Practicing with the High Schoolers
I meant to write about this experience earlier, I was so impressed, but also wrapped up in our preparation, so hadn't yet.
Two Mondays and Tuesdays ago, the Newton High School football Braves invited the PeeWees and youth JV and Varsity teams to practice alongside them. They also had a visiting coach (I forgot his name) those two days. Turns out the high schoolers there practice very much the way Dave Cisar's been promoting.
No warmup laps, no sprints. Just a few minutes of dynamic stretching; no circle-up-and-stretch. Fast pace, running from station to station or water. Some demonstrating and talking-to, but mostly because of the youth teams new to the drills and terminology. The drills were very football-appropriate, albeit with less player-to-player contact than most children's coaches would use -- and dammit, the drills were actually more fun than most kiddie drills! The HS coaches even got me laughing several times.
Very noticeably, no denigration or ranking-out of players' performance; no negative discipline in evidence at all but for one very important exception: One of the high school players, maybe a freshman or sophomore, had made fun once or twice of one of the youth players -- could be classed as bullying -- and their group's practice was stopped to get an apology from that player to his own and the youth player's team, plus some push-ups or some such humiliation/punishment. So that's the only thing they enforce like that: respect for each other and everybody around, visiting or otherwise. But even in that process, no yelling!
Can I be sure this wasn't just a show for us? Not absolutely, but it probably wasn't, because our Coach Dennis has watched and praised their practices before. In fact I think we were all favorably impressed, and made note of certain drills...but went back to yelling at our players because, hey...we're not always the best exemplars of what we want. I do not except myself from that criticism. :-[