Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 8/20

Tom Radke

By Tom Radke St. James Academy Head Coach
Posted: August 20, 2012 - 3:31 PM

I am sure many coaches have rules, expectations, goals, and mottos that you go over on the first few days of practice each year. I do the same thing, but what I think is the most important thing that we do is to explain to our guys the Thunder Way. It is our program mission statement, coaching philosophy, and virtues that we want our guys to strive to attain.
By knowing what are ultimate goal is as a team (not winning and losing) but to develop great young men, our guys put more focus striving the best that they can be in everything that they do. I teach and coach at St. James Academy, a Catholic school in Lenexa, Kan., so our mission statement, and virtues are more religious based than many public schools would be able to use, but if re-worded properly you could use it for your program. Below is our mission statement and six virtues that we strive to attain everyday.
The Thunder Way
Mission Statement: St. James Academy Football is dedicated to the development of all members of the team spiritually, emotionally, and physically. We will use football as a tool to help these young men grow in each of these areas. We will produce young men that will see football as not just a game, but also as a means by which to become a better Christian and human being.
Coaches:  We will use the great game of football to form character, strengthen hearts, and build habits of righteousness in our young men. We will push our players emotionally, physically, and spiritually to fulfill their greatness that was given to them by God.
Our football players will work daily towards reaching SIX THUNDER VIRTUES. They will use their gifts to strive for greatness. These virtues are known as the THUNDER WAY!
Justice: “To give every individual his due.” We will never put a younger team member down. Our upper classmen will pick the field, not the freshman. We respect everyone and their unique abilities that they bring to the team. It’s about us winning. It’s about us, as a team, getting stronger, playing for God, and becoming better persons. 
Self Control: “To subvert the passions to the fulfillment of the mission at hand.” When you lose control, when you get overly emotional, you lose your focus. In the end the ability to focus makes us better players. We learn how to stay focused on what’s important, on Christ and being like him.
Prudence: “The ability to make right decisions.” Keep your mouth shut when competing. Never question the referrers, and never talk down to an opponent. If you don’t cause trouble, then you won’t allow trouble to find you. Having good judgment will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Courage: “To stay the course and resist pressure of all kinds.” It takes courage to play your hardest and sacrifice yourself for your team. It takes courage to smile through defeat, and to put others feelings before your own. When you exercise that courage, no matter how much it hurts, you will always end up better for it in the end. Stay focused on the bigger picture in spite of the obstacles you may face. Stay the course, no matter what trials come your way that is how you will get to God.
Humility: “To overcome selfishness and serve others habitually.” The primary way to lead your team is through serving the team. The focus for a true leader is not ever on them, but on helping everyone else become better. Leaders set the example of how to treat opponents in competition. Humility will help you become more charitable and humble off the field.
Magnanimity:  “To strive for great things.” Remember we are not playing for our own glory, but for God’s, and that all the suffering we endure during hard practices is nothing compared to the suffering of Christ during his passion. All the pain, all the hard work, can be offered up for others and become stepping stones for holiness for us. And there is nothing greater to strive for than that.
I would like to wish all the coaches, players, and parents a great football seasons! Enjoy the ride, and be safe!