Don’t Give Up on Your Players During the Game

Even though there are so many reasons why a team may win or lose, the Steelers made an epic leadership mistake that cost them the game this week. They gave up on one of their players during the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 23-20 in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens on this week on Thursday night football.

Ugghhh…Raised in Pittsburgh, I’m a huge Steelers fan and am more than passionate about my team.

Josh Scobee, Steelers Kicker, missed 2 field goals in the 4th quarter (click for NFL video). That gave every opportunity for the Ravens to tie it up and send them to overtime, which is exactly what happened.

Kickkick 2

In overtime, the Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin, refused any more kick attempts and instead went for it on 4th down…Twice…Failed…Twice…(Click for NFL video) The Ravens ended up kicking and winning the game on a field goal.

To recap, Coach Tomlin gave up on his kicker, went for it, and the team lost.

Many are blaming the kicker for missing the 4th quarter field goals. In fact, he’ll probably be fired.

I blame the leader. The coach lost the game. He gave up on his kicker, made an emotional decision instead of the right decision, and the team suffered.

He didn’t sideline the top receiver for only getting 42 yards. Or the offense for only being 2/13 on 3rd downs. Or the quarterback for only throwing 126 yards on 26 receptions, the fewest amount of yards on that many attempts since 2003. In fact, on one of the failed 4th downs in overtime, he gave the ball to his quarterback instead of the kicker. Bad emotional decision.

Scobee, the kicker, said after the game:
“I feel like I let the team down and it’s not something that I ever want to remember doing. It’s a bad feeling.”
“I wish I had been able to come through, but it just wasn’t my night.”
“I wanted to redeem myself, but I didn’t get it.”

Don’t give up on your players during the game!

Find a way to bring them back if things aren’t working. You can always make changes or improvements later, but during the game, it is the responsibility of the leader to make sure that all players are motivated, feel supported, and are 100% all in.

Leaders can be administrators, teacher leaders, teachers in the classroom, student leaders, or anyone in a position that may help the team succeed.

As a school leader, there are many times that it can become easy to emotionally write staff members off or push them to the side. They may even deserve it, like the kicker in this game. Leaders have to rise above the emotional reaction and force themselves to believe in their players.

At the end of the school year, things may change, but until then, it is the leaders job to continue to put the staff members in a position to be successful. What do they need? Give it to them. We can’t give up, no matter what. Put on your game face, give them a pep talk, and put them back out there on the field.

Don’t give up on your students!

Especially if the student is giving up on themselves. A student may struggle, fail miserably, or may even have a bad attitude. Teachers have to rise above and be positive. Make the student feel that no matter what, you believe in the them to succeed the next time.

A clear example of this is group work. Students are separated sometimes due to behavioral needs, but do you keep them separated? Or do you try every day to put those students back into the group? Or are these students separated for long periods of time, sidelined due to past failures?

Another example is student performance. Do you give up on students that seem like they will never get the concepts you are teaching? Their scores are just too low? Do you sideline them and instead work with students that seem to be picking it up faster?

It’s not easy, but who ever said leadership in schools and in the classroom was easy? Nothing worth doing is easy.

Don’t forget past successes!

The Steelers kicker actually made a field goal earlier in this game. How quickly we forget successes and only remember past failures! Think of that student or that staff member. You know the one I’m talking about. Are you forgetting their successes and only thinking about their past failures?

Teams break down when they start to give up on their individual players.

Next time you run into a situation where you think it’s time to sideline your player, remember that in the end, most likely your team will fail for that decision. Don’t give up on them!

Click to Tweet the Takeaway: “Administrators & Teachers: Don’t give up on your players. Put them back out on the field!”
Tweet: Administrators & Teachers: Don't give up on your players. Put them back out on the field!

Thanks Hamish Brewer @BrewerHM for your help with the inspiration for this post!