An NFL Football Player's 3 Keys to Teach Your Kids to Finish Strong

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) celebrates after a touchdown catch with tight end Benjamin Watson (82) during the second quarter of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

At the University of Georgia, Coach Mark Richt introduced a concept known as "Finish the Drill." It was the motto of our team in practices, workouts and games. Our coach understood that good teams become championship teams based on their ability to finish strong. That attitude carried me into the NFL, where I made a notable play in the 2005 divisional championship game.

I was playing for the Patriots. Our quarterback, Tom Brady, threw a pass that was intercepted by Champ Bailey, one of the fastest players in the game. He caught it at our end zone and brought it back 101 yards, almost scoring a touchdown...almost. No one would have thought I could catch him. I was on the other side of the field and chased him with everything I had, knocking him out of bounds one yard short of a touchdown. I was reminded of the words, "Finish the drill."

Finishing strong in sports has helped me develop the traits to do the same in life where it really counts. Passing these traits onto our kids could be the difference between their success and failure. Here are three character qualities built from finishing strong.

1. Perseverance in Difficulty

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Adversity is a reality of life. It's not whether or not it's going to hit, but how we respond when it does. Finishing strong will train us to keep pushing forward when faced with times of trial. We are more apt to rise to meet the challenge set before us. Our muscle memory will know no other option other than "keep going." Dodging it breeds quitting; finishing breeds toughness and perseverance.

2. Moral Character

Moral failure occurs when people lose focus and gradually drift off the path. The ability to finish enables us to avoid temptation. Many people are able to shoot out of the gate. However, when consumed with worry, fear and fatigue, they are comforted by distractions and the easy way out. Maintaining focus on getting to the end lights the path before us and keeps our feet steady.

3. Commitment to Excellence

A consistent and heart-filled effort to completion is the foundation of excellent work. When people see this displayed, it creates a reputation of being dependable, faithful and worthy of trust and admiration. These are the traits an employer looks for in an employee, a wife in her husband and children in their father. Whatever you decide to do, set your mind to it and finish the drill.

Who is a great example of a good finisher?

Benjamin Watson is a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens.

This article originally appeared at

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