Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program


Posted by admin August - 8 - 2014 - Friday

We’re in the midst of “Camp Week.” We bring them in at 3pm and stay till 8:30. We get a lot of work done ON the field but a lot of “team building” goes on off the field too. We have an hour break from 5:30-6:30 where we give them a chance to eat a light snack. The moms bring popsicles every day and the guys get a chance to just “hang out.” We have a team building activity each day also.

Something happened yesterday, though, that I wanted to bring to other coaches’ attention. We announced on Tuesday that the O linemen would have a blocking rules test on Thursday. I could immediately sense the anxiety level rising in the group as I made the announcement! I’ll chalk it up to a “Holy Spirit Moment” cuz… just as I realized how they were reacting (negative emotional vibes), I sensed the Lord saying: “Give them Kisses!” huh??!!!

I continued with, “Guys, here’s the deal. You’ll get 10 questions. For every rule you get right, Coach will give you a piece of candy… a Hershey’s Kiss!” Oh my gosh!!!! You’d have thought we had just proclaimed that Thursday was going to be the new Christmas day!!! The negativism vanished and they were bubbling like we’d offered a silver dollar for every right answer! Unbelievable!

My point? There is certainly a place for punishment. But don’t forget the power of positive reinforcement!!! I shared this in my book, 101 Little Things That Can Make a BIG Difference: “If you want a behavior repeated, reward it!” Simple behavioral psychology principle. And it works!

The test results by the way were excellent! We had 4 linemen who got all 10 rules correct; 7 more who only got 1 wrong and 5 more who only got 2 wrong. We had several who were in the 50-60% range but… they are rookies and their head is still swimming from everything we’re throwing at them. But, at least they got several correct.

Instead of worrying about the impending test, the kids got fired up and (obviously) studied their rules Wednesday night! Why? So they could earn a reward!

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