Fitness Football Soul of a Lifter

The Psychology of Going-For-It

Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, was once asked,

“Is there any big innovation left in football?”

Shula said,

“Someday there will be a coach that doesn’t punt.”

That’s me. I’m a football coach who doesn’t punt. Two-decade streak of never punting. I go-for-it anywhere on the field. And no field goals, no extra-points, and rare deep kick-offs. Two-point conversions and frequent on-side kicks.

No other coach in the world goes for it more often than I do. No one goes for it inside their own 20. No one goes for two after every touchdown. No one opens a game with three straight onside kicks. No one passes more than we do on fourth down. Why? Six reasons:

  1. Policing taught me what true life-and-death is. It doesn’t include whether you get a first down or get stopped in a football game.
  2. I have the soul of a non-conformist. One of my goals in life is to be as different as possible from mainstream conventional thinking because conventional thinking is swamped with myths.
  3. Another goal is to teach my players to be original, not to be live fearfully, and never be afraid to be different.
  4. It works. We have the evidence to prove it. Risk-taking works. Going for it puts pressure is on the other, not ours. Players develop faster. And stronger. We routinely have players recruited by the next level.
  5. Punting and kicking don’t fit our reality. We have limited resources – limited practice time, limited coaches, limited roster size. Punting and field goals need significant rep-investment. We focus on passing. We pass a lot. We have no fear whatsoever of passing or of going-for-it.
  6. It’s a rush. Going-for-it is super-exciting. Ultra-stimulating. Doing what everyone does is flat-out boring.

My go-for-it attitude has influenced other aspects of my life. I started two traditional high-risk businesses, gym and publishing company. I have worked out for 43 years using my own system I designed. I’ve used it to coach hundreds of student-athletes. I have designed extremely unconventional offense and defense systems that break from tradition. I have written books with an unconventional approach.

I challenge every thought I hear because I’ve learned that conventional wisdom is not always the truth. There is time-proven traditional wisdom that always has and always will be the truth. But there’s just as much bullshit. If we don’t challenge Earth-is-flat conventional-thinking, we will never discover, we’ll never uncover, never progress, never learn.

Separating fact from fiction is a full-time job. Go for it.

Gino Arcaro has written 12 books. He started his writing career by writing 6 best-selling academic law enforcement textbooks. Then he changed his focus and wrote 6 non-academic books to compete on a new stage.

The first book is Soul of a Lifter, available in paperback and e-book. The book is about how lifting is a life-saver – lifting others and lifting weight. Dual-purpose lifting.