Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Team Mom(s)

Posted by admin December - 11 - 2018 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

A local HC was lamenting to me the other day that with his seniors leaving the program, he is also going to lose his very valuable Team Mom!  Cuz her son is a Senior!  He said he even asked her if she would come back next year.  No such luck.  Her son is graduating and she is done.

Now he has to go out and “beg” someone else to take over the duties of being Team Mom.  I suggested that developing a Team Mom is just like developing players at the (very important) Quarterback position!  You need to have a younger one in the program that you bring along.  When he’s ready to step in to the starting role, he already has a good idea of what is expected of him and what he needs to do.  The same thing goes for the Team Mom position.

I was fortunate that when I coached at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, I had tremendous parental support.  I inherited a Team Mom who’d been trained by the previous Team Mom as to what was involved in doing her job.  The transition was seamless.  The moms taught me the right way to go about this.  They already had the transition process in place.  A designated “Team Mom In Training” was learning the ropes during the season prior to her taking over the head job.  Those ladies had even put together a “Book” (it looked like a scrapbook!) of information and tips to help guide the Team Mom throughout the year.  They even had a little ceremony where they “handed off” The Book to the next Team Mom!  It was pretty cool.

It was so nice to know that I didn’t have to go looking for a new Team Mom each year.  The moms were actually training to take over.  A couple of years they even worked at Co-Team Moms.  That was fine with me.  They got the job done and nobody was overwhelmed by all of the duties they had to perform.  They were always nice enough to get my final “seal of approval” before the new Team Mom was inaugurated; but, I’d already seen the “mom in training” in action so there was never a problem.  It was always nice to pick up the phone to ask the new Team Mom to accept her new role knowing that she was willing and able to take over.

It’s another of those little things that you need to take care of it or it can become a big deal if you don’t!  As a Head Coach, you need to be able to delegate.  Having a player’s mom who can handle things like pre-game meals, your team banquet and such is a tremendous burden off of you.  Meet with your moms and explain how you want to do this.  When they know that they are doing it for their boys as much (or more) than they’re doing it for you, I think you will find that you will get a LOT of cooperation and help!

Senior Meeting

Posted by admin December - 5 - 2018 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I highly recommend that you have a post-season meeting with your seniors on your team. Ask them 2 questions: 1- what do they recommend that you, as HC, do to improve the team/program? 2- What can I, HC, do to be a better leader. Get out a tablet of paper and pen and get ready to write stuff down. However, be prepared! Cuz “it” may be coming!!! What is “it?” Things you might not want to hear!!!

There are 2 typed of criticism: constructive and destructive criticism. One will increase your confidence; the other can destroy it. You’re probably going to get some of each when your seniors begin to offer their recommendations. Be cautious in how you respond to destructive criticism. You may not like it, but there may be a kernel of truth in what that senior has to say. In fact, don’t respond at all. Just write it down and say “thank you.” and… move on. If they see you losing your cool, they’re liable to shut down and then you’ll get nothing.

I did this exercise for years when I was coaching. I wanted to hear what the seniors had to say. Their career was done so they didn’t have to worry about any reprisals for speaking their mind. Good! I wanted them to speak freely. It was the only way I was going to be able to grow as a coach.

Early in my career, a senior said “Coach J. You’re too nice!” Huh? What? Too nice? I had him explain. What he was basically saying was, I was letting the players get away with too much. I was being soft on them. They wanted me to toughen up! Not become a screamer/yeller or over-react with a lot of punishment drills… just demand more from them. I took that to heart and during the off-season I developed a Player Policy Sheet which laid out the expectations I had for our players. If they could not (or would not!) conform to these new policies, they would suffer the consequences. Of course, some of them began to test me immediately. It took some time, but once they realized that I was not going to let them get away with stuff anymore, they buckled down and starting living up to the new expectations I had for them.

All of you should be looking for ways to improve— your program in general and you as a coach. This meeting can be an extremely effective means of gaining some valuable information from those who have IN your program and observed you daily. Suck it up and hear them out!!!

Be a “Student of the Game!”

Posted by admin November - 28 - 2018 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

It’s “Final 4 Weekend” in Virginia this coming Saturday. Four teams in each of the 6 divisions are the only teams left standing. That means that most people have turned in their equipment and, hopefully, are relaxing a bit. Guys: you NEED that time away. They don’t call it a grind for nothing! It will grind you up and spit you out if you don’t take some time to decompress. I know a couple of coaches who have already gotten their off-season weight program going. IMO, that is a mistake! Burn out is a real thing!

My focus on this post, however, is about “continuing education” for coaches. It is important that you seek out people who are going to help you get to that next level. It is also important that you include your entire staff in this effort! And… at some point, it is imperative that the Head Coach “coach the coaches.”

There are clinics galore— all over the country! I am honored to have been asked to speak at 3 different clinics this year: the National Wing T Coaches Clinic in Pittsburgh; the Glazier Clinic in Boston and the best clinic for HS coaches in the state of Virginia in Richmond. Wherever you choose to go, let me make a couple of key points:

1- Listen to high school coaches! The college game is soooooooo different from high school. You need to talk to successful coaches who coach at the same level as you. For instance, a coach at a Division 2 high school in Virginia is dealing with a student body of maybe 400 students — half of which are females. The scope of your football program is going to be verrrrrrrry different than what the coaches at, say, Allen HS in Dallas, Texas have to deal with. They are great coaches. But why not find another successful D2 coach in your state and go visit him and his staff? Or, if he’s speaking at a clinic, attend it and hear him speak.

2- Don’t be afraid to ask for some extra time after the coach has finished his talk at a clinic. I’m always honored to be asked to speak. It’s a double honor when a coach asks if he can “pick my brain” afterwards.

3- If you can learn “1 little thing” then it was worth the time and money to attend. That little thing can end up making a BIG difference. One little thing I took away from a speaker one time was: “Shoot your linemen’s hands down on the first snap count… sometimes! The rest of the time go on ‘1st sound.” I took this home and started toying with it and it ended up being one of THE best things we ever did. Our kids would get very upset if they didn’t draw the D line off-side at least once a game! It helped us with our Punt and Field Goal teams too.

4- Videotape the talk… IF it’s allowed. Whenever my staff used to visit another staff, we would tape the entire session. Most of the big-time clinics won’t let you tape; but, at least ask.

Hopefully these ideas will give you some food for thought. The key is: (continue to be) a Student of the Game!

Post-Season Checklist

Posted by admin November - 19 - 2018 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I like to divide up the calendar year by “seasons.” For instance, there is post-season and then there’s off-season. I think there’s a difference. There are things a HC needs to “clean up” once the regular season (IN-season) is over. These need to occur as soon as the last game as possible. Once they’re completed, then… you can start focusing on the long haul of the OFF-season! I want to give you a list of things that you should consider doing in the post-season.

1- EQUIPMENT. Get it collected, cleaned and stored. Pull out the equipment that will be going to the Reconditioner and complete your inventory. Based on the inventory that you make (and probably submit to your AD), you can begin to make your “wish list” for items that you’d like to have purchased for next year. Let your staff know that they are expected to help in doing this. Once again, as I’ve discussed many times, don’t be a micromanager. Solicit the help of your assistant coaches. Include it in the job description for assistants so there’s no dispute over who has to help!

2- STAFF DINNER. On the day that our staff completed the clean-up and inventory, I took the staff out to dinner. It was an opportunity for me to say “Thanks!” to my staff for their hard work over the last 4-6 months. If there is money available to do it, take them to a steak house. If not, have them over to your house and prepare a meal for them there. It’s a small thing but it shows your appreciation to the assistants. It’s also a time to reflect back on the season; hopefully have a few laughs and give a toast — do something where you express your thanks to them.

3- STAFF EVALUATIONS. Call in each assistant individually and go over your evaluation of the job they did this season. There are checklists you can find online or simply write up a summary for each. Include things they did well and… things they need to work on. Phrasing it that way (“things you need to work or improve on”) presents a more positive picture than “things that you did that I didn’t like” or “things you did wrong.” There may have to be a “stipulation” attached to it. “If this doesn’t improve next year, we will probably have to let you go.” Let that coach know that you are there to help him improve. Don’t leave him flapping in the breeze. You hired him; so do your part as the leader of your staff to help him improve!

4- ADMIN EVALUATION. If your AD doesn’t do it, you need to ask him/her to do a written evaluation of the job that YOU did this season. Again, in writing. You need to know where you stand with your AD and the job that he/she thought you did. Keep it in your records file.
The same thing goes for your Principal. You should ask for a meeting at his/her earliest convenience and talk about the season. Ask him/her what you can do to improve.

5- GETAWAY WEEKEND… with your spouse/partner or just by yourself! Get away from football! I used to take my wife to the Outer Banks of NC for a weekend. It was a chance for me to decompress but also a chance to lavish a lot of attention on HER! I have an amazing “coaches wife!” Especially since she’s not a big football fan. But she was a “Lew J. Fan” and she was always there to support me. It was only right that I’d take a weekend to get away with her and get reacquainted!!!

6- BANQUET. I’ve talked about this activity before so I won’t go into detail. If your school/AD doesn’t have this, contact some Moms and ask for their help. They love doing things for their sons. “Sell” it to them in that manner. Yes, they’re helping you. But… they’re doing it for their son! You can hold a nice function right in the school cafeteria. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but it needs to be done. Your players deserve it.

I think of November/December as “post-season.” It’s a time to wrap things up and close things down for 4 weeks. Some coaches simply never stop. It becomes a chore and a burden. Kids today aren’t as sold on the grind as they might’ve been at one time. I wouldn’t even open the weight room till January— and then that month is for introducing lifts, getting preliminary maxes and emphasizing SAFETY in the weight room. February through July is plenty of time to conduct your OFF-season strength/speed/agility program. Don’t drive kids away from your program by being overly ambitious about getting them into the weight room right after the season ends. Everyone needs some time away.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Our Troubles Can Train Us!

Posted by admin November - 12 - 2018 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I know that some of you are dealing with the disappointment of a season unfulfilled. For whatever reason, it just didn’t turn out like you’d hoped it would when you started back in the August. Too many injuries; bad breaks; bad attitudes…. whatever the cause, you’re looking back at your season with a lot of regrets. Let me, perhaps, cast a different light on things for you.

I love what Pastor Bob Gass said in his daily devotional a while back. “Contrary to what you may thing, the ideal environment for your ‘players’ is NOT one that’s devoid of problems and trials. Though it’s hard to accept at the time, your ‘players’ NEED the minor setbacks and disappointments that come their way. How can they learn to cope with problems and frustrations as adults, if their early experiences are totally without them?”

I hope that you are a coach who cares just as much as building character as you do about winning football games. If your main goal as a coach is to win games, then your focus is too small! Long after your players hang up their helmets for the last time, they will remember the atmosphere of your program. Nobody can have as much impact on a young man’s development as his coach. To pretend that your influence doesn’t matter… you’re just kidding yourself. You have a responsibility to teach your players to win with class but, also, to accept defeat with dignity. It’s those defeats that build strength of character.

Have you heard the tale of the 2 trees? A tree that’s planted in a rain forest is rarely forced to extend its roots downward in search of water. As a result, it remains poorly anchored. When even a moderate amount of wind comes, it can be easily toppled over. However, a mesquite tree (of which I saw hundreds recently when my wife and I toured the Canyon Lands of the SW) planted in a desert is under stress right from the earliest growing season. It survives by driving it’s roots 30-50 feet into the earth in search of water. Overcoming adverse conditions allows the mesquite to stand up to all types of situations.

I encourage you to take those losses this fall and use them to help your players learn to be, as the Bible says, “more than conquerors!”


Posted by admin October - 30 - 2018 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

For a lot of you out there, your regular season is coming to a close. For those of you going on to the play-offs: Good luck and God bless you!

Whether your season has just ended or you’ll be wrapping up things in a week or so, there are a couple of things that need to go on your “to do” list that you might need to consider adding. The one I want to mention today is in my book, 101 Little Things, but it’s worth highlighting here. Why? Cuz it literally changed the program that I headed up for 22 years. It can change things for you too. That single event was our Senior Post-season (gloves off; no holds barred!) Evaluation Meeting.

Within 2 weeks of our season ending, I would call in the Seniors. At one point, I even took them out for pizza. I had 1 question for them and I prefaced it by saying this, “You guys are done. Your football career at WBHS is over. So anything you share with me tonight will have no effect on your playing time next year. You’ll be gone! Sooooooo… be as honest and forthright as you can. OK? Here’s my question: What do I need to do to be a better leader for this football team? What can I improve upon?” I gave them a piece of paper and a pen and let them write things down for 2-3 minutes… then we began.

You’d be amazed at how insightful these guys can be. Yes, I got some silly suggestions. I got some answers that were impossible to implement. But, if you have established a good relationship with your players and… you are willing to receive some constructive criticism, you might get a gem that’s a “program changer!” Here are a couple that our seniors shared with me at different times during my career:

Early on, when I first instituted this meeting, I was still searching for answers. It took 5 years to “turn around” our program. It had fallen to mediocrity and it took some changes on my part to get us over the hump. At one of our first meetings one of the seniors kinda gulped and shyly said, “Coach J… don’t get me wrong but, you’re too nice!” What?! I sat there dumbfounded. “Please explain,” I said. He had a little more confidence now and stated, “You’re just too nice. You need to be tougher on us. We’re football players. You can’t let us get away with some of the stuff you overlook.” It hit me like a ton of bricks! Why? Cuz he was right! I wasn’t showing tough love; I was extending soft love. We needed more discipline. I needed to hold kids to a higher standard. That off-season I began reading about many different successful coaches programs and how they conducted them. It changed everything for our program. I did not become a martinet but I did demand more from the players (and coaches) than I had before. It paid dividends starting that next year.

Later on, at another meeting, I learned why I always had that nagging sense that our players were not putting out in practice as much as I wanted them to. No matter how hard I pushed, it always seemed like our team was hitting on 7 cylinders instead of 8. I got my solution from a senior. He told me that I needed to move Conditioning period to somewhere on the practice schedule other than at the end. I asked why? “Cuz, guys are holding back during practice because they know you’re going to run us hard at the END!” BOOM! Another lightning bolt hit home. I saw exactly what he was talking about. The next year I revamped the practice to look something like this: 1- Team Flex. 2- Kicking Game. 3- Conditioning! 4- 5 minute Water and Rest Break! The results were dramatic from day 1! Till I retired, that’s how practices started.

Oh, I always communicated to the team WHY we were doing it this way. It is so very important to explain things to your players. Tell them what you’re going to do and WHY you’re doing it. It’s good to be up front with them. It builds trust and respect.


Posted by admin October - 22 - 2018 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

A lot of what I’m going to share with you came from our pastor’s, Michael Brueseke, talk yesterday. It was powerful and very informative!

Here’s the first KEY statement: “A leader creates culture.”

and the second: “It’s the leader’s values that he uses to create that culture.”

I met with a young coach yesterday and presented these 2 statements to him. He wanted to know how he can continue to challenge his players to want to strive for championships… when they seem happy with just a winning season. No matter where your program is right now, I suppose this is a question that every HC wants answered. Perhaps I can shed a light on this critically important issue.

After I presented the young coach with my 2 KEY statements, I let them “marinate” in his head for a full minute. Then I asked him, “So… what are YOUR values that you possess and enforce that create your program’s culture???” He could not respond! I told him to think about it for awhile and then send me his list.

I will use one of my core values to illustrate this point. My core value is/was: HUSTLE. I have always felt that a player (or team of players) who out-hustle the opponent has a greater chance of success. It breeds enthusiasm and an esprit de corps that tight-knit groups (think U.S. Marines!) possess.

OK… so I value hustle. So what? It’s the next step that is key. Because you are talking about laying foundation blocks on the “building of success” here! It requires persistence and, in turn, repetition.

PERSISTENCE: It’s like being a parent… raising a child. If you want to establish a behavior in your child, you have to take a “never give up” attitude. Kids aren’t going to learn to be respectful or hustle unless you constantly stick to your guns about reminding them to say “please” and “thank you.” It took years of sticking to our guns (my wife and I) but we have two of the most respectful young adults (our children are grown) you’d ever want to meet.

REPETITION: You have to constantly reinforce your value. If when I called our players up at the end of practice to surround me… and there were a few stragglers who simply walked or jogged over… they ALL got sent back where they started from and we repeated the action. I’d blow the whistle again and this time ALL of them better come running! It occasionally required that I’d have to repeat this “do over” routine but they got the message.

“NEVER give up! NEVER give in!” The second part of that adage is just as important as the first! It’s with this attitude that you can successfully build a winning culture. I’m convinced of it!!! How do I know? It took 5 years for me when I first became a HC to refine and define what my core values were. Once I did, I was totally committed to seeing those values built into our players’ character. It led to 10 championships and an 80% winning record over the next 25 years!

Respect or Like?

Posted by admin October - 18 - 2018 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

I got into a discussion with another coach the other day. We were talking about how a coach motivates his players. My point was that it’s not a short-term thing. That, for instance, a pregame pep talk is not what I would call motivation cuz the effects are short-lived. Motivation is, I believe, creating a mind-set in one’s players’ minds where there is a long-term effect on their behavior. This is only accomplished when the HC creates a culture that focuses on discipline, accountability and respect.

Discipline: just another term for self control; i.e., the ability to regulate one’s own emotions, thoughts and behavior. This self control must be instilled by others; it doesn’t come naturally. A coach has to demand discipline from his players and coaches. And, he must demand it on a consistent basis. You set standards and then you have to uphold them. When I coached, we had a firm and fast rule that there would be no cursing on the part of coaches and/or players. If a player was overheard using a cuss word, a coach would tell him to “drop and give me 15.” 15 push ups for an Unsportsmanlike penalty. I’ve seen other coaches attempt to instill the same requirement on their team. However, if its ignored and no punishment (control over the bad behavior) is consistently handed out, the cursing continues!

Accountability: This is a “cousin” to discipline. Its relationship is exemplified in my No Cussing example above. Players (and coaches) have to be held accountable for their actions. Where it becomes really effective is when the players “buy in” and they too are now holding their teammates accountable. I heard of a local player who transferred to a different school this past summer. The reason he left the school (a successful program, by the way) was because this player refused to work hard in the off season weight program. The veterans wouldn’t stand for it and gave him a hard time about his laziness. This is accountability.

Respect: The discussion that I led off this post with morphed into HOW does a coach “change the culture.” My main point was that players must respect the coach and the coach must respect his players. And… there is a HUGE difference between respecting and liking!!! An insecure coach is going to try to win over his players by getting them to like him. It probably means that there’s little discipline and accountability in that program. What a coach needs to strive for is respect. That is attained by being trustworthy. What the coach says, he does. You can care about your players (and you should); but caring also entails holding players to a high standard — on and off the field!

I had a group of players approach me during a break between practices one year. I could tell that they had something on their minds and were a bit reluctant to say what they wanted to say. I smiled to get them to relax and jokingly said, “hummmmmm… I can tell by the looks on your faces that this must be serious!” That broke the tension. One of the veterans then said, “Coach J, the guys and I were talking and we have a question for you.” “OK,” I replied, “Fire away.” The player said, “We’re just wondering how you’re able to be so tough on us and be so focused during practice but when we’re off the field, you’re happy and joke around with us.” I was flattered. I knew right then that I was being transparent. Our players saw me for who I am. When it’s time to work, I’m all business. When work time is over, I enjoy relaxing and having fun.” I think that this is the attitude you need to present to kids.

We are role models as coaches. We’re going to have an impact on our players whether we want to or not. It should be a positive impact!

“I’ve Drunk the Koolaid!!!”

Posted by admin October - 10 - 2018 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

The more college football games that I watch, the more I see the influence that Gus Malzahn and his Delaware Wing T roots have on Offensive Coordinators. I watched my Hokies of Virginia Tech get their “backs broken” by Notre Dame the other night when ND broke a 97 yard run vs. the vaunted Bud Foster defense. Guess what the play was? Buck Sweep left!!! The TB took the ball, started left… stuck his foot in the ground and made that 90 degree cut behind the back-side pulling Guard and went 97 yards UN-touched! It was classic Malzahn “Spread Shotgun Wing T!”

Our offense was always built around a powerful running game. I learned this from my former HC, Lou Holtz. You can throw it around all you want but… when it comes to crunch time, you better have an effective ground game or your chances of winning decrease significantly! We also ran most of our Wing T offense out of the base under-center Delaware formations (100/900 and Red/Blue.) It was effective for us because we mixed in some of the Spread Shotgun Wing T. What I’m realizing is that: even in the 3 years since I retired from coaching, the game (even on the high school level) has evolved. All you see anymore is “spread” offenses. I was opposed to this until I visited practice at my local high school where I used to coach.

They’ve been struggling. The HC is a Double Wing/Wing T guy from way back. The offense was just not clicking. Two weeks ago, he turned over the reigns to one of his assistants and the guy installed the “Spread.” Watching practice yesterday, I saw an energy that was missing a month ago. The kids were running around and everyone was having fun playing up-tempo. Four and 5 wide-outs with motion and shifts. I said to myself, “THIS is what kids like to play these days.” It’s what they see on tv; it’s what they play on their football video games.

My title this week is indicative of the feeling I left the practice field with yesterday: “It’s time to convert! It’s time that I start promoting the Spread version of the Wing T.”

When you can still run multiple formations with lots of shifting and motion, you’re utilizing the principles of Delaware Wing T football. When you can still run buck sweep; trap and waggle/bootleg, you’re utilizing Wing T base plays. One of the beauties of Malzahn’s concepts is having both zone/reach blocking and power/down blocking as integral parts of his run game. Defensive linemen today are so well-coached in “beating the zone/reach” block that when O linemen block down, it looks like the D lineman needs to move with him. That plays right into the down blocking scheme!

Then you add play action passes and a “bombs away” attitude with your drop back game (4 verticals), you have an offense that creates all kinds of problems for DC’s!

I’ve been won over! Yes, I have drunk the koolaid. I’m still a Wing T guy but, I’m sold on the effectiveness of the Spread concepts!

Make-up Games

Posted by admin September - 17 - 2018 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

As most of you know, the area south of us in North Carolina and South Carolina is under water from the rain of hurricane Florence. In Tidewater Virginia, though, we escaped the fury of the storm… THIS time! However, all of the games were canceled last Friday. Now everyone is scrambling to re-boot their schedules. It kinda reminds me of the time I was stuck in the Atlanta airport when a thunder storm swept through. Once the airlines started rescheduling flights, it was a mess! The same thing is happening here— not just this week, but for the next 2 weeks.

Some teams are making up Friday’s game tonight; others tomorrow; some on Wednesday. That will affect the regularly schedule games for this coming Friday. And when you reschedule that one, it affects the ones for next week too! We’ll leave all that to the AD’s; but, I might add… you, as the HC, should be allowed some say so in how your schedule is reset. Be proactive and go speak to your AD and/or principal and let them know what your feelings are before they make a final decision. You have a stake in this thing and your voice should be heard.

What I want to share with you is HOW you prepare for those “short” weeks… when you have multiple games to prepare for. The first rule is: take 1 game at a time! Stay focused on your current opponent as you practice with your players. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start with scouting your next opponent. Request Hudl video now… and start breaking it down. You do all of this while you tell your players that: “YOU have one focus! Get ready to play the best game you can play THIS game.”

Setting up a practice schedule can become a problem too. You have to decide a couple of things: 1- which drill periods you’re going to reduce in time or… eliminate altogether. 2- Which “day” do you eliminate? That is, delete your “Fundies Day” (typically Monday for the teams that I coached) or not have your “Run Through/Pregame” practice. I think it is important to keep things as similar to a normal practice week as you can.

The normal weekly practice schedule for the teams that I led went like this: Monday: Fundies (both sides) and Introduce the Scouting Report. Tuesday: Big O Day. Focus on Offense with a 20-25 minute period for Team Defense. Wednesday: flip the script and make it Big D Day… with a 20-25 minute Team Offense period. *NOTE: We practiced Special Teams every day! Then Thursday was: “Play A Game” Day. This was our Dress Rehearsal. I talk about this at length in my book, 101 Little Things. Check it out!

So… let’s say your play on Monday and your next game is Friday! You have 3 days to get ready. The first thing I’m deleting is “Thursday.” I make sure that I point out to the players on Tuesday that we will a) keep to our normal schedule as much as possible then b) we will not have our regular “Dress Rehearsal” on Thursday this week. Remind them on Wednesday too.

The other issue is how much contact do you put your players through when there’s a short week. If you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you know that I’m not an advocate for much body-on-body “full” contact during the week anyway. However, rarely did we ever go out in anything less that full gear. Why? For protection. All it takes is for one Scout Team player to slip and nail your star RB in the thigh with his shoulder pad… and your star is now injured going into the game! (Yes… it happened to me more than once! You’d think I would’ve learned.) The only time we didn’t go out in full pads were weeks where we had an extra day of practice— playing on a Saturday instead of Friday night. But, that’s a different topic!

My “5 P’s of Success” come into play sooooooooo often! You’ve got to get your team properly prepared. That means having a plan for the whole week before practice starts the first day! Organization is the bed rock of preparation.