Advice From a Young Coach

After his first season as a High School Coach, Erick Hernandez learned valuable lessons about his players. We asked him to dive deeper into the top three. Part one of his three part series begins now.

Lesson One: Belief and Confidence

In my first year as a coach, I had plenty of realizations that changed and shaped my perspective in football and in life. As cliché as it sounds, there is undoubtedly a direct connection between football and life. I found this to be profoundly true in my first season as a coach. I coached a team whose players had not had a winning season in three years, meaning not one person in the entire program had experienced a winning season on the varsity level. I joined the coaching staff midway through a culture shift led by Coach Rand Holdren. Sometime in the middle of that season, I realized how important belief was when creating a winning culture, both on and off the field. No one can reach their full potential without believing in him or herself. Confidence is important to maintain through any journey. Despite us getting off to a 5-0 start during my first season as a coach, I found that I believed in my receivers more than they believed in themselves. The last five games of our season, admittedly the toughest stretch of our schedule, made the lack of belief my players had in themselves apparent. It was then that I realized that I expected much more from them than they ever expected from themselves. It was because I saw their full potential, and it was my job to get them to see that as well. It may have taken an entire season for them to collectively believe in themselves but it ended with the first victory against our crosstown rival in four years, finalizing the first winning season at the varsity level for every member of that team. Lesson number one, believe in yourself and have confidence that your work will pay off.

Additionally, once you have established belief in yourself it is important to lead by example for others to follow. That is how people become leaders. Truly everyone has the potential to be a leader; we may each lead differently but we are all capable of some form of leadership. As a former player, I know that the most respected leaders on a football team lead by example on and off the field. Actions carry much more weight than words, although words can be powerful and inspire others as well. Leading with action encourages others to follow with action and that is what affects change within a football program, a community, a friend group, a workspace, or any other group that we encounter in our daily lives. I encourage each of you to believe that you have leadership qualities that are needed in this world; lead with action, speak positive words that inspire others and encourage positive change.