Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

When It ALL Goes Bad!

Posted by admin September - 19 - 2017 - Tuesday

It was a rivalry game! The newspaper had hyped it as the game of the week in the entire area. Two reallllllly good teams meeting for the first time in a number of years where the game actually meant something to BOTH teams. Excitement was in the air; a big crowd was in the stands and… we fell flat on our faces!!! We gave away 3 scores and shot ourselves in the foot 3 times inside their 10 yard line. Final score: 0 to 35!!! Total deflation!

Have you ever had it happen to you and your team? Expectations are high. You’re excited about the season and… BANG! It all comes crashing down. It happened to us with that thumping we received on Friday night. Sooooooooooooo… what do you do when this happens? “Panic” is NOT an option! Playing the “blame game” is NOT an option! “Giving up” is NOT an option! and… ADDING MORE PLAYS is NOT an option! A wise coach once told me that, “when things go bad, reduce… don’t increase!!!” You need to simplify— not complicate!

Some of you have probably heard my slogan. It’s one of our Principles of Success for Coaches. It is: SIMPLICITY = CONSISTENCY!

If you want things to be “simple” to learn (and I am not talking about “dumbing down” things!!!) then you have to make things consistent! Otherwise, you are creating confusing and doubt in the minds of your players. This, in turn, leads to hesitancy. If a football player hesitates, he’s going to get beat! For example, you can’t have one set of blocking rules for O linemen vs. an even front and then a different set of rules (for the same plays!) vs. an odd front! It’s not consistent, therefore not simple, and thus… confuses your linemen.

Take a look at your game stats and your playbook and see if there are plays that you are rarely (or ever) running right now. Get rid of them. Stop practicing them. Concentrate on those “Big 5” key plays that you need to improve upon.

Finally, you have to be the encourager. You have to “speak life” when your players are down. It won’t do any good to criticize and point fingers when things have gone bad. Make it clear to your players (and coaches) that we are not going to stop working. We ARE going to get better. One of my favorite sayings is from Tim Duncan. I believe he shared that he first heard it from his grandma when he lived in the Caribbean. It goes: “Good; better; best. You can never rest! Until your “good” becomes “better” and… your “better” becomes “best!”

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