Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Aggressiveness and Toughness

Posted by admin November - 16 - 2010 - Tuesday

I commented in an earlier post about the lack of aggression on the part of some of our players this season… and said that I’d be commenting about it more at a later date. That “date” is NOW!

I was talking with my principal this morning and he lamented about how tough it is at our age to get back in shape! He’s trying but it hurts. I won’t use the word that he used to describe himself. Let’s just say that whimp would be a synonym for that descriptive word he used!!! He went on to say that of all the famous quotes from Vince Lombardi that, perhaps, the one that holds the most truth is:
Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Aggressiveness is, I think, mostly innate; i.e., built into us early on in life… maybe ieven n our genetic make-up at conception. That’s not to say that we as coaches can’t make a player more aggressive. The problem becomes how to develop it (aggressiveness) without being abusive to our players.

I would submit that the answer lies in building toughness in our kids. And, it starts with mental toughness… not physical! I don’t remember where I first heard it, but some coach that I respected said something to the effect that: “we’ll break them with our mental toughness and then we’ll crush them with our physical toughness!” Which, to me, says that it’s more of a state of mind than anything else.

Once a kid has mental toughness, he is able to do so much more (from a physical standpoint) than his opponent. There’s a self-image created in your players’ minds that there is nobody tougher than us. How do they know this? Cuz they’ve worked harder than anyone else to get there.

It starts in the off-season weight program. And, it’s more than just “pumping iron” for 6-7 months. This is the time to “get inside your kid’s heads” and make them start believing that they are tough! It’s something you build… not tear down! In my book, 101 Little Things, I give some ideas about how to create this atmosphere of toughness.

Once pre-season work-outs begin, the type and amount of conditioning that you do adds the next “coat of armor” on their psyches. I would encourage you to talk to your Track coach (if he is knowledgable) or contact the Strenth and Conditioning Coach at a local university to get some ideas about the type of conditioning to do for football and, even more importantly, how hard to push them… how much work you do! The whole time complimenting your players on how hard they are working and how tough they are becoming. Once they believe in themselves, they are going to be a lot more confident when it’s time to hit someone else.

What I am saying is that the psychological approach to your off-season training is just as important as the physical side in your plan to improve your players’ performance.

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