Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for August, 2015

Making History

Posted by admin August - 24 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off on Making History

We had “Back to School Sunday” at church yesterday. Our pastor had all of the school-age children come up on stage and we prayed for them. Verrrrrry cool! Then, his message really hit home. He talked about the “Next Generation” and how we, as adults… parents, coaches, teachers are responsible for investing in their lives. There were several strong statements that he made but I’ll share two of them.

One was: “If you are investing in a kid or teen, you are making history! Perhaps the most fun I have on Facebook is reconnecting with my former players. Nothing makes my spirit soar any higher than to hear that a former player is succeeding in life— good family man, holding down a good job, loving Jesus! It makes me so proud to think that I had a small part in forming that young man’s character. Pastor Michael pointed out that we can’t “see” it right now but… pouring into these young peoples’ lives is going to affect the future of the world. He told how his 3rd grade Sunday School teacher impacted him so much as a child. Little did she know that she was teaching the future pastor of a church of over 3000 people! You never know!!!

The second point was in relationship to church but… it applies to football or the classroom or… wherever you have contact with teens or children. He asked the question: “How are we at having FUN??!!!” Most people don’t need an attitude adjustment, they need a fun adjustment!!! I know there’s a time to be serious when talking about football. But, are you taking the time to include a little “fun” in your practices? When you are constantly putting pressure on your players, pretty soon something is going to break! I don’t want football season to be something that our players look forward to ending! I want them to enjoy what we’re doing and to have fun! NOT being silly or childish but… incorporating ways to make the experience something positive that they’ll want to come back to again and again.

The “Esau Syndrome”

Posted by admin August - 19 - 2015 - Wednesday 1 COMMENT

I was struck by a comment that our pastor made this past weekend in his message. He was comparing the Old Testament Bible story of Jacob and Esau and the New Testament Bible parable of the “Prodigal Son.” I had never seen the similarities of what Esau and the Prodigal wanted. What they wanted was: ALL of it!!! and they wanted it now!!!

The Message paraphrase says in Hebrews 12:16, “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.”

Are we like Esau? We “think” we are soooooo hungry that we are willing to sell our future to take care of our current problem. As our pastor said, we need to “replace our short-term cravings with long-term vision.” We can’t get caught up in the moment and allow circumstances to overwhelm us! We have to keep our eyes on the long term vision… that God has for us!

I like it this way: Are you going to live your life like this: “Short-term gain; long term pain.” OR… “Short term pain; long term gain!”

I told our players on Monday that we generally don’t like pain. But as the cliche says: “No pain; no gain!” If we’re willing to suffer a little now (instead of avoiding that pain!), the long term results are sooooooo much better.

Stone Cutter

Posted by admin August - 14 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off on Stone Cutter

Our first pre-season scrimmage is tonight. I don’t feel like we’re ready!!! Practices have been good but, with a (basically) new staff, we’ve been doing a LOT more teaching. The kids have responded but… it just shows how far behind we were to start with.

It’s been frustrating that the players (for the most part) simply do not see the importance of watching Hudl on their own time. We check the log in’s and very few of them are watching much video. I have substituted watching video as a team (which took up practice time) for the players watching it at home. We have taped a lot more of our practice sessions this summer. As OC, I then makes “notes”/corrections on the video as does our DC. We send it out to the players but…

One thing that has resonated with the team has been our emphasis on “The Fable of the Stone Cutter.” I believe I shared this story on an earlier post so check back in the blog history. We bought a small sledge hammer and presented it to the player who “hit the stone” the hardest and most consistently all week. We will do this on Monday’s from now till the end of the season. By the way, the player who won it for the first week was our Freshman running back… who ran Scout Team Offense all week and “pounded the rock” against our 1st D! He kept hitting that stone!

We’ll be pretty basic tonight with our O and D game plans. We want to see them aligned right and just “git after ’em!” I’m going to take a page from the NFL philosophy of limiting the amount of snaps that our starters will take in this, our 1st preseason game. We know what our returning starters can do. We want to evaluate the younger kids. We told them that we don’t “cut” nor “release” players like the NFL does… but, they will be able to show us either 1- they deserve more playing time or 2- it’ll show them why they’re a back up and what they need to improve upon to get more playing time.

Go Saints!!!

Early in the Morning!

Posted by admin August - 5 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off on Early in the Morning!

This is probably being posted too late for some of you! But… if you haven’t started August practice yet at your school, I want to strongly endorse early morning practices vs. late afternoon. Oh my gosh!!! If only I would’ve done this years ago.

It all started rolling around in my head about a month ago. It was July 8th. I was riding to a restaurant on the same highway I take to get to our school. It was 11:45 am. I glanced at the thermometer on my car’s dashboard as I turned into the restaurant parking lot. It shows the outside temperature. It was 86 degrees. I thought to myself, “Hummmmm…. not too bad for the first part of July.” Then my mind went to what I’d be doing in one month— football practice would be starting! I returned down the same highway 4 hours later on my way to our summer workouts at school. I passed the restaurant where I’d stopped at 11:45 that morning (now it was 4 pm) and thought to look at the thermometer again. Now it read: 97 degrees! UGH!!! That was when it hit me!!! WHY… are we practicing in late afternoon????!!! Why am I putting these players (and coaches!) through this???!!! It’s oftentimes too hot to even wear full gear; we drag around cuz it’s so hot and… thunder storms roll in and we’re forced inside! The temperature is 10-15 degrees cooler in the mornings. That’s when I decided that we’re going to practice in the a.m. and not the p.m.!!!

My coaches have been ribbing me: “Lew, you didn’t even know that there are two 5 o’clocks in one day, did you??!!!” (I like to sleep in late since I retired!) Yes, it’s kinda rough getting up and driving to school while it’s still dark but… to go out on the practice field at 6:30 am when it’s about 78 degrees and a bit cloudy is wonnnnnnderful!! We go from 6:30 am till 8:30 am. We come inside for a Break and then back out from 9:30- 11:30 am. Everyone’s gone by 12:30. I have the rest of the afternoon and evening to stay inside in the AC while most of the other schools in the area are out sweating in that heat and humidity!!

I highly recommend practicing in the mornings. Never again, will I practice in the afternoon in Tidewater Virginia in August!!!