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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 16984
North Carolina
High School
October 7, 2019 8:27 pm  

In thinking about the many questions on this forum that start with "How do you....," it made me wonder how coaches learn to teach.  Over the years, when I've interviewed coaches for my staff, they inevitably started off with, "I know the game." A statement that really means very little when it comes to coaching successfully.  "Knowing the game," whether a person has watched the game on TV, or whether they played at the professional level, simply doesn't mean anything as it pertains to coaching.  It's akin to saying that because I've been speaking English for more than 50 years, that "I know English," and am therefore qualified to teach it.  Or because I spent more than a dozen years in schools and universities being taught, that I know how to teach.  Those aren't qualifications. 

Anyone can read a book or watch a video on "Installing the Such & Such Offense."  That doesn't mean you can teach it well.  In my years of learning math, science, history, etc. from a variety of "qualified" teachers, I found that very, very few were good teachers.  Many just recited their lessons from a book, gave an assignment and graded it.  Fewer taught me information that I could use.  Fewer still taught me how to learn.

Whether I'm reading a book or watching a video on scheme, or listening to coaches at a clinic or at practice, I see many coaches who know how to recite how the scheme is supposed to work.  They can quickly and expertly tell players the routes, coverages and responsibilities of the players.  But I see fewer still who have the expertise to teach it to the players so that they can understand it and apply it, successfully.

I had the opportunity to go back into the classroom as an adult and teach.  I've also wondered if I were a student today, how would I fare academically?  I can honestly tell you that I would have fared miserably today.  I'd listen to teachers in their classrooms giving out muddled instructions to confusing assignments and when I'd ask them to clarify, they'd fail.  Once I was given an assignment to teach challenged students how to tell time, by using a clock face instead of a digital clock.  I knew I could teach them throughly and efficiently.  I remember a student that I worked with.  He had some physical and mental challenges, but for the most part I felt like I was successful in teaching him not only the answers he was supposed to learn, but also how to learn.  However, I could not successfully teach him how to tell time.  Yes, he could learn the hours (8:00, 3:00, 11:00, 4:00, etc.), but "7:42" or "18 minutes until 8" were always lost on him.  It didn't matter which approach I took, he didn't learn it.  And if I'd thought I'd finally found a breakthrough and he'd gotten it(!), I found it was short-lived when we reviewed it the next day.  So in that regard, I failed him.

For over a decade, I've received a master class in "How to Teach the Double Wing" from Coach Hugh Wyatt.  He'd come to my back yard and teach because he had family here.  In the early years, I'd listen to everything he'd say about the Double Wing, in my attempt to learn the offense.  But in later years, I'd sit back to listen and watch how he'd teach.  That's where he excelled.  As a Yale graduate with a history degree and having spent many years as a high school teacher, Coach Wyatt is not only an incredibly bright guy, but more importantly he knows how to teach.  I realized I needed to readdress my focus and learn how to teach, because every year he'd teach my players his offense and they'd learn his quicker in a day than they were learning mine in a week.  I understood that he really knew how to teach.

There is so much chest-thumping in this sport from players and coaches.  It's as if the success of the game is thought to come from some showboating neanderthals, instead of the quality of the teaching.  Big shiny trophies are so often attributed to the Jimmies & Joes.  And certainly, to win those, you have to have some J & J.  But it seems that some coaches here, or at clinics, or on the phone, don't understand the quality of teaching that's necessary to be successful.  "My kids just won't listen,"  "My kids just don't take it seriously," "My kids just want to goof around."  "I read the book, watched the video and my kids still won't execute."  Many of those coaches couldn't hold their players' attention if their life depended on it.  Talent and scheme are very important.  But if you don't know how to teach the information to your kids so that they can use it, then talent and scheme can be virtually worthless against a well-coached opponent.

When coaches ask me about learning some of my clinic materials, I really just want to know if they can teach.

--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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Bob Goodman
(@bob-goodman)
Diamond
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9368
New Jersey
3rd - 5th
Asst Coach
October 8, 2019 5:32 am  

I had the opportunity to go back into the classroom as an adult and teach.

Children, teens, or adults?


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Wing-n-It
(@robert)
Platinum Moderator
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3872
United States
October 8, 2019 5:37 am  

Children, teens, or adults?

I got all 3

Its easy as long as you understand the difference between andragogy and pedagogy

2 Things my offense will always have is a Wing and a Wedge


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 16984
North Carolina
High School
October 8, 2019 5:50 am  

Children, teens, or adults?

Elementary (2004-2005) and high school from (2009-2016).

—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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PSLCOACHROB
(@pslcoachrob)
Kryptonite
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12408
October 8, 2019 11:59 am  

So for those of us who engaged with Michael, he would recommend books all the time. They were almost never about x's and o's. They were about coaching and even classroom teaching. When I first met my wife who is a teacher she was looking through my books (an interesting way to get a grasp on someone imo) and wondered why I had all these books on teaching that she also owned. I said because Michael recommended them.

I sucked at teaching when I first started. Then I slowly figured out what I was doing wrong and why and I figured it out. I think if you go into practice and haven't given a bunch of thought about how you are going to present something to the kids you are making a big mistake.


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Seabass
(@seabass)
Gold
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1217
October 9, 2019 9:32 am  

The tagline at the the bottom of Michael's posts had a Albert Einstein quote posted. "Until you can explain it to a 6 year old, you don't really understand it yourself."


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
Platinum
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3902
October 9, 2019 11:54 am  

I do not know how to teach. I thought I did, but one look at my defense and my o-line tells me otherwise. As my frustration has grown this season, my neanderthal chest thumping has increased. Last week, I took a giant step back and took the emotion out of my message. Same result.

Example:  Last game, I decided to sell out to stop a sweep heavy team. I took away all decision points from the CBs and lined them up wide on the LOS with the simple instruction to attack toward the ball. I told them that the only mistake they can possibly make is to not play fast toward the ball. I put my two most aggressive and undisciplined players who also happen to be my two best tacklers at CB. I met with both of them before the game, right as they arrived to make sure they understood their jobs. I showed them where they were on a diagram and drew thick, black arrows showing their path to the ball. I reinforced that they are turned loose to be aggressive and do what comes naturally.

On film, I counted one of them going backward on 7 out of 10 plays before I said "screw it" and stopped watching.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Seabass
(@seabass)
Gold
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 1217
October 9, 2019 2:02 pm  

I do not know how to teach. I thought I did, but one look at my defense and my o-line tells me otherwise. As my frustration has grown this season, my neanderthal chest thumping has increased. Last week, I took a giant step back and took the emotion out of my message. Same result.

Example:  Last game, I decided to sell out to stop a sweep heavy team. I took away all decision points from the CBs and lined them up wide on the LOS with the simple instruction to attack toward the ball. I told them that the only mistake they can possibly make is to not play fast toward the ball. I put my two most aggressive and undisciplined players who also happen to be my two best tacklers at CB. I met with both of them before the game, right as they arrived to make sure they understood their jobs. I showed them where they were on a diagram and drew thick, black arrows showing their path to the ball. I reinforced that they are turned loose to be aggressive and do what comes naturally.

On film, I counted one of them going backward on 7 out of 10 plays before I said "screw it" and stopped watching.

There is a difference between the unknowing and the unwilling.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 16984
North Carolina
High School
October 9, 2019 3:21 pm  

I showed them where they were on a diagram and drew thick, black arrows showing their path to the ball.

Lar, I gotta say I've never taught off of a diagram or a piece of paper.  That leaves too much to chance.  Our header taught a new play off of a diagram and the player assured the header that he understood.  We ran it in the game for the first time with disastrous results.

If I want them to follow a path, they go through the path for real that I've made and I'm making them do it themselves as we instruct.  Not off of a diagram, a piece of paper or an explanation.  The ONLY way that I know if they know what I want and how to do it is if they've already done it.

--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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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
Platinum
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3902
October 9, 2019 10:08 pm  

Lar, I gotta say I've never taught off of a diagram or a piece of paper.  That leaves too much to chance.  Our header taught a new play off of a diagram and the player assured the header that he understood.  We ran it in the game for the first time with disastrous results.

If I want them to follow a path, they go through the path for real that I've made and I'm making them do it themselves as we instruct.  Not off of a diagram, a piece of paper or an explanation.  The ONLY way that I know if they know what I want and how to do it is if they've already done it.

--Dave

Yeah, you'd think I'd have figured that out by now. In fact, one of our younger coaches suggested that we try to reach these tech savvy youngsters by using an animated playbook app. I gave him my 2 cents that young kids lack the ability to translate 2d diagrams into 3d spacial awareness. Yet, there I was, drawing an arrow for an 8 year old (just turned 8).

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
Diamond
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 7567
Illinois
Other
Club Admin
October 10, 2019 5:50 am  

There is some truth to the old saying "You can lead a Horse to water but you can't make him drink!"  That goes for Coaches and Kids alike! 

8)

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
Platinum
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3902
October 10, 2019 5:59 am  

There is some truth to the old saying "You can lead a Horse to water but you can't make him drink!"  That goes for Coaches and Kids alike! 

8)

Actual quote from me to another coach this year: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him watch HUDL."

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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blockandtackle
(@coacharnold)
Silver
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 847
October 10, 2019 6:12 am  

Excellent post, DP.  You hit it right on the head.

One thing that sometimes gets overlooked in coaching is that, even if you're just a position coach, you still need to teach the kids how to play the game.

There are few things in football that are more wasteful than just running drills for the sake of running drills.  A few years ago, the big fad was to "coach on the run" and just bang out as many reps in drills as possible without "wasting" time.  The thought was that if you just rep it enough, eventually it would click and the player would get better.  What that led to was a lot of players at all levels being yelled at to go through drills at 100mph without ever having a clue what the heck it was that they were actually doing or how it was supposed to translate to the field.

Conditioning, agility work, and building muscle memory all have their place... but if the kid can't put it together upstairs it's pointless.  That's where teaching comes in.  The teaching and mentoring must be prioritized above just trying to run a bunch of drills quickly and loudly so you look like you know what you're doing when the kids don't.


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Wing-n-It
(@robert)
Platinum Moderator
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3872
United States
October 10, 2019 6:25 am  

I do not know how to teach. I thought I did, .

Remember there is a difference between teaching and instructing and coaching.

Instructing and coaching is almost in the same category where the student is shown how to do something where teaching is more book knowledge stuff to pass written test.

where instruction is given for a task they need to complete and they are coached in the fundamentals of the task.

I would say you may not know how to teach but you know how to coach.

The biggest thing I have learned from all my years of being an instructor, and this transferred very well to coaching youth football, is that they have to know benefit, the learner needs to know "Why will this help me?"

once the learner puts importance to what's being taught, the learning happens pretty fast

When I teach the Hybrid car class, they really understand the importance of safety once I say the words "The voltage in a hybrid is high enough to jump 10 feet just to hit you and kill you" ie, if you don't listen to what I am saying you could die

2 Things my offense will always have is a Wing and a Wedge


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
Diamond
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 7567
Illinois
Other
Club Admin
October 10, 2019 7:58 am  

When I teach the Hybrid car class, they really understand the importance of safety once I say the words "The voltage in a hybrid is high enough to jump 10 feet just to hit you and kill you" ie, if you don't listen to what I am saying you could die

Robert:

Back in my day it was the High Energy Ignition (HEI).  A Duda in a lab coat from Heir General Motors stopped by the Dealership where I worked as a Gopher for the Body Shop was demonstrating the wonders of the new product.  Nice Shiny Pointer/ Stick was being waived around the engine bay showing folks things we already knew (Wires and Plugs) then he says this is a like a capacitor it stores and distributes the "Energy" to the plugs and he laid that pointer on it and proceeded to Drop Like a Rock!  Message Received!!  LOL

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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