Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

End of the Road!

Posted by admin November - 4 - 2010 - Thursday

Welllllllllllllllllll… like some of you, our season came to an end yesterday. We were 5-0 going in and were playing another undefeated team for a slot in our City Championship game. (Remember: this is Middle School— 6th, 7th and 8th graders). We had several chances to break it open in the first half but mistakes and the other team’s aggressiveness intimidated some of our kids and we kept making that “one mistake” which stopped a big play from happening! We led at halftime 2-0 but it was tenuous. They came out on the first drive of the 3rd quarter and stuffed it down out throats! It was pretty much over when they scored again early in the 4th. Their last score was just an “add on” after our kids had gotten frustrated and overwhelmed.

Which, of course, leads to my thoughts on getting whipped. I took the staff out to eat after the game and the conversation was based on: “what went wrong? what happened?!” My brief analysis was this:
God placed in each of us a mechanism that, when we are in a physical confrontation, it kicks in and creates in us a Fight or Flight reaction. For some of our kids, it was the first time all year that someone “hit them in the mouth” on the snap of the ball! For some of them, it was a shock… and they backed down! (FLIGHT!) For a few of our kids, they got mad and fought back. But… it was some key players who didn’t take the fight to the opponent who cost us numerous times when we needed someone to make a play.

One of our assistants asked the “million dollar question” over dinner: HOW do you get kids to be more aggressive?!” I told him that he could find the solution to that problem that he could make millions!!! My only response was:

A lot of this is environmental. How the kid has grown up. Yes, some of it is genetic make-up too, I think, but it comes down to that first time that the boy is playing “tackle football” in the backyard and someone hits him. From then on, a pattern is developed. He either “enjoys” it and wants to get in the mix or he finds the fear and pain quotient is too high.

We, as coaches, can coax more aggression out of a young player but I just don’t think you can turn a non-aggressive boy into an aggressive one under normal circumstances.

More on some ideas for promoting “good” aggression later.

One Response to “End of the Road!”

  1. Ken Hampton says:

    I agree with you that aggression in young players can be a yes/no situation, but I think you will also agree that the keys to developing aggressive young players are building the self-confidence by teaching the fundamentals slowly, methodically, with multiple repeitition until second nature to the players. In fact, the idea of player and team confidence is the backbone to developing a winner, along with hard work.

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