A Master Craftsman

Another (quick) toolbox analogy…

As I have chronicled, my son and daughter-in-law have been involved in a project (50/50) over the past year.

During that span of time they have borrowed numerous tools…

  • Drill bits…
  • Jig saw…
  • Extension cords…
  • Socket set…
  • Saw blades…

No problem… I have accumulated (as most do) many tools in my toolbox throughout the years.

I have to admit it was with a degree of hubris that I brandished my overflowing toolbox and tubs of nuts, bolts, and hardware at the work site.

Hubris, that is, until, a former player of mine (a REALLY good former player of mine) volunteered to help with the project.   This man is a professional… he works construction… he is a master craftsman.

He came and in one evening did work that it would have taken us days to finish.

He had more tools on his tool belt than I have in my toolbox.   He had all the right tools…. specialty tools for this specific job… and all the tricks of the trade that he had accumulated over the years.

As a young, hungry, coach, you are always on the lookout to borrow tools that will help you do your job better… to be a better coach.

But even the old grizzled coach can learn from a professional… can find a new tool or trick that might help … as long as you don’t allow your pride (or habits) to get in the way.

Here are links to tools that have helped me be a more efficient, more organized, better prepared coach over the years. Young coach or veteran, I hope you find something of interest.

stringout

Thanks to Joe Grubb for the inspiration behind this post… and thanks to him for helping at the 50/50 project.

The ties that bind Joe, and the special group of men from my UCM days, is a story for another day.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Flying “Eye in the Sky”

The Eye in the Sky Does Not Lie….”

In my opinion, film review is one of the most effective teaching tools at your disposal. I have written about it several times, including last weeks post as well as here. It is contingent, although, on having quality video filmed at a good angle.

Filming from the press box provides good elevation, but the viewing angle (from the side rather from behind) is not optimum for teaching.

An end zone tower cam system, or filming from a lift, provides an optimum angle (elevated and from behind) for viewing, grading and evaluating your film.

But, these systems do have some limitations or drawbacks.

  • They are difficult to set up, take down, or move to a different location. Therefore, they are often not utilized for the daily filming of practice segments; or if they are, the drill has to be moved to the camera, rather than the camera moved to the drill
  • Lifts can be dangerous, with liability a concern especially if using students to film.
  • Tower cam systems are expensive, with pricing between $2,500 and $7,000.

There is yet another option that many programs are utilizing… A flying video platform… A drone!
You might think that using a drone to film practice or games is too “Techy” or difficult, but recent advancements in quadcopter technology make it possible for a novice to fly, record video and take photos, from a extremely stable platform.   This is a sample video from a summer practice that I filmed using a drone. This particular drone (Parrot Bebop) was purchased for under $500, shoots HD (1080p) video, is very stable, and is easily controlled using an iPad.

As you can see, the ball is on the opposite 35-yard line from where a typical tower or lift cam would be located… and at the point where the viewing angle would begin to deteriorate. But, by using drone video technology, you can easily fly the camera into position to get the most desirable viewing angle.

During practice, you can fly the camera from drill to drill, yard line to yard line, behind or in front of the offense or defense, or at a higher altitude to get the whole field view.

The practice film that we took this summer using the drone was, in the opinion of the coaches evaluating it, some of the best they had ever seen.

Here are some considerations:

Video quality – There are many inexpensive drones that shoot video and take pictures… look for ones that are HD, 1080p or 4k…. they will provide the quality that you need to evaluate your players.

Battery life – Most batteries will give you 10-20 minutes of flight time. Shorter flight time means more batteries will need to be purchased, and more frequent battery changes/ charges.

Ease of control/ flying – There are some commercial drones available that require extensive training to fly. Look for one that is easy to fly.

Safety – Typically the heavier the drone, the more potential for injury if someone gets hit by it… the Parrot Bebop drone I mentioned above weighs less than a pound, and in the event of collision the propellers stop automatically.

Durability – Crashes are infrequent but possible… will the drone stand up to some abuse, and how difficult is it to repair?

Rules regarding drone usage – Most state high school activity associations now have rules regarding how drones can be used during a game. The MSHSAA rule allows for a drone to be used, but it must keep behind the field media line, thereby making it like an end zone tower or lift camera. The cameras on most drones do not zoom, so although the angle (height) will be good, if the ball is at midfield, the action will be further away. One advantage over a tower or lift camera is that when the ball is toward the opposite end zone, you can land the drone, carry it down to the other end zone and start flying and filming from there.

Other uses in your program – Having aerial footage of your stadium, field, and your team can be a great marketing/ PR tool. Many professional, college and high school programs are already doing this. Lee’s Summit high school in Missouri recently produced this cool video after their opening game.

The thought of using a drone to film your practices and or games may seem like a crazy idea or a passing fad, but I think it could be a valuable, cost effective addition to your program’s technology toolbox.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tools and Time

This week I had the opportunity to help out at my daughter-in-law’s project called 50/50.   Her team is putting an art gallery in the West Bottoms of Kansas City made out of shipping containers.

Stay with me…. this isn’t about an art gallery.

Here are some things that came up during my work at the 50/50 project one evening…

  • They commented that “the new Phillips head drill bits made it a lot easier to set the sheet rock screws without stripping them out”.
  • We had a box of long drywall screws, but ran out of the shorter screws (which they preferred using) … so we went around picking up short ones that had been previously dropped on the floor and used them. We ended up having enough to finish what we were working on.
  • We needed a drill bit extension to drill a hole into a tricky spot on a doorframe. We had to stop until we got one.
  • I had to run home and get tin snips to bring to the project site so we could cut the sheet rock corner bead.

Now, this team is doing tremendous work, but it really reminded how much time is saved by having the right tools…. good tools when you are working.

For football coaches, especially during our season, time is at a premium. The amount of hours in the day is same for all of us. Saving hours or minutes using good tools puts more time in your kitty…. time that can be used doing additional football or teaching prep (which is what most of us do!) OR maybe you could sneak in some additional family time.

Over the last three years I have shared a variety of football coaching/ organizational tools (all for free) via my web site, YouCanDoMore.net. These are tools and procedures that I trust, and have saved me countless hours over the years.

Here are my most popular (using views and downloads as a metric) categories of posts, with a little information about each:

Defensive Game Planning:

sample call sheet

My post, Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, has been viewed over 10,000 times. If you Google “football defensive call sheet” my post is the third one listed, and the second one if you filter it for images. The Call Sheet we developed while I was at the University of Central Missouri is a great tool… but even more important than the single tool was the process we used for game planning.

Those procedures and ALL the tools we used can be found at this link – Defensive Game Planning – All Posts, Forms and Videos.   These posts on game planning have been viewed over 30,000 times with over 15,000 downloads of the tools and videos included in the Defensive Game Planning series.

Film Grading:

film grade sheet

We all look at video, and most of us grade it… practice, scrimmage, and game. I believe film evaluation can be one of the most powerful teaching tools at our disposal. While I was at UCM, we developed a tool that we used in grading our film. You can read about how we used the tool at this post, Film Grading Tool, and download the Excel template here, Film Grade Template.

We used this tool not only to evaluate our athletes, but also to evaluate how effective we have been as coaches and to self-scout. It tracks mistakes made, and defensive efficiency by front/ stunt and coverage. These posts have been viewed over 5,000 times and this template downloaded about 1,500 times. If you Google “excel film grading football” the two top hits are from these posts.

Practice Planning:

Practice 1

Every good coach that I have ever worked with has been meticulously organized regarding practice planning. A simple organization piece that can save you time during season is to have a practice plan template.   You can read about the template we developed at UCM at these posts, Practice, Not a Minute to Spare,  Running an Effective Drill, and EDD’s- Every Day Drills.

You can download the template we used at this link, Excel Practice Plan Template. These practice-planning posts have been viewed over 1,000 times and the template downloaded 600 times.

As I mentioned, all of this is free. It was all shared with me, either partially or in its entirety… and they are all customizable with just a little Excel knowledge.

The single thing that I will ask, that if you read the post, download the file(s) or click the links, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on these subjects…

  • Do you like the ideas?
  • What tools do you use in your program?
  • How could I tweak them to make them better?

As always, if you have a question just shoot me an email or tweet… I will respond!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

A Football Life – Lombardi and Gifford

Jeff Floyd:

Some don’t remember that Gifford and Lombardi are connected… this was a post from about a year ago, but I wanted to resurrect it today in honor of Gifford’s passing.

gifford lombardi

Originally posted on You Can Do More!:

First… if you have not watched A Football Life, Vince Lombardi, I highly recommend it.  It is a combination of information from the David Maraniss biography, When Pride Still Mattered, and John Eisenberg’s book about Lombardi’s initial year in Green Bay, That First Season.  It has lots of great film footage, quotes, and overall coaching information.  It is a genealogy/ history of football coaching.

A couple of quick takeaways…

Three words that many coaches have trouble saying… me included.

“I need help”

Is it that we are too proud to admit a fault, or have too much hubris and think we know it all?

I know that I am not good at saying or admitting that I need help, and at times it has slowed my growth as a coach.

Vince Lombardi began coaching at St. Cecillia high school in New Jersey.  He won 5…

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Saving Our Sport

Let me preface this by saying I love football.

I loved playing football.

I love coaching football.

I love practicing football… did as a player… do as a coach.

But…. I am truly worried about the future of our sport… for a number of reasons. As I wrote about last year (History Lesson) our game is under siege… and the battle has not lessened over the past year.

  • Concussions…
  • Decreasing numbers of participants…
  • Bad behavior (leading to bad press) by student/ professional athletes…

Here are some things to think about.

I can’t believe I am saying this… and it may be considered blasphemous, but I will just go ahead and get this out first. The 25 summer contact days allowed in our state (Missouri) is too much. By judiciously using the days, combining them with summer strength and conditioning days (which don’t count for your 25) a coach can effectively add three months to football “season”.

We are talking about a season… with pads… and practice… and scrimmages… and contact… that now lasts nearly seven months!

I think it is too much for the players, too much for parents, and too much for the coaches …who often don’t get paid any additional stipend for their summer work.

When you multiply that summer commitment required by students and their families for players who are multi sport athletes, it becomes an even crazier schedule… especially in those schools where each sport uses all of their 25 contact days.

We tell our athletes that we want them to be multi-sport athletes, but this model makes it nearly impossible.

On the same subject (25 summer contact days) let me just say that the MSHSAA required acclimatization period (first three days of practice helmets only) is obsolete. Our kids can practice nearly all summer with pads, but then when practice “officially” starts they have to go back to helmets only… it makes no sense.

safe footballThe emphasis on concussions and head injuries increases daily.   It is a hot-button issue at all levels. It is changing the nature of our sport, and we as coaches will need to adapt our coaching and teaching styles.

I am not sure what the best solutions are for this problem, but here are some thoughts…

First, I think that we, as coaches, need to be more proactive regarding these issues….

We need to effectively communicate to parents, administrators, community, and media:

  1. The value of our sport, football, and how we teach life lessons, character, healthy lifestyle, and leadership to our student-athletes. We teach more than X’s and O’s. If you have not seen them, here are a couple of excellent pieces by John Harbaugh of the Ravens and Chris Creighton, head coach at Eastern Michigan.
  1. We care about the safety of our athletes. We teach how to play the game safely. We are trained to recognize the symptoms of concussion and head injuries, and we will not put your child at risk.
  1. We have the best equipment. We recondition and recertify our equipment each year and replace when needed.

I think the tough, challenging, part of this situation is how to strike a balance between teaching what needs to be taught before you line up and play Friday night, and how to keep your athletes as safe as possible

Football is a physical game… that is part of what makes it a great sport. Your players have to know how to tackle, block, hit, and be hit, in order to play safely and play well. It may take some out-of-the-box thinking and ideas to teach them these skills and give them enough reps and time to be successful on Friday night.   I wrote about some ideas in these posts, Adaptation, and The Highest Quality Mental Reps.

I don’t have the answers, but I know collectively as a group… we as coaches will find the answers in order to keep our sport healthy and strong.

Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post (and my posts weekly during the season) on their site.  If you get a chance, check them out for great content regarding football in the Metro KC area!

Good luck to everyone this season, I am looking forward to watching your teams compete!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Power vs Leadership

I recently had the opportunity to be a member of a 4-person crew (a team) that sailed a 53’ Amel sailboat from St. Maarten, in the Caribbean, to Long Island, NY… we traveled about 1400 miles in just over 9 days…

st maarten

Prior to the passage, I wrote about it in this post – Taking my own advice… I Can Do More!

Why did I do this?

VOLUNTEER to do this??

Because… It had an element of excitement…. I wanted to improve my sailing skills… I wanted to challenge myself… I wanted to prove that “I could do it”

Probably many of the same reasons students decide to join your program… most make that decision prior to their 9th grade year… and it is a voluntary proposition for them as well.

Although I came into this “team” with some sailing experience, I was by no means an expert…. I was not ready for “The Bigs

Again, probably akin to 9th graders skill level when they join your high school program.

There were three of us on this team (with various skill levels) and one “coach” (the captain and owner of the boat)… making a total of four crew for the passage to New York.

The “Coach” (our captain) was, of course, by far the most experienced… the most knowledgeable… had the skill… had the “game plan”…

And here is where it gets interesting… he had the POWER.

I would venture to say that, as Coach, you are in a similar position with your squad.

My biggest takeaway from this trip had nothing to do with sailing… it had to do with leadership… specifically leadership from a position of power.

Let me begin by saying that our leader was a good captain. The boat was meticulously maintained… he was very knowledgeable… and very safe. I never once felt at risk during the entire voyage.

But there is a difference between being a good captain and a good teacher/ coach.

The three of us on his team had volunteered for this venture… adventure… to learn and gain experience… that was the bargain… he was getting free crew, and we would benefit from his teaching/ coaching.

I did learn… but lets say the experience of crossing the ocean could have really been enhanced (for me) with a different teaching and coaching style from our captain.

Let me explain.

As I mentioned, I am not an expert sailor… none of were as experienced as he was… he knew that going in… submitting our sailing “resumes” was part of the procedure.

In the same way, none of your young players are as experienced or knowledgeable as you, their teacher and coach… and that is your expectation… that is a given.

What I found out, being on the opposite side of this dynamic, was how much inherent POWER the leader has… and how you use that power can have a tremendous effect on the people you are leading… your team.

I can tell you that for pretty much the entire 1400 nautical miles, I (we) felt pretty inadequate… and I firmly believe that was his intention. He felt the need to be in power… and wanted us to feel dependent on him.

And he did it fairly innocuously but nefariously.

He did not yell, scream, or berate us… but in this type of relationship, it does not take much to rattle your confidence… a roll of the eye… a particular voice inflection… a facial expression… all had the same, calculated effect… conveying (without ever saying) that…

I know more than you…

I will always know more than you…

How can you not know this…

I am better than you…

You have a lot to learn…

I am a pretty confident guy… and have a strong personality.

At the end of this trip, my confidence was shattered… and not just my confidence regarding sailing… I was whipped… and I never have felt whipped… beaten… in my life!

So I started thinking about the kids that I teach… the players that I coach.

They are in the same, subservient role… even more so.

They are kids… young, impressionable, unconfident, gawky, fragile… kids.

I do not ever want any of my students or athletes to feel broken.

I want them to feel the opposite… confident, powerful… STRONG.

I am confident that this experience will help me be a better teacher and coach.

I Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Taking my own Advice… I Can Do More!

OK

Tomorrow I will be taking my own advice…

As in…

I have always enjoyed the water, and have dabbled in sailing for 30+ years. A couple of years ago, my wife, Jamie, and I took four different sailing classes/ certifications while living aboard a 38-foot catamaran off the Florida coast. Last summer we bought our own boat…. A 25-foot Catalina 250 that we sail on Smithville Lake in Missouri.

My wife suggested that I check into ways of getting more experience…. as in ocean experience… she suggested that I Could Do More!

st maarten map

Tomorrow begins preparation for a passage via sailboat from St. Maarten in the Lesser Antilles (a little less than 200 miles East of Puerto Rico) to New York. I will be part of a 4-person crew on a boat named Kimberlite, owned and skippered by Eric Freedman. Eric keeps his boat in St. Maarten during the winter and transports it back to New York during the Atlantic hurricane season… the summer months.

The boat is a 53-foot Amel, a French made monohull sailboat.

amel 53

We will begin the 1600-mile journey on June 24 and will last 9-12 days depending on the conditions. You can track our progress (after June 24) via this link:

Kimberlite’s progress – St. Maarten to New York.

I will be taking some pics along the way, and will post when I return. I will have Jamie tweet via my account any news or updates when possible.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Lombardi Effect

Jeff Floyd:

A TBT post from a couple of years ago… Today is Vince Lombardi’s birthday

Some other Lombardi references:

Enjoy!

Originally posted on You Can Do More!:

Yesterday was Vince Lombardis birthday.  He would have been 100 years old.

Vince_LombardiFor people of my generation, especially young boys who aspired to coach, he was an iconic figure. I wanted to be a coach so I could diagram plays like Lombardi, sure; but I really wanted to be a coach because I wanted to inspire like Lombardi.

Being a Kansas City Chiefs fan, the first Super Bowl will be forever burned in my psyche.  If anyone was to beat my team, the Chiefs, let it be the legendary Green Bay Packers, led by my idol, Vince Lombardi.

I remember watching theIce Bowl in 1967, and then the Packers defeating the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II. Lombardi retired from coaching following that season.  I did not understand.

A year later he left the Packers organization to try his hand at rebuilding the Redskin franchise.  I…

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THE Conundrum

Think about this conundrum

coaching puzzleIf, as a coach, you tell a player that doing (X) will make them perform better (X could be anything… fill in the variable)

And they consistently choose not to do (X)

Then either:

A) they do not believe or trust that what you are saying is true…

OR

B) performing better is really not that important to them

As a coach it is probably a good idea to try to figure out the answer to this question, if reaching this player is important.

If the answer is A) then what can you do to improve the trust factor in that player/ coach relationship?

If the answer is B) then what can you do to make that player’s performance more important to him or her?

Most any coach can reach the high achievers… the ones that are easily motivated… the low hanging fruit.

The really good coach tries to reach ALL of their players… even those tough, hard to reach ones… the ones high up in the tree.

You will not reach them all, but in making a great effort you will reach MORE.

As Vince Lombardi said…

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Testing… Strength and Conditioning – Standardized Tests

Recently I was having a conversation with a colleague. His question was… “[in your strength and conditioning program] what do you test on, and how often do you do it?”

At this time of the year, after just finishing MAP tests in our school and district, it got me to thinking about testing in general.

In answer to his initial questions, we test on our four Core Lifts (Bench, Squat, Hang Clean, and Push Press) for anyone that is new to the program. We test on a multi-rep max, and use this conversion chart so we can enter it on their workout card, which calculates their workout percentages while they are in our program.

We also give a battery of tests that we feel provides us with some good information regarding their athletic progress:

  • Weight
  • 40-yard dash
  • Vertical Leap
  • Pro Agility

And their card calculates:

After this initial testing, we do not test on their Core Lifts again … ever… and here is why.

Testing takes time away from what I really want them to do…. train to be better athletes! I am really not overly concerned about what their “maxes” are, other than how that relates to their athletic improvement. Their workout card provides them with information so they can gauge their progress (see Breaking… it’s a good thing) and know what their new “maxes” are…. without retesting.

I am not training members of a powerlifting team, but members of the football, basketball, and volleyball, etc. teams. I want their training to transfer to the court(s) or field(s) of their choice. If it does, then both the athlete and I are happy… if it doesn’t, no matter how strong or how well they tested, then I have failed as a strength coach.

And this is how it relates to testing in the classroom… to MAP or STAAR (insert your state/ district standardized test name here) testing.

I am amazed annually about the amount of time, (instruction time, professional development time), energy (student, teacher, administrator), and angst that is put into the preparation and administration of these tests.

Our teachers administer all kinds of predictive tests in prepping for the MAP test… STAR test, Acuity test, and many also give an EOC exam in their classes. This year they also had to spend time practicing the MAP test because of the new, tech based test.   They (teachers and administrators) spend an amazing amount of time dealing with all of this… prepping for all of this… and worrying about all of this… for a test score.

And that is my point… and how it relates to strength and conditioning…

I have to belitestinglearningeve that in the long run our students (and teachers and administrators) would be much better off if they could spend ALL of the time they now spend in test prep on actual instruction…. Imaginative, Innovative, IndividualizedInstruction.

Instruction that is geared toward learning… learning skills that will transfer and allow them to excel in the “real world” rather than excelling on a standardized test.

Are we interested in creating a legion of good “test takers”… or do we want to send out into the world students that are inquisitive, lifetime learners, problem solvers, and adaptable?

In my strength and conditioning class I am not interested in training members for an Olympic Powerlifting squad, but I want them to be better athletes in their respective sports.

In the classroom I think we should be more concerned about training better, well prepared citizens rather than great test takers.

Just my opinion.

BTW… we do test on the 40, vertical, shuttle, etc. annually… but even then try to be efficient in our administration and condense it down into the shortest amount of time possible as not to lose training time.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com