay the price. Spill your guts for your team by calling out every fiber of potential that you have. The better you get, the better the team gets. The stronger you get, the stronger the team gets. The tougher you get, the safer your teammates get.
On the flip-side, if you become radioactive who spreads poison, you become the biggest threat t the team, worse than the opponent. Chronic complainers will dull your senses by spreading conflict through the veins of your team’s bloodlines. Those who try to darken a team’s soul have two choices – change or leave. The worst attitudes can change by redefining impossible. That’s the starting point of curing confucktions, those nasty psychological transmittable viruses and bugs that will infect and kill your team’s soul.

Here’s the good news – redefining impossible is possible with a Stretching Program. The following is an excerpt from my new book series called 4th & Hell that I recently posted on Coachbook. Whether you love or hate football doesn’t matter. This Stretching Program is a game-changer:

The biggest influence in my coaching ideology, philosophy, and tactics has been real-life jobs. Real-life life and death taught me that if you don’t stretch your performance past pre-conceived limits, real-life will make you a casualty, literally or figuratively. If you don’t’ stretch you performance in high-risk real-life jobs, you’re risking your survival. If you start a business from scratch and don’t stretch your performance, you’re risking your financial survival. If you’re competing for you dream job, you have to stretch your performance or you get cut from the process and get left behind over and over until you become a bitter person resentful of everyone who passed you while you got passed by. The concept of “stretch goals” are a starting point for stretching performance past the performance-confining limitations that get hammered in our heads through conventional wisdom, conformity, and even outright brainwashing.

A stretch goal is a game-changing performance objective that raises the bar to a level you’ve never raised it or even thought of raising it to because you never believed it could be raised that high. I’ve used stretch goals routinely in the weight room and on the field to raise single game and season-long performance past pre-conceived barriers. The list of our program stretch goals too long for this article but I’ll explain one that works out consistently for us. The first one is two defensive TDs per game. Not one defensive TD per game, two defensive TDs per game. That’s a performance goal every game. Not once in awhile, not for an entire season, not when its convenient, not just when you’re in the mood. Every game. Two defensive TDs is at the top of a laminated list of stretch performance goals I distribute to every player, every season. The first time I wrote it on the board at meeting before our 1994 season, players and coaches looked stared in disbelief. Reason? Brainwashing. Most players and coaches have been brainwashed into believing that 2 defensive TDs per game is absurd, a dream. Following is easier than leading. Following conventional thinking is easier than being different because unchallenged thinking is less painful than challenging the status quo.

The stretch goal of two defensive TDs per game changed the single-most important element of defense – mindset. Defense starts at the top with mindset. My goal as defensive coordinator starts with changing the traditional limiting beliefs that defensive players have been brainwashed into believing, starting with the notion that their job is to stop scoring. That’s not true. There job is to score points. Two ways – score touchdown or get the ball back to the experts – the offense. The first time we score two defensive TDs in one game in 1994, I distributed a laminated card to the entire team that read – “Exhibit A. Two Defensive TDs per game is evidence that it can be done and that you can be the one to dot. Change your definition of impossible.”

Coaches have an incredible platform to effect positive change by making the biggest impact on the minds of student-athletes who are preparing to enter the biggest fight of their lives – real-life. My players taught me a long time ago to never limit a student-athlete’s belief, never underestimate the soul and spirit, and never ever count out an underdog who doesn’t look the part. Players will play to the level of their belief. Lower the bar and they will lower their performance. Raise the bar and they will raise their performance. Don’t fear stretching. A stretching program is a game-changer that will transform the culture of an entire program.

Festive seasons.

Peace and joy to all.

Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.

Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com His books include: 4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System. He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks.