FNF Coaches Talk — Building resilience, Texas player with autism scores, honoring seniors

FNF Coaches Talk

Happy Friday, Coach! Here’s today’s three-pack of stories.

1. What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others (New York Times)

I really enjoyed this story, and immediately thought about sharing it with high school football coaches. The writer makes the case that a person’s resilience is something that is shaped in the first 20 years of life. Adversity — like living through a pandemic — doesn’t have to be bad. It can even make us stronger.

The most significant determinant of resilience — noted in nearly every review or study of resilience in the last 50 years — is the quality of our close personal relationships, especially with parents and primary caregivers. Early attachments to parents play a crucial, lifelong role in human adaptation.

“How loved you felt as a child is a great predictor of how you manage all kinds of difficult situations later in life,” said Bessel van der Kolk, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine who has been researching post-traumatic stress since the 1970s. He is the founder of the Trauma Research Foundation in Boston.

Dr. van der Kolk said long-term studies showed that the first 20 years of life were especially critical. “Different traumas at different ages have their own impacts on our perceptions, interpretations and expectations; these early experiences sculpt the brain, because it is a use-dependent organ,” he said.

You can think of resilience as a set of skills that can be, and often is, learned. Part of the skill-building comes from exposure to very difficult — but manageable — experiences, like the one my children and I had.

“Stress isn’t all bad,” said Steven M. Southwick, professor emeritus of psychiatry, PTSD and Resilience at Yale University School of Medicine and co-author of the book “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges.” If you can cope today with all that’s happening in the world around you, Dr. Southwick said, “then when you are on the other side of it, you’ll be stronger.”

Read the entire story about resilience.

How do you try to help your players build resilience?

2. Texas senior defensive lineman with autism spectrum disorder scores first career touchdown (KVUE ABC)

Love this feel-good story on a Friday!

Desmond Pulliam is a senior defensive lineman for Lockhart High School (Texas). He’s been playing football since he was 12, and is a member of the band and the junior ROTC. He also has autism spectrum disorder.

On Thursday night, in Lockhart’s scrimmage against Bastrop High School, he scored his first career touchdown.

“I was hearing the crowd cheering. Everyone was running behind me,” he said in his postgame interview with a slew of reporters. “I was running so fast. I was hyped … Everybody was hyped.”

Pulliam’s scoop and score proved to be the game-winner for Lockhart, and his teammates mobbed him in the end zone to celebrate his accomplishment.

“Can’t say it enough: life is not all about football, but football is all about life,” said Head Coach Todd Moebes. “Being able to create these opportunities through a game, through a platform, to be able to connect the dots with the media to the game to the heart and soul of people, it’s what it’s all about.”

Read this story.

What are you doing to uplift your players this fall?

3. Send us your ideas for recognizing seniors this season (FNF Coaches)

We’re looking for some help in coming up with idea to recognize seniors. It’s so important to us, we’re going to offer prize money to the team that comes up witht eh best idea. Reach out to us on Twitter or email fnf@ae-engine.com.

What will you do to recognize your seniors this season?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk