Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for February, 2020

Character Coach

Posted by admin February - 27 - 2020 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

This is a “plug” for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. I have been affiliated with them since the late 80’s and have always supported their work. We have a tremendous young man who is the Area Director here in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Nate Timm has shown that he has a passion for the Lord and a desire to serve the coaches and athletes in our region.

I shared a few weeks ago that I have resigned my position as a full-time (day-to-day) coach. It was a difficult decision but I’ve come to realize in the last month that it was the direction that I needed to take.

The new HC at our local high school where I coached for 33 has brought me on as the Character Coach for Western Branch HS. If you don’t know what that is, then contact your local FCA representative and let him/her explain to you what a Character Coach is… and does! I feel like it’s the perfect role for me: I get to encourage the players and coaches while not having to be involved in the daily grind that is a football season. A season that is basically year-round now.

My hope, as the new Character Coach, is to inspire and encourage the young men on our team to become young men who understand the importance of integrity, respect and dedication— among numerous other traits that I plan to explore during the season. I plan to do this by reinstating a practice that I used while a HC. I call it the Word of the Week.

A positive character trait is introduced to the team on Monday. I have a library full of stories and parables that will bring to light what is entailed with that character trait. For example, my first word that I will present is: PERSISTENCE.

The story that I will use to introduce the significance of being persistent is one that I read from Stephan Curry of the GS Warriors. It is called The Tale of the Stonecutter. Check it out!

Our new HC is so excited about it that it produced our team slogan! Similar to the very successful “Row The Boat” that PJ Fleck brought to the U. of Minnesota football program, our HC has hashtagged it: #KEEPONHAMMERIN’!

I encourage you to explore getting a Character Coach as part of your program. Talk to your local FCA rep and find out how the FCA can become involved in your team. You won’t regret it!

Find A Mentor

Posted by admin February - 19 - 2020 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

I wrote last week about the new HC at “my” high school! He is still living and working in Northern Virginia (near DC) and we are in Tidewater (near Virginia Beach)… so he is trying to do a lot of things long distance! Thank goodness for cell phones and the internet!

One thing that I have been able to do for him, since I’m here in Tidewater, is to be an “adviser” to him. He shares his goals and vision with me and I respond. Then, at other times, I see something that he needs to take care of right now and I contact him. We have already formed a great working, and personal, relationship.

He said something today while we were on the phone that made me realize that I need to share this with those of you who follow this blog. What he basically said was, “I am sooooooo glad that I have someone with experience and wisdom that I can rely on to give me helpful advice when I need it. I bet every head coach wished that he had someone like you. Thank you.”

If you are a HC then you should take heed to what this new HC said. Each of you needs someone who is not on your coaching staff; i.e., an “administrative” person, who will be there to offer wisdom and helpful solutions when problems arise.

Most of you won’t know the name John Ballein. John coached with me at the high school level before he decided to head west to Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. His desire was to work at the college level and he would not be denied. He offered his services to Hall of Fame coach, Frank Beamer. Over the years, Coach Beamer developed such confidence and trust in John that he named Ballein the Director of Football Operations at VT. John was an invaluable support for Coach Beamer over the years.

Find someone (preferably older than you) that you respect and trust. Ask him to mentor you. Be sure he knows that you want him to be honest and forthright— no “bull jiving” as we used to say in the 70’s! When he observes a problem, you want to know about it. However, he is NOT a “spy.” But he is your “eyes and ears” of the program— observing things from the outside>in! Let the rest of the staff know your mentor’s role.

Don’t be a Lone Ranger head coach! Form relationships that afford you the support and encouragement you will need… particularly when the stress level goes off the chart!

Comin’ Home!

Posted by admin February - 12 - 2020 - Wednesday ADD COMMENTS

It has been a verrrrrrrry exciting day… for me and for our entire community. Today, the high school principal and A.D. presented the new Head Football Coach to the players and invited guests. I am so proud because the young man who was announced today as our new Head Coach is a former player of mine! Let me tell you a little about this guy:

He played Wing Back for us in our vaunted Delaware Wing T offense. It was a team that was loaded with talent. It went 10 and 0 during the regular season… only being tested once or twice. We lost in the Regional championship game to the eventual state champs. As outstanding as this young man was as a player, he had to play “second fiddle” to one of the best running backs in the state of Virginia. I like to say that Rashad was the “2nd best RB in the state!” Unfortunately, he played in the same backfield with the best RB in the state.

Did Rashad complain? Did he ever pout about his role? Did he ever give less than his very best— practice and game— every day? The answer to each of these questions is a resounding NO! This guy was the consummate “team player.” I’m sure that he would’ve rather been the “star.” But, he was a “star” in his own right. There’s not a player who I ever coached that I have more respect for.

Now he’s going to lead the program that he played (and excelled) in! To hear him share his vision with the audience today was just awesome! He is going to lead this program back to the heights that we experienced when he played in the mid 90’s. Why? Partly because of the foundation we laid when he played here; but, mostly because he is a young man of character, passion and wisdom.

Go Bruins!!!