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A few tips.  

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Prodigy
(@prodigy)
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September 9, 2020 3:51 pm  

1. Don't scream all of the time. 
Your voice is a tool.  If you're at max volume constantly, when you really need to be at max volume, it will not have the same effect as a coach who typically addresses his team at volume 3, gets excited and celebrates at volume 5 and is voicing extreme displeasure at volume 10.

2. Rhythmic Cadence.
First this was taken from the most winningest High School Program in the country and it wasn't until I spoke with Michael that it all started to come together for me.  Our cadence was "Spartans ready?! Down, Set, Hit!"  But this was inconsistent and the inconsistencies manifested in a multitude of ways with regards to our motion, our center / qb exchange, our linemen getting off of the ball.  When I realized this was a problem, I actually bought a metronome and a portable speaker.  I set the metronome to some BPM and had the center and the QB rep the cadence in rhythm with the metronome until it was near perfect and consistent. 

Michael had a great way of explaining the value of this.  The offense should have the advantage because they know the cadence and the count.  When the QB says "HIT" the center should be snapping the ball in anticipation of the next beat.  Everyone should be taking their first step on the "H" of hit.  If your cadence is inconsistent and not rhythmic, it's no different than using a starter gun at the beginning of a race.  Nobody knows when the gun is going to go off.

3. Condition for the length of your plays & games
Our games were (4) 10 minute quarters, with a couple of minutes between 1 & 2 | 3 & 4 to switch sides and 15 minutes for halftime.  A typical football play lasts no more than about 8 seconds.  We had a slight hill at our practice field that took about 8 seconds for the kids to sprint up.  The team would get on line in their stances, the QB would call out the cadence and the team would run to the top of the hill where they'd turn right back around and get online and wait for the cadence.  We would do this for 10 minutes straight before taking a short 2 minute water break.  We'd then do 10 minutes of circle of death / champions before halftime.  Following halftime we're back on the hill for 10 minutes.  2 minute water break and back to circle of death.  We did this a minimum of once a week, rain or shine, win or lose.

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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September 10, 2020 10:31 am  

Perfect.  Should be in everyone's notebook.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Prodigy
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September 10, 2020 11:53 am  

4. Create the Environment: Compete & Win daily.  Chase perfection.
Adopt drills that not only develop skills but encourage competition between players.  This gives the players an opportunity to experience winning and losing daily at practice.  In the book "Everything your coach never told you" the players came to a new understanding of sportsmanship.  Sportsmanship is that intangible thing that brings out the best in each of us.  It's what makes you NOT want to shake hands with your opponent after the game because he kicked your ass, but when you realize that he contributed to making you FEEL, you owe him a debt of gratitude.

Bob Ladoucher talks about there being a first best and fiftieth-best player on the team.  Promote an environment where the 50th-best kid on the team is trying to become the 49th and 48th best.  Where the player in the "number 1" spot, is always watching over his shoulder for the guys who are in the #2 and #3 places. 

5. Accountability is not blame.
We videotaped all of our games.  This video was graded and posted online for all players to review within 24 hours of the game.  Only a handful of the players I coached reviewed the film, they were more interested in highlights than viewing mistakes and corrections that needed to be made.  Yet, regardless of whether we won or lost, the first practice following a game we would have an informal, relaxed conversation on what we did well as individuals, what we did well offensively, defensively and on special teams.  During this time, anyone could call out something that they did that they were proud of or something that someone else did.  I would let the players talk first, then assistant coaches and then I would (usually) reinforce things that the players and assistants said and add the things I noticed that they did not.  After we were done patting ourselves on the back, it was time to snap back to reality and talk about the things we could do better...same format.  The players could speak on their own mistakes, mistakes of their teammates, mistakes the unit made.

Initially this was probably really uncomfortable for these young men.  Especially given that we were winning games by large margins, they likely didn't understand why we were calling out mistakes.  This exercise was partially due to my own shortcomings the first year I was a head coach, where we were winning games but we were not improving, we were not fixing mistakes, the coaches were not holding players accountable.  The fact is, there's no such thing as playing a perfect game of football.  There's probably not even many examples of a single offensive play where all 11 players do exactly what they should do for the duration of the play...but that's our goal.

Our other goal is to teach young men to identify their own mistakes.  This helps us as coaches to know whether or not the players KNOW and UNDERSTAND what we're asking of them.  As they grow more comfortable with this "drill", they will elaborate on why they are doing something incorrectly and it gives us the coaches better insight on troubleshooting the issues.

 

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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Prodigy
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September 11, 2020 2:54 pm  

6. Learn how to take a fall (and get back up).
If I remember correctly I took this from Coach Jack Gregory, but I might be mistaken.  It did remind me of my time practicing Aikido and other martial arts where throws are common.  Before you can learn to throw an opponent, you must learn how to take a fall, to minimize damage and protect your head.  Before we ever introduce pads, the players are taught how to fall forward, sideways and backwards and this is part of our warmup routine.

Additionally, the absolute worst place to be in the game of football is on the ground.  During the fall drill and during scrimmage we emphasize getting up off of the ground quickly.  No lying around because you got pancaked or missed a tackle and ended up on the deck.  I expect every player who finds themselves on the ground to get up immediately and get back into the game.

7. The Final Countdown
This is one that I stole from MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina that accomplishes a few things.  This small thing increases the stress level of the players during practice with the hope of normalizing the chaos of a game and reducing stress while increasing performance.  Next it speeds up a unit by creating a sense of urgency.  If you run a "hurry up" or "no huddle" offense or even if you don't, you can maximize team reps by employing this one amazing trick.  Sounds like click-bait right?

At Marine Corps Boot Camp, Drill instructors would tell a platoon of recruits to execute a task such as "retrieve a pair of socks from the footlocker."  Once the relevant information was voiced and confirmed, the DI would yell "READY? MOVE!" and then begin the countdown "10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! annnnnnnnd 1!"  at 1, the each member of the platoon would scream "DONE SIR! DONE!".  At that point, you were expected to be "back on line" at the position of attention having completed whatever you were told to do.  If you were one of those sad souls that couldn't manage to get the combination to their footlocker inputted correctly, you froze at "DONE SIR! DONE!" and waiting for the wrath of the drill instructors.

I most frequently employed "the countdown" during team.  The offense would run a play, it would be whistled dead and the countdown would begin.  Remember, we just ran a play.  It's absolute chaos.  By the time we reached 1, the offense was expected to be back at the line of scrimmage, lined up on the ball and ready to receive the next play.  Our offense was actually slowed down by the referees during the games.  We were fully prepared to run another play within 10 seconds of the previous play ending.

Additionally -- The number of repetitions for the plays increased because we limited jerking around between plays.  Players weren't laying around on the ground counting the clouds in the sky or slowly walking back to a huddle.  When the offense was back "on line", if there was something to coach, it was coached, otherwise we were running another play.  Also of note here: you will quickly find that the defenders also vastly improve due to the sheer number of reps they are getting.

8. Become efficient with explanations
When I was a little kid and I screwed up, my father, rest his soul, would sit me down and lecture me for hours and hours.  When I had children of my own, I had a better understanding of what he was trying to do.  He was trying his hardest to endow me with knowledge that he had accrued in his life.  Unfortunately, I did not have the attention span and even if I did, there's no way I could learn and really know all of these things he was telling me.  As such, with my own sons I did my best to keep the duration of the lectures to an absolute minimum.  Make the point that I wanted to make and move on.  This should be the same on the football field.

Microsoft conducted a study not long ago and determined that the average attention span for people is about 8 seconds.  For you coaches who like to stand in front of the team and give long-winded speeches on how the individual pieces of the offense or defense works, nobody is listening.  Each player has an assignment, those assignments require certain skills (i.e. pulling, blocking, giving a toss/handoff, receiving a toss/handoff, faking).  Every player does not need a period of instruction on every skill and a lineman does not need to know what the QB is doing.  Linemen probably do not need a period of instruction on however you number and call your plays.  If we're running a 36-Toss right, my fullback does not need to know what my 3-back is doing, he needs to know he has a kick-out block on the play-side defense end.  Of course there are things everyone needs to know like hitting.  Don't stop a drill to give a player a remedial lesson UNLESS, UNLESS it's a teachable moment for everyone (besides the point that the player who is receiving the remedial lesson in front of the whole team is less likely to take in what you're telling him).

9. Use different teaching styles
People learn in different ways.  Simply explaining something or demonstrating it is a sure way to ensure the there are players who are clueless.  Familiarize yourself with the different channels and utilize them while coaching.  Explain it, have the players explain it.  Demonstrate it (if you're physically able), have the players demonstrate it.  Draw it up on the whiteboard, have the players draw it up. 

 

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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September 11, 2020 3:52 pm  
Posted by: @prodigy

Microsoft conducted a study not long ago and determined that the average attention span for people is about 8 seconds.  For you coaches who like to stand in front of the team and give long-winded speeches on how the individual pieces of the offense or defense works, nobody is listening.  

I like listening to the coachspeak about how no one is listening. lol

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
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September 11, 2020 3:55 pm  
Posted by: @prodigy

Microsoft conducted a study not long ago and determined that the average attention span for people is about 8 seconds.

If you want to get a player's attention, talk to them about the player's favorite subject: himself.  Unfortunately, most coaches talk to players about the coach's favorite subject: himself.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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J. Potter (seabass)
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September 11, 2020 4:19 pm  

I love it man! This is the most useful post I have seen In a long time. 


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ZACH
 ZACH
(@bucksweep58)
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September 12, 2020 12:16 am  

Rythmic cadence / rolling start, the mental advantage over the defense was astonishing.  We are color, number , set if on "one"  our team starts the play at the end of the number. If it's " blue 5 set" we leave at the "v".  This advances for us during silent counts. Qb says "ready" or claps then on rythym we are off the line. 

These posts should be book marked very valuable knowledge

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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Prodigy
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September 14, 2020 11:52 am  

10.  Sometimes less is more.
I once coached a beast of a young man named Holden.  We played in an unlimited weight, age based conference...and Holden was big, relatively fast, strong and he truly enjoyed the violence of the game (no, they didn't get a touchdown following that run).  I had Holden at defensive end.  His assignment was to count from the ball, outward by 3 offensive linemen, line up on the outside shoulder of the third man and crush the man into the "B" gap while keeping his outside arm free in case anyone tried to run to the outside.

Holden, however; had ideas of his own.  I'm not sure exactly what went on inside of this young mans' head but when the ball was snapped, he would NOT follow his assignment.  He would rush in, looking for the ball carrier, who often times went right up the B gap because Holden didn't squeeze it down.  Other times the ball carrier would run right past Holden because he was penetrating too far.

Many times I attempted to explain what we were doing and why.  I drew pictures, I sang songs, I demonstrated...and none of these things seemed to get through to him.

The solution?  Move him from end to tackle.  He ended up having more freedom to do what he wanted to do and it fell into what we needed from the defensive tackles. 

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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September 14, 2020 12:15 pm  

@prodigy

You are speaking to my heart. I have had more "Holden's" than I can remember. I have completely stopped saying "outside arm free" to players because I am now convinced it means absolutely nothing to them.

 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Posts: 17405
North Carolina
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September 14, 2020 1:42 pm  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

I have completely stopped saying "outside arm free" to players because I am now convinced it means absolutely nothing to them.

Oh, there's all sorts of cliched coaching instruction that we should dispense with.  "Low man wins" is another.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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J. Potter (seabass)
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September 14, 2020 4:15 pm  

@prodigy

 

In an around about way you used Bellichick's philosophy, find what they are good at and have them do it over and over.

 


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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September 14, 2020 7:03 pm  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

@prodigy

I have completely stopped saying "outside arm free" to players because I am now convinced it means absolutely nothing to them.

 

Oh man...a little piece of me just died. 😱 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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gumby_in_co
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September 14, 2020 7:23 pm  
Posted by: @mahonz
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

@prodigy

I have completely stopped saying "outside arm free" to players because I am now convinced it means absolutely nothing to them.

 

Oh man...a little piece of me just died. 😱 

Number of times I said "outside arm free" last season = 5,792

Number of times force defenders kept their outside arms free = zero.

Figure out another way to say it because "outside arm free" might as well be in Vietnamese. 

"Canh tay o ngoai khon dung cham" will probably yield the same result.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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mahonz
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September 14, 2020 10:50 pm  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co
Posted by: @mahonz
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

@prodigy

I have completely stopped saying "outside arm free" to players because I am now convinced it means absolutely nothing to them.

 

Oh man...a little piece of me just died. 😱 

Number of times I said "outside arm free" last season = 5,792

Number of times force defenders kept their outside arms free = zero.

Figure out another way to say it because "outside arm free" might as well be in Vietnamese. 

"Canh tay o ngoai khon dung cham" will probably yield the same result.

For 9 techs....Walk behind them on a path as if they are setting the force....grab their outside arm...wave it freely in the air....with your off had tap their inside and tell them....you can only get blocked here on this side....this arm.....waving it in the air....must never get blocked....ever

For LB's..same deal but walking a fill path explaining how they must turn the play inside to their buddies. Playing Cousins. 

For CB's....the sideline is your friend and will never miss a tackle so you never allow a blocker between you and the sideline keeping your outside arm free so that you can maintain contain. 

Walk behind all of them individually waving their outside are free and tapping their inside shoulder explaining half your frame.  The next step is teaching them how to bend....get a bit deeper when out of position to take on the lead....or crashing down when balls away. 

All these years did you think I was having players wave at you? LOL !!!!

But you are a full on Mushroom now so that explains a lot.   😎 

Im still shaking my head over flexing. Im a chitty coach. 

 

 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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