Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program


Posted by admin January - 26 - 2010 - Tuesday

Do you want to promote good will among your players’ parents? Do you want to build a sense of trust and confidence in your players’ minds that you are FOR them… that you have their best interest at heart? Then… you need to realize (if you haven’t!) that one of your primary jobs as a Head Football Coach is as the primary contact between your players and college recruiters. If you disregard this; blow it off as “not part of my job description”; or farm it out to an assistant coach… then you are foresaking a major area of what the football community considers to be one of your major functions.

Yes, it takes some work. Yes, it takes extra time at home or during your planning bell. But… it’s for the kids. And if you are not “about the kids” then you are in it for the wrong reasons!

Think back: what was one of the motivations for you playing football back in your high school days? Wehn I was in high school (many moons ago!), mine was that the pretty girls loved the football hero! I bet most of you thought that one day you would play in the NFL! I know I did. That means that a goal for nearly every HS player who’s ever played is to play football in college. Are you a “dream maker” or a “dream buster” for your kids?!

I talk about this subject in my book, 101 Little Things… so I would encourage you to consider purchasing a copy to read more about this. But, let me discuss a couple of things here to make a point: if you want to build a strong relationship among your players and their parents, you need to gain the reputation as being a coach who helps players get to play college ball. Now… notice that I did not say: “get a college football scholarship!” There is a huge difference. That is part of the education process that you have to present to your players and parents. One point that I always emphasized to our players and their parents was: “I, as the high school coach, cannot get your son a scholarship!” I can be your son’s “agent” or “publicity manager” though. I will get the word out to college recruiters that there is a player at our school that you need to evaluate. I will provide game film and highlight dvd’s and academic transcripts. I will “talk your son up” to the recruiters who come through. But… the final decision as to who is offered a scholarship and who is not, is solely the decision of the college coaches. I will be the “promoter” for your son but the colleges will decide whether he fits their needs. Once this key point is established, then it is up to you to back up what you say with your actions. Getting a player into a Div. 3 school is as important in building that good will as it is for a player to go to a top Div. 1 school. It builds your resume and reputation for “getting kids into school!” Which, I know, goes against what I just said… but that is the public perception. You certainly HELPED along the way and that’s something you can talk up with parents.

It is my opinion that one of your top goals as a head football coach is to get as many of your players playing college ball as possible. Developing relationships with college recruiters improves their chances. You must make yourself available to these guys when they stop in your school. You need to get to know them so you can counsel your players and their parents as to what type of football program he might be looking at. If you care about your kids, you want the best for them that you can provide. Taking the time to get to know these recruiters and for them to get to know you is a key cog in the process. I know of a local coach who has the reputation as being “stand offish” and “uncooperative” with recruiters. I still have enough contacts at the college level that they talk to me. It’s amazing the opinions they have of some of the HS coaches in our area. A lot of it is based on what type of job the HS coach does to promote his kids!

This is a general comment on what you should be doing. As far as HOW to go about it, that’s in the book! I will say that having a general meeting for players and parents at this time of year is one major activity you can perform. Have a power point presentation for them and a general meeting one evening at school in the next month. A good friend of mine who coaches at Amherst County HS just related to me that he has his recruiting meeting scheduled here real soon. All interested parents and players are invited. He does a great job in educating his players and really rolls out the red carpet for the recruiters.

When I was coaching, I used to set up individual family meetings for freshmen and sophomores that I recognized as having the ability to potentially play at the D1 level. Meeting with the player and his parents laid the groundwork for what they could expect in the recruiting process. It’s overwhelming for the family and I always let them know that I would be there for them throughou the process. But, I also talked with parents of kids who were not being looked at by the big schools. I would go out of my way to “court” the smaller schools too. You don’t want the reputation as being a coach who only works for his top athletes or one who only works with the big schools! Again, it’s all about developing good will throughout your program.

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