Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for April, 2014

How to Get Kids to QUIT Your Team!!!

Posted by admin April - 30 - 2014 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

This post comes compliments of Coach Joe Daniel. He said I could use it if I promoted his website! Sooooooooooooo…. please check out Football-Defense.com. Lots of good information and material there.

I’m going to take a “reverse psychology” approach to a problem that coaches share with me all the time— “Why are kids not coming out for my football program?” OR… “I was counting on that kid and he decided not to play.” I’m going to share 5 ways that you can pretty much guarantee that a kid will refuse to come out for your team. Remember: the fastest (and oftentimes) and most effective communication about your program is by word of mouth. You build a reputation as a coach by how successful you are BUT…. that reputation is also build on how you run your program and treat your players! Here are 5 ways to ensure that a kid will quit on you:

1- Assume a player knows anything. We all know what the “definition” of assume is, right? When you start practice, you coach from the perspective that a) a veteran has forgotten everything I taught him last year and b) a rookie knows nothing about our program. When you assume that a kids knows what you want, you are in for big trouble! Coach Daniel says this: “If you didn’t teach ti, they don’t know it.”

2- Call into question a player’s injury. When you use the old “quilt trip” on a player to get him to “heal up” faster, you are running the risk of other players choosing not to play for you. With the general concern about concussions today, you need to be very careful about how you treat kids with injuries. I came up with a plan that has worked well for our program. I tell our Trainer and Team Doctor: “I won’t bother you about injuries if you don’t bother me about a particular call I made!” I keep a firm and clear line between who does the injury treatment and who does the coaching. Then… when a player is hurt, you need to encourage him— not castigate him for being hurt. One of our captains injured his knee in the first quarter of our 1st game this past fall. He missed the rest of the season. I made sure that he was there early enough for every game so he would go out to make the coin toss call. It was the least I could do for a young man who meant so much to us.

3- Do a lot of pointless running. Fooball is a game of short bursts! Any distance running is a waste of time. Anyone who takes the Herb Brooks Miracle approach to “On the line. Do it again!” and runs suicides for 20 minutes is putting himself in a position where kids are going to quit on him. Do lots of change of direction drills. Find ways to incorporate position-specific conditioning drills. You can’t make running fun, but you can make it worthwhile.

4- Run “David vs. Goliath” hitting drills— especially in pre-season. Pitting a young, inexperienced player against your best veteran hitter is a recipe for disaster. You may think you’re building toughness but, more than likely, you’re creating a fear of contact a young player may never overcome. You want to put them in situations where they at least have a chance to be successful. Getting a kid physically humiliated in front of his teammates puts him in a situation where he won’t even attempt to compete. I’m a firm believer in building toughness. The key word being building. Some players come to high school with that toughness factor already instilled in him from middle school or Youth football. Others, you may have to cultivate. I had a player in middle school (when I coached there for a couple of years after retirement) who was very “gun shy.” He was a great kid and a fine athlete. He just didn’t like to hit. Three years later, he earned All District honors and is now playing football at the US Coach Guard Academy! I ran into him at the gym over spring break and asked him what happened. “What occurred that you changed so much and became such a great linebacker?!” He told me that his high school coaches kept putting him in drills where he could compete. Once he discovered that he could “dish it out” and not get injured if he plowed into someone, it was like something clicked in his head!

5- Play favorites. Every coach has his favorites. We are all human. I tell our players that I DO play favorites— my favorite players are the ones who hustle their tail off, have a great attitude and like to hit. If you can do those things on a consistent basis, you’ll get a chance to play. There’s no doubt that people need to be treated differently. “Fair” does not mean that we treat everyone the same. It does mean that we show respect to ALL of our players. They need to know that you care about them as more than just players. You never know who that “punky little freshman” might grow up to be! We had one of those back in the early 90’s. My JV coach actually cut him in pre-season. He was 5’3 and 135 pounds. We feared for his well-being. Fortunately, he showed up for practice the following Monday because we found out over the week-end that 7 JV players were academically ineligible. The guy played sparingly until one game in the middle of their season. The starting running back got hurt and they had to put him in. He ended up scoring a couple of times that game and continued that onslaught the rest of the JV season. I promoted him at the end of the year; put him in a Varsity game; gave him the ball and he went 70 yards on his first touch! He earned All State honors his senior year. Virginia Tech gave him a full scholarship (he was up to 5’8 and 185 by then) and then played 3 years in the NFL! He could’ve walked away as a freshman in high school. We gave him a chance, though, and, as they say, the rest is history!!!

A BIG Win!

Posted by admin April - 21 - 2014 - Monday 1 COMMENT

Resurrection Day took on different meaning to me courtesy of Bob Gass ministries. I watched The Passion of the Christ last night (again!) and the last 2 episodes of The Bible… simply to remind myself of the price that Jesus paid for my screw-ups! Then I read my devotion this morning on the “day after” and it reallllllllllly opened my eyes to how BIG a win it was— for Jesus and for US— to go to the grave but then be brought back to life through the power of Holy Spirit! See if the following doesn’t wham you the way it whammed me:

“How hell must have celebrated the day Jesus was crucified! He had just died a brutal death on a cross. But, Satan’s big party ended abruptly! One author writes: ‘In the most ironic twist of history, what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good. (Think about that for a second.) Jesus’ death bridged the gap between a perfect God and a fatally flawed humanity. On Good Friday God defeated sin, routed death, triumphed over Satan (Satan didn’t even know it yet!), and got His family back… He took the worst deed in history and turned it into the greatest victory. No wonder Jesus commanded us to never forget. Because of the cross we have hope. It’s through the Servant’s wondrous wounds, not His miracles, that we are healed (See Isa. 53:5). And if God can wrest such triumph from the jaws of apparent defeat… what might He do with the apparent failures and hardships of our lives?'”

Our pastor preached on The Gap yesterday… that “gap” between what our expectations are for a situation or relationship and… reality! He pointed out that sometimes we miss the blessing that God wants to offer us because we are too frustrated/emotionally charged to see what God is trying to do for us! Those disciples were so deflated that when the women returned from the Tomb to tell them, “He’s not there! He’s risen… just like He said” that they couldn’t accept it.

Folks: Jesus WON!!! He won the biggest victory in the history of mankind. I want to encourage you to walk in the victory that God has provided. As Pastor Gass closes, he writes: “In the transformation of redemption, the most villainous crime becomes our healing strength. The fatally wounded Healer came back to life on Easter Sunday. That day gives us a sneak preview of how all history will look from the vantage point of eternity… hurt and disappointment will be seen in a different light. Faith begins where it might have seemed to end. Between the Cross and the empty tomb hovers the promise of history: hope for the world and hope for each of us who lives in it.”

Our “team” just won the Super Bowl yesterday!!! Enjoy it today and… every day!!! HE’S ALIVE!!!

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