Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Be a “Student of the Game!”

Posted by admin November - 28 - 2018 - Wednesday

It’s “Final 4 Weekend” in Virginia this coming Saturday. Four teams in each of the 6 divisions are the only teams left standing. That means that most people have turned in their equipment and, hopefully, are relaxing a bit. Guys: you NEED that time away. They don’t call it a grind for nothing! It will grind you up and spit you out if you don’t take some time to decompress. I know a couple of coaches who have already gotten their off-season weight program going. IMO, that is a mistake! Burn out is a real thing!

My focus on this post, however, is about “continuing education” for coaches. It is important that you seek out people who are going to help you get to that next level. It is also important that you include your entire staff in this effort! And… at some point, it is imperative that the Head Coach “coach the coaches.”

There are clinics galore— all over the country! I am honored to have been asked to speak at 3 different clinics this year: the National Wing T Coaches Clinic in Pittsburgh; the Glazier Clinic in Boston and the best clinic for HS coaches in the state of Virginia in Richmond. Wherever you choose to go, let me make a couple of key points:

1- Listen to high school coaches! The college game is soooooooo different from high school. You need to talk to successful coaches who coach at the same level as you. For instance, a coach at a Division 2 high school in Virginia is dealing with a student body of maybe 400 students — half of which are females. The scope of your football program is going to be verrrrrrrry different than what the coaches at, say, Allen HS in Dallas, Texas have to deal with. They are great coaches. But why not find another successful D2 coach in your state and go visit him and his staff? Or, if he’s speaking at a clinic, attend it and hear him speak.

2- Don’t be afraid to ask for some extra time after the coach has finished his talk at a clinic. I’m always honored to be asked to speak. It’s a double honor when a coach asks if he can “pick my brain” afterwards.

3- If you can learn “1 little thing” then it was worth the time and money to attend. That little thing can end up making a BIG difference. One little thing I took away from a speaker one time was: “Shoot your linemen’s hands down on the first snap count… sometimes! The rest of the time go on ‘1st sound.” I took this home and started toying with it and it ended up being one of THE best things we ever did. Our kids would get very upset if they didn’t draw the D line off-side at least once a game! It helped us with our Punt and Field Goal teams too.

4- Videotape the talk… IF it’s allowed. Whenever my staff used to visit another staff, we would tape the entire session. Most of the big-time clinics won’t let you tape; but, at least ask.

Hopefully these ideas will give you some food for thought. The key is: (continue to be) a Student of the Game!

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