Focus on Fractions: Why they matter in coaching kids
By Greg Bach
Rushing yards, points allowed and penalties per game are just some of the numbers that grab the attention of college football coaches.
For Bowling Green State University head coach Mike Jinks, there’s a fraction that means a lot to him as well.
And it should to you too, as you go about teaching teamwork and helping young athletes wrap their arms around that all-important element that it’s all about the team – and not the individual.
“What you want to do is create that family environment,” Jinks says. “What I constantly talk about is do your 1/11th. There are 11 guys out there on that field at a time and if any one of them is not doing their job the unit will fail.”
So when young players learn to dial into their roles, and know that the positions given to them are important to the team’s success, a true unit can emerge that competes together.
And supports each other every step of the way.
“We are a group,” Jinks says. “We are one. Some may have more responsibilities than others at given times but at the end of the day – no matter what we are trying to get accomplished – 11 guys have to be doing their job in order for us to perform at the highest level.”
ALL IN ON ACCOUNTABILITY
Jinks, who played quarterback at Angelo State University, learned during his playing days that being accountable to the responsibilities that come with your position is crucial for the team to operate at top efficiency.
It’s been a focal point of his coaching at all levels, including during his days as a high school football coach in Texas, where he led Steele High School to a state championship and was a finalist for the National High School Coach of the Year.
So, when players care about each other, and embrace the responsibilities of their position because they genuinely care more about the team than themselves, the possibilities are endless.
Plus, it makes the season more meaningful.
And the lessons more powerful.
Adds Jinks: “One of the things that was preached to me when I was in high school is when you can start to understand and work toward things that are out there that are bigger than yourself that working for the group opens up a lot more avenues for you as the years go on.”
Dr. Jesse Michel, mental skills coordinator for the World Series Champion Houston Astros, on helping young athletes improve focus and concentration to perform at their best
University of Tulsa football coach Philip Montgomery on the importance of sending players home in a positive frame of mind
Olympic swimming great Dana Vollmer, winner of five gold medals, challenges coaches of all youth sports to find the most effective ways to motivate all their young athletes
Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman on empowering and inspiring young athletes