Two Lists

Seth Godin is a writer that I read and learn from daily. Although Godin is not a coach in the strict sense of the word, his writing often resonates with me. He recently added this post:

Make Two Lists… One list highlights the lucky breaks, the advantages, the good feedback, your trusted network. It talks about the accident of being born in the right time and the right place, your health, your freedom. It features your education, your connection to the marketplace and just about every nice thing someone has said about you in the last week or month.

The other list is the flipside. It contains the obstacles you’ve got to deal with regularly, the defects in your family situation, the criticisms your work has received lately. It is a list of people who have better luck than you and moments you’ve been shafted and misunderstood.

The thing is, at every juncture, during every crisis, in every moment of doubt, you have a choice. You will pull out one (virtual) list or the other. You’ll read and reread it, and rely on it to decide how to proceed.

Up to you.

As coaches, we are in the spotlight (or crosshairs) daily. Our teaching skills are evaluated each Friday night… we put our product out there for everyone to see. We are vulnerable.

listlistI know I can come up with numerous items for each of these two virtual lists… I think we all probably can. It is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of wallowing in the sludge of the negative list…. I have done it.


It is our choice…

It is my choice…

As I remind some of my students daily…. “Let’s make better choices”

I am going to take my own advice…

I am a very lucky guy.

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Jeff Floyd –




Back to Basics

About this time of the season, amid all of the game planning and scheming, I always like to remind myself to get “back to basics”… basics in regards to fundamentals, coaching technique, and philosophy.

In our last contest, there were several things that I was not happy with on the defensive side…. Our angles to the ball, getting off blocks, and tackling technique were not very good. I realized that our poor play was my fault; I was not teaching these concepts very well.

I also thought about a tweet that I read recently… “Instead of yelling at your players for what they are doing wrong, TEACH them how to do it correctly”

This week I went back to a drill that we used at the beginning of every practice when I was defensive coordinator at the University of Central Missouri. The drill is called String Out Tackle, and it was a staple at our practices when we were one of the top defenses in the nation. We got the drill during one of our spring trips to Oklahoma State University. They used the drill when Bill Miller was their defensive coordinator.


String Out Tackle teaches most of the concepts that we are currently struggling with as a defensive unit. It is a simple drill that quickly allows all the players to get multiple reps… I should have been running the drill all season! You can download a copy of the drill at this link: String Out Tackle download.

I am confident that our extra work on this basic, fundamental area, will translate to better defensive performance this week.

Is there something basic to your team’s performance that you can put an emphasis on at this point in the season? Are you staying true to your philosophy? Is there a fundamental that you can teach better?

Now is the time.

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I hope this does not offend anyone… it is not meant to. I do not mean this to be sacrilegious in any way. … but, as coaches, we have the opportunity to be immortal.

Of course, not in the physical sense, but our words and ideas can live on in perpetuity.

This realization hit me squarely a few weeks ago at my son’s wedding. A friend of his, Miles Hochard, (who played football at William Jewell) was visiting with me about a previous post  on this blog that he had read called “Dirty Red”.

In that post I explained the phrase and the attitude of “Dirty Red” that characterized our defense at the University of Central Missouri. “Dirty Red” was a term used by Mike Foster, the defensive coordinator there when I arrived.

When Coach Foster left to take a position at Cal State Fullerton, I became the Defensive Coordinator, and continued using the phrase. In fact, I used it at most stops along my coaching journey after that… including when I became the Head Coach at William Jewell College.

Back to my son’s wedding and his friend Miles. Coach Hochard (he is an assistant football coach at Pembroke Hill) said that when he was at Jewell as a player (a Linebacker), they still referred to their defense as “Dirty Red” and as far as he knows, they still do.

So… a “rallying cry” started in the 80’s by Coach Mike Foster is still going strong in Liberty in the 21st century. In fact, “Dirty Red” could have started before UCM in the 80’s …Coach Foster came to the University of Central Missouri from Coffeveille Junior College in Kansas… their colors are red as well!

ImmortalityIt is amazing to think that a concept you taught, a phrase you used, or a procedure you came up with… 30 years or more in the past… is still being used in your profession today.

Amazing… Awesome… A little Scary!

Ours is an awesome profession… with awesome responsibilities…

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Working the Officials

“Working” the officials…

I have never been a big advocate of it… for a couple of reasons.

working the officialsI think that when you start complaining about the officiating, it gives the players on your team a built in excuse…. “We weren’t successful (on that play…during that game) because the officials were awful”.     I would rather that our coaches, players, and I felt accountable for the outcome of the game.

I have witnessed good officials while coaching Pop Warner football, and bad officials when I was at the collegiate level. While I admit that mistakes can be and are made, (even in the NFL) I think most officials are trying their best to do a good job.

The real reason that I have never spent much energy berating officials is because of an early experience of mine. When I was a player on the Blue Springs High School team, our coach, Fred Merrell, asked us to volunteer to officiate some youth (I believe it was YMCA) league flag football games on a Saturday.   I volunteered, thinking it would be fun helping during these youth football contests.

I was wrong… unfortunately the coaches and parents made it a bad experience for me, and pretty much everyone who volunteered to help that Saturday. I never volunteered again.

There were upset coaches and accusations of “favoring one team over the other”… of being prejudiced with my officiating. I distinctly remember thinking that “I don’t care who wins this game… I am just trying to do my best.”

I think most officials are legitimately trying to do their best…

Yes, even the crew who called back 7 touchdowns last year during one of our games… OK, I may have had a few words for that crew.

For a new perspective and appreciation, try officiating a youth league game!

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Good coaches are good teachers.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been listening to someone in education discuss the next “new/ big thing” and think to myself “We (coaches) have been doing that for years

Differentiated Instruction is the new hot topic…. It is a philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing different students with different avenues to learning, often in the same classroom. Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. You probably have read about it, or even had a professional development session on the topic.

Differentiated Instruction is often characterized by:

  • Flexible grouping
  • Continual assessment
  • Allowing for different learning styles
  • Understanding and allowing for different readiness levels
  • Independent work or projects
  • Learning Contracts

The more I hear and read about this “new” concept, the more I think that this sounds like my (or a typical) Strength and Conditioning class or practice field.

IMG_4267 2

In the weight room:

I am sure we can all think of the same type of high quality teaching and learning, using Differentiated Instruction techniques, that takes place daily on your practice field.

Good coaches are good teachers.

Always have been… always will be.

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –



Your Toolbox

My father was many things (US Marine, WWII vet of the Pacific Campaign) but a skilled carpenter, handyman, craftsmen he was NOT. Although he never scrimped on material, his attempts at various projects were usually laughable, amateurish, and cobbled together…. not masterpieces in any sense of the word.

My dad literally had one small toolbox that contained:


  • 1 phillips head screwdriver, 1 flat head
  • 1 pair of pliers
  • 1 pair of vice grips (his “go-to” tool)
  • 1 regular (small) hammer, 1 ball peen hammer
  • 1 hand saw for wood, 1 hack saw for metal

And little else.

So while he often courageously attempted ambitious projects, with little or no instructions, and only a meager set of tools at his disposal, the results usually came up far short of his expectations.

When I told a lifelong friend (who knew my father and witnessed his “handiwork”) that I had just finished installing built in cabinets and closets in our bedroom, adding a sliding factory door, and laying hardwood floor in our loft, he looked at me and asked “since when did you become so handy?”

Here is the difference between my father and me… I am not smarter, nor do I use better materials. The main difference is that I have more tools in my toolbox, and availability to better instructions.

I have two large cases full of tools… sets of wrenches, power tools, tools for measuring, cutting, fastening, etc. I also have access to great instructions for any project I tackle via the Internet.

As coaches we all have similar “material” (our squad) but some of us have more tools at our disposal. A craftsman has to have the correct tools to create a masterpiece.

What tools do you have in your coaching “toolbox”?  Here are some that have helped me be a more efficient and effective coach:

All told, the links listed above have been downloaded over 10,000 times by coaches all over the world. I am not suggesting these are all or the best tools out there… but plenty of tools ARE out there… and fairly easy to find.

Create a masterpiece!

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –



Winning is hard and a measure of success…. at any level and against any opponent….

There are programs that make it look easy, week in and week out. Winning is hard for them as well. The “ease” typically is a product that stems from years of hard work and consistently great teaching and coaching…. often performed at every level of the program in a community … from youth sports to the varsity level.

We all know these programs…. you are probably thinking about a couple of them right now.

There are programs in the metro area that are trying to “turn” their programs around… some have been trying to figure it out for years… with some excellent coaches… Winning for these programs is unbelievably hard.

We all know these programs…. you are probably thinking about a couple of them right now.

And two weeks into the 2014 season there are programs that have been among the elite in the city that are currently winless… and struggling.

We all know these programs…. you are probably thinking about a couple of them right now.

To the consistent winners… Enjoy the wins… they are all hard fought and special.

To the programs trying to change directions… keep plugging away… continue to work hard, and find small victories.

To the coaches leading top programs that are currently struggling… know that you are the same coach that recently led your team to great seasons, playoff wins, and championships… you didn’t become a “bad” coach in the last two weeks.

To everyone… keep up the good fight… ours is an awesome job, with awesome responsibilities.


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Father and Son

My son, Carter is getting married this weekend.

One of the happiest days of my life was when his life began… I am sure this weekend will rival that day.

I actually got out of college coaching after the 2000 season so I could spend more time with family and enjoy his “growing up”… a decision that I never regretted.

kneeDuring that time, I actually got to coach my son. Although they already had a staff in place, two kind men welcomed me and allowed me to help coach the Blue Springs Gators, my son’s Pop Warner team. I will be forever indebted to Bill Feldkamp and Dave Roberts, my fellow coaches on the team. Sadly, both of these men have passed… too early… leaving many great memories to countless young athletes they influenced… and to me.

I do not know how many readers have had the opportunity to coach their son or daughter. My two years coaching the Gators rank as some of the most enjoyable I have had in my career. I always knew it was special to me, but did not fully understand how it impacted my son until his junior year in high school. An essay he wrote for his journalism class brought it home… here are his words.

“During 5th and 6th grades I played football in a little league team coached by my dad. I know it sounds great to have a dad as a coach. It sounds like I would play a lot- I mean my dad was the coach why wouldn’t I?

But what I remember about that season is that I had to do every drill twice because the first time was never perfect, and that if I didn’t go all out on every play, I knew that he would see.

Last summer when he coached our school’s 7-on-7 football team, my dad and I would squabble about things he thought I needed to work on. It happened almost every day when we would get home after practice.

Even during that year’s football season he would annoy me in his attempts at tactility, trying to teach me ways to play better – my stance, my pass drops, how I needed to get my pads lower when playing, but he has always managed to commend my work ethic.

That work ethic is something that my dad has instilled in me since I was young, and something that I carry with me because it is something I know is right. I have learned to listen more, no matter how irritating he can be, because whether I like to admit it or not, a lot of the times my dad is right about a lot of things. Being a former high school and college football coach, my favorite sport (football) is one of those things.

So is teaching.

My dad has always said that coaches make good teachers. And we have talked about the fact that if you are a good teacher, you can teach anything. Teaching is not necessarily about the subject being taught, but about having a certain, specific rapport with students.

I noticed something special about my dad last weekend at his 50th birthday party, something I hadn’t known before. I noticed that he has changed so many people’s lives in a positive way either by being their coach or teacher. This was not only evident by the hugs they would give him or smiles they would show when talking to him at the party, but by the stories they tell me.

When his former college football players showed up to his party that Saturday, they came with presents and jokes and their smiles and hugs, but also came with their stories, many of which were about the way my dad coached and pushed them. Former players who were now coaches, teachers, and principals themselves told many of those stories.

One of my dad’s players told me a particular story about how my dad had changed their season by telling them that they could take their team as far as they wanted. And that if he really worked, and really wanted it, the NFL was not out of reach. That player, Joe Grubb didn’t make it to the NFL though… he wasn’t “tall enough”. He told me that my dad really connected with them when he coached them, and that their team would not have worked the way it did if my dad had not been their defensive coordinator that year.

But they did work. Hard. And they ended up having the second highest ranked defense in the country that season.

Joe Grubb’s story made me think of the way my dad has shown me to work hard, and the methods used by others to teach. Whether they are your coaches, your teachers, your parents, or your friends, His story reminded me that every person’s actions affect the lives of those around them. It made me want to listen when spoken to, and to think before speaking, because everything said or done affects everyone around, and I would prefer to do so in a positive manor. I would like to do so in the way my dad has on his students, players, and me.”

IMG_3619I got back into public education, teaching, and coaching Carter’s senior year, at a Middle School (Wester) in Texas that fed into his high school (Centennial). Being a small part of his senior year of high school football … I was in the press box or on the sideline during his games… made that season memorable as well.

I am looking forward to many more great memories as his best friend, Cambria, “officially” joins our family this weekend!

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Chain of Accountability, Chain of Praise

Jeff Floyd:

It is always interesting to see how people in leadership positions (like coaches) handle these type of situations… just one week in and many examples have surfaced… do you blame the players, or hold yourself accountable? I thought it was an appropriate time to re-run this post.

Originally posted on You Can Do More!:

Like most good coaches, much of what I do was “borrowed” from other coaches – workouts, plays, drills, techniques, trigger terms, etc.  The piece that I am sharing today IS an original philosophical document that I have used in my programs since the 1990’s

This document and philosophy really guides how I (we) speak to players, parents, and the media in regards to our program.   Each “Chain” (as in “chain of command“) deals with a different set of circumstances, but both rely on the underlying principal that we (coaches) are adults and professionals and the players are really just kids.

ChainsThe first “Chain” in the document is the “Chain of Accountability”, which guides our thinking after or during some adversity, such as a loss, poor practice or scrimmage.  I believe that the first person that needs to take responsibility, to be accountable

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The “Dash”

The 2014-2015 school year…

We all start and finish about the same time.

The 2014 Football Season… August 4-November 25

We all start at the same time… only a handful will play until the third week in November.

The start and end dates are not that important.

dashWhat is important is the “-“… the “dash”… what happens “in between” those dates. It is the “season”… the “school year”… and ultimately that is what we will remember.   Although it often seems like a DASH… a sprint… I am hoping that you enjoy … savor… the “-“ … the “dash”… the  “in between”

  • Enjoy each victory…
  • Learn from each defeat…
  • Savor the relationships with your athletes…
  • Appreciate your colleagues…

Good luck to all of you this school year and this season!

Enjoy the journey!

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