Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for September, 2019

“Bounce-back Week”

Posted by admin September - 25 - 2019 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

Wellllllllllll…. my motivational tool that I wrote about last week didn’t pan out so well. We had 2 fumbles inside our opponent’s 15 yard line! Both times we were easily driving down the field against a good team. We go for 2 points about 90% of the time and make most of them. So we left 16 points “on the field.” Final score: 40-20. With those 16 additional points, it would’ve been interesting.

I don’t know where I heard it but it really resonated with me this week as we began practice Monday. I asked the HC for a minute to speak to the team before practice. This is what I said:

Don’t let IR beat you twice!” Don’t let IR beat you twice!! Stop feeling sorry for yourself; quit pouting… and get back to the business of focusing on THIS week’s game. We need to be properly prepared both physically and mentally. Don’t let IR beat you twice!”

It helped. We had a decent practice for a Monday but yesterday, Tuesday, was as good as we’ve had all year. The coaches were coaching and the kids responded.

Don’t let your last defeat keep you from “moving on” and focusing on THIS week’s game. Don’t let that team that you lost to last week beat you again!

Donut Holes!

Posted by admin September - 20 - 2019 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

I’m not sure where I came up with this idea… but, it has been effective with our players in the past.

I have mentioned before on this site that my background is in psychology and counseling. How the mental part of the game of football operates has always fascinated me! Looking for a psychological advantage is one of the fun parts of coaching for me. I have found one that I want to share.

One of the most important aspects of a well-executed offensive game plan is: Turn-overs! One of our Offensive Game Objectives that we set each week is to have no more than 1 T-O! If they have 0 T-O’s, the Offense earns a bonus point. However, I was looking for a motivational tool that might get our Offense to realllllllllllly strive for NO turn-overs. What I came up with is pretty cool! No turn-overs earns all of the offensive guys a couple of donut HOLES! The hole looks like a fat “0!” My hope was that the symbolism would be significant.

Welllllllll, we had a T-O in our first game so no donut holes. I heard a couple of players saying, “we need to get those donut holes this week, guys!” THAT is what I wanted to hear! Good news— we had 0 T-O’s in last week’s game. When we broke from our Thursday Pre-Game Ceremony yesterday, (get a copy of my book and you’ll see what the “Ceremony” is all about!!!) I called the offensive players over. When they saw the box from Dunkin’ Donuts, they started smiling. I broke open the box and started handing out Holes!

We’ll see tonight if it makes a difference!!!

NEVER Forget! ALWAYS Remember!!!

Posted by admin September - 11 - 2019 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I don’t know why the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country has impacted me so greatly this morning… but it has!

There have been tons of posts on my Facebook page about remembering. It’s painful to remember but sooooooo important. We’d be doing ourselves a disservice— and psychologists would say “harm”— to try and block out the terrible events that have occurred in our lives.

How does this tie in to coaching football? Welllllllllll… if you believe that football is a metaphor for life like I do; then, you can learn from confronting the past. Hopefully, by doing so, you won’t make the same mistake again!

I had to learn that lesson the hard way the first year I was a HC. We were 2 and 1 at the time and had what we ALL thought was going to be an easy game that week. Practices were lackluster but I didn’t say anything cuz we were so confident. Friday got here and it was pouring down rain. The game got postponed to Saturday afternoon. That’s when things started falling apart. One of our starters came to me and said that he would have to miss the game. His sister was getting married on Saturday and he was in the wedding party! OK… I understood. We’d be OK without him, I thought!

We got over to the school and the field hadn’t been cut and the lines were faded out. It was pretty pathetic. Our warm-ups were as bad as the field conditions. That’s when it hit me! I’m sure it was the Lord exhorting me to stop everything and call the team up… and chew them out goooood! But, no… I just stood there.

The home team’s band attempted to play the National Anthem. It was awful. I noticed a couple of our players snickering at it. I knew what they were thinking: their band sucks and so does their team!

You can probably figure out the ending. We were behind with 2 minutes left in the game. We made a valiant effort to drive the length of the field but to no avail. It was a crushing defeat! We went on a 3 game losing streak and never recovered.

I NEVER forgot all the mistakes I made that day. It was that off-season that I first read what was to become my coaching (and life) mantra: PROPER Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!!!

That lack of proper preparation was the driving force that helped me face up to reality. Never again was I going to say that I did not prepare my team properly— both physically and (more importantly!) mentally.

Never forget! ALWAYS remember! God bless the USA!!!

Open Weeks

Posted by admin September - 6 - 2019 - Friday ADD COMMENTS

We’ve played one game, and won, and now we’ve had an “off” week! The schedule in Virginia is kinda peculiar. We opened on the “0” week and now we are open for week 1.

It doesn’t matter when you have your open date, the important thing is how you utilize it. It’s an extra week to prepare OR… it’s an extra day or two to let your players and staff recharge their battery! You can accomplish both.

Our HC gave the players Monday off. No practice. The fact that it was Labor Day helped— enjoyed the holiday. He also gave everyone a free day today. The plan was to go scout but Hurricane Dorian has messed up all of that.

He had us working hard on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday— which is exactly what I would’ve done if I were in charge. (I have a very wise HC!!!)

We went out in full gear and worked hard for 2 1/2 hours. Tuesday was Kicking Game and Offense. Wednesday was Kicking Game and Defense and Thursday was Kicking Game and split O and D evenly.

THAT was the physical part. The mental part is where you plant seeds that will bear fruit down the road. We talked to the players about the importance of “getting better.” We challenged them to focus… and pay attention to details. That’s harder to do when there’s no game on Friday.

We weren’t getting much effort nor enthusiasm during my Offensive practice on Tuesday. Rather than calling them up to talk to them at the end of practice, I had them circle up and we did up/downs for 5 minutes. We hadn’t done any Conditioning that day so that was taken care of with the exercise! It was afterwards that I explained that, “I cannot tolerate lack of effort. I will NOT accept a lack of hustle! You don’t go hard during practice, you’ll have to make up for it at the end of practice!”

Wednesday’s practice was much better.

Each week has a purpose and each day is an opportunity to fulfill that purpose. Paint a picture for your players so they can see that purpose. It’s highly motivating when they see that they’re all working toward a common objective.