Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Poise

Posted by admin October - 22 - 2014 - Wednesday

I have pointed out on this website in the past that part of our job as high school football coaches is to build character as well as win football games. I think you’re doing your players a disservice if you are not in the business of helping them to grow as young men as well as developing their athletic skills.

One of the things that I do to promote character building is to post a “Word of the Week.” We discuss this word throughout the week and then tie it in to what’s going to happen on the field to conclude the week’s discussion. Unfortunately, I waited one week too long before I talked about poise.

The guys gave me some good definitions/explanations of what they thought poise was when I first opened the discussion the other day. I called upon one of our seniors to give his description. As I quizzed him and helped him to dig a little further to describe poise, it became evident to the rest of the team why I was giving this player the “third degree.” You see, it was because he got ejected from the game last Friday night… for retaliating! The ref saw him throw a punch at the offensive lineman pass blocking him and immediately ejected him. It was in the first half so he missed the rest of his Homecoming game and now he must sit this week too… which is Senior Night. To say that he was chagrined is putting it mildly.

I do two things throughout the season to promote poise. One is staged and the other is sneaky. I tell the players that we have a “Walk away drill.” I tell them in advance that I’m going to (at some point when they least expect it!) sneak up behind them and give them a shove in the back. I then watch to see how they react. Needless to say, in some cases, I had to be prepared to defend myself against a swing coming around as the player turned! Others, just turn and smile at me. I want to see what their reaction is to getting a “cheap shot” in the back. When they spin around and see it’s me, the look on some faces is priceless.

The other activity is I tell 2 players who are good friends to stage a fake fight on the practice field… right in front of the rest of the team. It’s best during a water break cuz everyone is standing around and is caught off guard by the ruckus breaking out near them. The point is to teach them to stay away from jumping in and “rescuing” or supporting their buddy. In our state, when a fight breaks out on the field our players are instructed to get away from it. The officials don’t even allow the coaches on the field. We have to demonstrate this to our players so they know to get away. Any player caught “getting in the middle” of a fight— whether he was trying to break it up or not— is subject to ejection.

I just wish I’d done this all last week. Maybe it wouldn’t kept this senior from losing his poise. Maybe this can help prevent an ejection on your team.

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