Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Building Trust

Posted by admin February - 16 - 2011 - Wednesday

I just had a coaching friend write and ask my ideas about building trust… and how important is it to a team’s success. First off, I think it’s very important. But, it is something that you have to build. You have to make it a priority in your off-season and right on through the fall!

He related how he has several players who can really help them…but they won’t make a commitment to the weight room. He wanted to know if they should just cut them lose now. I related to him how it is only February. It’s a long way to August and the start of practice. Encourage these kids but I’m never one to give ultimatums to teen-agers! He’s in high school, for goodness sake! Those kids probably have no clue what “commitment” is all about. You can’t build trust, responsibility and other positive character traits in a young man if they aren’t around you to have an influence on him.

I found that those guys who are hesitant to join your lifting program see themselves as weak! If they come into the room, they’re going to be embarrassed— so why come in there? Your studs are the ones already there! They “want” it and can’t get enough of it. You have to become a strategist/recruiter/salesman and find a way to make your off season program appealing to those players who don’t want to come in the weight room.

One thing I did was… one day a week we had what I called Skills and Drills Day. There was no weight room work-outs. We were out on the track and the field doing agility work; plyometrics; speed training and then… we let them just throw the ball around (with no coaching!) They are like little kids when you just toss a couple of footballs out there! Some of them kick; others punt; a lot just tell the other guy to “go deep!” Just observing from a distance can give you a chance to see who can run and catch. The kids are having FUN… that’s what brings them back!

Now I have a platform to encourage that guy who won’t lift to take the next step: “why don’t you come back tomorrow and work out with us in the weight room?” Once they get in there, you’d better have your veteran lifters ready to take them under their wing and HELP them… not belittle them! If you want them to come back, you need to make it a team building experience and not an opportunity to embarrass a newbie. He’ll never come back if he feels humiliated because he’s not as strong as his peers.

I know you feel pressure to get those kids motivated and committed. But don’t let the pressure get to you! You don’t make enough money to let it ruin your day. And… if you’re feeling pressure, you’re passing that pressure along to the athletes. I don’t know many people who respond positively to high pressure salespeople. We may cave in momentarily; but when we come to our senses, the item we were pressured to buy gets returned. Kids who feel pressured to come in the room won’t stay there long. Make it as positive and challenging as you can.

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