Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

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Posted by admin March - 7 - 2012 - Wednesday

I’m speaking at a coach’s clinic next week-end. The Clinic Director has asked me to speak to a group of Youth League coaches on Saturday morning. Cool! As I’m putting together my power point, I realize that the “Little Things” that I’m going to talk to them about, apply to ALL levels of football.

I just read an article by Chip Kelly of U. of Oregon. He emphasized 2 things in his talk: 1- What do we stand for? and 2- have a teaching philosophy. Both points are well taken.

He said that at Oregon, when he took over, the first thing they had to find out was “What do we stand for?” You answer that through your offensive, defensive and kicking game philosophies. “If you are going to stand for something, it is not what you say it is… it is what people see in your actions.” Kelly feels that someone can come to your practice and in 5 minutes they’ll KNOW what you stand for.

AT Oregon, what they stand for (on the field) is: Play Fast; Play Hard; and Finish. Kelly says, “what you decide upon is up to you, but find something to be.”

His second point caught my eye because I see so few coaches who understand and, thus, fail to implement effective learning strategies on the practice field. Coach Kelly’s Teaching Philosophy is pretty simple: I see, and I forget. I UNDERSTAND, and I do! No matter how much knowledge of the game of football you possess, if you cannot communicate it to a player so he can go out and execute, it does not matter! Explain, demonstrate, walk it, correct, walk it again, praise and then let him go!

Once they’ve shown that they understand what to do and how to do it, if a problem comes up during practice… don’t stop the drill to correct one person. Do your coaching with the second team. If a 1st team player makes a mistake, replace him with the back-up, explain what he did wrong, get him to demonstrate how to do it correctly… then re-insert him for the next rep. If you make your practices more efficient, you will be more successful.

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