PrACTice Like A Champion

If you follow our blog, you know that over the past 2 years I have posted a few blogs related to coaching my oldest son’s youth football team. Well it’s that time of year again as we enter our 3rd season with the team. Each year, the athletic boosters put together a “Spirit Wear” package for the players, parents and coaches to purchase that typically includes a t-shirt, with some type of motivational message, and matching shorts. Last year the slogan was “Out Work, Out Hustle, Out Hit”, and in all honesty, I really didn’t like it all that much. This year’s shirts have the motto “PrACTice Like A Champion” which plays right into the mentality our coaching staff tries to instill in our young players.

The head coach and I attended a youth football coaching clinic over the winter that was put on by our local NFL team, the Cincinnati Bengals, to further develop skills to help our players. During the clinic, one particular NFL positions coach used the term I.M.P.A.C.T. as an acronym for “I Might Provide A Critical Thought, Teaching or Technique”. This message really hit home for us with not only how we communicate with our players but also how we interact with each other, referees, parents, opposing coaches and players, etc. We are dealing with 8-9 year old kids who are very impressionable so how they see their leaders (coaches) act can play a large role in their own behavior.

Over and over we remind the kids during practice and in games that win or lose, we are going to respect the game and play it the right way. Too many times you see professional and sometimes collegiate athletic teams disrespect their respective sport by cheating or playing “dirty” to try and gain a competitive edge. Heck, during some of our own peewee games we’ve had opposing players get frustrated and try to take out key players or have coaches instruct their players to take a cheap shot after a play has been whistled dead. Now, I’m as competitive of a person as there is, but I will NEVER understand this type of mindset. These are young kids, playing a GAME. At the end of the day, you put your uniform on, line up and let the game play itself out – may the best team win. For our team, this year’s motto “PrACTice Like A Champion”, we hope is going to serve more purpose than just relating to our football program but rather as a way they go about each day.

While we don’t compete in sports at EXAIR, we do put in the “Practice” behind the scenes in being “Champions” to our industry. We are constantly working on developing new products to support our customer’s ever changing needs. For example, we recently released our NEW Catalog 31 which features several new products like our VariBlast Safety Air Guns, Sanitary Flanged Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors and our NEW Gen4 Static Eliminators.

Click on the photo to order a FREE copy of our NEW Catalog 31

If you need assistance with selecting any of these new products or to “tackle” a particular application, contact one of our team members and let us put our championship mindset to work for you.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

Proud Coach (and Dad)

If you read the EXAIR blog you may have noticed that a few of my recent posts have involved being an assistant coach for my son’s youth football team. We finished our regular season schedule with a 9-1 record which earned us the #2 seed for the playoffs and a 1st round bye. Pretty good for a first year team with only 3 kids who have played before and 14 newcomers.

8 Jersey
Proud to be #8’s dad! (and coach)

Our school district had several K5 and 1st graders sign up for youth football this year so we needed to have 2 teams – our squad was Milford Team White and the other was Milford Team Red. As fate would have it, the Red team won their first round game and would be our semi-final game opponent. A lot of our players go to school and our friends with kids on the other team, which created a bit of angst as they didn’t want to lose to them and, as one player said, “hear about it all week at school”. On the other hand, a few of them didn’t want to beat them because they knew it would end their friend’s season. As coaches we had to convince these little guys that it’s ok to be buddies but for 32 minutes (game time) they need to be focused on why we are here because their friends on other team are going to do everything they can to send us home.

Game day arrived and we assembled our team for check ins and warm ups. After our allotted 30 minutes warm up time we took to mid-field where we won the coin toss and elected to start the game on offense. We have had some issues during the year with our center to quarterback exchange so we had worked on that all week in practice, though apparently not enough. The first snap dropped to the ground and the other team jumped on the ball. Our defense was able to stop them from gaining 10 yards so we got the ball back on downs and our offense stepped to the line for our second series. Once again we dropped the snap but were able to recover the ball, so we called a timeout to calm our guys down and get them refocused. Facing a 2nd and 10, we cleanly snapped the ball and handed it off to our running back who raced down the sideline for the game’s first TD. We converted the 2-point conversion and secured a lead at 8-0.

Our excitement was short lived as the other team was able to break through themselves and score their first TD but were unable to score the 2-point conversion. Holding a 2 point lead at 8-6 with only 2 minutes left before halftime, our QB/center exchange issue again reared it’s ugly head and we fumbled the ball away to the opposing team. With time running out in the first half, they were able to navigate their way down the field and score another TD and this time the conversion to hold a 14-8 advantage at halftime. We headed to the sideline to regroup and reenergize our boys for the second half.

In the second half the opponents recognized our snap issues and they started to blitz on every defensive play. Their plan worked and in the second half we were only able to complete 2 “clean” snaps. Our defense held strong but with us not being able to move the ball on offense, we ended up losing the game by a final score of 14-8.

It was hard to see our kids so disappointed about losing but that’s part of playing a sport. There has to be a winner and a loser and at the end of a season, there is only 1 team that is truly happy. For me personally, I was bummed that it’s over but as a coach, I couldn’t be more proud of these little guys. Many have never played ANY type of organized sport and they gave it their all and have grown so much in the last few months. To finish the season with a 9-1 record and 3rd place overall is a victory for any 1st year team and coaches. This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am truly going to miss it. So until next year, WAR EAGLE and good luck to Milford Team Red, bring home that championship trophy!

Milford Eagles Team 17 White
New addition to my son’s trophy shelf.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN