Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Bouncing Back!

Posted by admin September - 5 - 2017 - Tuesday

The team that I’m “consulting” for lost Friday night against one of the best teams in the state of Virginia. And probably shoulda/coulda/woulda won if they hadn’t made so many (typical first-game) mistakes. They had 11 penalties (3 of which caused TD’s to be called back!!!), 3 turn overs and numerous blown assignments on defense against a split-back veer offense. And with all that, they had a chance to tie it when they recovered an onside kick with less than a minute to play. They couldn’t get it down the field for the tying score.

As a “Consultant” my job is to observe. So, as the game ended and the coaches met with the players, I stayed in the background and just watched body language. I did the same at practice yesterday. One thing that was very obvious to me was: both the coaches and the players knew that they should’ve won that game. They were disappointed but nobody was pointing fingers. The coaches talked calmly to them after the game and went about their business as usual yesterday at the Monday practice.

One thing that I noticed that the HC did (which I thought was ingenious!) was: the Monday conditioning period was directly tied into the number of penalties they had on Friday night. 11 penalties = 11 gassers! Plus one of the 11 was a personal foul so that counted as 4 instead of one. He pointed out to them that, “you have less running to do on Monday if you have less penalties!” Excellent example of negative reinforcement.

We had our “consultation” after practice last night and I complimented him on the concept. It got the juices flowing and we “wondered out loud” how we could tie conditioning for Tuesday and Wednesday to things that need improvement in the game. He decided that… since Tuesday is “Big D” Day that they’d do a suicide for each “loaf” and/or missed tackle. He does the Defensive Tackling Chart on Monday night so he’ll know by this afternoon how many times they’ll have to run lines!

OK… how about Wednesday?? We kicked around what other factor directly impacts the game. Of course, he brought up turn-overs! I mentioned about running “U’s” or “J’s” around the field. It’s a middle distance run where they get their heart rate up but it’s not an all-out sprint. For a “U” you start the backs and ends in one corner of the field— at the intersection of the backline and the sideline. They stride out 120 down the sideline, turn left and run across the field and take another left turn and stride down the other sideline and finish at the other backline. It’s about a 300 yard “sprint.” Then the linemen run their “U” while the backs and ends walk across the field on the backline. When the get to the original starting point, they take off again. Note: With a “J” you stop them at the 20 yard line of the back sideline. That would be about a 200 yard run. We lost 3 turn-overs and got 1… for a total of – 2. So everyone will run 2 “U’s” for the turn-overs.

I think it is a powerful incentive for the kids to decrease and/or eliminate those mistakes and earn less running at the beginning of practice (yes! “Conditioning” is the first thing he does) each day.

One Response to “Bouncing Back!”

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