Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for January, 2013


Posted by admin January - 30 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off on Clinics

I just returned from Pittsburgh this past week-end where I attended the Natn. Wing T Coach’s Clinic. 400 coaches there all for the same reason: to learn more about the Wing T Offense!

I mentioned to a group that they should be proud of themselves for making the trip to be there. Off-season clinics are great opportunities to learn more about the game and become a better coach. I challenge each of you (whether you’re a coach or a businessman) to be a Student of the Game. No matter what your profession, you need to continue to grow in your skills and knowledge. For coaches, if you have the chance to attend any of the Nike, Glazier, etc. “big” clinics… GO!

What I think is even better, though, is taking your staff and visiting another high school staff. Do it on a Saturday. Find a staff that’s successful and runs the same O or D that you run and ask if you can come visit. Most coaches would be flattered to be asked to speak to your staff. It’s a great way to learn and it’s from your contemporaries. College coaches possess a lot of knowledge but they don’t coach high school football. A lot of what they would share can’t or shouldn’t be used on the HS level. It’s just a different game at that level.

This and other ideas like it can be found in my book, 101 Little Things… Just click the button on the right and it’ll take you to Coaches Choice. My wife says that I have to do this! The royalties from the book gets her (and me!) a dinner out at a nice restaurant each year!!! So buy a book! LOL!

Meeting with Rising Seniors

Posted by admin January - 20 - 2013 - Sunday Comments Off on Meeting with Rising Seniors

I have my annual goal-planning meeting with our rising senior football players tomorrow. One of the mom’s is nice enough to open her home and provide lunch for us.

Once we finish eating, we’re going to do some goal-planning for next season. Some things I’ll talk about: 1- Bo Schembeckler at U. of Michigan had a pretty important slogan: “The Team! The Team! The TEAM!” I’ll tell them that it’s important to have individual goals too but… they cannot supercede the Team goals. “BIG Team… Little me.” 2- I’ll point out that for something to be a goal, it has to be measurable. For example, it’s NOT a goal to say: “We want to play better next season.” How do you measure “play better?” They’ll need to re-word it to make it measurable. For example, it could be worded, we want to win 1 more game than last year. Or, we want to decrease our turn-overs on Offense and increase them on Defense. THAT’S measurable and explains what he means by “playing better.” 3- We want performance goals and we want attitudinal goals. One involves things we see happening on the field, like “Winning our Homecoming Game” and the other involves internal or mental goals; i.e., display team unity during wins and losses. 4- Finally, they need to have a time table. WHEN do they expect to see these goals achieved.

I will give them paper to write down 3 Performance goals and 3 Attitude goals. I will ask them to include the “steps to acheive” them. They’ll have 5-10 minutes to complete this. We’ll then start brainstorming the different goals that the seniors present. I’ll come up with a list of both types of goals that we settle on. They will then be placed on a big poster (3 ft. X 5 ft.) on the team room wall. I want everyone to see it every time we have a meeting. I will talk about goals numerous times during the season and point to the poster as my reference.

Handling Criticism

Posted by admin January - 11 - 2013 - Friday Comments Off on Handling Criticism

All of us as coaches have had our share of critics— from sports writers to parents. I read this today and thought it would be of interest and value to all of you who read this site.

Someone once quipped, “Every baseball team could use someone who knows how to play all 9 positions, never strikes out and never makes an error in the field. The only problem is, it hard to make him set down his hotdog and come out of the stands!!!”

You need to remember that all of us need the advice and input of others. But you should only consider the advice of a critic when: 1) you know you are valued by the the one who criticizes you (THAT is huge!); 2) the criticism is not tainted by his/her own personal agenda; 3) the person is not naturally critical of everything (you know the type!); 4) the person will continue giving support after giving advice; and 5) he/she has knowledge and success in the area of the criticism.

Let’s face it… what really hurts is the criticism of people who are important to you. It’s hard to have your dream criticized by those whom you admire, love and respect. But if you want to achieve your dream you’ll have to learn how to pay that price too. Stacy Allison, the first American woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, points out that there are times in our life when it’s ok not to listen to what other people are saying. Allison stated, “if I’d listened to other people I wouldn’t have climbed Mt. Everest.”

If you are a coach, you are in a very public job. We live in a very negative-oriented, judgmental culture. Everybody thinks he knows it all. That’s why I’m always amused at the Holiday Inn Express commercials on tv. They stayed at the motel the night before so now they’re an expert! My dad used to tell me, “consider the source.” Those points in the first paragraph will help you to “consider the source!”


Posted by admin January - 2 - 2013 - Wednesday Comments Off on Scrimmages

I was “side-swiped” during the holidays. I decided to contact the coaches of the schools that we scrimmaged last year just to confirm that we would be getting together again. To my surprise, both of them said they would not be able to scrimmage us next August!

Soooooooooooo… I started the process of contacting other schools to see who might be interested. It’s not as easy as it appears! I have to find 2 schools who open the season the same week that we do. If not, they might be playing their opening game when we want our second scrimmage. From the front end of that, they may want to scrimmage a week before we are ready to scrimmage. So, timing is everything.

The other factor (and I’ve been asked this more than once) is: how challenging do you want your scrimmages to be? I have never been a proponent of playing top notch programs in scrimmages. We don’t need our kids beat up or even possibly injured before we even play our first game! The other factor is confidence level. You get your brains beat out in a scrimmage, it could adversely affect the psyche of your players.

I have confirmed both of our scrimmages today. We are “stepping up” in level of difficulty for next year. We will be scrimmaging a public school that is bigger than us in the first scrimmage and taking on a state power (from a lower division than we play in) in the second scrimmage. That sounds like I just contradicted myself from the last paragraph, doesn’t it?! Welllllllllllll…. we are in a little different situation this coming season. If everyone returns, we will have 10 starters back on Offense and 9 on Defense. We made it to the state championship game this past fall, so we should be pretty good again. This group needs to be challenged. I want us to go against stronger competition in our scrimmages this year so we can start getting prepared for a run to the championship again. Our kids need to be challenged. Your situation might be different— our was 2 years ago. I feel like we are at the point where weaker competition in scrimmages does not help us. We’ll see in August!