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New Guy on the Staff


Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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Joined: 10 years ago
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Long time no talk Dumcoaches.

 

It's been a long, tough couple years for me. This spring finally back on the field for the first time in 2 years+. Feels good.

 

Moved to a new town, joining a new program, team, and staff for the first time. Haven't been in this position for awhile, the last new org I joined they were so desperate for coaches they asked me to be HC right away. This time I am joining an existing staff of 3 dad's that have coached together for 3 years. Trying to find my place to fit in and contribute without stepping on toes.

 

This team was successful last year making it to the league final (that was cancelled due to Covid 🙁 )

 

But in just one spring practice I already see a lot of the red flags of inexperienced coaching.

- Send the kids on a lap to start practice while coaches try to come up with a practice plan

- Players run their own stretches, footwork (very sloppily) while coaches continue to discuss plan)

- HC takes backs to run plays with a C, no other OL (who are with another coach doing some blocking drills)

- Hands me the playbook, it is 40 pages long. I counted 6 different formations (12 when flipped) including I, split, shotgun, singleback, shotgun empty. No blocking rules. His lineman blocking instructions are things like "block DT to outside" and "chip NT then block LB"

- Has 3 players rotating in at WR. When not in, the other two just standing around, not holding a bag or playing corner.

- On every run play, QB hands off then just stands there. He says "I want my QB handing off or throwing, and doing nothing else". Not even a fake bootleg or throw.

 

/rant

 

So I guess my question is, how do I, the brand new guy, make suggestions that I know will be improvements based on years of experience, without sounding like I know better, stepping on toes and trying to take over.

 

This is a new spot for me. How would you handle this?

 

Part of me is worried about being "wasted" as a bag holder/cheerleader and not being able to put my knowledge and experience to use. This is peewee age (10/11 yo), don't know if any of the other teams need my help with coaches. After I applied with the org this is the team the asked me to join so I assume not.

 

 


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 4746
 
Posted by: @coachbradfromcanada

 

So I guess my question is, how do I, the brand new guy, make suggestions that I know will be improvements based on years of experience, without sounding like I know better, stepping on toes and trying to take over.

 

This is a new spot for me. How would you handle this?

 

Part of me is worried about being "wasted" as a bag holder/cheerleader and not being able to put my knowledge and experience to use. This is peewee age (10/11 yo), don't know if any of the other teams need my help with coaches. After I applied with the org this is the team the asked me to join so I assume not.

 

 

Welcome back, Brad. I've said it a few times, but I am ridiculously picky about who I will coach under. Last season, I was the HC for the first time ever and I've decided that I will be just as picky about who I will coach over.

But . . . I've never been in the situation where my only other option was not to coach. Were I in your shoes, I'd be ranting about these guys, too. So on to more constructive words . . .

How do you make suggestions? - Right now, you don't. Look for problems to solve, but not problems that they think they've already solved (or aren't problems at all). I'd volunteer to coach the o-line. I've never had anyone argue with me over that. Earn their trust and only then start making suggestions. The lap/warmup/practice plan segment? Yeah, don't try to fix that one for now. I don't see how you could fix it without coming off as "Hey idiots . . " Proper stretching form?  Stretches are a waste of time IMHO, whether or not they are done properly.  Based on Zach's recommendation, I warm up my team with form tackling. Freaking genius.

If it were me, I'd find a niche and focus on it. When I started coaching with Mahonz, I hadn't earned his trust, so he put me in charge of receiving. I focused really hard on teaching precise routes, timing and always catching with the hands. I also worked to make sure all backs and receivers knew the route tree. Over time, Mahonz gave me more and more responsibility and was open to more of my suggestions.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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chucknduck
(@chucknduck)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 415
 

Run Brad, Run!  Run like the damn wind!

 

I had a similar situation coaching high school.  I was completely miserable.  Eventually dreaded going to practices and games.  Not good.  I had another situation that I got out of before the actual season even started.  I coach to relieve stress, not to be miserable.

 

I'd give them one chance to make some changes at a coaches only meeting.  However, since they made the championship last season, they probably think they're doing a pretty damn good job.   So you're looking at either stepping on toes, resigning, or being quiet and miserable all season.

 

I'd probably resign and look for another team, pronto.

 

Good Luck.  Let us know how things go.


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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 463
Topic starter  

Appreciate it gumby.

 

I know what you mean by don't try to solve things that aren't problems...yet. I see tons of things in the playbook that are simply "I wouldn't do it that way". But that doesn't mean they're the only way to do them. But if they do become problems I'm confident I could have a solution. 

 

One of the other coaches is the "line coach", O and D. The third runs the D. I will probably offer to run specials. Hope they don't mind onside kicks.... 😛


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 18101
 
Posted by: @chucknduck

Run Brad, Run!  Run like the damn wind!

^ THE best advice that could be offered.

--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
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 18101
 
Posted by: @coachbradfromcanada Haven't been in this position for awhile, the last new org I joined they were so desperate for coaches they asked me to be HC right away.

If you are the Header, why are you concerned about how THEY do things?

--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
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 18101
 
Posted by: @coachbradfromcanada But in just one spring practice I already see a lot of the red flags of inexperienced coaching.

- Send the kids on a lap to start practice while coaches try to come up with a practice plan

- Players run their own stretches, footwork (very sloppily) while coaches continue to discuss plan)

- HC takes backs to run plays with a C, no other OL (who are with another coach doing some blocking drills)

- Hands me the playbook, it is 40 pages long. I counted 6 different formations (12 when flipped) including I, split, shotgun, singleback, shotgun empty. No blocking rules. His lineman blocking instructions are things like "block DT to outside" and "chip NT then block LB"

- Has 3 players rotating in at WR. When not in, the other two just standing around, not holding a bag or playing corner.

- On every run play, QB hands off then just stands there. He says "I want my QB handing off or throwing, and doing nothing else". Not even a fake bootleg or throw.

--Wow.  I can't even begin to...I just have to shake my head and laugh.

So I guess my question is, how do I, the brand new guy, make suggestions that I know will be improvements based on years of experience, without sounding like I know better, stepping on toes and trying to take over.

--You can't control whether they perceive you to be stepping on their toes.  My question is (especially when you've seen their practice routine) why you are even concerned about their toes.

This is a new spot for me. How would you handle this?

--I would give them an 8-hour clinic on what I do and how I do it.  And if they want me to be the header, that's how it's going to be done.  There is absolutely NO REASON to be on board the Titanic and not say something about the iceberg that's right in front of you.

Part of me is worried about being "wasted" as a bag holder/cheerleader and not being able to put my knowledge and experience to use.

--I thought you were the Header.

This is peewee age (10/11 yo), don't know if any of the other teams need my help with coaches. After I applied with the org this is the team the asked me to join so I assume not.

--I hope you understand that 99% of the "coaches" out there don't believe they need help from a knowledge/application standpoint.  They just think they need an extra bag holder or a guy to keep the 2nd and 3rd Stringers busy.

--Honestly, the worst thing about youth football isn't dealing with parents; it's dealing with "coaches."

--Dave

 

 

 

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by CoachDP

"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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Coyote
(@coyote)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 345
 
  1. Posted by: @coachbradfromcanada

    how do I, the brand new guy, make suggestions that I know will be improvements based on years of experience, without sounding like I know better, stepping on toes and trying to take over.

     

    Lesson I’ve learned having been something of a coaching gypsy, moving around among several programs.

    1. Swallow the play book.  Master the system before seeking to add to, or change the system.
    2. If not stated in the playbook. Ask for the philosophy, mission statement and guiding principles.
      Note: be prepared for answers that don’t really answer the questions.  Not a lot of folk think these things thru.
    3. Ask questions to provoke thought on the part of the coaches….
      What are your thoughts on these splits, what are your blocking rules and why, what are we trying to accomplish with these formations / motions, have you found (fill in the blank) to be successful with this age group?  What are the biggest challenges the team has faced in the past, what has been the biggest problem for the team to over come?
    4. Find a niche that is being overlooked…. In your case, if the kids are warming up on their own, see if you can take the warm-ups, it’ll give you a starting place.   

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?


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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 463
Topic starter  

Appreciate the input from everyone. But one thing I know for sure is I'm not bailing. I have been thinking about getting back to coaching for 2 years and now that I finally can I'm not turning back. This is the only organization in my new town. Not driving up to an hour each way to practice 3 nights a week to another org because the first coach I work with is flawed.  In fact that's even more reason to stay and help as much as I can.

 

I don't plan on moving again any time soon, so if I'm going to coach it'll be with this org. The coaches seem like good guys so far, If I need to sit back and cringe a bit for a year so be it. I'm just happy to be back on the field.

 

My biggest hurdle in getting through is probably the fact that I'm young, just in my early/mid 30's, despite the fact I've been coaching almost since right out of school/playing HS ball. And I look even younger (the curse of the baby  face).

 

Last night he was receptive to a couple suggestions I made so that's a good sign.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Joined: 12 years ago
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Posted by: @coachbradfromcanada

But one thing I know for sure is I'm not bailing.

--I admire your determination, anyway.

The coaches seem like good guys so far, If I need to sit back and cringe a bit for a year so be it. I'm just happy to be back on the field.

--You and I are wired different, in that respect.  I don't care whether who I work with is a good guy.  I care that they're good at what they do.  If you're difficult, but bring a lot to the table, then my door is open to you.  If you mean well, but are incompetent then I have no room for you.

My biggest hurdle in getting through is probably the fact that I'm young, just in my early/mid 30's, despite the fact I've been coaching almost since right out of school/playing HS ball. And I look even younger (the curse of the baby face).

--I think your biggest hurdle is going to be the nincompoops who don't have a blocking scheme, don't make a practice plan in advance, etc.  I admire your determination, though.  That will take you a long way.

Last night he was receptive to a couple suggestions I made so that's a good sign.

--See if they'll let you give a clinic on what/where/why/when/how.

--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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