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Having coached youth football for almost 13 years, I was recently asked by a friend what is the key to a successful team. Obviously, success can be measured in many ways: Wins/Losses, Improved Player Skill/Ability, Positive Team Chemistry just to name a few. But what is the “secret sauce” that increases your chances of achieving one (if not all) of these successful outcomes? I believe that the key is to have your players buy into EXTREME OWNERSHIP.

What is extreme ownership? I “borrowed” the term from a couple of ex-Navy Seals – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (please don’t tell them or they might find me and kick my ass). In their book, Extreme Ownership – How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, they describe the principles behind being a more productive employee, a more engaged parent or a better student-athlete. Once people stop making excuses, stop pointing fingers and take ownership of their mistakes and shortcomings, they are compelled to take action to solve their problems.

Unfortunately, many parents have raised their children to look for someone else to blame when things don’t go their way. How many times have you heard “the teacher doesn’t like me”, “the coach is playing favorites” or “it’s not my fault”? As a coach, it can be challenging to change this type of mindset. However, once your (athlete, student, employee, partner) buys into the concept that they have control over their potential outcome, they feel empowered. Fostering the concept of self-determination will not only lead to success on the football field, but also in life.

Jeff Bryk, FITT-RX Trainer

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