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Beating the Odds

Impossible Advice

Lou Holtz got smoked before he got smart.

Holtz, who coached football for more than 40 years, including a national championship season at Notre Dame, finds lessons everywhere. He tells of something he learned in losing his debut as a head college coach.

Quoted in his book “Winning Every Day,” the lesson made a deep impression on Holtz, and can help you do things that may seem out of your reach.

Today marks Day 9 — exactly halfway — of a 17-day, multi-media seminar on “How to Do the Impossible.” Dr. Rob Gilbert is laying it out on his daily Success Hotline at (973) 743-4690, while I’m blogging here at Total Game Plan.

Holtz opened the 1970 season with his William & Mary squad facing West Virginia. Holtz, who was from nearby Ohio, had many family and friends at the game. They didn’t see much to cheer about, as Holtz’s team lost 41-7.

Afterwards, Holtz confronted West Virginia Coach Bobby Bowden, saying, “Bobby, I thought we were friends. How could you keep piling on points like that in front of my family?”

Bowden’s reply made it into Holtz’s book in a chapter titled “Do Your Job!”

“Lou,” Bowden replied, “it’s your job to keep the score down, not mine. You can only coach one football team and that’s yours. You can’t coach yours and mine. If you don’t want to get beat badly, get better athletes, coach better, or change the schedule.”


Do your job. Control what you can control. Don’t get caught up in distractions. Take responsibility instead of looking for excuses.

You can sum it up with 10 two-letter words: If it is to be, it is up to me.”

That doesn’t mean you should go it alone. It means that if you want to do the impossible, you must never blame circumstances. Either do it or don’t do it. Don’t wait for things to just happen your way. Make things happen. No excuses.

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. If your team, group or business needs a motivational speaker, please email coachtully @ totalgameplan.com. Here are some other resources for your success:

Think Better, Win More!” will give you a mental game to match your physical game.

To get better at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success.”

Need some motivation? Everyone needs it now and then. Open any page of “Thank God You’re Lazy! The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back” for a story or a quote to lift your spirits.

Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.


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