Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program


Posted by admin July - 18 - 2016 - Monday

I’m at the beach with my family this week. I’m normally preparing for the preseason practices for my team to begin. NOT this year! I still find myself “thinking football” though! For those of you who DO have to plan your preseason schedules, something popped into my head last night that I thought I should pass along to you.

Our first week of preseason practice was also our “Camp” week. We’d bring the team in at 6 am and start practice at 6:30. I regret that I didn’t start doing this earlier in my career. What a difference it is to be out in the August heat and humidity early in the morning rather than going out later in the afternoon! We bought some synthetic footballs to use when the dew was still thick on the grass… so we wouldn’t waterlog our good balls. Keep some towels available and the synthetic balls work well.

After a 2 to 2 1/2 hour practice, we’d come inside. We get out of the heat and out of our pads and enjoy some “team time.” The mom’s would bring popsicles and the guys would hang out in the locker room for 20-30 minutes. We’d include some “white board” or “Hudl video” time if needed. But the highlight of the Break was the “Team Builder” period!

I brought in motivational speakers every other day to share a message with our team. There are quality speakers available in your community who will come in and share for free. You don’t have to pay people for their time. If they want to be remunerated for their time, then their heart isn’t in the right place and you don’t need them! Give them 20 minutes to inspire or challenge your players. It was always worthwhile.

The opposite days, we did some type of team-building exercise. I have written about these before on this site. So, if you’re new check out the previous posts. The one I thought about last night that I want to emphasize today is: “Egg Roulette!” I first saw this on a YouTube video of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. We did it for the first time 2 years ago and we had so much fun with it that the players were adamant that we had to do it again this past season!

It requires some preparation on your part. Buy a dozen eggs. Hard boil 8 of them— NOT all 12!!! You want 4 of them to remain “normal.” Set up a table at the front of your team/locker room with 2 chairs across from each other and the carton of eggs sitting in the middle of the table. I’d also suggest that you spread out a plastic cloth across the table and even onto the floor around it. It’s going to get messy!!!

Let your players select one veteran and one rookie to represent the team. Those two come forward and get seated across from each other. Give each of the remaining players 1 or 2 Hershey’s Kisses. We use these all the time for “betting chips” and rewards for answering such questions as blocking rules or proper alignment. They don’t cost much so keep a huge bag in your desk. You can give them out any time you want. Anyway… every player gets to “bet” on which player they think is going to “win” the Egg Roulette. They place their “bet” on the side of the table where their man is sitting. It’s always interesting to watch the dynamics of this; i.e., which player they put their “money” on.

The contest begins with one of the players selecting 1 of the 12 eggs. NOTE: all 12 look the same! The players do NOT know which eggs are hard boiled. They cannot pick it up and shake it. They simply choose an egg, pick it up and crack it on their head!! The goal is to “find” the hard boiled eggs. IF… they crack one of the 4 “regular” eggs— of course, it’s going to be real messy! The kids love it! They’re cheering and booing. They’re encouraging “their” player on which egg he should (or shouldn’t) select. Of course, one more “regular” egg on his head and he loses. The 2 players continue to go back and forth until one of them cracks TWO of the “regular” eggs on his head. At that point, the game is over! The players who bet on the winner not only get their Kiss but collect the Kisses from the players who bet on the losing player.

It’s great fun! It’s a great way to get their minds off of the heat and humidity. Most importantly, it’s building a memory that the players will carry with them for a long time. It’s one of the things that makes football such a great team sport!!!

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