Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Archive for July, 2019


Posted by admin July - 28 - 2019 - Sunday Comments Off on PRE-SEASON COACHING STAFF MEETING

For most of us, pre-season practice is starting shortly. As a HC, if you have not set up a meeting with your staff… you need to do so! It is important that everyone is on the same page. This leads to effective organization and strong leadership by your coaches.

A young HC asked me recently what he should cover in his meeting. One thing I mentioned to him was… get your assistants involved. You don’t need to lead the whole time. Let your Coordinators speak. Let you Assistant HC’s speak… etc. Give them an opportunity to get up in front of the group.

I think it’s important that your entire staff know what the expectations that you have for them are. You can do this with a Staff Policy Sheet or HC Expectations. Also at this time, your staff needs to know their on-field as well as their OFF-field responsibilities. These are things like getting the equipment (blocking bags, cones, etc) out and… stored away. Locker room clean-up. Getting the managers organized with the water. The HC should not have to do all of this by himself.

During the meeting, it’s important to talk about the program’s Goals and Values. You need to make it clear to your staff what the things are that you believe in and will stand on during the season.

Remind them that they are Teacher/Coaches. The best coaches are the best teachers. You can discuss Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams philosophy and objectives at this time — and have the Coordinators speak.

One last thing that I’d recommend discussing is the daily schedule throughout August… leading up to your first game. Give a hand-out on the times of each practice and when you expect the staff to arrive and leave. Let them know when staff meetings will occur. Go ahead and state the time requirements in-season too. All of this is necessary so coaches know in advance what their time commitment is.

If you can close the meeting with prayer, do it! Then… our staff is going to have a cook-out after the completion of our meeting. It’s a “pot luck” dinner at one of the coach’s house. Great time to build rapport.

NFHS Teacher/Coach

Posted by admin July - 19 - 2019 - Friday Comments Off on NFHS Teacher/Coach

Since I am back coaching on the HS level full-time, I’ve been required to do some Coaching Education by our Virginia High School League office. Wow! Lots of stuff to read and listen to.

We were assigned to take an online course from the NFHS on Principles of Coaching. It was a bear! 6 hours and extremely comprehensive. But, you know what? It was worth it!

If you have any desire to be a head coach at the high school level, you need to take this course at some point. It was like trying to swallow a fire hose gushing water… but I learned (or re-learned) a lot of important information.

Check it out!

Fear and Respect

Posted by admin July - 3 - 2019 - Wednesday Comments Off on Fear and Respect

One of my favorite authors (and it has nothing…. welllllllllll, something!…. to do with the fact that he is a native Virginian like me!) is David Baldacci. I’m reading one of his John Puller novels entitled The Escape. One of the characters said something that made me take pause. It was Puller’s dad saying something to the effect that, “when it comes to fear and respect, you want the men under you to fear you more than respect you!”

Now… that may work in the Army. I’ve never been in live combat but I did do some live-fire training when I was in the Reserves. It’s prettttttty intimidating! If your leader says “get up and follow me, you’d better go!”

When it comes to football or business or the classroom… I think a little fear is ok but… respect is much more appropriate to motivate your players to do what you want them to do. Fear may produce results in the short term; but, in the long run, it’s much more effective to develop respect.

Developing respect involves developing relationships. Your players have to know that you care before they care how much you know. I believe that the best way to earn respect from your subordinates is to show them respect.

Now… I’ll be the first to say that I have “gone off” on my team in practice before! I do not curse but I am LOUD!!! And my tone of voice is such that the players know that I am serious. I always make sure that my caustic remarks are said in general and NOT directed at 1 individual. If I’m going to criticize a player, I’ll do that in private. Again, showing respect. If you’re going to set high standards, you have to be willing to “lose” it occasionally so that the players don’t become complacent.

Most of the time, however, I stay upbeat and positive. I like to recognize great effort by a player during practice (or games) cuz I want them to know that total effort is a value that we have high regard for in our program. That positive reinforcement is part of letting your players know that you care.

I have a painting of Knute Rockne, the legendary Notre Dame coach, standing in front of his team in the Fightin’ Irish locker room. On the chalk board (remember, this was the 1930’s) is a statement that says: “Make your opponent FEAR you and RESPECT you!” I think the same thing holds true for your own players too.