Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for July, 2011

The Power of Parental (Coach’s) Love

Posted by admin July - 28 - 2011 - Thursday 2 COMMENTS

2 books come to mind as I write. I recommend both of them to you!

One, Season of Life by Jeffrey Marxx, I’ve read 3 times and one I’ve just started, Called to Coach by Bobby Bowden. As most of us begin practice next week, these words of wisdom came to mind. You are going to greet kids from all backgrounds and all walks of life when you walk in that locker room next week. They’re going to bring all of their baggage, issues and problems with them as they work to become part of your team! It is important to remember that parental rejection drives children (and teens) to 2 extremes:
1) Rebellion. They rebel out of their need for acceptance. When your players quit school, run away, do drugs, consume alcohol or engage in elicit sex, in many cases they are saying, “I’ll show you!”
2) Compliance. Some kids go in the opposite direction hoping to win approval by trying not to displease a parent… or coach! The desire to please drives them to be perfect. The least little mistake, though, can send them into a tailspin.

A child at any age will do anything, however irrational or self-destructive, to earn and keep the love of parents. Parents are like potters, with the power to mold their child’s behavior, character and course of life. When a teen comes out for football, he usually gives his coach the same status as a parent. You have a big role in your players’ lives. Please take it seriously.

God Is Getting You Ready

Posted by admin July - 17 - 2011 - Sunday 2 COMMENTS

This came as a real revelation to me recently… and I wanted to share it with you guys who read this blog. Ready? Here goes:
Before God gives you more, He observes you with what you have!
Furthermore, when He intevenes in your life it’s like a seed; it needs time to take root and sprout. So don’t get in a hurry. Patience develops in us the ability to stand up to the pressures that accompany blessing. Look back. Aren’t some of the things you’ve been through the very things that have equipped you to handle what you are dealing with right now? Had God given it to you sooner, you couldn’t have handled them. He loves you too much to let that happen. I love the story of the little boy who saw the butterfly fighting, pushing and squeezing his way out of his cocoon. He felt sorry for the little butterfly so he decided to help him. The boy pulled back pieces of the cocoon to allow the young butterfly to escape without having to struggle so much. Upon getting free of his cocoon, the butterfly attempted to fly. He couldn’t even spread his wings…. and slowly tied right there on the branch of the tree.

The little boy, distraught over what had happened, ran to his grandfather to show him the dead butterfly. He explained to his granddad how he’d tried to help the butterfly. With the wisdom that only God can bestow, the old man sat the boy on his knee and explained: “Son, you thought you were helping the butterfly by making his struggle easier. But, God developed things this way and the butterfly needs to fight his way all the way out to build the strength in his wings to be able to fly when he’s finished. Sometimes we have to struggle through things to be able to reap the blessing at the end.”

Think about this: if you’re having difficulty handling criticism from a few people, how would you do if God made you a head coach at a large high school (or college) or a company president or the principal of your school? Are you ready to pay the price? And, more importantly, are you able to pay the price?! The more God gives you, the more He holds you responsible for it. Jesus made a strong statement when he said: “No man should build without counting the cost first.”

Sometimes we want things because others have them. You say you want something, but are you ready to handle the responsibilities that come with it? It’s going to require you to give of yourself—- maybe sacrificially! There’s a tempatation to want something because we think it will better our lives. As the old saying goes: be careful what you ask for! You may get it!

I thought I was ready to be a high school head football coach after being an assistant for 12 years. WOW! Did I get a rude awakening. I wasn’t even close to being prepared for all of the responsibilities that go with being a head coach. But, God helped me to persevere. And on the way, I learned…. how to do the little things and how to overcome difficulties. I learned to trust in Him more each day.

Whatever you are going through today, there is great peace in knowing that nothing can preempt God’s plan for you. So, “Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling streadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing” (Psm. 37:34). He has blessed me with this new head coaching position at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. I am ready to see what He wants to teach me. I am rejoicing— you should too! God is getting us ready!

DO Sweat the “Small Stuff!”

Posted by admin July - 5 - 2011 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

I gave an outline of some major things that you as a HC should be putting together now that practice is within a month of starting up. One thing I did not mention is focusing on some “small stuff” that can run you ragged if you haven’t covered it with your staff.

One of the things that took me a while to learn to do was to delegate. I didn’t realize what a “micro manager” I was for a long time. It was wearing me out. All the “small stuff” around the stadium and locker room that needed to get done (sometimes on a daily basis!)…. I was doing it all and it was wearing me out!

I’m going to recommend that as you sit down to finalize what responsibilities you assign to your coaching staff ON the field that you also make assignments for OFF-the-field responsibilities. Most assistant coaches want to help out. They like to have their own area where they can be in charge. You assign a coach to be the Offensive Line coach don’t you? Then you should also assign, for example, a Locker Room Supervisor. You need a coach who will be sure that the locker room is clean before everyone leaves. He should also be patrolling around as the kids are dressing— to be sure they know that an adult is present and there will be no horse play.

How about your Equipment Room? How many days does a player come to the coaches office door needing a belt for his practice pants or a shoe lace? You, as HC, jump up and go to the equipment room to help him. You end up just hanging out in the equipment room the whole time everyone is getting dressed and you miss out on those last-minute reviews of the practice schedule with your assistants. You need to assign an assistant who is responsible for being in the equipment room before practice to help out the players. I just don’t think you can leave a student manager alone in the equipment room with players having free run of the place! Things can “sprout legs and walk out” too easily.

I recall the last few years I was the HC at the public school I coached at. We had raised enough money to buy a golf cart. We hooked up a trailer to it and lots of stuff was hauled out to the practice field on it. Somebody had to get it out of the garage and put it away each day. Guess who did it for 2 years— before he was smart enough to assign that duty to an assistant coach?! Everyone had gone home; I had locked up the locker room; I’m heading for my car and… there’s the stinkin’ golf cart sitting out! I finally wised up and assigned golf cart duty to one of my assistant. He loved driving that thing around!

These are just a couple of examples of some of the “small stuff” that can wear you down if you don’t delegate them out to assistants. They need to be done. They’re important. But… it doesn’t have to all be done by the head coach. Look around your program. Where are some “off-the-field” duties that an assistant can be doing for you? When you meet before practice starts, present them with their duty and thank them for helping out. You’ll be happy you did.