The Turnaround: Friend and Foe gives Pep Talk

Lubbock footballLubbock Cooper HS head coach Max Kattwinkel gave Lubbock HS its pre-game speech on Friday before its win over Lake View.
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by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

At LHS, I pull out all the stops in an effort to motivate and inspire our guys.  It’s what I need to do.  It’s part of our never say die attitude.  Never leave a stone unturned in the search for greatness.  Sometimes my mind leads me down curious avenues (if you know me, you are laughing right now).

Well, last week I had a random thought.  Then I said to myself, nah.  Then I said, wait this is perfect.  And, with one text I got a reply back that said — absolutely!

Last week we were coming off a loss to Lubbock Cooper.  I wanted an outside voice to come-in and tell our guys how much improved they are.  I needed a voice that knows. Someone who saw us and prepared for us.  So, naturally, in the Strunk-way of thinking, I reached out to Lubbock Cooper HC, Max Kattwinkel. Yes, that’s right.  I asked a rival head coach to come speak my team.

And Coach Kattwinkel accepted the invitation like he knew I was going to ask him.  And, just like that I had a guest speaker lined-up for Friday at 12:15, just a few hours before we played Lake View.  Even more impressive is the fact that Kat also had himself a very big game he was getting ready for that same night.

I know it seems crazy: a rival HC, in our own district, coming to be a guest speaker in our locker room.  But if you know Kat and I, it’s just how we do things.  Hell, a few years ago I was a guest speaker at his team dinner before a playoff game.

Kat and I have developed a great friendship.  He is all about kids and helping his coaching colleagues.  He does things the right way.  When you think of leadership, Kat should come to mind.  He is a phenomenal leader.  So to me, this was a no-brainer.

Kat came into the LHS locker room and he owned it as if he was standing in front of his own team.  He had our kids full attention and he delivered a powerful message.

We pulled up HUDL and projected it on our whiteboard.  Kat took us a through a play and broke it down, telling our kids that these are plays that good teams make.  He reinforced to our kids that the progress is evident on the field.

Later on, he showed a movie clip with Christopher Walken.  The clip was from Poolhall Jumkies, the famous “lion speech.”  It hit home for our kids.  They were tuned-in and
hung on every word.  By the end, Kat had our locker room fired up!  We were ready to
hit the field right then!  He left to a fired-up Westerner locker room and ovation.

This really got my blood flowing!

Football is a nasty sport, filled with bitter rivals.  I have never subscribed to the latter.  I think it is a hogwash approach to high school football.  We all need to be about kids.  Kat saw an opportunity to help out a great group of kids and a friend of his.  This is what it should all be about.

I will leave you with this and this basically sums up who Kat is and what he is all about.  I thanked Kat for coming-in and his reply was this: “No need to thank me. I’m leaving better than when I walked in.”

What else can you possibly say?

This is what high school athletics should be about.

Thank you, Kat!


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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.