Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for July, 2012

Start Your Day with God!

Posted by admin July - 25 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off on Start Your Day with God!

OK guys… for those of you who are in the coaching profession— it’s about THAT time! Most of us are going to be starting pre-season practice in the next couple of weeks. We think we’re going to get real busy! I just want this entry to be a gentle reminder that:
We may think that everything rests on our shoulders, but it doesn’t! It’s God’s world, not ours. At the beginning of each day God reminds us that He has His way; that He controls outcomes and that He cares about every detail of our lives.

I’m in the middle of a new book which I am finding fascinating and challenging. It’s by Mark Batterson and it’s title is: The Circle Maker. His mantra is: “Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long.” Right at the beginning of the book, Batterson makes this statement… “It is absolutely imperative at the outset that you come to terms with this simple yet life-changing truth: God is FOR you.”

The way we get up in the morning sets the tone for our entire day, so try this: first thing tomorrow, get alone with God for just a few minutes. Don’t try to make it last for an hour, just start with 5 minutes alone with Him. Review your plans for the day with Him. If you have a calendar, look over it with Jesus. As you’re going through it you’ll have some concerns. Tell the Lord about them. Maybe you have a meeting or a particular problem looking you in the face tomorrow that has you worried. Ask Him for wisdom. If He doesn’t give you an immediate answer, realize something verrrrrry important: it’s because He wants you to trust Him! God has something better in mind for you… something that you haven’t even thought of yet.

So often we start our day anxious, fearful or rushed. But we don’t have to. We’re going to start our day anyway; why not start it with Jesus? Do you have any better offers? We’re going to have a “first thought” anyway, so why not let it belong to God? In His presence we find peace, not anxiety. What a great place to start our day. You can do this. You really can. You can start your day with God.

There’s a Bible verse that I want to challenge you to memorize. It is fitting for this lesson. It’s Psalm 90, verse 14: “(God) satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Start tomorrow with God! OK??

Klausing Wing T Camps

Posted by admin July - 19 - 2012 - Thursday Comments Off on Klausing Wing T Camps

It’s probably too late this summer but I just want any of my Wing T coaching colleagues to consider investing in a Klausing Wing T Camp next summer. Jeff Simmons and his staff of coaches (all college coaches with an extensive background in coaching Wing T) do an excellent job.

This is our second straight year of attending one of Coach Klausing’s camps (Jeff, by the way, is Chuck Klausing’s grandson!) and our kids AND coaches get sooooooo much out of 2 days worth of instruction. Last year was the first year of installing the Wing T at my new school. The camp was a great introduction for our players. THIS summer (we just went on Monday and Tuesday of this week) saw such a change in our kids! Now… the techniques that the coaches had them working on weren’t new. The improvement I saw just in 2 days was unbelievable. We had a chance to “experiment” with a couple of plays that I’ve thought about including in our playbook and the staff showed us some nice passing game concepts too.

I highly recommend that you contact Jeff at Carnegie-Mellon football next winter and make plans to get him and his staff to your school. Even better… invite other Wing T teams in your area to attend. Once you pay costs, it can be a great fund-raiser for you. I understand that a coach in Southwest Virginia had 5 schools at his camp last week. That’s 150- 175 kids. $100 a kid???!!! niiiiice! If you want to get better at executing your Wing T offense, you won’t find a better way to help you improve.


Give Your Players These 4 Things

Posted by admin July - 13 - 2012 - Friday Comments Off on Give Your Players These 4 Things

This could apply both at home with your own children and certainly with your kids on your team. As you prepare for the opening of your season, remember that beyond the X’s and O’s there are important life lessons that you as a coach impart upon the people who work for you. Whether you want to or not, some of you (your character… your personality) is going to rub off on your players. I remember hearing a Child Psychologist once say: “Values are caught… not taught.” Your players are watching you. So be a positive influence by giving them these 4 things:
1- Instruction. Not only in the fundamentals of football but in the “game of life” as well. Take time at the end of each practice to comment on life. Impart instruction on how they should live their lives. You have a tremendous influence on your players. If you’re not talking about subjects like the importance of grades, staying away from drugs and alcohol, running with the right crew, etc., you are doing your players a disservice. Teach them! You have a responsibility to instill character and convictions in your kids.

I have recently contacted a bunch of my former players on one of those social websites. Several of them have written back and said basically the same thing: “Thank you, Coach J., for teaching us that the man who works the hardest is going to achieve the greatest things.” They’re listening guys… speak the truth!

2- Correction. It is true: kids want boundaries. Children who know how far they can go are relieved of a great burden. Knowing that your authority will stand gives them security. When they learn that “no” really means NO, they’ll be able to say it (“No!”) to others and to their own impulses.

3- Blessing. In Old Testament times, parents laid hands on their children because they believed that the blessing of God was transferable. You can bless your own kids and your players by letting them know how important they are to you. Letting an individual player know how much you appreciate his dedication can really impact that boy. I liked to tell our players that “you remind me of ______”. We had a winning tradition at our school and the current players knew about the older ones. Why? cuz I told stories about them to later teams. The blessing was passed on to the next generation of players. They wanted to live up to what the former teams/players had accomplished.

4- Example. A great preacher once looked in the crib of his infant son and prayed: “Lord Jesus, if ever You made a man, make me one now. Let my life, my example and my prayers mold this little fellow into someone You can use. And, Lord, let me die 24 hours before I say or do anything that would cause him to stumble.” Will you pray that prayer?!

Commitment and Courage

Posted by admin July - 4 - 2012 - Wednesday Comments Off on Commitment and Courage

For my head coaching friends: “It’s time!”

It’s July and if you haven’t begun your daily practice planning, it’s time to start. It’s never too early to start but… it may be too late. This is why I challenge you to do the “little things” and do them when they need to be done. It takes commitment and courage to do it.

I read recently that Terry Fox ran across Canada and raised $24 million to fight cancer. What’s amazing is that he ran on one leg! Cancer had taken the other one. His plan was to run 26 miles each day but because of severe headaches and bad weather conditions, he only managed about 8 miles a day during the first month of his marathon run. So why did he keep going? Because… the purpose in his heart was stronger than the pain in his body! They could amputate his leg, but not his spirit.

Commitment is a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done— no matter how long it takes. Commitment is a promise to yourself that you will not back down no matter how daunting the circumstances are.

There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient or as long as things remain positive. I fear too many young head coaches who don’t find success on the field in 2-3 years retire to “spend more time with their family” when in reality, they’ve resigned because of a lack of “instant” success. In my mind, they were just interested in heading up a football program and not committed for the long haul. As a long-time friend and coaching colleague used to say, “they have too much give up in them.”

When you are committed you accept no excuses— only results. Only youcan decide whether the rewards are worth the effort. I waited 14 years to finally get the “dream job” that I desired… to be the head football coach at my local high school. I was bound and determined that I wasn’t going to give it up without persevering through the tough times. In my first 5 years, we had only 1 winning season. I went through a vote of “no confidence” by my athletic director in my 6th year and an assistant coach who tried to get me fired so he could take over the program. But, I was committed to making it work.

Commitment means paying your dues. It also means disregarding your critics.
Interestingly, Jesus did just that. “But Jesus ignored their comments and said… ‘Don’t be afraid. Just trust me.'” (Mark 5:36 TLB). Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Whatever course you decide upon, there will always be someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

So start mapping out your course for your season right now. When you meet with your staff the week before practice starts, you should be able to put in their hands the daily practice schedule for the first week of practice. Have a daily installation schedule ready for your offense, defense and kicking game. Know how much you want to have installed for your first scrimmage, then second scrimmage…. and finally how much you want installed and ready for your opening game. It takes commitment and courage to prepare when you don’t know where your path is going to lead you. I encourage you to persevere. Don’t drift… stick an oar in the water and start paddling. Drifting rarely leads you to your designated destination!

Happy Independence Day! “God bless America!!!” Hang your flag on the front porch and… let freedom ring.