FNF Coaches Talk — ‘Football City, USA’ Saves Youth, Building a Culture, Oklahoma Players Donate Hair

It’s Thursday, and we know there’s no time to waste. Let’s get right to the stories.

1. In ‘Football City, USA,’ 2 coaches use the game to ‘save’ Rock Hill youth (Post and Courier)

We love reading stories about football inspiring and — even in some cases — “saving” young people. This is a story about a football community we used to cover regularly when we published FNF Carolinas Magazine.

Rock Hill is known is as a football hotbed. The list of names to come out of the city is expansive, including former South Carolina stars Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Gilmore and current Clemson starter Derion Kendrick.

Rock Hill is also what some may call a “high-risk” community.

In 2017, Rock Hill had the fifth-highest homicide rate among South Carolina cities of at least 30,000 people, according to data compiled by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Coaches Perry Sutton and Pat Kennedy outfit the next generation of “Football City, USA” by running the Sylvia Circle Demons, a local youth football organization. They’re doing more than helping to settle neighborhood bragging rights; they’re living out their mission.

We all know head injuries have cast a shadow over football and kick-started a nationwide debate over what age kids should begin playing the sport. In Rock Hill, football is seen as a way out.

The growth of Rock Hill as a football incubator has created a positive feedback loop for its young boys. The Demons players leave the shed on the overcast morning, giddy, with white garbage bags full of equipment slung over their shoulders.
For three decades, Kennedy and Sutton have served as two of the city’s foremost shepherds for young men, equal parts football coaches and life counselors. They’re bonded by a shared mission: How many kids can they save?

How does the sport of football impact your community in a positive way?

2. Building A Coaching Culture For Your Organization, Your Team And Yourself (Forbes)

It’s rare to find good football coaching stories in Forbes, but this is one we think you’ll enjoy.

We all know that no coach has all of the answers, but for some reason, we hesitate to admit that to our players. This article points to studies that show that admitting that you don’t have all the answers won’t make you any less effective as a leader.

Leadership requires emotional intelligence. Self-awareness, empathy and stress management are a few of the emotional intelligence skills that leaders as coaches develop and display. Depending on your experience as a leader, you may be most familiar and comfortable with coaching for performance improvement — that coaching is a technique you use when something is going wrong. But what if you flipped that idea around and used coaching as a technique to foster development and growth for your employees?

We also hear coaches say that finding a mentor is so important. Seek out people who know things you don’t. And let them help you grow in your profession.

If your organization is ready to invest in leadership transformation to build a coaching culture, external coaches can help bridge the skill or time gap. Finding a cadre of coaches that you can draw from and use on an ongoing basis can increase the effectiveness of the coaching engagement.

How do you create a growth environment in which every member of your staff and team is challenging himself to improve?

3. Oklahoma team donates hair to children who need it (KOCO News ABC 5)

We know how much pride some players take in looking good on and off the field. Find a mirror in a high school football team’s locker room, and you’re bound to find one or two players standing in front of it.

That’s why this story caught our eye. It’s a story of a group of Oklahoma players sacrificing their treasured hair to benefit kids who need it.

Davenport Bulldogs football players had been growing their hair out when they decided to cut their hair and donate it to the organization Children With Hair Loss. The Michigan-based group works to empower children to become whole again by making hair available to those who might be financially challenged and might have otherwise not have means of obtaining the hair they want and need.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve seen one of your players make 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