Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for September, 2014

“Let Go of the Banana!!!”

Posted by admin September - 23 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off on “Let Go of the Banana!!!”

Several coaches have contacted me this week seeking some help in “boosting morale” on their teams. In each case, the team was dealing with bouncing back from a big loss the week before. The guys just couldn’t seem to shake free of the negative emotions that they were still carrying into the new week of practice.

I told the coaches 2 things:
1- The attitude of the coaching staff will go a loooooooong way in “setting the tone” for the entire team. If the coaches are “down,” the players will feel like they’re allowed to be down, too. The coaches have to come in on Monday fired up and ready to go! The players are looking to the coaches to see what the atmosphere is in the locker room and practice field. Even if you have to fake it, coaches, you need to be upbeat and positive.

2- I love the story of “Let go of the banana!” I don’t recall where I heard it first but it is very appropriate when you’re trying to “bounce back” from a loss. The story goes that hunters in Africa have a very lucrative business trapping monkeys and selling them to pet stores and labs. The problem is: you have to catch the monkeys alive! They are very shrewd and are difficult to trap. A man came up with the solution! He constructed a trap that looks a lot like a crab pot that we use here on the east coast to catch crabs. It’s made of wire and has a small opening at one end— an opening just big enough to allow a monkey to reach his arm in the trap.

The trapper places a banana at the other end of this cylindrical opening, hangs it in the trees at night and goes home. The monkeys come out after dark searching for food and see/smell the bananas in the cages. The monkey reaches in the cage and grabs the banana. Upon pulling his arm (AND the banana!) back out of the cage, the monkey cannot withdraw his hand out of the tight space without “letting go of the banana!” The stubborn monkeys pull and yank and jab to get the banana out of the cage… to no avail. In the morning, the trapper and his crew come out and throw nets over the monkeys and the cages and cart away another dozen or so monkeys.

Moral of the story? If you want to be “free”, you have to LET GO OF THE BANANA!!!

The same is true of your players. They have to “let go” of the memories of the previous week and get focused on the week ahead. If they don’t, they won’t be FREE to prepare properly for the upcoming game.

Tell your guys that they have to “let go of the banana!”


Posted by admin September - 18 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off on “BURN THE SHIPS!”

There is some controversy as to whether this story really happened. No matter! It’s a great story and a tremendous motivator. It’s our theme this week as we play the defending state champions in our division.

The story goes that Hernando Cortez, the conqueror of the Aztecs in Mexico, landed on the Yucatan Peninsula to take on the Aztecs and procure all of their gold. When the men were in the small boats rowing to shore, Cortez yelled out, “Burn the Ships!” This was his way of saying: “NO Plan B! No turning back. We either go in and conquer and win or… we DIE!!!” What it required of his men was a total commitment.

That’s just what we’ve asked of our players all week! They have responded extremely well. We are going over to their school in Virginia Beach and when we get off of the bus we are going to “Burn the Ships!” Our guys are ALL IN! Soooooooooooo… I know they will go ALL OUT!!!