Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Make-up Games

Posted by admin September - 17 - 2018 - Monday

As most of you know, the area south of us in North Carolina and South Carolina is under water from the rain of hurricane Florence. In Tidewater Virginia, though, we escaped the fury of the storm… THIS time! However, all of the games were canceled last Friday. Now everyone is scrambling to re-boot their schedules. It kinda reminds me of the time I was stuck in the Atlanta airport when a thunder storm swept through. Once the airlines started rescheduling flights, it was a mess! The same thing is happening here— not just this week, but for the next 2 weeks.

Some teams are making up Friday’s game tonight; others tomorrow; some on Wednesday. That will affect the regularly schedule games for this coming Friday. And when you reschedule that one, it affects the ones for next week too! We’ll leave all that to the AD’s; but, I might add… you, as the HC, should be allowed some say so in how your schedule is reset. Be proactive and go speak to your AD and/or principal and let them know what your feelings are before they make a final decision. You have a stake in this thing and your voice should be heard.

What I want to share with you is HOW you prepare for those “short” weeks… when you have multiple games to prepare for. The first rule is: take 1 game at a time! Stay focused on your current opponent as you practice with your players. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start with scouting your next opponent. Request Hudl video now… and start breaking it down. You do all of this while you tell your players that: “YOU have one focus! Get ready to play the best game you can play THIS game.”

Setting up a practice schedule can become a problem too. You have to decide a couple of things: 1- which drill periods you’re going to reduce in time or… eliminate altogether. 2- Which “day” do you eliminate? That is, delete your “Fundies Day” (typically Monday for the teams that I coached) or not have your “Run Through/Pregame” practice. I think it is important to keep things as similar to a normal practice week as you can.

The normal weekly practice schedule for the teams that I led went like this: Monday: Fundies (both sides) and Introduce the Scouting Report. Tuesday: Big O Day. Focus on Offense with a 20-25 minute period for Team Defense. Wednesday: flip the script and make it Big D Day… with a 20-25 minute Team Offense period. *NOTE: We practiced Special Teams every day! Then Thursday was: “Play A Game” Day. This was our Dress Rehearsal. I talk about this at length in my book, 101 Little Things. Check it out!

So… let’s say your play on Monday and your next game is Friday! You have 3 days to get ready. The first thing I’m deleting is “Thursday.” I make sure that I point out to the players on Tuesday that we will a) keep to our normal schedule as much as possible then b) we will not have our regular “Dress Rehearsal” on Thursday this week. Remind them on Wednesday too.

The other issue is how much contact do you put your players through when there’s a short week. If you’ve been reading these posts for a while, you know that I’m not an advocate for much body-on-body “full” contact during the week anyway. However, rarely did we ever go out in anything less that full gear. Why? For protection. All it takes is for one Scout Team player to slip and nail your star RB in the thigh with his shoulder pad… and your star is now injured going into the game! (Yes… it happened to me more than once! You’d think I would’ve learned.) The only time we didn’t go out in full pads were weeks where we had an extra day of practice— playing on a Saturday instead of Friday night. But, that’s a different topic!

My “5 P’s of Success” come into play sooooooooo often! You’ve got to get your team properly prepared. That means having a plan for the whole week before practice starts the first day! Organization is the bed rock of preparation.

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