Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

PAY ATTENTION… to Details!

Posted by admin June - 21 - 2016 - Tuesday

First… just “pay attention!” Then… “pay attention to details.” It all starts from getting kids to focus long enough to learn. If you can do that, things will go so much better.

I had the pleasure of teaching/leading a Wing T Camp that I’m putting on for a school in Virginia Beach, VA today and tomorrow. A great bunch of kids and the coaching staff is doing an outstanding job. We got a LOT accomplished today. However, the (what I call) “learning environment” could use some improvement. It made me wonder what it’s like in the classrooms in that school…. any high school. Trying to get everyone quiet so I can teach/explain something is hard… especially if I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me as a “visiting” coach to come down on the kids if they aren’t paying attention. It’s why I’ve always said that I want my practices to be my classroom. We’re going to be organized, cooperative and respectful. This, by the way, works BOTH ways! The teacher/coach must SHOW respect if he wants to earn respect. If I going to teach effectively, I need students/players engaged and focused. They can’t do this to the best of their ability unless they are 1) quiet and 2) truly listening.

Anyway… when I would stop a drill to explain something in detail, it was very hard to keep everyone’s attention. The player I was “coaching up” was focused on what I was saying but I’m sure it was hard for him to pay attention because most everyone around him took this one-on-one instruction time as a sign that they could chit-chat and laugh it up with their friends. I was good… I kept my tongue under control, though and I pressed on. (with a grimace on my face!!!)

I would recommend that coaches have some kind of signal to use when you need everyone’s undivided attention. I believe I mentioned this in an earlier post but it’s worth repeating. Whether it’s short blasts on your whistle or a verbal command, your players need to know that it’s time to 1- get their eyes up; 2- their mouths shut and 3- their ears open! I do this with a verbal command of: “READY- READY!!!” The players’ response is: “TEAM!”— while everyone claps. We practice it a few times until it gets imprinted on their minds then I explain what they need to know.

The next time I need everyone’s undivided attention, I again shout: “READY- READY!” and, hopefully!, everyone responds! If they don’t, they get to get down in an “up” pushup position and hold it there for 5-7 seconds. I then shout “READY READY” from there and see if they can pop up off the ground high enough to clap from that pushup position! I point out to them that it’s much easier to clap while standing up… so don’t forget next time!

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