Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Summer Preparation

Posted by admin June - 29 - 2011 - Wednesday

For many of you coaches, practice is less than a month away. While you may be focusing on getting your players ready for the upcoming season, you need to be readying your staff and yourself for the season also.

I want to mention a couple of things you should be doing. These are also found in my book, 101 Little Things…. The “little things” you’re doing right now will pay dividends in the fall.

1- You should be putting together your Daily Installation Plan. This is an “outline” of which plays/series you will be installing on offense each day and the defensive fronts you’ll be working on each day. I say “outline” because it’s going to give you an overall picture of what needs to be covered on a daily basis so you have everything in that you want to have installed by your first game. I would encourage you to break it down further, though. Have an objective of what you want installed by your first scrimmage. Then what else you want installed by your second scrimmage. This helps you to focus and not get overwhelmed by the size of the project. I would include Special Teams in this outline also.

2- Once you have your Daily Installation plan, you can begin on your individual practices. I would not wait and do this day by day. You need an over-all plan of attack and it’s important to stick to it. You can make some minor adjustments as you go through each practice but you need to stick to your Installation Plan so you don’t miss anything. Be ready to present the first week’s worth of practice schedules to your staff in your pre-season meetings.

3- Staff Meetings. Just prior to practice beginning, you need to meet with your staff. It may mean closing down the weight room for those last few days before practice starts; but, that can actually be a good thing. Your players need a little break before things gear up. Being off a couple of days isn’t going to hurt them. In fact, it may have them “hungry” for practice to start! Your staff needs to meet several evenings. I’m not an advocate of “marathon” meetings. Even motivated adults have an attention span. My recommendation is three nights of 2 hour meetings just prior to practice starting. The first night you cover Offense and the “offensive” Kicking teams (punt, pat and kick-off return). The second night Defense and the “defensive” special teams. The last night is focused on specific preparation for practice. Have each coach explain his drills for individual period; review the daily installation schedule and go over the practices for the first week— finishing with a close examination of the first day’s practice. This is particularly important if you are a new head coach or have a relatively new staff.

4- Pre-season Parent/Player Meeting. It is important to meet with your players and their parents early on. I think it should be before practice even starts. You need to review your policies and review your pre-season schedule. You might even want to have parents and players sign off on the policies to show that they understand them and agree to abide by them. Then, if any problems ensue later in the season, you have “due process” on your side. Be clear about your policies but be upbeat and explain that your policies and rules are important to promote team unity and ultimately the success of your program. Finish the meeting by sharing how excited you are about the upcoming season and you have high expectations. Regardless of how bad you think you might be, everyone has high hopes at this time of year. Don’t dash those hopes by being a “negative nelly” in front of all of your players, coaches and parents. A pastor-friend of mine has a slogan for his church that he constantly puts in front of his congregation. I think as a head coach you should remember it too: You cannot rise to LOW expectations.

God bless you in your efforts!

Leave a Reply