BC105: Randy Jackson | Grapevine High School Football | Building a Championship Culture #Pillar2

This week’s guest is one of the most respected high school football coaches in the nation.  Randy Jackson is the head football coach at Grapevine High School in Grapevine, TX, and was named the 2015 Tom Landry High School Football Coach of the Year.  He is one of the most sought-after speakers on Championship Culture, Team Building and Mental Toughness.  In this podcast he breaks down some of the best strategies you will ever hear for building mental toughness and a championship culture in your program.

You can follow Coach Jackson on Twitter @CoachJacksonTPW.

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Cain: Hey how are you doing? Brian Cain your Peak Performance coach here with another episode of the Peak Performance Podcast. Today our guest is Randy Jackson. He is the head football coach at Grapevine High School in Grapevine, Texas, and one of the most sought after coaches and speakers on creating a championship culture and building mental toughness through high school sports. The motto of his program is very simple – TPW, tough people win. That is something that Randy Jackson does.

When he took over the Grapevine high school football program, before he got there they had a string of losing seasons. They were 1-9 in their last season in 2013. He took over the helm in 2014 and immediate success going 3-8. Then in 2015 they pushed the envelope to 8-3 and he was named 2015 Tom Landry High School Football Coach of the Year.

This is going to be one podcast that you are definitely going to want to listen to over and over again as part of automobile university – as you’re driving – and one that you’re go into want to listen to and sit down and take notes.

Coach Jackson, thanks for joining us on the podcast.

Jackson: Thanks Brian. I’m honored to be here. I’ve listened to your podcast for a long time and I’m really honored to get to sit down with you today.

Cain: I’m glad you’re here. Could you take our listeners through your story in terms of high school football coaching and how you got to where you are now at Grapevine?

Jackson: Well I’ll tell you I’m a man well traveled. This is my 26th year of coaching, my 16th as a head coach. I started at the smallest level you could in a little West Texas town called Paducah. 120 students. 25 kids playing football.

I just moved. My wife and I have been married 21 years. We’ve lived in 14 houses. So I’ve just moved and moved and moved and kind of move up the ladder. I’ve been fired once and all that stuff that happens to coaches. But we’ve got two kids and as they’re getting more – they’re in high school no so knew I needed to get some stability.

So in 2010 I got my big break as far as going from small schools. In 2010 I got the job at Mesquite Poteet and really caught a big. They were 0-10 before we got there and we went 12-3 that first year. Just kind of got me out there I guess. Like I say it was just kind of an “angels in the outfield” kind of year. So I stayed at Poteet three years and went to Plano East for a year. It’s one of the biggest high schools in the United States – 6,000 students. I wasn’t a good fit there. My son was in 8th grade. We stayed a year.

I’ve been at Grapevine two years but I feel like we are really moving in the right direction and I love it here and hope to be here for a while.

Cain: You’ve turned around a lot of programs in a short period of time. How do you do it?

Jackson: I think the biggest thing that I’ve done is make sure that I sell the vision. When I got the job in Mesquite, the second day on the job one of the coaches told me “you just don’t understand, Coach, the band makes fun of the football team here and it’s in a bad shape.” So I knew that that was my priority was to go in and just instill confidence and sell the vision.

I think a leader is a dealer in hope. That is what I do. I’m always trying to talk about the future and how good we’re going to be. I think it’s a self-fulfilled prophecy a lot of times, especially for high school students. They’ll buy what you’re selling. We work on them really hard and we earn victory and all that stuff but when I come into a place I’m not saying “we’re building for the future” I say “we’re going to be better tomorrow than we are today.” I learned this really from you. I say “be a 1% warrior and get better every day and sell the vision.”

Cain: You talk about vision and TPW and I’ve had the opportunity to be in your office and spend some time at your complex. You see TPW everywhere. Talk a little bit about how you came up with that and what that means.

Jackson: When I became the head coach in Lone Oak, Texas – it’s a school of about 300 not going to win, sprint relays, but just some blue collar kid who were tough – I knew that’s what I needed to build on. So we started with TPW in 2004 and I liked it. I really had never heard anybody using it. One of my assistant coaches mentioned it to me. He had seen it before (I think) on the back of a cross country shirt or something. But anyway.

So every school I’ve been at I’ve taken it with me and they’ve liked it. For me toughness is not about ability. It’s just not about anything except are you a warrior or not and the mental toughness. So I think anybody can be tough. We’ve had a lot of success with it. We’ll change our slogans from year to year but TPW is a constant and it’s our brand.

Cain: You also talk about the championship culture of Grapevine football. Could you go through the hand signal that you guys use that ties in with the core principles and kind of the whole picture? You do so many amazing things with the championship culture at your program, and we’ll get into some of the strategies and the activities and things that you do, but let’s start with the foundation of what are the principles that make up the championship culture of Grapevine football?

Jackson: When you walked in my office in August of 2015 it really just changed my life. I love this story. You asked me what our core values were and I told you, you didn’t see them anywhere, and you explained to me how to do it. So I’m one of those if I learn something good I’m all in. We went all in and I let the players be in on creating our core values and we have a hand signal that they have to do to get their decals on the side of their helmet.

So for us I believe you ought to assign a day of the week to your core values and that is your emphasis for the day. It helps you talk to your team. It gives you a theme of the day. But in football in Texas it can be 100 degrees on a Monday. I know it can be in other states too. But Monday is the day that if you’re not intentional you can have a mediocre workout. So for us Monday is Energy and Tempo and we take our thumb and we move it around like we’re stirring a pot.

Then Tuesday is Competition Tuesday and we take our index finger and we point as us and then our opponent, like me versus you. Then Wednesday we take our middle finger and that is Toughness Wednesday. With our middle finger we go from our temple to our hip and that is mental/physical toughness back and forth. Thursday is Family and Appreciation and that is our ring finger – like for where your wedding ring would be – and we slide our thumb and index finger of our other hand up and down. Then Friday is Discipline Friday and we take our pinky and point at our sternum and say “count on me, I am disciplined.”

Those really are specific core values. But I added an open fist that we raise in the air and that is Finish. I am a big believer in Finish. Then Payday is getting what you’ve earned. So we’ll hold our hand up in the air for Finish then we slam it down and that’s Payday and that is game day for us. So we’ve got a few more than the days of the week. But the game is something where we talk about getting what you’ve earned and let’s go get paid.

Cain: So it’s Energy and Tempo Monday, Competition Tuesday, Mental and Physical Toughness Wednesday, Appreciation Thursday, Discipline Friday, and we’re going to Finish because it’s Payday.

Jackson: Exactly.

Cain: Could you kind of talk about some of the activities that you do with your team, some of the awesome things that you wrote about in your book – which is super exciting. You are coming out with a book about championship culture. Could you talk about some of the activities that you do that really help your players to understand one of the key principles in life – that nothing is given and everything is earned. You make them earn everything.

Jackson: Everything. I’ve got two kids in high school and I want to be in Grapevine, Texas, because I want them to live here. But there are not a whole lot of things around this – I guess maybe in every area but I laughingly say the worst thing that happens to kids in Grapevine is they get cut off at Starbucks or something. It’s just not a place where you have to fight for your next meal around here and I’m glad that’s where my family is. But you have to be intentional about being tough. So we make sure our kids earn everything.

Probably my favorite activity would be when the season is over with we are going to take everybody out of the varsity locker room, we are going to put them in the JV locker room, we are going to take them and just give them the worst stuff we can give them. We’re going to give them a white T-shirt with a big question mark on it, we’re going to write their name on the back of the shirt with a Sharpie, and we’re going to give them some old football pants that we’ve cut off that are not anything anybody wants to wear, and all those kids are going to stay in that locker room for about two months. Then we’re going to start bringing them. We’re going to make them wrestle each other and the winner will get to move into the varsity locker room.

It’s a very organized way that we do it. The first kid that gets over goes into locker #1 and after he is over there a couple days he and I are going to meet and we’re going to decide which two guys need to wrestle to get into locker #2. So it’s a systematic deal. But they are not getting to that varsity locker room without earning your way in there. So that is just one of the things that we do.

We talk a lot about earn everything every day. So anything that we can do to make sure that they realize that nothing is going to be given to them we try to do.

Cain: Coach Jackson, I love some of the creative outside-of-the-box things that you do to help build that championship culture and getting your players to realize that to whom much is given much is expected in that they have to earn everything. Could you talk about that reading to schools program that you do? I think any coach that is listening to this could duplicate that with their program.

Jackson: We call it Read to Succeed. We’ve got six elementary schools that feed eventually into our high school. I’ll just email those principals and say “we have these six dates that we can send some guys over for 45 minutes.” Of those six dates we want to go to each elementary schools and I’ll just say “first come first serve for which date.” So they’ll send it over.

We’re a unit type of team so Day 1 maybe my offensive line coach is in charge and he’ll get some offensive linemen in there and they’ll go to that school. We put jerseys on them. The principals will have a map for them and they’ll just go read to kids. Like anything our guys get more out of it than the little ones do. But it’s an awesome deal. I just believe you’ve got to figure out ways to make sure your team – it’s a place those guys can’t live without so the more we do things like that together then the more that they’re going to lay in traffic for each other.

We call it MSO – Mustang serving others. So any of our community service things – and I’ll send out to our parents an email of “hey if you have any community service ideas let us know” so we try to do community service as much as we can.

Cain: One thing you also do is you have a little ice cream activity that your players and people like a lot. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Jackson: It’s great. I’m at SMU for spring football and Coach Chad Morris is the most hospitable college head football coach ever I think. So he lets us sit in the team meetings with them. So I’m in a team meeting and he’s talking about a professor’s diner and Mark Smith (who has been on a podcast before) – I said “Mark, what is this professor’s dinner?” He told me that every player gave a professor a handwritten invitation and they invited them to practice and they had a dinner for them after practice. Well that is just something our teachers live everywhere so we made it fit us.

So before our spring game all of our players gave a handwritten invitation to their teachers and we had an ice cream social for them. We had all the fixing for a Sunday. The players took the order. We set the teachers down. Then we had every player with a microphone – let’s say four players invited Ms. Smith and all four players would get Ms. Smith and they’d say why she was special to them. I had all of them take a selfie with Miss. Smith. It was a great time.

And I sent it to all the teachers. It’s invitation-only and if you didn’t get invited then we aren’t everything at Grapevine football. Next year maybe you do something a little different maybe and get invited. But great feedback on that. It took about 30 minutes and was great for our kids to stand up and show appreciation to others and great PR too for our teachers, showing them appreciation.

Cain: I love that. The teachers who aren’t there you let them know that “hey everything is earned around here, nothing is given.” It’s fantastic.

Jackson: That’s right.

Cain: As teachers we all need to be reminded of that as well. Talk about the Breakfast With Champions idea.

Jackson: When I was in Mesquite we started this. I believe this, that 200 years from now if we’re not the dominant country in the world it will be because we don’t have enough parents mentoring our kids.

We have a mentor program. What I did in Mesquite was invited men from the community to come up and participate in a game day morning. We call it “Breakfast With Champions.” We have men from the community that will come. We will show a highlight video of the week before. All our kids are sitting in the middle. Our parents are standing around. Any community member is invited. They bring breakfast for the players. That is kind of their ticket to get in is some breakfast tacos from Sonic or wherever so there are a bunch of different kind of breakfast foods there. We have a little five minute highlight video. Our team chaplain will give about a 12 minute devotional. We’ll talk about players of the week from last week. I’ll talk about the keys to victory for that night.

So it’s kind of a way for some community members to kind of get into the locker room, kind of feel a part of it. When it’s over with we have all the players shake everybody’s hand and look them in the eye and thank them for coming. When the game is over with we don’t let players down on the field but anybody who came to Breakfast With Champions are ten invited to come out to the field and be a part of everything. So it has been a really good deal.

Cain: Could you also talk about your Football 101 for Moms which I think is something that could be duplicated in any sport. I know TCU baseball has a Women’s Night. Could you talk a little bit about that Football 101 for Moms?

Jackson: One of our most popular events. In late July we are going to have a Football 101 for Moms and we are going to just break down everything for them about the football season coming up.

I’m going to invite our team doctor and give him 15 minutes and talk about his role. We’re going to talk about concussions and what the protocol is. I’ve got a football official who is going to come and talk about what football officials do. They ask him some great questions. Everybody gets a little bit. Basically every speaker gets about 10 minutes and then about 5 minutes of Q&A. We have a nutritionist that comes in and talks about what they should be feeding their kids on game day. We practice in the mornings at Grapevine so what kind of breakfast they need to make sure they get. My offensive coordinator speaks. Our defensive coordinator speaks. I’ll speak about some things. One of our coach’s wives will speak. So it’s about an hour and a half totally dedicated to moms.

We started it last June and had about 75 moms. We feel like it will be easily over 100 this year because it was just so well received. We give them all a box lunch, the same exact pregame meal that our players eat. Give them a T-shirt. Just like a college recruiter (I guess) if you can win over that mom you’ve got a chance to sign that player so we’re trying to win over moms. I think any program – like you mentioned baseball – anybody should have a night for the moms.

Cain: You guys are really big on relationships at Grapevine and one of the things you do is you have Relationship Dinners. Could you talk a little bit about those? I think that something (again) that any coach could benefit from doing.

Jackson: Yes. I’m always on my assistant coaches about taking their position group to Cici’s or somewhere and making sure – we say this all the time. If your players won’t lay in traffic for you then we have a problem. So we’re trying to win them over. We’re trying to fascinate them every day. Our players do not want to let us down.

After about a year of this I kind of realized, being the head coach, that I was really not doing my part. So I decided to every month invite 15 players over to my house – different age groups, different position groups. My wife cooks spaghetti, salad. One of the moms will send a dessert.

The kids will eat for about 45 minutes and then we’ll gather up in my living room and we’ll make a big semi circle and we have questions that we talk about. We’ll just kind of go around the room. I’ll ask them ‘hey tell us about your siblings” and everybody will go. Then we’ll go another question and “hey what’s your best football memory from middle school or little league” and we ask that one pretty early because it kind of gets them going and gets them talking. “What is your favorite core value and why?” “What is one of your goals for spring football?” This is kind of a spring semester deal. We just kind of get into those kind of deals. The last question is “what is the worst thing that ever happened to you?” So we talk to them about the trust in the room and being able to share.

It’s about an hour and a half. Maybe close to two hours. When we walk out of there all of us know each other a little bit more. Again, I just think that the really great teams are the ones that don’t want to let each other down. So we’ve got guys in there who the more you know about each other the less you want to let each other down. I live pretty close to the high school and so I think it’s just a good thing for every time a kid drives by my house, if they’ve been in my house and eaten before, I think that’s a positive also.

Cain: And you said you don’t do that with just the seniors you do that with all players?

Jackson: All players. I really an intentional about a sophomore defensive back and a senior offensive linemen being in there together. I think that is a great deal to make sure that there are different groups of kids who would not normally ever talk to each other.

Cain: That is awesome. And you do that every year so if they’re a sophomore on the varsity they are going to have three meals in your house by the time they graduate.

Jackson: Exactly.

Cain: That is awesome. You guys do a leadership retreat – which I know that you may refer to as a “leadership advance” because I know there is no retreat in Grapevine football, everything is about advancing and moving forward. Talk a little bit about that leadership advance with how that helps with the family and relationships?

Jackson: I’ve got a buddy who has an organization. He’ll get me a house. Last year we went to a lake about 80 miles away. It was a big cabin. We went and spent the night and his organization helped feed us. We had some activities. We shot skeet. Of course the kids played touch football. It’s just a way for us to go spend the night somewhere and really just be together. We had some organized activities too, some speakers and things like that.

We got a lot of great feedback from that. Kids in the city, they don’t get to go – we didn’t really camp out but it’s the closest thing to camping that some of these guys have done. It just comes back to is it a program that they can’t live without or not and you’ve got to do things like that to fascinate them and make sure they can’t live without you.

Cain: You’ve said this a couple times. I want to make sure we dissect and have you talk about that. You talk about “I want to fascinate them daily.” What do you mean?

Jackson: Well this is all Pete Carroll’s Win Forever book and I encourage everybody to read this book no matter what sport you’re in. He mentioned this in that book and that is what we are trying to do is when they show up every day it needs to be the best part of their day.

So in Texas we have an athletic period so we get them every day for an hour and a half and it needs to be the best hour and a half of their day. It needs to be the tough hour and a half of their day but it needs to be their best. So we’re going to spend 30 minutes in leadership development and then we’re going to grind on for an hour. But it needs to be something they look forward to because we’re fascinating on them. Anything that we can think of I want to fascinate them.

We do graphic T Thursdays. So every coach on Thursday needs to have a graphic T that is just ridiculous. I’ve got one with Andre the Giant on it. Whatever. So it’s kind of goofy, yeah.

Cain: It’s awesome.

Jackson: But our players love it and we’re fascinating them. We got this idea from you but we have a closed Facebook group and we allow our players to post on it. We talk about it all the time. We’re trying to fascinate them so if I see a good video or a picture quote or something I’m putting that on our Facebook group, I’m texting them saying “hey get on this and answer it.” But if you go on vacation post on this. So it’s about relationships and fascinating them. Any way we can think of to do it we do it.

Cain: Go a little bit deeper on that Facebook group and kind of how you use that and how it has been beneficial for you.

Jackson: Oh it’s just been tremendous. Every day we start at 8:00 AM and they’re in our meeting room and our computer is on and on that screen our Facebook page is going to be on there. That is what we are going to teach off of on our character. We used to have a champion’s notebook and we had them printed and passed out to everybody but now we just use our Facebook group.

So what I’ll do is I’ll pretty much daily will find something that I think is something our team needs to talk about – and this is in the off season. During the season it’s a little bit more structured. But during the off season I’ll text them and say “hey get on our Facebook group, answer this question, how does this relate to our core values, what does this mean,” and if they don’t then they’ll be responsible. We call it “the price of irresponsibility.” There will be a PI the next day. So it’s not an option. They have to be on it. They do a great job of participating on it. So we’re going to get on our Facebook group for the first 25 minutes and we’re going to talk about our character lesson for the day that’s up there.

We did a book study as a team of Chop Wood Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf. Tremendous little stories in there. So all that is in our Facebook. So we are doing character. Then there will be something funny on there and we’ll talk about that. Then somebody else will post something on there. So we allow our kids to post on there too.

I think that is a good deal where it’s kind of like a normal Facebook. I’ll tell them “if you’re on vacation, if you’re going to a baseball game to support another team take a selfies of yourself at the baseball game and post it on Facebook.” So our guys are used to posting on it and we have a good time with it. But the biggest aspect for me is I can post a two minute video by Brian Cain or Inky Johnson or somebody and say “watch this video and tell me which core value does this relate to you the most and why” and they’ll answer it and we get a lot of great discussion out of that.

Cain: So you created the private Facebook group and only the members of your team have access to it or can anyone find it?

Jackson: It’s only the members of our team. I think that is real secure for our guys as far as knowing their parents won’t be on it. I’ve let some coaches, some friends of mine, get on there. I’ve told our team “hey if you see somebody on here it’s a buddy of mine who they have their own team Facebook group and we just kind of share ideas.” There is a buddy of mine from Oregon, one from Minnesota, and we all just kind of share on that. But basically it’s just our team and it’s real private so they know there is some security there.

Cain: One of the things I‘ve also seen there at your school right as you walk into the complex is there is that banner that will be behind. If you imagine watching any NFL or any press conference in athletics there is always the banner behind the person who is in front of the microphone. You have that banner there and you have a camera set up. Do you also interview your players and then put that in the Facebook group? How do you use those?

Jackson: Yes sir. Any time we take pictures or anything like that we put them in front of this banner and our core values are behind it. We sell them every chance we get. After spring ball this year, again, just fascinating kids. I just had the idea of we ought to interview a couple of kids every day and post it to our Facebook group and also post it to our public one for our parents. So I’ve got a coach who will interview a couple of kids and I’ll put the question on there.

Again it all comes back to core values. “Hey give us your name, position, what is your favorite core value, which player would you want to be in the foxhole with,” so certain questions for them to answer. But it’s just another way for our guys to feel important or feel special about being Mustangs. That is probably the best thing we’ve done is make them feel like they’re proud to be a part of the football program again. I think fascinating them is a way to get that done.

Cain: I love that. I think that’s a great idea, that any – I wrote that down in my notes for things for me to do moving forward is to fascinate people on a daily basis. I think that there are so many distractions nowadays that – call it customer service, call it fascinating – your audience just gets lost because there is so much out there that goes on.

Randy, you also do a tremendous job of building leaders in your program. Could you talk about the use of your Leadership Council and what you do with those guys?

Jackson: We like our Leadership Council. What we do is we’re going to take some players and we’re going to take them from each position unit, a few different grade levels, and have a Leadership Council. Right now we’ve got 11 guys on our Leadership Council. I had them fill out a resume – which I think is a great skill – so they all had to answer some questions then they had to present to the team. They had to stand up in front of the group and go over their resume of why they should be on the Leadership Council then we made a Google Survey and our guys voted on it.

We have a member – on our offensive line there are five guys so we’ve got two members from the offensive line. We’ve got a wide receiver. We’ve got a quarterback. We’ve got a defensive lineman. Whatever. We’ve gotten them from every unit. We have a sophomore representative and then we’ve got an at-large kid. Then because summer is so important we are going to elect two more after summer where guys still feel like they have a chance to earn it through summer and fall camp.

So we meet once a week and we’re doing a book study with them right now. I’m using a leadership clock. I even posted this in the Inner Circle of “hey what is a good book” because this is the first time I’ve done a book study with my leadership council and I wanted to make sure I hit it out of the park. And the leadership clock has just been excellent. So we talk about that.

We talk about “hey what is the culture of the locker room.” I make sure that I don’t sit there and do all the talking every week. It will be a 45-55 minute meeting. We sit around a big conference table and I let those guys talk. “What are some issues, what are some things we can do with Mustangs serving others,” just any of that. I talk to them about “make sure you guys are posting on our Facebook group, make sure when we’re talking” – we do a lot during our leadership development time where we want our players talking and I make sure there guys are talking and doing all that. Your best players have to be your best leaders. All of our guys on our Leadership Council are not going to be all State guys but they’re all key contributors to our team.

I make sure that I talk to them about doing a great job, being a great leader, and it’s just been – when they are in the football season once a week we’ll go to middle schools and we’ll talk. I’ll send four guys to this middle school. We have three middle schools that feed into us. They’ll go and the first time we go speak at a middle school they are going to go talk about Energy and Tempo, our number one core value, then the next week they’ll go talk about this. So they have roles like that where they go speak in front of people. If there is something I need to get done then I’m going to call on the Leadership Council first. So I think it’s been a good way to help grow leaders.

Cain: Awesome. Speaking of leaders, yourself as the head football coach at Grapevine you are also the campus coordinator, the boys’ coordinator – which for people who are not in the State of Texas is basically the athletic director of that high school. Would you talk a little bit about (from an athletic director’s standpoint) how do you continue to grow as a leader? I know you attended our Athletic Directors Summit in Vegas this past year in March and maybe some of the benefit that you got out of that to help you grow as a leader.

Jackson: I think the biggest thing is about relationships. It’s so easy, even in football it’s year-round, and just to make sure you are – I think a great athletic director doesn’t tell people how to go do their job. A great athletic director removes obstacles for people that allows them to do their job.

I’ve been an athletic director in a 300 high school town and dealt with so many problems from middle school girls volleyball on up and it’s the same in a small town or a big city. It is removing obstacles to help people get their job done.

There are so many people going in different directions that you can look up and not have had much communication with someone in a month. So you have to be very intentional about that. I think that is the biggest thing as far as for me is making sure that I can do what I can. There are not a lot of things you can do with money and things like that but it’s being an ear for somebody to complain to or how to help them solve a problem.

I had a coach call me the other day. They’re on a summer basketball camp and an issue came up. I didn’t really give him a specific answer but I was listening to him and I gave him a little bit of advice. Just having somebody like that, that trust factor I think is a big deal.

Cain: I know you attended the event in Vegas – and for any of our athletic directors who are listening to this that are looking for their professional development – could you talk a little bit about the importance of professional development and going to coaches clinics or going to trainings like that.

Jackson: If you’re not progressive and passionate about getting better then you are really in the wrong business because there is just so much out there. It’s just so easy to find information now.

Really I was kind of one of those that I wasn’t sure. It was an AD’s conference and we have an athletic director at Grapevine, Colleyville, and I thought “I’m just going to go, I’m going to go to Vegas” because I wanted to see what Brian Cain – you and I have worked together and it was one of the best four days of my career because I learned about things like that Facebook group. And just being around 25 other like-minded people – so not only did I learn a ton from sitting in, but just being around other people and learning from them.

I really believe that you have to be on fire to continue learning and where you can go help and share with other coaches and players from other teams or whatever. But there is so much knowledge out there that you have to be on fire to want to continue to get better.

Cain: Speaking about continuing to get better let’s transition the conversation now to you and some of the routines and habits that you personally have so that you can be your best for others. I know there are some in there that are awesome that I think if coaches can learn from your experience and you can inspire them that they’ll become more. We know that if you want more you’ve got to become more and you need to be the model for people to see. What are some of the things that you do, Randy, to help you be your best?

Jackson: You’ve changed me. You’ve just helped me a ton since you and I have met. I really used to think that to be a great head coach and all was sitting there and grinding and watching film and just making sure – but I never devoted anything to me. That’s probably the biggest thing that I’d like to make sure I can get across on this is you’ve got to get off your butt, you’ve got to go exercise, you’ve got to eat better, you’ve got to feel better. The more I took care of me I think the better head coach and boys’ coordinator I’ve become.

Leaders aren’t fat and I was getting there. So last August I started eating a lot better and eventually lost about 30 pounds. I do believe that when you exercise and really exercise the studies show that your endorphins are going to release and I think you get about 12 hours of benefit after you get finished exercising. I think Brian Johnson or somebody said it’s “taking your energy pill.” So when I exercise in the morning I feel like I’ve taken my energy pill for the rest of the day. I eat a lot better and I feel a lot better.

Of us going 3-8 to 8-3, there are a lot of reasons why, but one of the reasons I really think is because I was a better head football coach because I took care of myself and was more intentional about from meditation to just personal growth and not just sitting there watching film all day. I took care of myself a little bit and I’m going to continue to do that. I think all leaders – if you are a leader then you have to act like a leader and one of those things is taking care of yourself.

Cain: Could you talk a little bit about the audio books and some of the things that you listen to when you’re working out? I know that when you do those stadium hikes you listen to podcasts or audiobooks and kind of get two benefits for one. You’re getting the physical exercise but you’re also getting the learning component.

Jackson: I don’t understand why people don’t listen. The podcasts are amazing. If I’m in my truck and I’m drying somewhere I’m listening to a podcast. If I’m exercising at Orange Theory or whatever if I’m able to listen to ear buds I could listen to something to get better I’m always doing that. There are so many great podcasts out there. So I think the automobile university is one of the best things I’ve picked up from you. There are hours and hours of knowledge that I’ve listened to in the last year. If you want to be great then you really don’t need to be listening to the radio. You need to be grinding and getting better every chance you get.

Cain: Last question for you here Coach Jackson. What is it that you know now you wish you knew maybe 10 years ago or you wish you knew when you were getting started coaching? If you could go back and educate the younger Randy Jackson who is just getting started what would you say?

Jackson: I think for me it is you have to stay passionate and progressive. You have to just have that thirst for continued – kind of segueing from that last question, the people who are really great are the ones who are always striving to get better. They are always. They are not watching TV all the time. They’re readers, they’re podcast listeners, they’re going to clinics, they just can‘t get enough of it. For me I think the number one thing if I could tell a young coach is it’s not that hard to outwork the average person. The average person is trying got just get by. If you’ll grind and always look for a way to get better then you’ll be successful.

Cain: Coach Jackson, I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to join us here and be a guest on the Peak Performance Podcast. For our listeners you can follow Coach Jackson on Twitter @CoachJacksonTPW as in “tough people win.” I’m sure when his book comes out and the new website is built he’ll be able to put that out on social media so stay engaged with @CoachJacksonTPW on Twitter. You’ll be able to find him there. And in the notes section here of this podcast we’ll also have a link to where you can invest in his book and learn more about Coach Jackson.

Thanks for joining us. I appreciate your time so much.

Jackson: Thanks Brian. It was a big honor. I appreciate it.