Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Summer Planning

Posted by admin May - 24 - 2010 - Monday

For a lot of you, school is coming to a close. Unfortunately for me, in Virginia, we are not allowed to start school until AFTER Labor Day in the fall. So, we have to get in our 180 days. That puts us getting out on June 18th this year! ugh!

Anyway… I was just flipping through my book and thought it might be a good idea to bring up some things that you should consider doing early in the summer. I am a firm believer in getting things done early! That way, you can set it aside for a few days; mull it over in your head; get some feedback from a trusted ally and then go back and make any tweaks that you see that you need to make.

Nothing is more important now than getting your pre-season schedule nailed down… early! I would even encourage you to have each individual day’s practice schedule laid out now. Use the “work backwards” formula. By that I mean: take the last day of pre-season practice and work from there back to the first day of practice. List all the things you want to accomplish in pre-season and then start “plugging them in” on a daily basis.

What you’ve got here is a “Daily Installation Schedule.” This includes (on Offense): formations; shifts; motions; runs; passes and trick plays. Whatever you want to have ready for your opening game should have been installed and rehearsed BEFORE your Game Week practices begin.

It’s good to have “Benchmarks” also. Our teachers have been preparing our students for their Virginia State Standard of Learning exams all year. The state was wise to provide “benchmarks” throughout the school year to show teachers that THIS is where you should be right now in your curriculum if you are going to have covered all the material you should before your students take their state exam. The same is true with your pre-season daily schedule.

In Virginia, we are allowed to have 2 pre-season scrimmages against other schools. They do not count in the standings. They are merely “practices” with another school. It makes for an easy “benchmark date” for us to know what we want to have installed by the first scrimmage. Then, what do we add between the 1st and 2nd scrimmage— which is a week later. Virginia allows 20 days of preseason practice. You can go as long as you want during each of those days; but you only have 20 practice days. Two of those are set aside for the scrimmages. We may have had a walk through early on those days, but it really meant that we had 18 days to prepare for our opening game. Three to five of those days were taken up with our Bruin Football Camp. You can find information about that in my book. Our camp meant the players were with us for at least 10 hours a day. Some years we even went away (like the segment in Remember the Titans movie). That meant we had them for 12-14 hours a day of nothing but football and team building! We got a LOT of work done.

A smart head coach takes care of the “little things!” He is a planner and an effective organizer. This is why you need to know in advance EXACTLY what you’re going to be doing on each day of pre-season practice.

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