The Highest Quality Mental Reps

Mental reps….

Quality mental reps…

The highest quality mental reps…

There are limitations to the number of actual, physical reps that your athletes can take during the week.

  • Access to fields and equipment
  • Practice time
  • Access to other players to compete against
  • Fatigue
  • Access to coaches
  • Increased risk of injury

In a previous post, Adaptation, I wrote about how, with the changing nature of our sport, it will become increasingly important for coaches to come up with new and better ways to mentally prepare our athletes for peak contest performance. One way to do that is for the athlete to take mental reps along with their physical reps.

Mental Reps

The problem with mental reps is, well, they are mental. Being such, there are limitations to their effectiveness. In the past, in order to see positive results of taking mental reps, a player had to rely on a great imagination, concentration, or a great mental visualization process (see my post on Mental Visualization). It is a tough skill for a 15-21 year old kid with a lot on their mind and limited time to develop.

Quality Mental Reps

In my post, Adaptation, I shared a technique we have used for years to get quality mental reps during the week. You can read in detail about this teaching technique here (Adaptation) but in essence we try to construct a crude virtual reality setting by using a large area with an overhead projector. We arrange 11 desks (or chairs, or have the athletes stand) facing the screen, roughly in our defensive alignment… 4 desks up front for the DL, 3 behind those for the LB’s, and 2 desks outside for the corners, and 2 behind for the safeties. We run through a script, projecting an endzone shot of the plays on the screen, giving our players a down and distance situation for each play. We signal, communicate all calls, and mentally play the play.

This technique works well, but as I said, it is a relatively crude attempt at virtual reality. It is 3rd person NOT 1st person.

The Highest Quality Mental Reps

This past week I had an opportunity to see the future… a future that is available to coaches now through a system called EON Sports VR – Virtual Reality Training… and there is nothing crude about this product. Their software SIDEKIQ is a Virtual Reality Training software for football that allows coaches to replicate game-like plays, scenarios, and situations.


Brendan Reily (@EONSportsVR), the CEO of the Kansas City based company, gave me a great demonstration of the powerful teaching system. Brendan, a Kansas City product himself, was a former GA for Bill Self at KU, and developed this product with help from some of the leading football programs in the country.

With the EON Sports VR system, coaches have the ability to create a virtual reality football arena using their playbook and/ or their game film. Using the SIDEKIQ software, coaches can do this themselves, or have the team at EON Sports do this conversion for them (for a fee).

The system is nothing short of amazing. As a coach, you can convert plays from your game film to a virtual 3 dimensional platform. If you have ever created a play using PlayMaker Pro or Hudl, getting your team into a 3D virtual reality playing arena using SIDEKIQ is a piece of cake.


Now here is the main difference.  Once the play is animated and rendered in 3D,  instead of watching from an endzone or pressbox perspective, your athletes can get completely immersed in the play…. they can watch from the QB’s perspective, or see the play from the LB’s helmet…. or the helmet of any other player on the team.

It is as if you are in the play…. It is total immersion…. it is from a 1st person perspective… It is the highest quality mental rep.

Watching the play is intuitive, using a computer screen, projector or even better, the OculusVR, a virtual reality headset.


This software/ hardware system is poised to revolutionize teaching and coaching, much in the same way Hudl did with film exchange and evaluation 5-6 years ago. It is potentially a game changer ….


The videos that I have embedded really do not do the EON Sports VR Training system complete justice.  I suggest contacting Brendan to set up a demonstration… I promise you will not be sorry!  Tell him you read about it here at!

Did you know 2 of the 3 founders of Hudl were from KC as well?

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

Jeff Floyd –


Ask the Questions

Even though there is “officially” no football this time of year, it is always an exciting time for prep programs…

  • Everyone is undefeated
  • Everyone is right in the middle of their off-season program
  • Everyone has their athletes working hard to physically improve
  • Everyone is full of optimism
  • Everyone is excited about gains their athletes are making in their speed, size, and strength
  • New team leaders have surfaced

And… there are always questions to be answered.

While some programs are trying to make a turnaround to success, others are attempting that leap from pedestrian to elite, and a few are trying to figure out how to stay on top.

Ask_QuestionsWe have all heard the (overused) adage regarding the definition of insanity … “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”…. My question then is, what can you do differently… better… this off-season to get different… better results?

I know as teachers and coaches, we are always busy… but for most of us, we can catch our breath a little bit during the spring and summer (compared to in-season at least)

Here are some ideas …

What can you do to improve meeting time with your athletes? Try these Posts :

How can you make your preparation more focused?  Try these Posts :

What can you do to shake up your athlete’s physical workouts?  Try these Posts:

What can you do to improve your game preparation next season?  Try these Posts:

How can you improve your instruction and playbook?  Try these Posts:

My take on “team building” ?  See Post

Can you improve the mental toughness of your athletes?  Try these Posts:

How can you use technology to improve instruction?

I (or anyone else for that matter) do not have all the answers… but sometimes the questions are just as important… keep asking those questions!

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

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post on their site today.  I hope you can take some time to visit PrepsKC, and “Like” this post!

Jeff Floyd –




Spotlight Update – Becca Jonas

A quick update on an athlete featured in the You Can Do More “spotlight” last spring, Becca Jonas

In the Spotlight – Becca Jonas

direnna awardBecca has finished her senior seasons in volleyball and basketball at Truman High School.  A four-year starter in both sports, Jonas was recently was awarded the DelRinna Award for the top high school girls basketball player in the Kansas City Metro area. Jonas, the, 6-1 Center was also named the 2013-14 Examiner Player of the Year, and selected to the MBCA All-State, All-Suburban Middle Six, and all-district basketball squads.  Becca will play in the GKCBCA Missouri All-Star this year.

Jonas, who is headed to Drake University, led her team to a 25-2 record (50-3 over the last two seasons) and an appearance in the Missouri Class 5 state sectionals. She averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and four assists per game.

Becca trained as part of the Strength and Conditioning program at Truman High School for 4 years, and is a testament to the fact that hard work pays off.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –


The Avocation “Coach”

Yesterday was my birthday….

Like most people that use Facebook, I heard from many birthday well-wishers on that site… which is always a nice thing.

Here is what really struck me.  I am very flattered (humbled, proud, honored, appreciative… etc.) that so many people… grown men and women… many with kids and families of their own…  still call me “Coach”.

I am proud to be called “Coach Floyd

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

Jeff Floyd –


The Most Productive Spring Breaks

Most of the good stuff that I do, know, or teach, I got from fellow coaches who eagerly and openly shared their knowledge. It is one reason that this blog was started… I am attempting to “pay forward” all the good that has been given to me.

Here is the best advice I can give to any aspiring coach… young or old alike.  All my most intense learning sessions were during our annual spring practice trips visiting college programs.

Each spring, beginning when I was a head high school coach at a small 1A program in Missouri (Osceola), I would go through this process:

  • We would determine (from off-season analysis – see post Becoming a “Stronger” Coach in the Off-Season) what we needed to focus on as a team, or as an offense or defense.
  • We would determine which football programs in the country (within striking distance) were doing the best job with that selected focus. It did not have to be a big time FBS program, just a program or staff that was doing a great job of what we wanted to improve on.
  • If we knew someone on that staff, we would contact that coach… if not we would contact the coordinator.
  • We would find out when they were holding their springs practice, and if they would be open to our staff visiting and spending some time with their position group coaches.

One tip that I would share, that made the trips consistently productive… we always tried to narrow our focus to one key concept.  Here are some examples:

  • Defending the option out of an even front
  • Cover 2 pass coverage change ups
  • Defense Call Sheet (see post Defensive Game Planning – the Call Sheet)
  • 4-3 stunt package backed up with zone coverage
  • Specific drills (pass rush, tackling, etc)
  • Practice organization

mike whiteWe were always welcomed, and always treated with enormous respect and kindness… Mike White, who was the head coach at the University of Illinois, spent the better part of a day with me (a young 1A high school football coach), going through QB development and drills.  Later in my career, when I was at the University of Central Missouri and we had coaching staffs visit us (both high school and college), we always tried to treat those coaches with the same respect and kindness that was afforded us.

Go and get it.. then pay it forward.

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –


If you build it, they will come

My post, Efficacy and Safety – Middle School Strength and Conditioning, seems to have struck a chord.   Many of you shared having similar discussions with administration, parents, fellow coaches, or students that revolved around a core of common issues, concerns, or questions… I have summed them up in these “buzzwords”

  • No interest in kids that young
  • Growth plates
  • Attention span
  • Readiness
  • Limb size
  • Injury risk
  • Classroom organization
  • Specialized equipment
  • Safety

The good news is that a comprehensive study has already been completed that deals with each of these issues, and puts to rest many of the myths surrounding strength training for younger students and athletes.   This is not my opinion, or my study, but was completed (actually three different studies) by the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), which is generally recognized as THE expert in the field of strength and conditioning.

As I mentioned in that same post, our district (Independence School District) is adding a strength and conditioning class as a PE option for 7th and 8th grade students in the district.  We have just finished the enrollment process with this group of students and I can share with you that there is a HIGH interest in this class.

The decision was made that at each middle school we would add 2 sections for incoming 7th grade students, and 4 sections for incoming 8th grade students.  We are looking at keeping the class roster at 24 students per section, but are actually enrolling s few more to allow for some movement.   This means we will take around 48-60 7th grade students, and 96-120 8th grade students total for the new class

In one school alone (Bingham Middle School) we had nearly 200 incoming 7th grade students that wanted to take the class, and over 160 incoming 8th grade students sign up.  This means that in order to get down to a manageable class size, we had to trim about 2/3 off the 7th grade list and about 1/3 from the 8th grade list… or about 200 total students.

If you build it, they will come…

bridger1We also started a Strength and Conditioning “club” for the students at my current school (Bridger Middle School), which allows us to introduce some of the concepts we will be teaching in the class next year.  So far, over 80 students have attended (it is an after school club) at least one session, and over 60 have completed the initial instruction/ testing phase and are on a workout program. (we are using a 4 day a week program but modifying it to just 2 days per week).  They are doing GREAT!

If you build it, they will come… 

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

Jeff Floyd –


Mirror Mirror

Often, just when I think that I am a pretty smart guy, I realize that there is always so much more to learn… and often picking up a single small thing that can make a huge difference.

I remember my first season on staff at the University of Central Missouri.  I was a grizzled veteran of 8 years of high school coaching… confident… had the world by the gonads.

I was visiting with my position group after a practice… my Linebackers on one knee, gathered around the feet of their “prophet”.   I was extolling them to “get their head up and look at me when I was talking!”

After practice, our head coach, Terry Noland, quietly took me aside and reminded me that when I talk to my position group, I should have them put their backs to the sun (which was setting) so they would not be looking directly into the sun when I was speaking to them.   Lesson learned… from that point on I made sure it was me looking into the sun, not my players.

Fast forward to many years later… so many years in fact that I had begun wearing prescription sunglasses to practice.  I was coaching my son’s team, and it was a similar situation.   Practice was over and I was speaking to the group… their backs to the sun (I had learned!)… with me looking into the sun… but this time I was explaining to the athletes about the importance of looking at their coach’s (or parent’s, or teacher’s) eye’s when they were talking to them.  “Make eye contact- it will show them you are really listening, you care about what they are saying, and want to learn!

After practice on the way to the car my son told me “You know, dad, when you have your sunglasses on, we can’t see your eyes… we can’t make eye contact with you”. Lesson learned… from that point on I always took off my sunglasses whenever I was having a discussion with one, or many of my players… or my son for that matter.

Continue fast forwarding to this year… 30+ years of coaching.  I was in the weight room teaching our core lifts like I had done many times in the past.  I use one rack for demonstration purposes and have the students arrange the other benches around the rack “amphitheater style” around their “guru”.   Only this time as I was introducing the lift, it was different… giggles… funny faces… not paying attention… distracted…

I thought, “Man, am I losing it… maybe this group just can’t do this”.

mirror mirror2It wasn’t until we were well into the period that realized what was happening… that behind this particular rack was a huge mirror.  In all the years I had taught Strength and Conditioning, this was the first time the demonstration rack had a mirror behind it.   Add that to the fact I was teaching middle school students, and it was a recipe for distraction… there is little that middle school students like more than seeing themselves in a mirror! The next period I changed the demonstration rack to one that was not in front of a mirror and it was back to normal… another lesson learned.

I continue to learn… and be humbled by the little things that at times escape me.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –


It is all Relative

Today’s post picks up/ piggybacks on my post “Good Job!”

Rose Bowl FootballI often get asked, “What is the biggest difference in coaching middle school athletes compared to college athletes?

Actually, there are more similarities than there are differences.  Just as my son (a 23 year old adult) responded with excitement to the words “You are doing a good job” (see post “Good Job!“), college athletes are just kids in bigger bodies

  • They are human beings…
  • They respond to the exact same type of motivation and praise that middle school athletes do…
  • They like to hear affirmation that they are doing a good job…
  • They actually need and want parameters and discipline…
  • They want to hear and meet your expectations…
  • They get excited to tears at a big win… and disappointed to tears at a tough loss…
  • They treat respect with respect…
  • They love playing the game… and it is still a game…
  • They laugh at funny jokes…
  • They worry about their grades…
  • They are concerned about their future…
  • They are proud of their accomplishments…
  • They like to hear their name…
  • They like to see their name in print…
  • They want to see their relatives in the stands…
  • They like seeing their picture in the paper…
  • They are resilient…
  • The rules are the same…
  • The fundamentals are the same…
  • Same equipment…
  • Same field…

It is all relative.

  • Football is Football
  • Kids are Kids
  • Coaching is Coaching 

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

Jeff Floyd –


“Good Job!”

My son phoned me the other night, excited to tell me that his supervisor had told him he was doing a “good job”.

good job

Now, my son is not a child but a grown man, yet the compliment still made him feel good about himself, the job he was doing, and motivated him to do more.

I thought, “How easy is that?”   Those simple words cost nothing, but potentially yields huge returns.

How easy it is to …

  • Let a student know that they “knocked it out of the park!”…
  • Let a colleague know that you value what they share…
  • Let a family member know that you love them…
  • Let a member of your staff know that they were instrumental to the team’s success…
  • Let a player on your team know that they gave a “championship effort”

Yes, your praise needs to be honest and heartfelt

Yes, you need to maintain high standards…

But even then, I am guessing that there are very few students, athletes, colleagues, or staff members that we could not find something positive to say.

Go ahead… make someone’s day!

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

Jeff Floyd –      


Don’t Spend – Invest

spend-or-investWe all would like to have big time budgets… to be able to get the best equipment, uniforms, stadiums, travel expenses, etc.  Most of us do not have that luxury.   Great coaches do not use that as an excuse, or let it get in the way of having a quality program.  They realize that quality has little to do with budget.

Marketing/ Business leader Seth Godin had this to say about businesses and budgets last week in his post, “Sometimes you don’t need a budget

Here are some things you can do that don’t cost any money (but they certainly require effort):

  • Treat your employees with care and respect
  • Be consistent in your actions
  • Keep your promises
  • Grant others their dignity
  • Give credit
  • Take responsibility
  • When wrong, offer a heartfelt apology
  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Take the time to actually listen to people
  • Volunteer to handle the issue
  • Care

Many of these very same things apply to having a quality athletic program, with a less than optimal budget.   Some really basic, yet important things that you can do to improve your program don’t cost a thing… other than effort.

Coach James Vint of Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas echoed these sentiments in his excellent post, “Winning is a Process that ran last week.

“If you look at the most consistent programs at every level of football, you will find they share something in common. They all have a detailed process to develop their players.

A big part of the process is building relationships with players. Great coaches care about developing their student-athletes on and off the field. Because they care about their players, they are willing to set high standards for them on and off the field. They then hold them accountable to the standards.

You see, great coaches understand the correlation between character off the field and winning on the field. If you allow your players to be undisciplined off the field, it will result in mistakes on the field. One coach once told me, “never let discipline get in the way of winning.” What he meant was, let your best players do whatever they want. This is precisely the reason some talented teams do not consistently win. If your best athletes are above the law, you will lose the rest of the team. What this coach should have said was, “don’t let a lack of discipline get in the way of winning.” When players are not held accountable for their actions, they are not going to help your team be successful. They are going to fold up the tent when things get tough. If you hold them accountable early, you will not have big problems later.”

You don’t need to spend money… you can invest your time and energy into many things that don’t cost a cent, but will pay huge benefits to your program.

More posts along these lines:

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

Jeff Floyd –