Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

“Last” Football Banquet

Posted by admin December - 2 - 2015 - Wednesday

Tonight is going to be bittersweet! We are celebrating our state championship by gathering at school to have our year-end banquet. I’m pretty sure that this (banquets) is one of my 101 Little Things that I discuss in my book by the same name but… I want to reiterate a couple of key points that I, perhaps, did not mention in the book. As most of you know, I announced my retirement from coaching after our last game. So, I will be saying “Goodbye” to all of these fine folks while we celebrate our success!!! (Lump in throat time!)

First: as nice as it seems, do not invite a guest speaker. To get somebody who’s really good usually is going to cost more money than your program/school can afford. To invite a “less-than-professional” speaker is setting yourself up for potential disaster. The biggest thing I’ve found with untrained speakers is: they don’t know how to end their talk. They don’t know when cuz they don’t know how. The bottom line is: people are there to hear about their son or themselves. An outside speaker just adds to the time of the whole event. Spend your time on the kids and giving them the recognition!

Second: Let one of your “Team Moms” handle the logistics. I have been soooo fortunate to have had the best group of ladies helping me all 5 years that I have coached at my current school. They want to help! Just ask them! My “team mom” this year has been fantastic. I turned over the banquet details to her a month ago and she has handled every detail. She runs everything by me first; but, I give her the leeway to be creative and make it an event that is personal (for the team) and creative (table decorations, for example— that I would never think of!) She’s grrrrrrrreat!!!

Third: Make sure you say something nice/positive/encouraging about every player. Never criticize a kid in public… especially with his parents in the room! I have found my remarks about each player to be highly motivating for the individual. There’s got to be something positive you can say about ALL of your players. Get a roster. Write a couple of notes beside each name so you’re not ad-libbing. These positive comments are what people are coming to your banquet to hear.
A little note: “Talk” about the player…
then announce his name! Particularly when handing out your awards. The players (and parents) love to play the “guessing game.” In other words, you’re saying nice things but keeping people in suspense. A “pause for effect” just before announcing the name just builds the anticipation!

Finally: have someone in charge of cleaning up afterwards! I made that mistake one year. My wife and I had to stay back and clean up the mess and re-set tables (we were in the school caferteria) before we could leave because the Custodian had no help. Make sure whoever is in charge knows to get a group to help clean up. You want to be able to go home.


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