Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Mike Leach

Posted by admin August - 6 - 2011 - Saturday

Wow… first week of practice is over! I’d forgotten how busy you get and… how tired I get. I’m writing this and heading for bed!
My Defensive Coordinator is reading Mike Leach’s book (I don’t even know the title) and shared something with me in an email that really resonated with me. Coach Leach says: “You’re either coaching it or allowing it.”

It’s sounds simple but it is very hard to find the line where you allow stuff and where you have to try to change behavior or attitudes. In essence, that’s what coaching is: kind of a combination of parenting and teaching. At any rate, you have to decide where you draw that line with many behaviors in your players. And it can have a tremendous impact on your coaching and the success of your team. Ultimately it means that you have decided on those things that you call unacceptable and those you will allow. I’ve read some parenting books that say, in essence: “choose your battles.” There are certain hills where you stick you flag in the dirt and say, “No more; no further… it stops here.”

Your values as a coach and as a person will express themselves in these areas where you decide you need to “coach” and not “allow.” We had a very successful coach in this area a few years ago who basically allowed his players to act out in any show-boaty, intimidating, trash talking way they wanted— before, during and after games. His attitude was, “let them do their own thing. I’m here to win football games, not teach them character.” As much success as he had on the field, his reputation was basically trashed by people who felt that the things he “allowed” went way over the line. He chose not to “coach” these things. I could never be associated with a program that allowed high school players to act the way they did. But, that’s my line in the sand!

How much freedom do you give a running back to find his hole and make a cut? Do you require your running backs or wide receivers to block? If so, are you coaching them up to be effective blockers? If they won’t or don’t block, do you still play them? If you have your most aggressive linemen (who also is your most penalized lineman) recognized as a great player and a college recruit, what message are you sending? I guess that’s the bottom line. We are so media-oriented in society today that I’m not sure coaches realize that they are sending out messages to players (and parents) as often as we do.

Finally, I think this is another of those seperators of the good coaches from the great ones. A great coach knows what he needs to have “coached up” and what he can let slide. You need to find where your “line” is.

One Response to “Mike Leach”

  1. Coach Minor says:

    Well said!