The Turnaround: Inside Perspective

by Brandt Martin
Lubbock High School Special Teams Coach
Follow @BrandtAMartin

Many of you read the blog and get a continuous view of The Turnaround from Strunk’s perspective. You read about the staff, the players, and the process as told from Strunk’s point of view, but you rarely read our perspective on The Turnaround. Toda,y I get the privilege of giving my perspective as a member of Strunk’s coaching staff.

Introduction

Before I dive into the inside perspective of a coach on Strunk’s staff, let me start with a quick introduction. My name is Brandt Martin, I am the Head Soccer Coach at Lubbock High School and a member of the Special Teams staff, focused mainly on kickers and punters. If you read the blog regularly, or follow Strunk on Twitter, I am often referred to as Martin, Nitram, Meathead and occasionally John Candy. Although Meathead and John Candy were before my time (I had to look Meathead up) the staff gets a kick out of our resemblance (or, in my opinion, lack thereof). I am entering my third year at Lubbock High, and this is my first coaching gig. Coach Strunk took a risk when he hired me as the head soccer coach without any prior coaching experience, and I am thankful he did.

Strunk

Coach Strunk is a character. He doesn’t like you to tell him good morning, so I made sure to do so every day my first year. He is very intense and enjoys to yell; believe me, if our special teams screws up I’m going to find out about it, no matter where he is on the field. He is passionate about football and he understands the game; he also understands the importance of a solid staff, and he has worked hard to put the right pieces in place and he has done a great job. This is by far the best staff in America; we each complement each other in a different way, we all get along, and we have a great time doing it. Coach Strunk has worked hard to develop the program, and our staff is proof of that. We are a family, and that is a theme that is now becoming apparent in the players on our team, not just with the staff.

Thick Skin

Coach Strunk talks continuously about our staff and the chemistry that exists. I joke with my wife that we should not be getting paid to have as much fun as we do. We all bring something to the table that is unique, and we all love what we do and it makes coming to work fun. With that being said, you have to have thick skin because everyone is fair game and shots are fired on a regular basis, especially if you decide to grow nasty mustaches (defensive staff) or try to limit the use of your players, equipment, projector, ideas, etc. (offensive staff). The staff understands that their individual positions are never going to be as solid every week as my kickers will be, and for some, that is hard to accept. All joking aside, we enjoy what we do and we all get along, and we understand at the end of the day we all have one common goal and that’s to develop young boys into successful young men, both on and off the field, and we work hard to make that happen. Football is fun and coaching is a blast, and if it becomes a job, then you have lost the focus of why we do what we do.

Culture Change

With any turnaround, it starts with the culture of your team. With my soccer team I stress the importance of working to create a culture of excellence. In order to have a turnaround, you have to change the culture and beliefs of the players. My first year here (Strunk’s 2nd year), the common theme AMONG PLAYERS seemed to be a lack of belief. The player’s wanted to believe and buy in, but when it came down to it, if something went wrong their belief was “this is supposed to happen because we’re Lubbock High”. My second year, the theme AMONG PLAYERS was selfishness, and it was brutal. The team was focused on individual stats, individual successes, and individual recognition rather than focused on the team as one unit. This year has been different, and the culture is changing. The team has bought in, the team is focused on a common goal, and this team loves each other and wants each other to have success. The theme AMONG PLAYERS, from my perspective, this year has been family. We preach it every day to the boys, we’re a family, and for a vast majority of our boys the only family they have. To see the change in culture excites this staff and excites this team because all the hard work is paying off and we are on-track to have one of the best seasons Lubbock High has had in several decades.

Randomness

Strunk ends with random thoughts, so I will too…
– The Texas Rangers may be the worst team in baseball right now; they still managed to beat Strunk’s Yankees two out of three last month.
– The Lubbock High Soccer team has won 24 games in the past two years; they had won 3 games in the previous 3 years combined.
– NITRAM is my name backwards; Strunk gave me this nickname and it stuck

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.