Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for July, 2017

“Attitude is EVERYTHING!!!”

Posted by admin July - 25 - 2017 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

I guess that a lot of you are gearing up for preseason practice to begin in the next week or so. It’s that time of year!!! Though I’m only “consulting” for the local team, the HC has really made me feel a part of things. It’s nice to be appreciated.

The same thing goes for your players. Have you let them know how much you appreciate their hard work in the weight room this summer? I used to present t shirts to those players with high attendance and achievement in our weight lifting program. You’re trying to create an atmosphere where your players (and coaches) realize that they are important… that you, as the HC, care about them. Your attitude toward them will have an impact on everything else you do during the season.

What do we mean by attitude? I’ll ask you: define attitude.

I’ll bet that your answer was along the lines of: how you act. You’re not entirely wrong… but you place the cart before the horse if you just think of someone’s attitude just being the way they behave. Something has to be the catalyst that caused that behavior first!

My Webster’s Abridged Dictionary defines attitude as 1- opinion or feeling. 2- posture. You might conclude that behavior is kinda mixed in there but… if you look more closely, it has to do with your mental state. Opinions and feelings are generated from your mind. Your posture is that look on your face (behavior) that is a result of that thought.

Why do I say all this? Cuz… you’re not going to change players’ behavior until you change their mind set; i.e., their attitudes!

I think one of the best ways to work on a person’s attitude (mental state) is through the use of slogans or inspirational sayings. I’d find one and make it into a poster and tape it on the locker room wall. Now… you’ve got to repeatedly bring that slogan to your players’ attention or it won’t work. It’s like the doctor giving you some medicine. You take the pills home and sit them by your bathroom sink and never take one out of the bottle!!!

The other day, I came across one of the most powerful slogans I’ve heard in a long time! I credit it to that great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. It’s in a little paperback book of his entitled, Great Quotes From Zig Ziglar. Here it is:

“Remember that FAILURE is an event—not a person.”

Wow!!! How often do we blame others for things? How often do we do poorly (fail) at something and blame ourselves?? When we can separate the act from being personal, our attitude begins to change. That’s what we’re after: changing attitudes!

7 ON “0”!!!

Posted by admin July - 18 - 2017 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

7 on 7 is the rage in this area! Everybody is playing it for various reasons. A coaching friend of mine and I started the first Passing League around here in 1997… mostly to offer football players a chance to compete during the summer. We had to combat the other sports that were offering our players a chance to play— as opposed to just lifting and doing drills leading up to pre-season practice. Look what’s happened to 7 on 7 competitions in the last 20 years!

What I’m suggesting today, though, is 7 on “none!” This is for the installation and… review of your passing game. I got this idea from Bill Bilichick when Tom Brady was just getting established as the Patriots starter. It worked so well for us that we continued to do it till I retired in 2015.

This means that your receivers are running against “air.” There is nobody on the defensive side of the ball. The advantage is 2-fold:
1- you and your QB can realllllllllly see the routes unfold in front of you. At the same time, the receivers’ route discipline can easily be dissected. There is no one in front of them (on defense) who can hinder them running the route.
2- The number of reps you can get off in a 20 minute passing period is extremely high! We tried it this morning at the school where I’m consulting for the HC. He had enough people (including JV players) to run 4 full groups. He called a pass play for the 1st Varsity unit and the next 3 groups simply mirrored the pattern. The HC counted up the plays at the end of practice and he got off 52 pass plays in 20 minutes!!! Pretty impressive.

Discipline vs. Punishment

Posted by admin July - 11 - 2017 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

There are, unfortunately, times that you have to punish players because of rules infractions. That’s why it’s important to keep your “rules” to a minimum. Cuz… if you make a rule and a player breaks it, you are forced to implement the punishment. If you ignore enforcement, you’ve set yourself up for bigger problems. Here are a couple of examples of punishment:

We value being on time in our program. If you are late, unless it is excused; i.e., parent’s note explaining why the player is late or a teacher’s note that she kept the player back after school, then you are going to suffer the consequences. I stationed a coach at the entrance to our practice field. He kept track of when the whistle blew to start practice. For every minute a player was late, it was an “up/down.” *You can modify that to fit your needs. I know a coach who has them do a full burpee for every 30 seconds a player is late.

We do not tolerate unsportsmanlike penalties in practice or games. NO fighting in practice… period! An unsportsmanlike penalty in a game is going to cost you 200 yards of driving the 1 man tackling stick up and down the field. And… he has 3 minutes to get it done. I like to have football “skills” that they work on while doing the punishment. Driving a sled or tackling a bag are more “football-related” punishments than just running or doing grass drills.

Discipline is related to self-control. We’re trying to teach something. I do a set of push ups each night before I go to bed. My wife once said, “Lew, you are the most disciplined person I’ve ever met!” It’s simply developing a habit! And… that takes reps and reps and reps! Till, it’s just “something you do without thinking!” Some psychologists call it a “positive addiction!” You’re in the habit of doing something that is healthy.

The same thing goes in football. Reps (quality reps!) are so important to developing “muscle memory patterns” and, thus, having your body perform an activity to the best of your ability. We want our players to hustle everywhere they go on the field— which in turn will hopefully teach them to “hustle” in life! If I call the team up for a talk and they don’t (at least) jog over to me, they have to go back and come over again. If the offense jumps off side during practice, they do 5 push ups for each yard a 5 yard penalty costs them in a game! When you discipline, you are training. This is why I’m so big on positive reinforcement! I’ve said it before but I’ll say it here again:
IF you want a behavior repeated, reward it!!!

Look for opportunities to praise a player. But, at the same time, don’t let them “get away” with something if they fail to meet an expectation.

UN-conventional Special Teams Play

Posted by admin July - 7 - 2017 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

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I share our rather unique concepts on making your special teams special. We have adapted our special teams play specifically for high school players. It has been very successful for us over the years!

Please check it out in Championship’s catalog.

“Being First”

Posted by admin July - 5 - 2017 - Wednesday 1 COMMENT

I shared with the players the other day about 2 important aspects of creating a culture of champions: 1- strive to be first in everything that you do and 2- hustle is an attitude. Let me ‘splain!!!!

When I hear or read about championship-caliber athletes, the one factor that stands out in my mind is their burning desire to be the very best they can be at whatever their sport is. They possess a passion— not only for the game but, for succeeding and achieving in that game. Simply put, they desire to be first! What does this take? I believe it requires hustle.

Two stories come to mind that bring this to light. One is the story of the lion and gazelle. It goes something like this: Every morning the lion and the gazelle awake and they begin running (hustling!) Whoever hustles faster and longer will survive. Either the lion has a full belly or the gazelle gets to sleep with his family that night. So, you better wake up ready to hustle all day long cuz… you don’t know who’s out there looking to “eat you up!”

The other story was the one I shared with the players. I first heard it from my baseball coach when I was in 10th grade! Sooooooooo, it goes back a LOOOOOOOOOOONG way!!! He was challenging us to always “be first.” Be the first one dressed and out of the locker room. Be the first player on the field. Be the first student to get to class. Be the first… be the FIRST! “How do you accomplish this?” he queried. “It’s actually pretty simple!” Coach exclaimed. “If everybody else is walking, then you JOG! If everyone else is jogging, then you RUN! If everyone else is running, then you SPRINT! If everyone else is sprinting (which is HIGHLY UN-likely!!!) then at least you’re right up there competing with the best!”

Just stay “1 step ahead of the pack” and you will be the leader! It doesn’t take talent to hustle!! But… talent PLUS hustle is a tough combination to beat!!!

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