Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Dealing with Adversity

Posted by admin August - 13 - 2012 - Monday

I shared my Lou Holtz “something bad is going to happen sometime this season” speech the beginning of last week. Little did I know how prophetic I was being! Our numbers are low anyway— but when you lose 2 starters in 2 days, it realllllllly begins to thin the ranks!

The 2 players we lost are both great young men and would have played a lot for us. Our guys were devastated when they heard the news. I feel bad for them. It certainly doesn’t ruin our season (cuz we’re still loaded with talent!) but our depth which was thin is now paper thin!

Two things come to mind as I present this: 1- the mental side of losing players to injury. I told our coaches that we will remain positive, encouraging and focused. The kids will follow our lead. The Bible says to: “Press on” and that’s just what we’ll do. Coach Holtz said that when adversity strikes, you have to “close ranks” and keep marching. Press on toward the goal! 2- the physical side. How much contact do we have in practice? I’m of the opinion that limited contact is all that’s necessary. We have tough kids. They like to hit. I told them the other day that we won’t hit much in practice. We want them to be like “caged lions” when we turn them lose on Friday night. Not getting to hit much during the week should have them fired up for game night. My high school coach said years ago, “If somebody is going to get injured, at least let it happen in the game— NOT in practice.” I subscribe to the same philosophy. We have our first scrimmage this Friday. We will practice just like game week. Lots of reps; lots of enthusiasm but little contact. We’ll save the banging for Friday night.

I know coaches who swear by the adage that “you have to hit live every day… to toughen them up!” I say, if they’re in high school and they don’t like to hit, they probably shouldn’t be out there in the first place. Excessive contact is not going to “toughen up” a player— it will just wear down his body. Why do you think that most NFL teams rarely go full pads once the season starts?! We need to be smart as high school coaches and make sure our guys aren’t so beat up that on Friday they can’t perform.

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