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Deion Sanders' Irrational Confidence is Bringing a Wave of Change to Colorado Boulder Football Program.
The Impact of Irrational Confidence on Deion Sanders' Coaching Journey
“Zac, what the f**k are you writing about sports for?!”
Fun Fact: I played football from elementary through high school; it’s always been my “preferred sport.” Also, I see a concept I speak to often playing out in the story of Deion Sanders, so I’m going share how you can take his approach to coaching and use it to turn your life around the way he has apparently (we are only one game into the season), brought new life to Colorado.
Many great coaches have made their mark in sports with a unique blend of strategy, leadership, and perseverance. In the past few years, I’ve had zero desire to watch, follow, or give a moment of attention to sports, neither at the college level nor the professional level; my focus is on my business and the teams that my kids are on, of which my wife and I both coach (me with baseball, her with Cheer). However, one name has recently emerged repeatedly, to the point where I started paying attention, and that was none other than Deion Prime Time Sanders.
The former College, NFL, and MLB star has transformed the University of Colorado Boulder’s football program, and he did it utilizing an unexpected tool I recommend people use daily—irrational confidence.
The topics are diverse and carry life lessons.
When Sanders took on the role of head coach at Colorado, skeptics questioned his ability to handle the pressures of leading a college football team. However, Sanders has shattered those doubts with his drive and unwavering self-belief, redefining what it means to have confidence in the face of adversity.
His self-belief in a new “field of play”, is the exact thing you need when you take a step back and look at your life. Deion knew he could play ball, but could he coach? To him, the answer was obvious, even though others had their doubts.
Look at your life: You made it this far, to this level, but are you able to make it the next few years with your health, wealth, and relationships improving?
Some may doubt you, but if you take Deion’s example as a template, you’ll know you can get things to a better place.
I did some reading on Prime Time’s approach to coaching, and from everything I’ve read, I’m for it. From day one, Sanders made it clear that mediocrity had no place in his program. He instilled in his players a belief that they were capable of achieving greatness, regardless of external opinions and regardless of their previous self-assumptions were. This mindset resonated throughout the team, encouraging players to push beyond their limits and redefine their own capabilities.
Sanders' approach is unlike anything witnessed before, as he does not rely solely on traditional coaching methods like those you see in the Bill Belichicks and Nick Sabans out there. While other coaches may prioritize breaking down opponents, Sanders preaches the value of building up his players by recognizing their strengths, effort, and nurturing their potential. His choice to do things differently gives his players permission to do the same; little things like putting L’s on their jerseys for Leaders instead of the common C’s for Captains are things that make a difference. These are the same steps you need to instill within yourself, giving yourself permission to do things your way. By instilling an unwavering trust in his team, he has allowed them to discover newfound confidence in their abilities. To instill that confidence in yourself, it will convince others that these changes are “for real”.
Notably, this irrational confidence has translated into tangible success on the field. In Sanders' first year at the helm of the Jackson State Tigers, he clinched a conference championship, defying all expectations. Now, while leading Colorado Boulder Univeristy, a team that finished 1-11 last season, he defeated No. 17 Texas Christian University 45-42, on the road.
If you were to believe in you and have a positive mental approach to your days, you’d find yourself logging win after win as well. It doesn’t matter what obstacles have stopped you in the past, that’s the whole point of the word irrational, in the term, irrational-confidence.
While some may argue that irrational confidence might be just another coaching cliché, Sanders has substantiated its worth through his impressive accomplishments. Players who were once overlooked are transforming into stars under his guidance. The impact of his coaching philosophy has reverberated throughout the football program, breathing new life and enthusiasm into Colorado Football. I love to see it because I know how difficult football is, and how mental it can be. Many of the skills I learned wearing that helmet, have carried me for the decades which have passed since.
Now, like I said, we are one win into the season for Sanders, and you may only be one day into your journey of self-improvement, it makes no difference to the fact that you are going to be challenged, and more people are going to wait for your failure than you’d like.
The doubters will continue to question the sustainability of irrational confidence, but time and again, Sanders has proven that he is not bound by traditional expectations. His unrelenting belief and boundless passion are not just changing a football program but challenging the status quo of coaching itself.
Indeed, Deion Sanders has become a symbol of change, an emblem of the power of unwavering self-belief. He will have other coaches replicating his approach and starting to do things their own way. They’ll never admit it, but Deion gave them permission to be more authentic. He’s shown that if you have confidence, you can break free from the mold that’s existed for so many years.
As he leads Colorado with irrational confidence, his impact reaches far beyond the game, inspiring other individuals to stretch their limits both on and off the field. With Sanders at the helm, confidence and the future of football at the University of Colorado Boulder is on the rise. With you at the helm of your life, you can steer that ship wherever it is you want to go, and that means for better or worse.
I hope you choose better, and have as much belief in yourself as Deion does within him. This is your life, there are no replays or do-overs, there is now, and there is what you set yourself up for tomorrow.
- Zachary Small