Offensive line coaches and former offensive lineman understand better than anyone that it takes a special breed of player to be an offensive lineman. It’s not for guys that crave the spotlight, and instead relies upon the guys who love and embrace the dirty, thankless work that goes into winning games.

Whether you start every game of your career, or you’ve never seen the field, there are a number of life lessons that you learn and can take with you for the rest of your life after playing the offensive line.

Here are 6 of the most important lessons that come to mind:

1 – They don’t NEED a pat on the back, or a “Thank You” for a job well done
Imagine a world where every time a quarterback got off a pass clean he went back to the huddle (or the line of scrimmage for no-huddle teams) and told his guys thank you or every time a running back busted a run of 5 yards or more he’d do the same. That’s simply not how it works. As offensive lineman, their thank you is watching a back burst through the line for a big gain or touchdown, or seeing their quarterback’s jersey completely void of any dirt or grass stains after a game on a natural surface. In today’s world where everyone needs constant pats on the back, and every kid gets participation trophy, delayed gratification is dying fast…but the offensive lineman in your program are keeping it alive – oftentimes without even realizing it.

2 – They understand their role is a single piece of a much bigger unit
Guys that play on the offensive line understand, perhaps better than any other position, that their role is just a single piece of a much bigger unit – 1 out of 5 to be exact. An offensive line is only as strong as their weakest link, and each member of the group depends on the other to do their job in order to be successful as a unit.

3 – Mistakes are inevitable, but it’s how they respond to them in the moments that follow that truly matter
Playing offensive line means that mistakes are going to be made. You won’t always get your hands inside during a pass set, you may not get perfect position while pulling on a trap or power block. Mistakes will happen while playing up front, tt’s inevitable. Making sure those mistakes are minimal and that you’re mentally able to overcome it, coach yourself, and focus on the next play to ensure that one mistake doesn’t become two, and then three, etc. is what vital to the success of the offense for the rest of the day. How you deal with adversity is something that carries over well to life, and few other positions encounter the same adversity as offensive lineman do during the course of a game.

4 – They learn to love and embrace the work that others don’t necessarily enjoy
Coaches are constantly struggling to find ways to make willing blockers out of their wide receivers and running backs, but offensive lineman embrace the opportunity to root someone out of a gap so that the offense has an opportunity to thrive. The best offensive lineman love the dirty work and whole heartedly embrace it.

5 – They learn to adjust quickly and immediately apply feedback to the current situation
At the snap of the ball, there are a number of different variables in play in a few short seconds – the defensive lineman can slant to you, away from you, or drop into coverage, a linebacker could show up in your gap…the possibilities are almost endless, yet you have to 1) know your assignment and 2) execute it despite the variables that stand in your way. When coaches make adjustments on the sideline, offensive lineman go back into the game and put that to work.

6) Internally, they take a tremendous amount of pride in what they do
Offensive lineman may not crave the attention and appreciation that guys at other positions do, but internally they take a lot of pride in what they do. That’s why when you see a quarterback on the ground after a sack or a hurry, most of the time there is an offensive lineman (probably responsible for the sack) there to help him up. The same can be said when a running back punches one into the end zone, the first ones there to celebrate are normally the big fellas. That sums up the sense of pride that they have in doing a great job.

Did I overlook something? Let me know at [email protected] or via Twitter @CoachSamz.

Next, I’ll take a look at the life lessons that being a quarterback teaches players, so feel free to send suggestions to the contact info above.