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How to Play to Win

My favorite sport in the world – to play or to watch – is football.

Since I was blessed with amazing physical qualities – 5'6" tall, a Herculean bodyweight of 165lbs and legs that are about two feet long – my dreams of playing any kind of organized football were dashed long ago, so I went with the next best thing…

I am a die-hard football fan.  My beloved Miami Dolphins are relevant once again and I haven't been more excited then when the Fins drafted Dan Marino when I was a freshman in high school.

Being in the martial arts for almost twenty years, along with a sports fan, has taught me many lessons about success – and every single one of them can be applied to any area of your life where you want to be successful.

Playing to win is one of the first ones that comes to mind.

In football, there are some coaches that believe if you have the lead, and there is under two minutes to go on the clock, that you should play what's called a "Prevent" Defense.

A Prevent defense is where you only send two to three lineman after the quaterback and you keep everyone else back in coverage – making sure that no offensive player gets behind your defense for a long play or a score.

The problem is, you end up leaving gaping holes where they call "underneath" – between where your linemen are rushing and the rest of the defense has dropped back to cover.

This means offenses can easily pick up five, ten even twenty yards per play with little to no difficulty.  Do this enough times, and with some good clock management by the other coach, the opposing team can easily get in position to score and possibly win the game.

When you switch to a prevent defense, you are no longer playing to win – you are playing not to lose.

Another coach said it best – and I agree with him – that all the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning!

Think about it – you are the coach with the team in the lead and on defense, you have been blitzing, pressuring and harassing the other team every time they have the ball and it has kept them from taking the lead.

Why would you suddenly "get scared" and "play it safe" with only two minutes to go if what you have been doing has worked so far?

You were being aggressive and keeping the pressure on and it was working – so keep going.

What about in your life?  Are there "bullies" in your life and have you even STARTED to play defense yet?  What if you have been playing prevent defense this whole time and getting your azz kicked?

Now is the time to play to win.  You get aggressive.  You put on the pressure. You challenge yourself to put up some points.

I have a friend who is in a difficult relationship professionally.  The person that he reports to is a major bully and makes many of the people for whom he works with miserable. 

My friend has been tolerating this situation for years and is now at the point where he is looking for something else to do to earn money.

What makes this sad is that he loves what he does.  He wants to do it forever, but he just hasn't figured out that in order for him to get what he wants, he has to STOP playing prevent defense, stand up to the bully in his life and get after it.

If he wants to be successful and move forward, that means blitzing.  Full steam ahead, damn the torpedos and God help anyone that gets in his way.

That is the attitude you must have to break out of the prevent defense mode and into playing to win mode.

Any bullies, energy suckers or challenges you may have will wilt in the face of the unrelenting pressure.

You do have to be tough; you have to be resilient.  You have to be in shape to play this kind of defense, but defense is what wins championships.

Be your own champion.  Play to win.

To your best,

Sensei Huff

P.S. – For more information on how to play to win and beat the bullies and other roadblocks in your life, to to http://www.bullyproofkids.com.

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