It's not the drill....
 
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spidermac
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September 17, 2020 12:29 pm  
Posted by: @prodigy
Posted by: @spidermac

So, as normal, start the drill with "Who can tell me what this is?" while holding up a football, I told the returning players to be quiet and let the new Dawgs answer...first player, "it's a football"...My reply, "close, but not correct"...then the new kid who had to play against us says "It's our ball" 🙂 He remembered us shouting that around the field when we played them last season...

 

Crap...the kids I coached got this wrong...all of this time I had been telling them that it's the most important thing.  Can't score if you don't have it.  Opponent can't score if they do not have it.  We always want it.

I don't think Whose Ball is the worlds greatest recovery drill.  I think it's an excellent drill for a variety of other reasons, however.  First, I think it works great for younger players who are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with contact.  I also think that it's great in terms of developing fight.  It's a physically exhausting drill, it's basically like wrestling without a timer.  I think it's a near-perfect possession drill.  When a player has the ball, he gains a great amount of experience on how to retain control of the ball.  If you consider that most plays only last 8 seconds and compare that to whose ball...having to hold onto that ball for that entire time is challenging...it's extreme.  Our program had a broken arm from this drill.  It wasn't the team I was coaching.  I didn't witness it but apparently the kids arm broke when another kid was yanking on it.  Ended his season before the first game.

"It's not the drill it's how you run it."
Coach Dave Potter has a tendency of being like a kung fu master...he almost would look the part if he grew out his facial hair into a foo-man chu or something.  I suspect after years of coaching and answering questions from other coaches, he has developed little mantras with the hope that it facilitates learning.  If you're like me, you're like "huh?!...it's not the drill, it's how you run it?  huh?"

Not to be contrarian simply for the fact of being contrarian...I posit, it is in fact the drill along with how you run it.  Logically speaking, if one were to run random drills but in a very intense or "correct" manner, it would not have the same benefit as running drills that correlate to skills that one wishes to advance.  Yet, I think the intention of Sensi' DP is to remind coaches that particular drills he may run are not what makes him and the teams he coaches successful.  The success is in WHY the drills are run, along with HOW they are run.  It's sage wisdom, for the inexperienced coaches who think that adopting a drill or plays or a system think that it's going to return success...it won't.

The difference is in something simple like running your offense on scout defense.  Offense runs a play, play goes off well for a huge gain or a touchdown.  What do you do?  The inexperienced coach thinks "great...the play went off how it was supposed to."  The experienced coach identifies shortcomings in the play, shortcomings in what the scout defense did.  The experienced coach is calling attention to the mistakes that were made. 

Both coaches are running a similar drill...but one is using the drill to identify problems and work to correct the problems, while the other coach is not.

Yes I know, I am certainly speaking to things everyone here knows...I just miss coaching and talking about this stuff.

 

Loads of great stuff here Coach 🙂

and Whose Ball at least for us is not a "recovery" drill...it is an aggression drill, and on our practice plan, I list it as such, aggression training is it's own category for us....we do get more from it than aggression, some of the things you mentioned, getting kids more comfortable with contact, showing them that the can trust their armor to protect them, holding onto our ball, etc. 

And yes it is both the drill and how you run it...we do not do any drills just to fill up time, there is a reason for EVERYTHING we do in practice. We do fast feet with our oline because we want them to move their feet...fast...we do play polish, because we want them to be good at running our plays, we push dummies because they have to have a low pad level and tight arms, etc.

Everything has a reason...when I was a young assistant coach, Head Coach would run a drill that he called "Oklahoma". It would start with two boys laying down head to head, one would have the football the other would be the tackler. On the whistle (by the way, we don't start anything on the whistle, we stop everything on the whistle, we start every on GO) both boys would get up fast and the ball carrier would try and get past the tackler and the tackler would try and tackle him. And I would look at the drill and think, what value does this drill have? Okay, there is some tackling involved...but I could not think of any point in a game where either a defender or a ball carrier would start a play flat on their backs, the ball carrier would be blown down as soon as the play started 😛 when I took over the team, that was one of the first drills to go, because I could not see the value in it, could not understand the "why" of it...so we cut it from our "library".

My .02, and this and about $5.00 more will get you a warm beverage at Starbucks...know why you are doing something in practice, and if you know the why and you are still not getting what you need from the drill, either you are not running it right, or it is not the right drill...

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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Prodigy
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September 17, 2020 1:44 pm  
Posted by: @spidermac

Loads of great stuff here Coach 🙂

Thank you sir. I try.  I never really blocked out time to build aggression specifically, I just did my best to create the environment.  What's scary about this, that I have not heard much speak of is...the better you get at building the environment, the more dangerous it all becomes.  Initially it's all very exciting when you start to put together the pieces where you've got 10 year old kids playing and hitting like they are in high school...yet it can get dark really quick.

Without going too deep down the rabbit hole, in my last year of coaching I called CoachDP because I felt that the level of aggression was getting to be a bit much.  I know...it sounds funny right?  The kids I was coaching were too aggressive.  Trust me, it sounds like a great problem to have but it's not, especially when you're seeing it for the first time.  Where you've got these kids who are 9 and 10 years old and they are absolutely destroying each other during practice...yes, ambulances.

DP said to me, in total kung fu master fashion, something to the words of: "When you first begin to sharpen a knife, it takes a bit of work to get a sharp edge on that knife.  Once you do, you do not need to keep sharpening it as frequently, otherwise the blade will become too thin.  Yes it will be razor sharp, but it's also more likely to break." 

That made a tremendous amount of sense to me with my situation. Environment.

The environment I sought to create for coaching youth football, involved starting an entirely new program.  When I wrapped my head around everything, my goal was to out-train our competitors.  You can't prepare to play a championship game one or two weeks in advance of the game.  We train to win the championship starting DAY ONE.  This was something I told the kids I coached.  Do you think your competitor is doing this now?  Are they conditioning as hard as we are?  Are they paying attention to details like we are?  Does their coach have a metronome out on the field to perfect the cadence?  Are we getting more quality reps than our opponents?  Are we maximizing our practice time?  My hope was to be over-prepared in every single way possible.

What's interesting about this is at the youth level, I don't think there's much strategy that goes into the game.  Many coaches obsess over schemes and adjustments and they do film study and try to identify weaknesses and try to develop some sort of game plan for each opponent...and I found that in the conference I coached in, that was pretty wasteful.  Film is great to identify what WE can be doing better.  I don't care what our opponents are doing.  It's no secret what we are doing and we are going to beat the snot out of them because we are extremely good at what we do and we're always getting better.

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


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Bob Goodman
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September 18, 2020 1:16 am  
Posted by: @spidermac

Everything has a reason...when I was a young assistant coach, Head Coach would run a drill that he called "Oklahoma". It would start with two boys laying down head to head, one would have the football the other would be the tackler. On the whistle (by the way, we don't start anything on the whistle, we stop everything on the whistle, we start every on GO) both boys would get up fast and the ball carrier would try and get past the tackler and the tackler would try and tackle him. And I would look at the drill and think, what value does this drill have? Okay, there is some tackling involved...but I could not think of any point in a game where either a defender or a ball carrier would start a play flat on their backs, the ball carrier would be blown down as soon as the play started 😛 when I took over the team, that was one of the first drills to go, because I could not see the value in it, could not understand the "why" of it...so we cut it from our "library".

I used to think that.  But I came to think of it as a good simple way to simulate 1-on-1 ballcarrying and tackling.  Starting on their backs is like field situations, in which you're bouncing around among bodies, and don't have much time to identify where the opponent is in relationship to yourself, but he's close enough that it's not a waste.  Even better simulating the fog of battle is the version where the players lying down don't know until the coach lets one have the ball who's going to be the runner, and who the tackler.  It trains quick reaction.

The version I'd like to run starts with neither having the ball, but there are two balls near their heads, one on each side of them, and a coach in position to snatch each away.  On "go", a coach snatches one of them away, and the players have to pick the remaining ball up and get past the other, or tackle the other if you fail to pick it up yourself.


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CoachDP
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September 18, 2020 9:42 am  

"Whose Ball Is It?" started in 1999 (my first year as a header) in response to a game we had played 2 years earlier.  In 1997, I was a rookie AC for an 8-11 Pop Warner team, and we were playing our arch rival.  When we were on defense, our rival fumbled away the football and we had a defensive player with the time and room to be able to pick up the football and go 60 yards for a scoop & score.  Instead, he just ran to the loose ball and followed it, without ever picking it up.  The ball eventually rolled out of bounds, and our rival maintained possession.  Our Header lost his mind, yelling at the kid, "WHY DIDN'T YOU PICK IT UP?  YOU COULD HAVE SCORED!"  The kid, not missing a beat, replied, "But Coach, it was their ball."  As a first-year player, he was under the impression that the two teams were taking turns with ball possession, which is what the game clearly looks like, to those who don't know any better.  While our Header was angry, I knew the kid had never been taught otherwise.  We’d never covered it in practice.  I made it a point that day, that if I ever became a head coach, our players would know that it's ALWAYS our ball.

2 years later, as a 1st-year Header myself, I got the opportunity to implement a drill that would keep us out of the situation like the one above.  The drill didn't have a name, and my ACs would roll their eyes because it didn't have a name, and thus couldn't be a "real drill.”  I told them we’d call it what we were asking the kids, “Whose ball is it?“  It has been shortened to “Whose Ball,” “Who’s ball (sp),” “My Ball,” “2 Dogs and a Bone,” etc.  
 
The drill not only taught us the importance of getting the ball and keeping the ball (“because it’s ALWAYS our ball”), but there were other benefits that we soon discovered.   It was a great way to introduce physicality and intensity to younger players.  In the end, we discovered the best aspect of the drill was its similarity to Jack Gregory’s Enduro, in that it’s a LTHS (Long Term High Stress) drill, which teaches players to bring physicality and intensity to the game for the long term and is the key to teaching  EFFORT.
 
—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 12:22 pm  
Posted by: @prodigy

Not to be contrarian simply for the fact of being contrarian...I posit, it is in fact the drill along with how you run it.  Logically speaking, if one were to run random drills but in a very intense or "correct" manner, it would not have the same benefit as running drills that correlate to skills that one wishes to advance.  Yet, I think the intention of Sensi' DP is to remind coaches that particular drills he may run are not what makes him and the teams he coaches successful.  The success is in WHY the drills are run, along with HOW they are run.  It's sage wisdom, for the inexperienced coaches who think that adopting a drill or plays or a system think that it's going to return success...it won't.

Yes I know, I am certainly speaking to things everyone here knows...I just miss coaching and talking about this stuff

--With Ken, I get to discuss the philosophy of our approach, which always evolves into areas that I hadn’t considered before.

As an example:  “It’s not the drill.  It’s the way you teach the drill.”  (My long-standing mantra for many years.)  When actually, Ken is far more accurate when he distills it to “It’s not only the drill, but the way it’s taught.”

Whereas my mantra was to overlook "the what" (the drill) for "the how" (way in which you teach it), Ken is more correct when he says the drill is important because it’s represents what we’re trying to accomplish both within our scheme (X and Os), but also within our philosophy of P.A.I.N!

Ken makes an important point, because too many coaches run drills for simply the sake of running drills.  It’s like sending kids for laps; a rather mindless approach to coaching, IMO.  I’ve never seen “running laps” make a team better.  I have seen it severely shorten practical practice time, however.

--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 1:38 pm  
Posted by: @lunchbox

What is this "whose" ball stuff? "Whose" would mean an uncertain ownership of said ball.

To my teams its always "MY" ball. 

I understand and appreciate what you're saying.

I call it, "Whose ball?" because I'm asking the 2 participants (sometimes the 3 participants) whose ball it is(?)  Then they will tell me that it's their ball.  If I don't believe them (if they answered meekly, or even didn't answer), then I will "ask" them again.  So I'm not telling them what to say.  I'm listening to how much conviction they have in answering my question.  There's a difference in this approach, as opposed to them parroting what I've told them to say.  It may be a small, immeasurable difference.  But it's a difference to me, nonetheless.

--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 1:50 pm  
Posted by: @bob-goodman

I used to think that.  But I came to think of it as a good simple way to simulate 1-on-1 ballcarrying and tackling.  Starting on their backs is like field situations, in which you're bouncing around among bodies, and don't have much time to identify where the opponent is in relationship to yourself, but he's close enough that it's not a waste.  Even better simulating the fog of battle is the version where the players lying down don't know until the coach lets one have the ball who's going to be the runner, and who the tackler.  It trains quick reaction.

The version I'd like to run starts with neither having the ball, but there are two balls near their heads, one on each side of them, and a coach in position to snatch each away.  On "go", a coach snatches one of them away, and the players have to pick the remaining ball up and get past the other, or tackle the other if you fail to pick it up yourself.

Bob, I agree.  (Gadzooks!)  

The prob with this drill is that it's such a staple, the coaching in it is usually non-existent.  You may get a Master of the Obvious: "You gotta do better than that.  Go again!"  But other than that, it's usually a time-filler that's not scheme-specific.  The drill has some nice aspects (as you described), but I think there are other drills that can be of greater value, but also require better coaching.

--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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ZACH
 ZACH
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September 18, 2020 2:13 pm  

Interesting concept, if you bring energy and excitement into something you generally get that in return. 

 

I'm helping 2 teams now and the most recent is 14u. Kids were flat know it all's until during the drill demo he wasn't paying attntl and I launched him into next year. Quick dropped the elbow and puttem down for the 1-2-3.  Kids thought it was funny. I segwayed into this is how I wanna finish blah blah. 

 

Be engaging ...be creative

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


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CoachDP
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September 18, 2020 2:22 pm  
Posted by: @prodigy

Thank you sir. I try.  I never really blocked out time to build aggression specifically, I just did my best to create the environment. 

--Yes, agree.  I think Chris' approach is teaching Aggression as a fundamental.  Which it absolutely is.  However, I would rather the aggression be in our DNA, as opposed to another aspect of football like blocking and tackling.

--And it is the ENVIRONMENT that we create, as coaches, to make practice feel and become like a specific environment and one that's very different from the outside world.  If kids' pulse rate can increase simply by walking through the gates of a theme park, without even having gotten on one ride, that tells you the value of ENVIRONMENT.  If our pulse rate, as adults, climbs dramatically as soon as we enter the parking lot of a sporting event or concert, that tells you the value of environment.  Problem is, coaches either don't believe in it, or don't know how to create it.  Many coaches (especially at the high school levels and above), use music to create an environment.  And while I know that many claim they are just trying to create "crowd noise" or "distraction," what they're really trying to do is create ENVIRONMENT.

What's scary about this, that I have not heard much speak of is...the better you get at building the environment, the more dangerous it all becomes.  Initially it's all very exciting when you start to put together the pieces where you've got 10 year old kids playing and hitting like they are in high school...yet it can get dark really quick.

--In my final year as a youth header, we taught an approach to tackling where we were taking the legs away from the runner, lifting and dumping him into the ground.  (It was inspired by something I'd seen on a TV nature show where the gazelle, although faster than the lion, had been grabbed by the neck and thrown to the ground.  The ground stunned the gazelle so that it could not get back up.)  We did it pretty well.  It was different and it was exciting.  I'd never seen our players get so hyped about something that we weren't even trying to hype, we were just trying to teach.  This was simply a new fundamental way of tackling.  But it started getting risky, as the player's contact with the ground was much harder than the contact from the tackle.  At first, we scaled down its use in practice, then did away with it altogether.  

Without going too deep down the rabbit hole, in my last year of coaching I called CoachDP because I felt that the level of aggression was getting to be a bit much.  I know...it sounds funny right?  The kids I was coaching were too aggressive.  Trust me, it sounds like a great problem to have but it's not, especially when you're seeing it for the first time.  Where you've got these kids who are 9 and 10 years old and they are absolutely destroying each other during practice...yes, ambulances.

--I remember our conversation about the ambulances.  And your palpable concern for those kids.

My hope was to be over-prepared in every single way possible.

--As was mine.  I wanted to already know the questions that were going to be asked on that test.  And I wanted to already have the answers.  

What's interesting about this is at the youth level, I don't think there's much strategy that goes into the game.

--There is not.

Many coaches obsess over schemes and adjustments and they do film study and try to identify weaknesses and try to develop some sort of game plan for each opponent...and I found that in the conference I coached in, that was pretty wasteful. 

--It is.  I used to heavily scout and breakdown our opponent's video so that victory was not only assured, but that we weren't embarrassed by any sort of surprise they could pull on us.  Eventually, I learned that was a great way to waste time, as the game was usually over within the first 4 minutes because they couldn't recover from the initial death blow.  I started to wonder about all the time I'd put in worrying about their Wishbone Cross Buck, or their 60/40 ratio of running inside to outside when they couldn't even block their B-Gap.

Film is great to identify what WE can be doing better.

--Video is the great SELF-SCOUT tool.

I don't care what our opponents are doing. 

--Nor do I.  In the games we didn't win, it had NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR OPPONENT.  It had everything to do with what we didn't do.  That's why I get frustrated with these buttercups who complain about which teams are in their bracket (and "don't belong there."). Worry about yourself.  Coach YOUR team.  And if you're good enough, it can't be stopped.

It's no secret what we are doing

--No secret at all.

--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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