Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Starting Afresh

Posted by admin November - 15 - 2017 - Wednesday

The other day, I had a coach ask about starting “fresh” with his offense. He wanted to know what he should install? My advice to him would hold true for any coach who’s looking to start afresh!

1- Stick with what you KNOW! There is no magic bullet out there as far as an offense you can install that’s going to immediately have you averaging 40 points a game. In my experience, offensive production has more to do with execution than “tricking” opponents. You can’t execute if you don’t know what you’re doing!
So… if you’re installing a “new” offense, maybe it’s better to install an “old” offense that you already know and just work harder on execution. That means paying attention to details— at every position.
If, however, you want to go in a different/new direction with your offense, it is critically important that you research it in depth. Clinics, visits to staffs that already run it, videos— all are important in gaining the depth of knowledge you need to be successful from the get-go! If you don’t, you’re going to be “swimming upstream” all season; probably get frustrated and bag the offense halfway into your season next fall.
I have been helping a coach from another area in our state of Virginia install the Delaware Wing T system of offense this year. We started conversing in January; sent him to Pittsburgh for the National Wing T Coaches Clinic and met several times during the spring and summer. The guy did his research and was ready to install the offense in the spring. By August when preseason practice began, he had it “up and running” very smoothly.
He called me midseason and said that some coaches weren’t happy with the offense. They were 5-1 at the time and putting up impressive numbers??!!!?? Some of the coaches, however, weren’t comfortable with the new offense. I encouraged him to “stick to his guns!” He did and they are 10-1 and playing the 2nd round of the state playoffs this weekend. He had confidence in the offense and confidence in himself— so he stuck it out! Good for him!

2- Coach Your Coaches: This is usually a major mess up on the part of coaches who are changing systems. You know the system but you fail to get your assistants up to speed. Thus, they can’t teach their positions effectively and your execution is sub-par. Just giving material to coaches and telling them to study and learn it is NOT enough! Do you do that with your students in your classroom? NO! You go over the material and then test them!!! You need to do the same with assistant coaches. Most coaches are not enough of a “self-starter” to get the work done that needs to be done. It’s the “80-20 principle” in play: 20% of the people are going to do 80% of the work!” The other 80% of the people you have to “motivate” to get things done. You have to “make” your coaches learn the system.
Off-season staff and individual meetings are important. Either have the coach submit answers to a test you make up OR… have them get up in front of your staff and present their drills; techniques and alignments to the rest of the coaches.

3- Stick with It! This follows what I said in point #1 above… but a little different. I mentioned the coach from Richmond who faced some opposition and stood his ground. I can relate 5-6 other stories of the same type of thing; i.e., coaches who made changes… it didn’t go well… they panicked… and “bailed” on the offense! If you’ve made a commitment, stick with it!!! Keep working hard. Take care of details. Grow as you learn. I’ve said it before on here: if things aren’t going well, don’t ADD… SUBTRACT! You may be trying to do too much! Pick out your 5-7 best plays (your Magnificent 7!) and work on them over and over! Self-scout and see what you’re calling in the game. If you’re not using it in a game, delete it! Focus on those KEY plays that you need to get better at!
Most coaches do not have the patience or perseverance to see things through to the end. That’s why the Bible so strongly encourages folks to “press on!” Philippians 3:13 is one of my life verses. It exhorts us to “press on toward the goal!” Press indicates that they will be pressure. We have to persevere through it. Never give up and never give in!

Leave a Reply