Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for December, 2010

Up and Running!

Posted by admin December - 31 - 2010 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

Even though it’s been Christmas vacation, I have gotten a great deal done as far as getting my new team up and running. I have met and/or called my new AD (who is a gem!!! I am very lucky to have her helping me) a dozen times. She’s always there to help. As a new coach, I need to know how things work at the school and then make recommendations as to what is possible as far as doing things “my way”— without rocking the boat. If traditions are in place, I’m not going to end them. They are a part of the school’s success and pride.

Another focal point is: I’ve started interviewing for coaching positions. Two hold-overs from the previous staff are going to provide knowledge and a sense of continuity. They both answered a lot of questions when I met with them. I shared my expectations and how I will run things and both were very receptive. I’m waiting to hear from the 3rd coach from the previous staff. I’ve also got a bead on a couple of other guys whom I’ve worked with before that I’ve offered a spot. I’ve set a deadline of having my staff in place by the end of January. We will then start meeting once a month in the spring to get the ball rolling.

The other focus is meeting the players. I went by a JV basketball practice last week and the coach was nice enough to give me 90 seconds to introduce myself and encourage everyone to come out for football next year. That visit already has had positive repercussions. It’s important to “see and be seen” in and around school. I will be attending other teams’ practices and games. I had lunch yesterday with the veteran juniors/rising seniors. A great bunch of guys. We ate and talked and had some good ideas spring from the conversations. The main thing I wanted from that meeting was 1) that they “see” my vision for the program and how I will run things and 2) find out from them what team goals they have for next year. I can build on those to create a Season Goals chart/poster which will hang in the locker room all season.

School starts back up on Monday and I will meet with the Strength and Conditioning Coach to see what kind of program he has in place for the football players. That weight program is a KEY element to our success. I hear that this guy is very good… so I’m excited to see what he has going for our kids.

Happy New Year everyone!

BIG News!!!

Posted by admin December - 22 - 2010 - Wednesday 3 COMMENTS

I just received a wonderful “early” Christmas gift!!! It was just announced that I have been hired as the new Head Football Coach at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy in Suffolk, VA. They are recognized throughout the state of Virginia as an outstanding academic institution with a tradition of excellence in sports. I am proud to be a Saint!

It’s going to be fun to get this thing up and running under my leadership. I will be applying the “Little Things” that I presented in my book. I am confident that they will have a positive impact in a private school setting just as they did when I was a public school coach. It comes down to one thing: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS. You need to “check your ego at the door,” Coach!

I am excited about working with a team full of highly motivated, extremely intelligent young men. I’ll keep you posted as I begin to hire a staff and meet with the players and their parents. What a blessing! God is good!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!
Lew

Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Posted by admin December - 21 - 2010 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

I just want to take a minute to wish all of my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous New Year! I hope you win ’em ALL next fall…. and get that ring for winning your state championship!

It is a joy to share my thoughts and ideas with you. I have some BIG news coming soon! I will report it here when it breaks.

Blessings,
Lew

Moving On

Posted by admin December - 10 - 2010 - Friday 2 COMMENTS

I am going to retire from our school system in June. After 38 years, I just feel like the Lord is saying it’s time. What I will miss is coaching. In fact, I’m looking into some HC jobs in the area… IF they will hire me just to coach! We have 6 or 7 openings in our area for HS HC positions. That is a LOT. Someone asked my Principal, “Who do you think they will hire(at a particular school)? I hear that they’re going outside the system and do a nationwide search.” The person discussing it seemed a bit incenced that the school in question would do that.

My principal’s response was, “well, who’s qualified to be a HC who is in the city right now?!” The other guy could not come up with a name! Which leads me to my point of this entry: WHAT ARE YOU DOING, IF YOU ARE AN ASSISTANT COACH, TO PUT YOURSELF IN A POSITION TO BE “QUALIFIED” TO BECOME A HEAD COACH?!”

There are a couple of things that I want to mention to you. First, are you being the BEST assistant coach that you can be? Are you loyal to your HC? Would he recommend you for a HC position if it opened up? Do you do the “little things” that you notice need to get done to help out your HC… and without asking? Have you told your HC your desire to be a HC one day and would appreciate any jobs he can give you to help you train for that possibility? Do you back him up publically or are you one of those assistants who “knows” that he can do a better job than the current guy… and you have no problem letting people know it either!

Secondly, are you a “student of the game?” Have you studied the game? Could you coach any or every position on the field if called upon to do so and…. be the best/most knowlegable coach on the field? How many defenses could you run? Do you know your team’s defense inside and out? Could you call the plays for your team’s offense… and do it well? How well do you know the kicking game? Could you sit down with a college recruiter who comes through your school and have an in-depth discussion about football? All of this goes into the mental or intellectual part of being the best coach that you can be. It is necessary, I believe, to being prepared for assuming the role as a head coach.

Finally, what do you know about the psychology of sports? You can be the most knowledgeable coach around, but if you can’t motivate kids and your staff, you are NOT going to be a successful head coach. Have you studied the principles of motivation? How many books have you read on the principles of leadership? Are you an effective public speaker? It’s critical to be able to get into the mind of an adolescent if you want to be a candidate for a HC position. All of this carries over to the reputation that you have in your community. Are you respected by the players? Do the parents appreciate what you are doing for their child? Are you active in your community? All of this builds toward a resume that will get a hiring committee’s attention. Then, once you get in front of that committee, can you “sell” yourself and your vision? It takes preparation.

New Head Coach

Posted by admin December - 1 - 2010 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I had a coaching friend write yesterday that his school hired a new HC about 3 weeks ago and the new guy still hasn’t met nor interviewed any of the coaches from the previous staff! He is wondering what, as an assistant coach in limbo, he should do.

Head Coaches and those of you who are assistants aspiring to be HC’s one day: THIS is for you!

The new HC has said that he will wait until February to meet/interview the current assistants and… at that point he probably won’t keep many of them around! I find it hard to believe that any new HC would want to conduct business this way. What a complete “turn off” to the previous staff. I’ve always tried to live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others the way that you want to be treated.” Sound advice straight from the Bible! It has helped me to see things from the other guy’s perspective. In this case, this new HC has been an assistant coach. He should be able to look at his new situation and think from the assistant’s point of view. Is this the way he would want to be treated if he were on the previous staff?

As a new HC, one of the first items on your list of “Things to Do” is to meet with and interview your staff. Before you can proceed with anything, you need to decide who you’re going to keep. Thank the others and send them on their way. You need the help and support that only assistant coaches can provide. You certainly don’t tell them that you won’t even be talking with them for 2-3 months!

The other thing that you do right off the bat is to meet with the players… collectively and then individually. All of this is laying the foundation for what you plan on being a program that people can get excited about and support. The first impression is often the lasting impression!!!

If you are in the position of this assistant coach who contacted me, I advised him to meet with the new HC and (respectfully) get some answers. Based on what the HC told him, it would be in his best interest to start looking around at other schools. While this is happening though, he should continue to “reach out” to the new HC and see if he needs/wants any help; what he’s planning; and where the assistant might be in a position to be valuable to the HC.

I know from my 22 years of experience as a HC that I appreciated assistants who didn’t wait around to be told something needs to be done but rather stepped up and got to work. They showed some initiative. Ask him what needs to be done and get to work on it. Make yourself “indispensable” to him and he will have to keep you on!

If, however, you find that it’s just not going to be a situation where you feel you can support the new HC and his philosophy, you have learned enough about him and his ways to make an honest and fairly in-depth evaluation of the new program. The guy may be nervous and feel stressed already…. but doesn’t want to show it. So he comes across as cocky and too self-assured. He’ll find out pretty quick that having competent assistant coaches is an invaluable part of any high school football program.

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