Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program


Posted by admin May - 9 - 2016 - Monday

I had another great morning working with my “adopted” Wing T team. We spent over an hour out on the field installing plays from the Buck Sweep series! I LOVE to teach/coach/train football players! And, this school has some! “Football players”… that is! They’re going to surprise some people this fall.

I presented a little drill that didn’t go over too well— so it took a little “training period” for them to understand what I wanted!!! I call it our “Ready-Ready!” drill.

I first saw it in action at a camp that the coaches from Christopher Newport University put on in our area. One of their assistant coaches, whom I’d known for years, called all of the participants together (about 100 kids in all) and explained what the “Ready Ready!” drill is… and what it’s for! The coach shouts out “Ready- Ready!” ALL of the players respond with a quick hand clap while simultaneously shouting back to the coach: “TEAM!” What the CNU coach explained was this: “When you guys clap and say ‘Team!” together, it means: “Mouths closed; eyes up; ears ‘open’ and… brains engaged!” In other words, “Be quiet and pay attention!” It is THE BEST WAY I have found to get a large group focused quickly!!! Kids, in particular, need a procedure like this to get them focused.

Soooooooo… we tried it this morning. I barked out, “Ready- Ready!” and… oh, it was baaaaad! I had about 30 people clapping all at different times and several who didn’t even say “Team!” So, I explained our “One Heart Beat” philosophy. “Guys, we ALL clap and… we all clap at the SAME TIME!” It’s one sound— not 7 or 8 different “pops” as people clap. ONE heart beat!” So, we tried it again. A little better. Once more, and they were “decent.” I had their attention so I explained what we were going to do next.

Well, about 10 minutes later I needed to get their attention again so I shouted, “Ready-Ready.” I had about 10 of the 40 clap and most of them said “Team!” So, we did it again… and again… and again! It got better.

Same thing— about 5 minutes later. No good! So, on the ground they went!!! “Assume the position, please! Everybody in the ‘up’ push-up position.” They got down and I did it again: “Ready-ready!” They responded “Team” but… nobody clapped!!! I explained that they STILL had to clap or we’d stay down there a while. I tried it again… “Ready- Ready!” and they pushed off and clapped. Not great but… I made my point! “It’s a LOT easier to clap when you’re standing up, isn’t it??!!!” I got them up and we did it again. Amazingly, it sounded pretty good!

We did this (again, unexpectedly!) 2 or 3 more times. Finally, we got a grrrrreat one! Everybody clapped (at the same time!) and everyone shouted “Team” at the same time! I told them later that this was a great “conditioning” drill. They had a perplexed look on their faces! “This is a MENTAL conditioning drill, guys! We are building team unity, team pride and respect for your coach. He wants your attention and he wants it NOW! Get focused!”

If you’re looking for an edge. If you agree that the “Little Things” can make a BIG difference… then, this is a drill that I encourage you to adopt in your program!!!

Last thing… *NOTE: The discipline (punishment, if you will) was not 100 yards of crabbing! It was NOT 50 up/downs! I simply had them get in a push up position for 10- 15 seconds and try to clap their hands from there! Discipline is designed to TEACH! The word discipline sounds a lot like “disciple” doesn’t it?? Jesus’ disciples… they were there to LEARN from the Master Teacher! Sometimes Jesus had stern words for His disciples but… he never degraded them or made them do something so “out of proportion” to the offense (“Let the punishment FIT the crime!) that it was DE-motivating. I think I’ll talk more about “DISCIPLINE” next week!

IN Christ,

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