Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for August, 2013

How Much Hitting?

Posted by admin August - 29 - 2013 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

I’ve had several coaches contact me this week about practice schedules and how best to utilize practice time. One coach just shared with me about the rash of (season-ending) injuries that his team has suffered in the pre-season. I know football is a violent, physical sport. Kids have to be mentally and physically tough to play it. However, I’m not sure if the reward predicates going at it so hard in practice… IF it’s going to cost you your starting QB or LB because you go “live” in practice all the time.

Aside from the whole concussion issue, I don’t think you need to tackle live in practice to create physical toughness in your players. I ascribe to the adage that my old HS coach (who remained my mentor for years) preached to me: “If they’re going to get hurt during the week… make it on Friday during the game— NOT on Tuesday during practice!” It has served my teams well for 28 years.

The only full, live tackling to the ground that we do in practice is 4 goal line plays from the 5 yard line on Tuesday for Offense and the same on Wednesday for Goal line Defense. The rest of the time we’re going to smack each other; wrap our arms and run our feet and expect 4-5 more tacklers to get to the ball before the whistle. Nobody goes to the ground.

Our kids are as tough and aggressive as anybody we play. They know that come Friday night that we are going to “turn them lose!” They actually look forward to hitting people during the game because we “hold them back” during the week.

I’ve found that it minimizes the chance of injury during any particular practice and…. the over-all wear and tear on an athlete’s body over a 12-15 week season is also minimized. Our kids are fresher and stronger at play-off time than at any time during the season. Why? Because by November, they are in the best shape of the entire Fall. We cut back on practice time as the season progresses as well.

Let me add here a note of importance: You must keep up your weight lifting during the season!!! Do not use the excuse that you do not have time. You make time. We get our lifting done in 20 minutes on Monday and Thursday every week. This is as much a part of conditioning as any running that we do. Keep lifting coaches!

Who’s On Board With You?

Posted by admin August - 20 - 2013 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

A pastor wrote that he was on a cruise ship in the South Pacific. The captain announced that they were about to navigate a very narrow and very dangerous crevice. They needed at least 30 feet of water to get through and avoid running aground. Just then a small powerboat approached the cruise ship. On deck was a captain from Australia. As he boarded the big ship, the crew saluted him and stepped aside to allow him to take the helm. This man specialized in maneuvering big ships through this small space. Because of his expertise they made it through without a problem.

There’s an important lesson here for us to learn: Before you get caught in life’s storms be sure that Jesus is at the helm of your “ship.” and… that you know who your traveling companions are.

In the midst of a howling gale that threatened to sink their ship, it says in the Book of Acts that Paul stood up and proclaimed to the crew, “Take heart! I believe God will do exactly what He told me.” Paul had confidence because he knew Who the real Captain was that day. He never doubted that God would honor His promise to save him and everyone on board.

When you go through storms that shake your faith, you need people who know what the Word of God says; people who believe that God will “do exactly” what He said— no matter how bad the situation. Such friends are few and far between… and they are precious. If you have one or two of them in your life today, you’re blessed. Soooooooo… how about thanking God for them?!

“Stay Humble… Stay Hungry!”

Posted by admin August - 13 - 2013 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

We’ve finished our first week of practice. We went 2-a-days all last week— light work-out in the afternoon and pads in the evening. The kids responded well. We have a veteran team and a LOT more kids out for football than we’ve had since I started here 3 years ago. Kids are excited about football and want to play. That is a credit to our staff and our philosophy of building relationships with our players.

I’ve mentioned before that I do a “Word of the Week” every week of the season. I borrow some of these from our FCA chaplain and then other weeks, I select the word based on something that we need to focus on that particular week. This week’s word is: (SERVANT) LEADERSHIP. We are going to select our Team Lieutenants at the end of this week. (Note: we select 5-7 “Lt.’s” instead of 1-2 Captains.) I wanted to discuss the qualities of an effective leader with the players.

I started out asking them to give me the name of a great leader with whom they have had personal contact. I wrote each name on the white board as they shouted it out. Once we had 7 or 8 I then asked them to tell me what is it about this person that makes them a great leader in the player’s mind. I then wrote those traits on the board. I then shared why I include “Servant” as part of leadership. I used my example of Jesus Christ as my effective leader and talked about how the Bible states that “to be great, be the least.” I want them to see that a great leader is not afraid to get his hands dirty… that a great leader does not “lord it over” the others.

We will pick our Lieutenants on Thursday. I want them to select our best leaders. Leadership is one of those Little Things that can make a BIG difference in the success of your team. Choose your leaders wisely!

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