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terrypjohnson
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September 13, 2020 12:05 pm  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Week 2 - already played 1 game.

This is a topic that used to come up on this forum a lot. Not so much anymore. Maybe because newer coaches and lurkers experiencing this challenge are hesitant to ask? Who knows. Mahonz' teams tend to be physical from top to bottom. 90% of that is the culture and atmosphere. We let our young little roosters strut around, challenge each other . . . simply be young men. We encourage and reward effort, aggression and toughness. We ignore whining, crying and complaining. Most kids take to this and immerse themselves in it. They love being part of the brotherhood and they know you have to carry your share of the load to be a part of it.

However . . . there are those that need some help and encouragement to get there. Getting these "soft" kids to find their inner beast has become one of my specialties. Their level of aggression fails to meet a certain baseline. I get them to that baseline and let the "system" take over.

I thought it might be fun to chronicle our efforts with 3 of these players. I missed 3 weeks of practice as a conscientious objector, filmed a scrimmage and participated in 2 practices prior to our first game, which we won 33-6 and broke the opponent's will. So I don't know what has been done from a team mojo standpoint in those 3 weeks. I don't really care. I would love to hear anyone's thoughts, ideas, questions, criticism . . . everything is on the table.

Here are our guys:

H:  2nd year player. Biggest player on the team and biggest player on most fields. Physical fitness is an issue. He is bright, friendly, loves football, loves the Outlaws and always has a good attitude. We made strides with him last season, then he got sick and missed something like 3 weeks of practice. When he came back, all that progress had gone away. This year, he's making progress. He's on several coaches' radars (mine included) and we are taking the approach of "push, push, encourage, encourage". E.g., "We know you can do better than that, let's try again." Last week, in close quarters tackle drill, he looked like he was trying to protect his hands, arms, chest and face as if his fingertips were the only thing impervious to injury. Last night, he was making contact with his shoulders and actually only missed 1 tackle in a 5 minute drill. In Friday's game film, he played 2 tech in the Killer Bee. The job is line up over the guard, when the ball twitches, hit the C in the pants and play football. For most of the game, he was double teamed by the C and G, which is a win for us although H was getting driven all over the secondary. His promise to the team last week was to make 2 tackles in the game. He got zero. The important thing is that this promise tells me he understands his position and wants to help the team.

P: Rookie. Decent size. Middle of the road athleticism. Seems unusually smart. Overheard from him on the sideline: "This is my favorite season ever!" Plays X receiver and DT. Seems coachable, but flinches at contact. My feeling is that with P, it's just a matter of getting him comfortable with being uncomfortable.

S: Rookie. Future hall of famer if we can unlock the beast. Big, tall, athletic, fast and smart. Would love it if this kid would be our QB in a season or two. Played Mike in our game and was largely a non factor. Does a decent job as a blocking back. When we give him the ball, he is either hesitant or makes a beeline to the sideline. Mahonz turned him over to me to play KB DE. Lined up over the TE, but slanted at the T and flexed off the line. Slam the T into the G and play football. Got him a ton of reps last night in half line defense vs scout O, then in full D vs scout O. Kid had a rough practice. He started out against probably the best blocker I've ever coached. It was very 1 sided, so I coached him during and after every rep with equal parts encouragement, technique and "now do it twice as fast". Had him and the OT switch places after he got "hurt". Best part of the practice was the OT telling him, "You're okay, S. C'mon. Pop up." while holding his hand out to him. Gave S a "break" at OT, then moved S to the other side of the D-line to go up against some smaller guys where he did much better. Still 50% of what I need from him and 80% of what he's capable of, but I guess that's why I have a whistle around my neck. All night, he complained about being cold, bruised and miserable. All night, I ignored him and told him how awesome he was going to be if we keep working at it.

Tonight is an offense night. I run the tackling station with the "bigs", so I will ask for S and P. H is already with me. I expect to lose my voice in that 5 minute drill. 

 

 

It sounds like you got things straightened out. My digital notebook is almost 100 MB after adding a few things from this thread to it.

For any lurkers or other coaches out there that have this question - I'll go ahead throw myself under the bus. I was that coach last year. After the Jamboree, the kids wouldn't hit, and I DM'd a few coaches out here to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Here's what I took away from those conversations (with a wrinkle or two I added) - and why it helped me last year and is REALLY helping me this fall with two younger teams.

1) Stress the need to be physical from the very beginning. During every single drill, emphasize, "Hit them first. Hit them hard". When doing anything with defense, explain that you want big hits, but getting me that ball earns you a helmet sticker or a chance to run the ball (if allowed). On the offensive line, make them think that "Load. Explode. Go" is a song (as one of my 7 year olds said... he told me I needed to listen to better music 😉 )

2) This was my wrinkle -- and I'm sure this will generate some discussion -- start out practice with eye openers. I did this with my 8U team last year even on game day (after game 5). It got them excited about playing and we came out a lot sharper in the first quarter after implementing this drill as part of the pre-game routine.

3) At the end of practice, allow 15 minutes for "call outs", where each player gets to pick one person to do the eyeopener against. This led to some spirited practices -- especially with just 13 players.

This is what worked for me... hope it helps someone!!

Coach Terry

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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CoachDP
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September 13, 2020 1:30 pm  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson

I'll go ahead throw myself under the bus. I was that coach last year.

Well, you don't know, if you don't know.  But coaches can learn if they're interested.  Most aren't.  You are.

--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
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September 13, 2020 4:31 pm  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

 

 

It sounds like you got things straightened out. My digital notebook is almost 100 MB after adding a few things from this thread to it.

 

Oh no. I have a LONG way to go with these 3, but I think we're past the first hurdle, which is fear. 

Game results:

P played short guard on offense and acquitted  himself well. We don't look for big hits on the o-line, but he was competitive and tenacious protecting his Center and the A gap.

S ran the ball and blocked well on O, but is far too tentative at DE (KB style slanted 5/6 tech). Lots of work to do and he may not get reps at DE in our upcoming game. The other 3 guys at DE are absolute killers. They play so mean, it can be considered child abuse. They play every single snap on offense, so I have to manage their breaks. 3 players rotating 2 spots may not be enough of a break.

H tried hard. I'll give him that, but the kid he went up against was a little tougher than what our Center was giving him in Friday's practice. He reacted with resignation rather than resolution. Work in progress, but with this kid, I'll take every little victory that I can.

 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Dusty Ol Fart
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September 13, 2020 10:24 pm  

Funny....I believe it starts with believing in them when they don't believe in themselves!  

Never Send a Cub against a Full Grown Bear.  Never belittle their performance.  Never set them aside to Coach another.

These past several years I was faced with countless trials by fire.  I was only ever mad when they stopped trying.  Jimmy V said it best....Never Give Up!  Always know when they are giving it all they have!   

 

Fail That and You Fail Them...........Trust me, that look on their face when "It" happens is priceless!   Work em little by little!  

 

 

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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CoachDP
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September 14, 2020 2:18 pm  
Posted by: @youth-coach

Funny....I believe it starts with believing in them when they don't believe in themselves! 

True this ^.  But it's easier to believe in them when you know you have the capability to teach them.  

Many coaches don't know that the result they're looking for is often right in the middle of their hand.  Instead, they're too busy wondering/looking/complaining at the Jimmys and Joes.  

You don't complain about not having the money to buy a car when you know how to build one.

--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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Seth54
(@seth54)
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September 16, 2020 10:06 pm  

I’m really enjoying this thread. To summit may seem tired, but I imagine there’s a reason why it always comes back around.
i’ve certainly had this issue, and I have talked to Coach Potter a bit about it. The thing I have picked up on this thread that I’m really working on is just being effusive with my praise. After reading this, I was wondering if critiquing or coaching  something was leading players to think I was saying they did it wrong. Now I’m going heavy on the praise and just sliding the coaching point in almost as an aside.

One thing that made my ears perk up was when Gumby said the one player was very smart. I’ve had a few of my smartest kids be my least aggressive. I wonder if I’m causing paralysis through analysis with some of these kids who are honing in on every detail that hear. 

 


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CoachDP
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September 17, 2020 12:35 am  
Posted by: @seth54

One thing that made my ears perk up was when Gumby said the one player was very smart. I’ve had a few of my smartest kids be my least aggressive. I wonder if I’m causing paralysis through analysis with some of these kids who are honing in on every detail that hear. 

The best teaching is offered in as few words as possible.  Unfortunately, most coaches think that overwording everything is the best approach.  They often say so much that I can't tell what their main points are.  

The fewer words you use, the easier it is for players to digest.  I practice giving my coaching technique and then parse it down to as few words as possible.  On any given drill, I like to stick to 1-4 words on what I want players to emphasize.  Then I say those same 1-4 words to each player as they take their turn.  That way, the others hear the same instruction over and over as each player gets ready to perform.

--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
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September 17, 2020 3:25 pm  

Update from last night: 9/16/2020

Keeping with the "confidence" theme. I am trying hard to build their confidence.

P and H really started finding their groove in close quarter angle tackling. H is actually hitting. P is . . . tackling.  S, the physical specimen of the bunch is still listening to his instincts. He would rush in to make the hit, then stop short and absorb it.  Then, he would fall to his knees and try to tackle from there.  Neither are acceptable, so I would have him immediately go again with even smaller distances. Next go around, I will put him against smaller guys.

We were heavy on group last night. On D-line, I taught and repped RIP, Chop and "forearm shiver" (Push/pull). Dave, before your eyes roll out of your head, I am not the DC. I coach the line and the DC wants me to teach block destruction.

Anyway . . . H and P took to these techniques. H, in particular was extremely proud to have some "ninja" techniques at his disposal. One of my regular DT's was working with the LBs and missed this. I had H teach the new techniques to him. The results in Team were dramatic. H was coming off the ball as fast as anyone (you have no idea how significant this is), fighting through his gap and looking for the ball. I am considering starting him at DT Saturday and leaving him in. He has a tendency to get shy in front of ugly uniforms, but at least this is on the table and that is considerable progress. Most important, he is having a blast and owning Rip, Chop and "forearm shiver".

During O-line group work, we worked heavy pass pro, but really really really stressed proper athletic posture and effort level. P did really well at short guard. He is definitely not afraid and his "try" level is very high. I will continue to harness this and teach him how to use his technique and brain to overcome his physical limitations. Right now, I would say he has the edge over the starting SG due to his smarts and coachability. 

S learned a new position, which probably diminished his confidence. Due to expected absences, he was pressed into service at OLB (force defender). I didn't really pay attention to him because I have my own position group, but he wasn't knocking the crap out of anyone. He really should be knocking the crap out of everyone. It's a long season and we won't give up on him.

 

 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
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September 17, 2020 5:18 pm  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Dave, before your eyes roll out of your head, I am not the DC.  

Too late.  Eyes are out of my head...rolling somewhere on the floor.  I think one of them rolled down the steps in to the wine cellar.  I'll probably be wearing dark glasses from now on. 😎 

--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
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September 18, 2020 12:08 am  

9/17 Update

Heavy scrimmage tonight. Could not be happier with H and P. H is maybe the most improved player I can remember and he still isn't what I'd call "good", but he's serviceable and starting to get a mean streak. P really stood out as a short guard with a new blocking scheme and a big ask blocking the short edge. At DT, he was extremely disruptive, once we dialed in "go WITH the ball".  The team we scrimmaged shares a practice field with us. Great kids, great staff and they never go on the same count twice in a row. We got about 100 times better at snap discipline and get off tonight. While they were huddled, I used the opportunity to do DP's "follow the ball drill", starting in slow motion, then increasing the pace. The light went on for 4 kids at DT tonight, but none more so than P. He's staring to feel it.

S . . . . sigh.  Lots of work to do with this young man. In the spirit of building confidence and "don't put a cub against a grizzly", I moved him to the smurf group for angle tackling. None of these kids are as tall as S' shoulders. I gave instructions to the coach running that group, "Make sure he HITS. Don't accept anything less."  First rep, he goes against this coach's son. Former MPP, still close 2nd as the smallest kid on any field. Slow as the DMV . . . you get my drift. Former MPP lights up S, giving him a bruise on his forearm. S spends the rest of the night holding his arm and complaining that it hurts . . . "real bad". He got work at OLB (force defender in the KB), but wow . . . just . . . wow. At one point, I told Mahonz, "If you play this kid at OLB in a game, the other team will score 80". 

We'll have to carve out time for Mojo drills.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
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September 18, 2020 8:31 am  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Former MPP lights up S, giving him a bruise on his forearm. S spends the rest of the night holding his arm and complaining that it hurts . . . "real bad". 

Makes me wonder how he was raised...

I can remember (short) conversations like that when I was a kid.  My dad's response was always something across the lines of: "So what's your point?"  Or, "How does that change things?"  I think my dad missed maybe three days of work (total) in his life.  Dang, I miss him...

--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
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September 18, 2020 3:05 pm  
Posted by: @coachdp
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Former MPP lights up S, giving him a bruise on his forearm. S spends the rest of the night holding his arm and complaining that it hurts . . . "real bad". 

Makes me wonder how he was raised...

I'm frankly surprised to hear that from you. I wrestled a bit with even bringing this up, but I think it's relevant. Just understand how much I respect you and how grateful for how much I've learned from you.

Years ago, a common theme from coaches was "My guys are from an affluent part of town, so we're not as physical", or "Their guys are from the 'inner city', so they are way more physical."  One of the things I learned from you is "I don't care where they came from or how they are raised." Right? The important thing is they are here now, and I am responsible for getting them to meet a certain standard.

Maybe I read too much into it, and yes, where one was raised doesn't necessarily dictate how one was raised. But if there isn't a correlation, there's certainly an implication, no?

How was "S" raised? No idea. Don't care. It has zero effect on the job we have in front of us. 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
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September 18, 2020 4:15 pm  
Posted by: @gumby_in_co

Years ago, a common theme from coaches was "My guys are from an affluent part of town, so we're not as physical", or "Their guys are from the 'inner city', so they are way more physical." 

--Yes, lots of coaches offer excuses.  And those excuses are even worse when it fits into their stereotype of others.

One of the things I learned from you is "I don't care where they came from or how they are raised." Right? The important thing is they are here now, and I am responsible for getting them to meet a certain standard.

--Absolutely true.  I don't care where they come from or how they're raised.  Our job doesn't change whether they're from one side of the world, or the other.  In the case of "S," do I wonder?  Yes.  Does it matter?  No.

Maybe I read too much into it, and yes, where one was raised doesn't necessarily dictate how one was raised. But if there isn't a correlation, there's certainly an implication, no?

--Note that my remark had nothing to do with where he comes from.  Whether it's the palace gates or the hood makes no diff.  My remark had to do with how he is raised.  Evidently, it sounds like at home he can complain his way out of things.

How was "S" raised? No idea. Don't care. It has zero effect on the job we have in front of us. 

--You're correct.  The job remains the same.  Just a remark about his parenting.  I told a story a few weeks back about our Christopher George, whose mother told me he didn't like yelling.  Oh, she had all kinds of suggestions to make life "easier" for CG.  But he toughened up with us, just fine.  I didn't change my approach to suit his mother; although I will change an approach to suit a player because not everyone responds to the same approach.   And despite him not advancing to superstardom, he showed he was tough enough to play for us, and I know how high that bar is.

--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 18, 2020 4:23 pm  

I don't believe that kids come from certain areas predisposed to being hard or soft, weak or strong.  I definitely believe that parents raise their children in either disciplined environments, or undisciplined ones.  The price of their house or number of cars in their garage means nothing.  The job of the coach is the same, to mold and build all of them.  Not to make excuses for those who have yet to be taught, or have been taught poorly.

--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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COCoachKC
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September 18, 2020 5:54 pm  
Posted by: @coachdp

I don't believe that kids come from certain areas predisposed to being hard or soft, weak or strong.  I definitely believe that parents raise their children in either disciplined environments, or undisciplined ones.  The price of their house or number of cars in their garage means nothing.  The job of the coach is the same, to mold and build all of them.  Not to make excuses for those who have yet to be taught, or have been taught poorly.

--Dave 

"How a kid is raised" can either help or hinder a coach.  For my boys, making a "commitment" carried a lot of responsibility and that responsibility was theirs alone.  Anytime they complained my wife or I would always ask them, "what are you going to do about it?"  I see a lot of parents today taking on all of that responsibility.  That creates barriers for coaches that must be torn down before a coach can begin to build the player up.

This holds true for the "owies."  If a parent coddles a child over the mildest of scrapes, that will make building confidence in that player more difficult.  Because it is football the kids are going to get scrapes, cuts and bruises.  Coaches need to recognize this in their players and develop plans to get the kids beyond this barrier.  Each kid is different.  But, the reality is there are some kids who will never get beyond this.

I remember a first year player from years ago.  Back before I coached with Gumby.  This kid was perpetually terrified of getting hurt.  We played the kid at guard so that he could get help from the center and the tackle.  He liked the security.  And he was very successful.  

I contacted my players' parents prior to the start of the following season to see who would be returning and to provide them with registration instructions.  This boys father called me to thank me for all we had done for his son. His boy absolutely loved the football and was obsessed with the game.  He thanked me for instilling that love.  However, his son would not continue to play football as the physicality of the sport was more than he could emotionally handle.  So coaches can teach players the game and even get players to love the game.  But, coaches may not always be successful in developing football players.  And that is okay, too.

Kent 

This post was modified 1 week ago 3 times by COCoachKC

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