Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for December, 2011

Christmas is About— Christ!

Posted by admin December - 24 - 2011 - Saturday ADD COMMENTS

Lest we forget, JESUS is the Reason For the Season!

He was born in the humblest of settings, yet heaven was filled with the songs of angels. His birthplace was a cattle shed, yet a star brought the rich and noble from thousands of miles away to worship Him. His virgin birth was contrary to the laws of life and His death was contrary to the laws of death. Yet no miracle is greater than His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection.

During His 3 years of ministry He wrote no books, He had no headquarters nor built an organization. But 2000 years later He’s still the central figure of human history, the perpetual theme of all preaching, the pivot point around which the ages revolve, and the only Redeemer of the human race!

At this season of celebration and gift-giving, let’s join the wise men who “fell down and worshipped Him.” Let’s remember, Christmas is about— Christ!

Looking Back… Looking Ahead

Posted by admin December - 20 - 2011 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

It was one ago (almost) to the day that I accepted the HC position at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. What a GREAT year it has been!!!

However, it closed on a very sad note this past week. One of my player’s dad murdered his wife and then committed suicide last Tuesday. The shock waves reverberated throughout the school and community. We had to go through 2 funerals in the past 4 days and it was rough on all of my boys. They hurt as one of their friends and teammates hurt.

It was interesting that the boy went to school the next day. Several people commented to me, “how could he do that?!” My response was, “you don’t understand the bonds of caring commitment that people feel at this school.” It is more than just a school… it is a community. The boy felt safe and secure at school. It is just another example of why I am so proud to be affiliated with these fine people.

How does this type of unity get built? Whether it’s your team, your school or your business organization it comes down to one thing: everyone working together to achieve a common goal. The vision that our school has is to educate the whole child— academics and character go hand in hand. And everyone “buys into it.” Having this common vision allows everyone to work together to achieve it. If you are a head coach, then you need to realize that your team, your program will never be truly successful until you develop a vision and “cast” that vision to the others around you. Then, with God’s help, you can work to achieve it.

I am reading a book that my pastor encouraged me to read. It’s part of a study program to prepare me to assume the role of an assistant pastor at my church…. but it’s reading for anyone who’s in a leadership role. The title of the book is Visioneering by Andy Stanley. I recommend it to anyone who has a vision for his organization.

Merry Christmas!!! and remember: Jesus is the Reason for the season!!!”

The Grace to Handle It

Posted by admin December - 9 - 2011 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

Ed and Nancy Huizinga were at church rehearsing for the Christmas program when fire swept through their house and burnt it to the ground. It wasn’t their first tragedy that year. Three months earlier when a friend died of cancer, the couple took in her children. So when their house was destroyed it wasn’t just their home they lost, it was the home of 2 kids who’d already lost their parents. The following week, as they sifted through the ashes, they found a slip of paper that survived the fire. On it they read these words: “Contentment: Realizing that God has already provided everything that we need for our present happiness.”

God gives us “more grace” when we walk through fiery trials. One Bible teacher said: “Our perspective changes when we catch a glimpse of the purpose of Jesus Christ. Take that away, and it’s nothing more than a bitter, terrible experience. Suffering comes in many forms, but His grace is always there to carry us beyond it. I’ve endured a sufficient number of trials to be able to say without hesitation that only Christ’s perspective can replace resentment with rejoicing!” Jesus is the central piece of suffering’s puzzle. If we fit him into place, the rest begins to make sense.”

Another writes, “When life blindsides us… and the football season, the diagnosis, the firing, foreclosure, abuse, broken marriage, death, kids rebelling or financial problems bring us to our knees… GRACE says that there’s more love after loss, infidelity or failure… more joy after the diagnosis… more life after financial ruin. Grace is real. It is an indominable gift with power to change your life.” But it only comes from one Source! “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found; was blind but now I see.” This amazing grace that we’ve heard sung about comes only from God in the Person of Jesus Christ.

This gift that has the power to change your life comes with one condition, though: like any gift, you have to reach out and take it. God is offering it to all of us. Why don’t you receive it during this holiday season? It’s the perfect time!

Little Things

Posted by admin December - 5 - 2011 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Things keep coming up when I talk with other coaches that would lend themselves to a follow-up book to my first 101 Little Things… but… I’m not compiling another 101 so I’ll write them up here! I touched on this subject in my book; but, since it’s come up twice since my season ended, I figured it’s worth discussing. The subject is: instituting your system in your lower level programs.

I think it is a fatal flaw in your football (or any sport!) program’s organization if you don’t have your JV, Freshman, JJV, Middle School… even Pop Warner teams… install your offense and defense at their level. Your chances of building a winning program and sustaining that success are greatly diminished if you fail to get your system going in the younger teams. Having kids at the middle school level already familiar with your play-calling system, your defensive numbering system, your passing tree and/or how you call blitzes is only going to increase the learning curve when they get to the high school. Being able to promote a JV player in mid-season and already have him knowledgable of your system allows you to create depth and longevity.

We started running the Del. Wing T offense in 1989. By 1993, we had our feeder teams running the same offense. By 1995, we were 8 and 2 and we never had a record of worse than 6-4 over the next 11 seasons. This year, at my new school, we had our JJV (7th and 8th graders) running the Wing T. I promoted our whole JJV backfield for the last 2 games of the Varsity season. We played a team that we severely over-matched in our final game. For most of the second half of that game, I played the 8th grade backfield in our Varsity game. How was I able to do this? They had run the same offense all year and were proficient enough in it to run the basic plays and score twice!

If you as the Head Coach have the responsibility of running your school’s entire program, then you need to call a staff meeting with ALL of your coaches and tell them that all teams will be installing your offensive and defensive schemes. That is your prorogative as the man in charge of the whole program. You will have to set up meetings with your coaches of these younger teams to teach them the system. I would encourage you to make time to attend a few practices to observe the installation process. You will have to “coach the coaches” until they understand it well enough to stand alone.

When I coached in the public school setting, I did not have the direct authority to tell our middle school coaches what offense and defense to run. However, I set up a meeting with them to encourage them to run our system. I offered training and support for them while they learned it. They liked what they saw and bought in 100%. They had a lot of success running the Wing T over the next 15 years. If you make your presentation in a positive and helpful manner… explaining how important your feeder system is (that’s them!)… you can usually “sell” your system to the younger programs. I even began to reach out to the Rec League and Pop Warner coaches. Offering a coach’s clinic in the summer was helpful in building good will. It’s a matter of reaching out to these coaches. Most want to help make your high school team successful. It’s a matter of community pride.

It requires more work on your part but nobody said it was going to be easy to become the consistently successful program that you dream of! Getting the younger teams’ coaches on board with your system is one of those Little Things that can build a consistently successful high school program.

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