Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Paying Respect!

Posted by admin March - 6 - 2018 - Tuesday

My experience as a high school football player in the Tidewater region of Virginia back in the 60’s (and… Yes! We did wear face masks back then!!!) was extraordinary. During my 3 years of playing Varsity football at Great Bridge HS in Chesapeake, Va, I never played in a losing game! Tied 2 and won the others!!! My senior year we were a perfect 10-0!

This was due primarily to one major factor: my high school coaches! Yes, we had some good players but it was the skills that our coaching staff possessed that molded us into a championship caliber team year after year. They were simply years ahead of their time! For example, we had a full-time (BIG-time) organized weight lifting program in the mid 60’s when nobody else was lifting weights. We had a sophisticated passing game and threw the ball 25 times a game when everyone else was still playing “3 yards and a cloud of dust” on offense. We ran a multiple defense with multiple blitzes and coverages (sounds like 21st century stuff, doesn’t it??!!!) Why were we able to execute all of this? Cuz our coaches were “Students of the Game!” They traveled to clinics all over the country and weren’t embarrassed to ask questions of other coaches. Their knowledge and ability to be great teachers and motivators were the key factors to our success.

And now, two of the three are gone. We lost our head coach about 4 years ago and a second one died last week. The Lord kinda touched my heart the other night and impressed upon me that I needed to get up with our outstanding Defensive Coordinator— the last remaining coach of the three. I called him and invited him to lunch. We met yesterday and it was wonderful. I wanted to be sure to “pay my respects” before he died rather than after he’s gone.

We talked coaching… I always enjoy “pickin’ the brain” of successful coaches! It showed me that football coaching wisdom is timeless. Some of the things he shared are still practical today. We reminisced and laughed about the great times that we had as part of a great program. I was sorry that we finally had to leave the restaurant and head home.

Sooooooooo… here I am now, 50 years removed from playing high school football and this man (these men!) still have an impact on my life. Here was a 15 year old boy who they took under their wing and molded into a young man. I remember sharing at the football reunion we had for our head coach 15 years ago. I was invited to be one of the speakers to share a testimonial. I closed with these words — looking directly at those 3 men sitting at the head table, “My dad was a great man and I loved him dearly. But, you three were my heroes!”

Please be cognizant of the impact — positive and, unfortunately, negative! — that you as a coach have on your players. You are someone they will never forget. Make sure that the memories they have will be positive.

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