How do you measure…

nfl-players-pass-the-wonderlic-test

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 13, 2017, # 631 Up Next… “How do you measure…”

After further review…The National Football League invited 330 college football players to the “combine” last week at Lucas Stadium (Indianapolis). These players have declared themselves eligible for the NFL draft to be held in April in Philadelphia. Some players were not invited due to unacceptable behavior in off-field incidents. Many fans decry the egregious behavior of talented players.

Those invited are required to do their best in events such as: the 40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical leap, agility drills, throwing ability (quarterbacks), catching the ball (receivers and defensive backs) strength tests, reactionary moves on command, etc. These exercises are followed by interviews with T*E*A*M personnel, and then the Wonderlic Personnel Test.

Developed by E.F. Wonderlic in the 1930s, this is a written test designed to “assess cognitive abilities and predict job competences.” While originally created for hiring managers in the business world, NFL teams have found it to be a reliable test to measure a player’s ability to absorb their team’s system. For the NFL’s purposes the Wonderlic is more reliable than traditional I.Q. tests. However, though the original test has been updated, some feel that it is not as reliable and comprehensive as it needs to be. Further, it does not measure a certain “it” factor that some players have.

Some players over the years have not done well on these tests, yet performed at a high level during games. Some of these “it” factors may include: “heart” (a player’s passion); mental toughness; and a player’s never-give-up attitude. The only test for these characteristics may be in the history of a player.

In the book, “It’s the Will, Not the Skill,” (the philosophies and principles of success used by former NFL head coach Herm Edwards), we discuss the idea that while all players selected to play in the NFL have skills, it is the will that takes them to Super Bowl level. That’s where the player with heart rises to meet or exceed expectations. It may be difficult to separate heart from mental toughness, but suffice it to say: “When the game is on-the-line, which players do you want in the game?

The determination of a player is dependent upon his ability to never give up. As we write: “Confidence is when you are two scores behind in the fourth quarter and still feel you will win.”

Will you log-in with your thoughts about predicting success?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

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Traditions

MLB 2016: Athletics vs Astros JUL 10

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 6, 2017, # 630 Up Next… “Tradition!”

“Fiddler on the Roof” takes place in a small, fictional Russian town about the year 1905. With the Russian autocracy trying to purge the Jewish population, Tevye, the village milkman, confronted with change and his meager household, is asked “How do we maintain our balance?” Tevye replies, “Tradition!’ Tevye then launches into that classic song! While change is predictably inevitable, many cultures have maintained not only their balance but their basis for why their culture was established and continues to be. Yet, there are many who grow tired of the same o’ same o’.

Tradition in Major League baseball is being challenged for the upcoming 2017 season. MLB has reported that it will change the intentional walk by allowing the manager to motion to the plate umpire that he intends to “walk” the batter, which sends him directly to first base and eliminates the four pitches historically thrown to the catcher standing several steps away from home plate. The shouts of protest from baseball purists can be heard clear to the hallowed ground of Cooperstown, N.Y., home of MLB’s Hall of Fame.

Proponents of the change of the IBB assert that the IBB (intentional base on balls) is simply a waste of time, with MLB games averaging more than three-plus hours in length. And besides, they say, everybody knows what the pitcher wants to do anyway. But Intentional walks happen rarely anyway – once or twice a game, and sometimes never! Further, what if the pitcher’s casually misdirected throw is wild and allows a runner from third to score, with maybe even the tying or winning run? The argument continues.

Moving to the National Football League, of which I have been a part since 1960, many times we have had a proposal to eliminate “bringing in the chains” to measure for a first down. That proposal has always been turned down. The reason? “Tradition.” The purists argue that there is a certain drama involved in the age-old measurement procedure. Okay, but technology is available to clearly mark the first down. With replay and very accurate on-screen optics, many fans would rather see the play continue rather than suffer the delay caused by the deliberate stretching of the chain. The argument continues.

Will you log-in with your position on traditional vs state-of-the-art procedures?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Posted in Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Play to Lose?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers "Playing to lose?

After further review… There has been much debate surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers over the past couple of seasons. With this year’s team stuck once again in the losing cycle (despite the presence of talented young players who could eventually turn their fortunes around), some version of this question hovers over the court: to tank, or not to tank?

Better draft picks await teams at the bottom of the standings, and a lot of people would excuse “victory avoidance” for that reason. The TunneySide visited this topic a while back, and what follows are some observations that remain relevant to this day.

During a recent high school girls’ basketball game, both coaches told their players to “play to lose!” C’mon, man! The players were ordered to lose in order not to face a stronger opponent in the upcoming playoffs. The names of these two coaches and their schools are not mentioned here, as their identities are not the point.

Who’s to blame for this ethical failure? The two coaches, for starters. But where were the school administrators? Should players be held accountable? (Probably not—their first duty is to obey their coach.) Credit should go to the game officials, who witnessed this flagrant disregard for the integrity of the game and tried to intervene. They then followed up with a game report to the proper authorities.

Several methods were used to “throw” the game: free throws intentionally missed, players failing to get the ball into their front court within 10 seconds (the resulting violation causing a turnover), one player attempting to shoot at the opponent’s basket, and various other intentional turnovers.

Both coaches have been suspended, and will not be permitted to coach during the 2015-16 school year. Both teams have been banned for the remainder of the season, and disqualified for possible postseason games. Both schools were fined.

“You play to win the game! Hello! You play to win the game!” said New York Jets Head Coach Herm Edwards midway through the 2002 NFL season, when the Jets were losing. When a reporter mused that the season might be a lost cause, Herm continued “That’s the great thing about sports. You don’t play just to play it! I don’t care if you don’t have any wins; you play to win.” In that 2002 season the Jets finished 9-7 and made the playoffs.

Coaches are there to encourage players to always give their best effort. The main ingredient in the word encourage is “courage.” What better practice than sports can help a young person muster the strength to “keep on keepin’ on?” By the way, Laker coach Luke Walton’s attitude on all of this is that “We try to do things the right way around here. We’re going to play to win.”

Will you help others who may be facing a difficult situation to find the courage within?

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To contact Jim, go to JimTunney.com or email Jim@JimTunney.com.

Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports

Be sure to get Jim’s book ‘Another 101 Best of TunneySide of Sports’ by clicking this link or using the email above to contact Jim directly.

These TunneySides take issues from real-life situations and relate them as inspiration for the betterment of others.

Posted in Sports, Tunney Side of Sports Columns | Tagged | Leave a comment