Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

“Honor the Sabbath!”

Posted by admin June - 29 - 2018 - Friday

In the state of Virginia, ALL sports activity comes to a complete halt next week! No practice; no lifting; no conditioning… nothing! Zip! I’ve had a couple of coaches kinda freaking out on me over this rule. I’ve heard, “We can’t afford to take a week off!” Or… “Why right here just 3 weeks before preseason practice begins??!!!” I think there’s a very good reason for having a “Quiet Period” right now: everyone needs a break! Everyone needs to “honor the Sabbath.” Let me ‘splain:

I owe a LOT to a former assistant coach, Pastor Sam Warren, who taught me a very important life lesson when he joined our staff. He looked at my weekly in-season schedule and freaked out! We went hard 7 days a week. Players in for lifting, running and video viewing on Saturday. Staff meetings afterwards. Then the staff met again on Sunday afternoon. Plus 2 1/2- 3 hour practices from Monday to Thursday. To call it a grind was putting it mildly!

He sat me down and pulled out his Bible. He said, “Open it to Genesis, Chapter 2. Now read verse 2 to me.” It says, “… on the 7th day God rested from all his work.” Sam then stated one of the most significant things I’ve ever heard someone say to me. He said, “If GOD needed to take a break, don’t you think YOU should too, Lew??!!!” POW!!! Right between the eyes! That hit home— hard!

We immediately canceled all Saturday activities. The staff would only meet on Sunday evenings and it would only be for 2 hours… unless it was a big game and we needed more time to prepare. I spent more time with my family and enjoyed college football on Saturdays for a change. It not only made a difference for me but the players too.

What am I saying? Go hard. It can be a grind but… work hard not to make it a grind! Huh? You’ve got to find things to do that keep the players (and coaches) enthused. You can have some fun without being funny! Enjoy a little break without losing control of the players.

We always let the players have the week off just before preseason Camp started. They come back excited and rarin’ to go! Everybody needs a break. I even built in a day off during the season. I committed to it in July so that no matter what our record was at that point in the season, we were taking off Monday. Some years I let the players just go on home. But I found out they were either out playing B-ball or some other foolishness instead of relaxing and getting away from things. So, some years we had a “Punt, Pass and Kick” competition. Another time we played 7 on 7… including the linemen! Something that “broke the grind” and let kids get their focus off of football for one day.

Changing things up occasionally can be a good thing. For you as a head coach, you need the time away to recharge your battery. Set up your schedule so that you make the time to relax and revitalize. You’ll enjoy it a lot more!

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