Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for March, 2014

Bouncing Back or….. Keep On Bouncing!

Posted by admin March - 31 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off on Bouncing Back or….. Keep On Bouncing!

I talked with a young coach this week-end who’s had a lot of success at 2-3 different small to medium-sized high schools as a Head Coach. This past season, he jumped up to the “big time.” He took over a program at a relatively new school in a conference that is loaded with state-caliber talent! Needless to say, the season did not go well.

As we talked, I could sense that he knows that there is work to be done and he’s not being deterred. I explained to him that sometimes “turning things around” is kinda like turning around an aircraft carrier… progress is being made but— it’s so slow, that sometimes you don’t see it when you’re standing on the deck of the ship!!! From a distance though, the change in course can be seen more clearly. Step back and get a different perspective.

I shared with him that the “change in course” is really a 2-phase process when you’re dealing with people. First, you have to change attitudes. Then, and only then, can you begin to change behaviors. A change in heart and mind must precede a change in actions.

I read something this morning that ties in with this very well. Because… while you’re working on making these changes, you have to be resilient. That’s how I came up with my “catchy” title!!! ha ha! We have to “keep on bouncing” when the road gets tough.

For instance, during the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, their party faced extraordinary hardships. Upon reaching the Missouri River, they thought that the worst was over— only to have to face the Rockies a short time later! Instead of the easy ride downstream that they’d expected, they faced their biggest obstacle of the whole trip. The challenge was: retreat or start climbing!!! Looking back, they noted in their diaries that in conquering the Rockies they gained the confidence they needed for what they had to face later.

I’ve shared here before… I’ve had a lot of success in coaching football over the past 39 years. The first 5 years of my head coaching tenure were miserable. I inherited a program that hadn’t had a winning season in 4 years. Very few of the players even thought they could win. That was the first battle: winning their minds. A lot of times we “lost on Monday!” That is, they walked into the locker room on Monday, saw who they were playing that Friday and “cashed it in” before Monday practice even started. For me, that was very frustrating. But, those first 5 years of struggling to reach first a winning record-level and then to move to championship-caliber play was like Lewis and Clark facing the Rockies.

Sociologists who study resiliency— the ability to bounce back— report that people handle trauma in two ways. They either give up because they’re afraid or… they grow up by developing the capacity to handle it. What makes the difference? Instead of acting like victims— feeling sorry for themselves, blaming things on others (including God!), resilient people: 1- take charge of their lives; 2- refuse to relinquish their core values; and 3- refocus on their goal. Quitting is always easier than enduring.

It’s become something of a running joke around here. A young coach gets his first head coaching opportunity. He comes in with a lot of swagger and confidence and then BOOM! He gets his tail waxed during the season. 0-10 or 1-9 can be a real wake-up call. This continues for 2 or 3 more seasons and then he abruptly tenders his resignation! The usual conciliatory excuse is “I want to spend more time with my family.” Would he have resigned to “spend more time with his family” if he’d been 10-0 or 9-1 instead of the opposite??!! Somehow I don’t think so!

The problem with quitting is that it produces an attitude and then a pattern of behavior that is hard to break… one you most likely come to regret. For example, if you’re thinking right now, “This relationship is too hard, I want out,” or, “This job isn’t what I expected it to be, I’m quitting,” remember this: you develop resiliency by remaining faithful to the task in situations you don’t like and can’t change. That’s why the Bible says, “We give great honor to those who endure.”


Posted by admin March - 24 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off on Video’s

I’ve just spent 2 days with the production people at here in W. Palm Beach Florida… tough gig! It was 86 degrees here yesterday!!! Now I know why folks head to FL for the winter!!! Niiiiiice!
Rex Lardner, Managing Editor of AFM and Gridiron Strategies magazines, and his staff did a fabulous job getting everything on tape that I wanted to do. Verrrrrrrrry professional operation.

We are going to run a LOT of Malzahn’s Auburn Wing T attack this fall. I watched a lot of game video from YouTube (people post the ESPN and CBS games on there with impunity!) and…. those of you who are coaches and like to watch college game video, check out website. Alex has come up with a great idea!

Sooooo… in preparing to present what we’re going to do out of the Malzahn Wing T, I wrote up an article to present to my staff and players. I submitted it to Rex at Gridiron Strategies since I’m on the Board there and he loved it. He called and said that it’s so good that they wanted to do a 4 dvd set of the offense and put in on to be sold to coaches. He calls it: “Adapting the Up-tempo, Spread Offense to Today’s Wing T.” It should be in their catalog in May or June.

If you guys are Wing T coaches and looking for something to “jazz up” your offense, I think you should check this out. I’ve found some ways to spread out the defense but still emphasize the Wing T running game. I’ll let you know when the dvd’s are released. Till then, my wife and I are going to enjoy this beautiful Florida weather!

Peace That Passes ALL Understanding!

Posted by admin March - 18 - 2014 - Tuesday 1 COMMENT

The report goes like this: in 1943, air raid sirens sounded over London. Nazi bombers were coming again. People raced for the underground air raid shelters to escape the blasts. One such air raid shelter was the Bethnal Green Underground station. Five hundred people has already taken shelter there while another fifteen hundred were attempting to join them. A woman carrying a baby lost her footing on one of the steps leading down to the shelter. Like dominoes, people began falling in front of the woman… stacking up bodies as they bounced down the stairs. In the end, almost 200 people lost their lives… not from bombs, but fear!

I sense that today there’s a stampede of fear surrounding us. If you’re not careful, you’ll get caught up in it just like those Brits in World War II. It’s ok to recognize danger, but God doesn’t want you to be overwhelmed by it. So what do we need to do? We need to monitor what we listen to, think about and what we say.

Jesus’s disciples needed a rock to stand on in the coming storm that Jesus had just described to them. He had told them how bad things were going to get in the world. He was going to die soon and they would be persecuted and suffer for their beliefs. Jesus told them that He was leaving them, but He would not leave them alone! He would send His Holy Spirit to be with them… and us! In the Gospel of John, chapter 16, Jesus says: “I have told you all of this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart! Because, I have overcome the world.”

No matter what the situation or circumstance you might be facing right now, Jesus has it under control! No matter what trial you have to deal with, Jesus will bring you through it! Though we might be paralyzed by fear and be surrounded by others who are fearful too, you will have His peace. And that stabilizing peace will strengthen you and even cause others to turn to you for answers. “Take courage! Don’t be afraid… for I am with you,” says the Lord.

Lou Judd, Part 2!!!

Posted by admin March - 10 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off on Lou Judd, Part 2!!!

How cool is this?!!! I heard from Lou Judd himself… in an email! Somebody out there reading my entry from this morning contacted him! That’s great!
HOWEVER…. I messed up his web site address! It is sportsleader.ORG— not .com.
If you contact Lou, please use the correct address.

Lou Judd

Posted by admin March - 10 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off on Lou Judd

I have been receiving emails from Lou Judd at I am very thankful that I have… though I don’t know how they turned up on my computer! His slogan is: STRENGTH = VIRTUE. Wow! You don’t hear that emphasized much in our culture anymore. You need to check out his web site.

He sent out an email the other day which listed “10 Ways to Show Respect to Girls.” It was addressed to teenage boys. I was struck by how many of the 10 recommendations were accepted as the norm when I was growing up. That was a generation ago! But, you know what? They were 10 recommendations which are sadly missing in today’s society. I forwarded it on to our players and their parents. Several moms wrote back to thank me.

We as coaches and parents have the responsibility to impart values to those who we are charged with leading. Part of it is modeling the behaviors for our players. If you don’t think they are watching you “like a hawk”— then try this during pre-season next August: have a Skit Day. We keep our players at school during the break between our 2-a-day practices. It is too much trouble to send them home after the first practice and expect them to make their way back to school for a second practice later that day. We take a long break between our practices. This would be the perfect time to divide the team into groups of 7-10; give each group about 20 minutes to plan their skit (they sit together as a group while they eat during the break); and then have each group present their skit to the team and coaches. The title of the skits should be: A Day in the Life of a ______ (your school’s nickname) Football Player.

The skits have to be clean. It should be presented in about 4-5 minutes. Make it funny but make it realistic. You can count on at least 1 or 2 of them poking fun at the coaches! THIS is where you will see how much they have been watching you!!! Some of your kids are so talented that they will even sound like you!!! Please don’t be like one coach I had who became infuriated that the players where “joking on” his way of teaching drills. If you can’t enjoy some good-natured fun, you lack the self esteem to be a coach.

Soooooooo… modeling behaviors to our players is critical.

The over-all effect is that your team’s atmosphere is one that is fun to be part of. Sure, we get pretty intense before and during games. But, we also talk a lot about self control and staying focused. One of the main tenets of my coaching philosophy has always been: “I’ll respect you (as a player); I expect you to give me the same respect back!” Cursing at kids is totally out of line. No wonder you hear it so much in our culture today. If teens hear adults using curse words around them… why shouldn’t they cuss too!

As the Sunday School song says: “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see!” and… “Be careful little ears what you hear!” “For our Father up above is looking down in love— oh be careful little eyes (ears) what you see/hear!” It’s your responsibility coach to set the example!