Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

High School vs. College

Posted by admin August - 26 - 2020 - Wednesday

There is a vast difference between the things that college coaches can teach (and expect their players to execute) and the things that high school coaches can expect their players to excel at. How many of you have at least 1 Div. I player in your program right now? Think about it: that one guy is the only player whose skill level is such that an ACC or SEC or Big 10 school wants him to come play for them in the future. Do you think it’s wise to expect the rest of your players to be able to perform at your D1 guy’s level? I submit that you are setting goals that are too high! Nothing wrong with having high expectations…. and encouraging your kids to reach for the stars. There’s also a point where a standard is unachievable. Then it becomes frustrating for everyone involved. “Well, Lew… anything is possible!” you may say. My response is, “No. Not everything is possible.” I’m as positive a guy as you want to meet. And I know that miracles DO happen. But… still. I was watching Miracle again on tv the other night. That team was so well-prepared when they met (and defeated) the Russians, that when you look at everything they went through to get to that one game, I don’t think you can call it a miracle win. They were good enough to defeat the Russians and on that night they DID!!! The best strategy when setting goals is for them to be challenging and…. realistic!

I am not advocating “dumbing down” what you teach your players. But, I think you have to be careful in assuming (and you KNOW what the definition of “assume” is??!!) that your high school players really know the game. They play a lot of computer football and they watch the ESPN “Talking Head Experts”… so they think they know football. But, my experience tells me that you might have those 2 or 3 guys who really understand the game; the majority are clueless. I did a routine “experiment” one season and checked to see which of our players were logging in the hours that the coaches hoped they would in watching game video on Hudl. Even our best player told me that he really “didn’t get a whole lot out of watching Hudl!!!” Wow! and he’s in an NFL Camp as I type this!

My point here is to encourage you to check out other high school coaches who are running your schemes before you seek out a college coach. If you have one near you, the best college coaches I found to get information from were D3 coaches. Their athletes; their facilities; their program in general is the closest to what we experience at the high school level. Most of those D3 coaches are young and gung ho! They would be happy to talk “X’s and O’s” with you.

For those of you who won’t be playing (hopefully) until the Spring, you have 5-6 more months of off-season preparation. Use this time to continue to study and learn. There is so much information out there now on the internet that you can utilize. It will help you to grow your staff, yourself and your program. It’s worth repeating: Be a “Student of the Game” and a “life-long learner.”

Try it! You’ll like it!

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