Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

What Do You Want to be Known For?

Posted by admin June - 20 - 2017 - Tuesday

I posed this question to a coach yesterday (the title!) and it generated a great discussion. Setting aside the fact that everybody wants to be “known for” being a championship program!— what are some qualities that you want your program to be known for??? After this morning’s workout at the school where I’m consulting, the HC allowed me to speak to the players for a minute. I posed the same question to them! I asked them to think about it and I’d ask for their answers tomorrow. Their answers should prove to be interesting.

The answer(s) to this question speaks directly to one’s general coaching philosophy. It also challenges the coaches to promote these qualities on and off the field. That means 1- “talking them up” on a consistent basis with your players and 2- “reminding” them (a few up/downs always seem to get the point across! By a “few” I mean 6 or 7, by the way!) when the quality is NOT being shown on the field. We had a situation this morning, for example, where the HC whistled the players to come to him. An expectation that we are going to run— NOT walk— on the field is one that the coaches have set down for the players. A bunch of them jogged over but there were a dozen or more who strolled over. I whispered in the HC’s ear, “you should send them back from where they were on the field and then call them up again.” He took my suggestion; blew his whistle and sent them back. The second time he called them up they hustled over. Point made!

This leads to the first quality that I wanted my teams to be known for:
1- HUSTLE. I wanted my teams to be recognized as a bunch of players who were going to hustle everywhere they went. Anyone can hustle. This creates energy. It can also be emotionally intimidating to opponents. I always wanted to win the Mind Game battle.

Hustle leads directly to the second quality I wanted my teams to be known for:
2- ENTHUSIASM. Football is a game of emotion. I never wanted us too high or… too low; but I did want my players to be excited about playing! Congratulate the big play. Jump around and get others pumped up. Scream, shout… knock yourself out!!! Enthusiasm is contagious!

This segues into the third quality:
3- EFFORT. I wanted kids who were going to go hard every play… no matter the score. Effort was one of the 2 main qualities that I graded our players on each week. Regardless of the score; regardless if we won or lost— did our players give a great effort??!! Again, it doesn’t take talent to go hard every play. It’s an attitude!

4- EXECUTION… which is a byproduct of DISCIPLINE. If you’re not coaching your players to be disciplined, you’re never going to develop that “well-oiled machine” that (hopefully) you want your team to look like or be known for. This means correcting mistakes as they happen on the field. For example, if you’re in Team Offense period in practice and someone jumps offside. You drop everyone down for 5 push ups! It doesn’t sound like much but the kids hate it! It’s a 5 yard penalty in a game, thus, a push up for each yard the team would be penalized!

5- PHYSICALITY. It’s a contact sport. I wanted kids playing who enjoyed hitting people. Here again is another “tie in”— to #4. We wanted to be physical but we wanted to be clean. No cheap shots. No late hits. Play to the whistle and stop! We encouraged gang tackling. On double team blocks, we wanted the D Lineman to be ridden “right off the field.” Get after people but don’t run your mouth. Be physical!

Finally, I wanted my teams to have a
6- “NEVER GIVE UP” ATTITUDE. Again, a tie in with HUSTLE and EFFORT. We won some big games by coming from behind in the 4th quarter. Two of the biggest wins in my career (most memorable and most pleasing for me) came about when we were down late in the game but “found a way to win!” Never give up! Never give in!!! You have to preach it; you have to teach it.

Maybe you have some other qualities that you’d like your team to be known for. Give it some thought. Ask your players what they want to be “known for”— besides being winners. The interesting thing is… when you strive to be known for these things that I’ve discussed here, you will find that year in and year out, you’re going to be competing for championships. Cuz, this is what champions are made of!

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