Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for February, 2019

“17 Inches!”

Posted by admin February - 26 - 2019 - Tuesday Comments Off on “17 Inches!”

I have always been pretty conservative. Political correctness drives me crazy! Most people would probably call me “old fashioned.” That would be a compliment!!! When I look at this crazy, mixed up world, I get a little sad… thinking about what we are leaving to my grandkids. Some of the viewpoints being expounded upon in today’s politically-charged climate make me shake my head.

But, I take solace that… for the most part, athletics has not been tainted. Oh yes, we went through the “everyone deserves a trophy” days… but most everybody recognized that we need to get back to setting goals and working to achieve them. A championship has to be earned. Competition is what drives us to succeed. We can still teach sportsmanship and respect while we are challenging our players to become the best they can be. When we start letting them get away with stuff, we are creating headaches that will ultimately lead to (as Head Coaches) being fired.

All of this brings to mind the story I read recently that I want to strongly encourage you to find on the internet and read— no! absorb it!!! I think the title is “17 Inches.”

The author is a young high school baseball coach who is attending his first big coaches clinic. He writes about how he ended up in a packed room during the second day of the clinic where a retired college baseball coach named John Solinos was going to be speaking to the crowd. What Coach Solinos shared over the next 30 minutes changed this young coach’s life. If you will read it, I think it will cause you to stop and reflect also. I will not give away the “punch line” of Solinos’ story. Needless to say, it really impacted me! I hope it will for you too.

I found the web address. It’s Please check it out. You won’t regret it!

Attitude Determines Altitude

Posted by admin February - 18 - 2019 - Monday Comments Off on Attitude Determines Altitude

This subject has been on my mind lately.

I did some checking and found that one of the most important instruments in an airplane cockpit is the gyroscope that tells the pilot what his attitude is! Don’t you wish we had an instrument that could tell us what our attitude is??!!

Attitude is critical for an airplane to stave off a potential crash. What this gyroscope shows the pilot is the relationship of the nose of his plane to the horizon. A pilot needs this so he can continue to stay on course and airborne.

I have read that (particularly in jet fighters that are flying very fast) a pilot can become disoriented and actually fly the plane upside down. Without an awareness of where the horizon is, the fighter pilot could think he is climbing in altitude when, in reality, he is driving his jet right into the ground. Thus, the saying in Pilot Training School: “Attitude is EVERYTHING!”

The same thing holds true when looking at our character. I’ve heard any number of motivational speakers/writers say the same thing, “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

Possessing a negative attitude generally means that when things go wrong, you’re probably going to crash and burn — just like that airplane! However, a person with a positive attitude keeps his “nose up!” He is more likely to overcome an obstacle or negative situation because he keeps a positive outlook. This person is going to keep looking for a way to get over, under, around or through the obstacle. Why? Because he believes he can do it!

My wife and I took a trip to the Canyon Lands of the SW US (Arizona and Utah) back in the fall. The Grand Canyon, in particular, is truly one of the great natural wonders of the world! I heard about a guy, John Wesley Powell, who took 10 men with him in 1869 to try to become the first men to travel down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I was so interested in Powell’s story that I bought a book on the expedition. What these men accomplished (they DID make it) was a phenomenal feat!

What stood out for me, though, was the fact that 2 of the men gave up late in the journey and climbed the steep walls of the Grand Canyon because they just couldn’t take it anymore! They were sure that Powell and the crew were never going to make it to the other end of the Grand Canyon along the river. So… they quit! They quit ONE DAY before the crew floated out of the canyon and onto easy-flowing river currents!!!! One day!!!

As so often happens, our negative attitude forces us to give up before we reach our goal. It’s amazing to me how close a person can be to accomplishing his goal — and he just quits!

Winston Churchill’s words resonate through my mind quite often. He told the people of England during the darkest hours of WW II to, “Never, never, never give up! and… NEVER give in!!!” I’m echoing those same words to you.

“I Love That Dirty Water….”

Posted by admin February - 12 - 2019 - Tuesday Comments Off on “I Love That Dirty Water….”

Some of you may be old enough to remember the song by the Standells, Dirty Water. It was about the Charles River in Boston. Wellllllll… I stayed in a hotel this past weekend right on the banks of the Charles River and it was beautiful! I attended (and spoke at) a Glazier Coaches Clinic in Boston. We had a great time!

Getting to meet coaches from all over the country is always a thrill for me. The chance to network is important. My purpose in doing these clinics is to help other coaches in their situations. If you have not been to a Glazier clinic, I encourage you to check one out. They do such a good job of educating coaches.

Two of the sessions that Glazier offers are particularly helpful. If/when you attend a Glazier clinic, be sure to attend them. One they call Chalk War and the other is a Panel Session.

In the Chalk War, they “pit” an Offensive coach against a Defensive coach and they go back and forth on the white board (not “chalk!”) in attacking and defending the plays that are diagrammed. I’ve participated in two and attended two others. They were very informative.

The Panel Session is perhaps my favorite. Three coaches take turns sharing ideas about a particular topic. The panel topic I sat on this past weekend was: Program Development Ideas. I had the pleasure of joining two outstanding head coaches in “shotgunning” our ideas about how to make our programs strong. One coach was from Washington state and the other was from Ohio.

An idea that the coach from Ohio shared really “rang a bell” with me! He shared about the importance of enlisting the support of your players’ parents in making your program strong. His example was eye-opening! Coach said to have a Mom’s Club… not Dad’s! It’s the moms who are watching to see if you are treating their son in the proper fashion. He recommended starting a Mom’s Club and give them opportunities to do fund-raisers and other events which —- here’s the key… benefit their sons! Not from a purely football sense but the over-all team experience.

He has a Mom’s Night. The first home game each year is dedicated to the Moms. They make a big deal out of it… rolling out the red carpet for the moms! It was even mentioned, “why do you stop having a Team Mom at the Youth League level??!!” The moms still want to be involved in their sons’ activities. Get them involved through a Mom’s Club. Give them a lot of leeway… just ask them to run everything by you first! I thought the whole concept was excellent. I passed it along to our head coach when I got home Sunday night!

“Root or Wings??!!”

Posted by admin February - 2 - 2019 - Saturday Comments Off on “Root or Wings??!!”

I just read this and felt like it was too good to wait till Tuesday to write about it! “Thanks (again!)” to Pastor Bob Gass for some powerful words.

William Carter is credited with saying that “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other is wings.”

When children (players!) know that they are loved unconditionally, roots are established in their character. Therefore, when life hits them in the face, they can stand up to the blows.

In the same way, when self-confidence and a desire to dream is instilled in your children, you are growing wings in their character. Once a child has that “will to overcome obstacles and have a winning attitude”… they are half-way to success! But if this “press on” attitude is not cultivated in their hearts, they are, unfortunately, half-way to failure.

As a coach/parent/teacher, it is imperative that you show those children in your charge that you have faith in them. They will, in turn, develop faith in themselves. But… when you constantly criticize or demean a child and his/her performance, it is likely that the child will grow up to be self-doubting, fearful of failure and present a negative attitude toward themselves and life in general.

When you encourage and show them that you believe in them, they’re going to go the extra mile to try and live up to your (positive) expectations! This is why when I hear coaches say that “I don’t care if my players (*and I need to add: they’re NOT your players, Coach! They’re not your property.) want to play for me or not!” — I cringe. Yes, I want kids to come out for the program I lead because they love football; but, my desire is that they also want to be part of a program that coaches are being positive, encouraging and… challenging. Most of the impact that motivation has on people stems from the fact that the person we are trying to inspire holds us in high regard.

What’s the old adage? “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!”