Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

How to hush a crowd in a second!

Posted by admin July - 16 - 2010 - Friday

I walked into our weight room the other night while an asst. coach was trying to quiet the players down so he could count out their push-ups. He was getting frustrated because they wanted to “chat with their buddy” between each set and with 45 kids in the room, it was a little frenetic! The more he yelled and threatened them with MORE push-ups, the less they listened.

I asked him to let me try something. As they finished a set, I spoke to them as they lay there on the floor. I said, “There is entirely too much talking between sets. You need to be focused and get as much rest as you can in the few seconds before you start your next set. So, here’s the deal. IF you are quiet while you rest, I will give you an extra 15 seconds to rest between sets. But…. if there is chit chat, we’re bracing up immediately and starting the next set. It’s YOUR choice. Here we go…. everybody up!”

They finished their next set, hit the floor and you could hear a couple of them around the room going “shhhhh! hush! be quiet!” You could have heard a pin drop. I counted out an extra 15 seconds, told them what a good job they did and off we went on our next set. We had little or no problems with idle chatter after that. When we did, I immediately blew the whistle and told them “Up!” and we started our next set. They got the idea pretty fast.

My point is this: I have emphasized numerous times in this blog and in my book that if you want to get a behavior repeated, reward it! As my daddy used to say: “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” It would be reasonable to think that the best way to get kids to “obey” (stop talking while they’re resting between sets) is to yell, scream, curse… threaten punishment. I wanted to show you in this example that there is a way to get what you want and they get what they want too: rest. I got “quiet” and they got extra rest. Everybody wins. Instead of it being a “power struggle”, it was an opportunity to examine how positive reinforcement can be a much more effective motivator of behavior than punishment.

Something to think about!

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