Conor Oberst and the AFCA National Convention

How are Conor Oberst and the American Football Coaches Association National Convention related?

Get ready for a relatively circuitous ride…

If you are over 30, there is probably a good chance that you do not know who Conor Oberst is. The 34 year old singer-songwriter has been playing music for over 20 years … he released his first recording, Water, when he 13. He was recording folk music before the likes of Mumford and Sons, and the Avett Brothers made it popular again.

My 24-year-old son, Carter, has been an Oberst fan pretty much his whole life… my wife and I, not so much. When Carter was in middle school, Oberst and Bright Eyes (his group) populated our iTunes library. Carter would sit at the computer doing homework and listen to Oberst … we would make his wear headphones because the music was… well… pretty awful.

tdc_conorMy son and his fiancée have seen Conor Oberst perform live three or four times…. most recently a couple of weeks ago with my wife and I. My son informed me that “Oberst had a newly released record (Upside Down Mountain), I had to listen to it, download it, and we should go to the concert.”

I did listen and download… it was good…. very good… surprisingly good! The concert was excellent… really pretty awesome.

You know how iTunes works… you select an artist, click on a song, and it goes through all the songs on an album (either sequentially or shuffle) then moves to the next album from that artist.   Well, the other day I was listening to Oberst’s new album…an album that I like a lot. It went through the whole record, then started on the next album on my iTunes library, an Oberst vestige left over from when our son lived at home. In fact it was a tune from his first record, Water… and it was just as awful as I had remembered it… bad… really bad.

Juxtaposed against his new work, it was very evident how far Oberst had come as a singer-songwriter.

So, how does that relate to the AFCA National coaches convention.

AFCA_logoI had the opportunity to attend many of these conventions through the years. I enjoyed listening and learning from the best in the nation. One thing that always struck me was how many of the guys that had “made it”… that were successful coaches, at any level… had “paid their dues”.   Very few of them were “flash in the pans”.   If you looked at their resumes most had toiled as assistants… for years… at various levels… from high school to college, learning and honing their craft.

I am quite sure that if you were able to watch these “big name” coaches that had “made it” when they were early in their career… when they were graduate or student assistants… that their growth and improvement would be just as apparent as Oberst’s was to me.

  • You get good by practicing
  • Growth is normally incremental
  • Hard work pays off….
  • If you love what you are doing, it isn’t “work”…
  • Keep learning
  • Embrace the “grind”…
  • Enjoy the journey

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And as a bonus, here is a link to Oberst and Dawes performing an NPR “Tiny Desk” concert.

Oberst-NPR Tiny Desk

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

Jeff Floyd –


Seven Days in Season

cmsu football25 years ago, during the 1989 football season at Central Missouri State University (now named the University of Central Missouri) Mark Hulet filmed a documentary chronicling a week in the life of a college football coach. The name of the movie was Seven Days in Season.

Mark went on to become a successful college football coach himself, coaching with me at the University of Central Missouri as defensive back coach, at William Jewell College as defensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator at St. Cloud State University.

The 40 minute movie is classic, and offers a pretty realistic glimpse into the life of a football coach at any level. If for no other reason, it is worth watching to get a good laugh at the fashions and technology of the 80’s.



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

Jeff Floyd –


Film Grading Tool

Jeff Floyd:

Many of us find ourselves at this point of the year between summer workouts and before heading into the full-on madness that is “in-season”. It may be a good time to add some teaching/ coaching tools to your arsenal.

This is a post from a while ago, but with an added “bonus” . Coach Justin Meyers improved on the film grading tool that can be downloaded via this post, adding a formula to automatically tally all the “+” and “-” grades for each athlete, and use that to calculate their percentage grade. Great work, Coach!

You can download the new and improved spreadsheet at this link “2014Franklin“. I will add a video in the next couple of days to help explain the formulas used.  The formulas that Coach Myers added are on the second tab, “FranklinGradeout”.


Originally posted on You Can Do More!:

Film… video… has been a primary teaching tool for coaches since the use of 16mm film in the 1950’s.  Virtually every high school, college and pro team in the country films, and views game and practice video.  As a coach, I am constantly searching for a way to ensure that we are not only viewing or watching the video, but also analyzing and learning from it.  We always tell our athletes that they need to watch the video with a critical eye, and view it as a learning tool, which is much different than they would watch an NFL or College game on the weekend.

The process of “grading” game and practice video has helped to change the film viewing from a social event (like watching an NFL game) into a teaching session for both coaches and players.  I am sure most of you reading this post grade…

View original 526 more words


When I began this blog over one year and 300 posts ago, I made a decision not to solicit from you, my readers, or inundate you with ad banners on the site. I value your attention and time and do not want to impose or waste it.

Today I am asking something of you.

My soon to be (end of this summer!) daughter-in-law, Cambria Potter is the director and curator of an amazing project called 50/50 KC. This project will put an art gallery, made of two shipping containers, in an underdeveloped area in our city (Kansas City) called the West Bottoms.

50/50 KC is important for our city, for the arts in our city, for the West Bottoms, for the environment… and yes, too, important for Cambria Potter!

Last month Cambria5050kc was awarded the Rocket Grant from the Charlotte Street Foundation to help develop this project. This weekend her team also launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help fund the costs of 50/50 KC, which is slated to break ground in one month.

You can click on this link to learn about Cambria and the project… there is a short (under 2 minute) video there as well: 50/50 KC Kickstarter

Here, specifically is what I am asking you… Visit, Back, and Share

  • Visit their Kickstarter Campaign Page
  • Back this project at any level you feel comfortable with (levels from $1 to $1000)
  • Share the information about 50/50 KC with your colleagues, cadre, and friends with any vehicle you use.

The sharing element of this is critical. Even if this type of project is not your particular cup of tea, I am guessing that somewhere in you group of friends, colleagues, or cadre, there is someone that 50/50 KC would resonate with, and who would love to help in some way.  Here are the links you can use to share:

Cambria and her team are also having a Kickstarter launch party (50/50 Kickstarter Launch Party ) next Sunday evening (July 13)… if you are in the area, please RSVP and join us. You do not have to attend the event to back this project using Kickstarter… but you will be able to back via Kickstarter at the event.

Thank you for your time… it is valued by me.

If you have any questions about 50/50 KC, please email or leave a comment!

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

Jeff Floyd –


Playing Time

Over the years I have (fortunately) had very few difficult conversations with players or parents about “playing time”. I think part of the reason is that I have always tried to be very clear regarding the expectations that will lead to playing time.

benchOne of the best pieces I have seen that articulates clearly what “playing time” and the “depth chart” will be based on, I “borrowed” from coach Greg Oder, the Head Football Coach at Blue Springs South High School, several years ago. We included this Player Placement piece in our Players Manual, which we required the athletes (and parents) to read and sign prior to the first practice.

Player Placement:

Every player would like to be a starter on our Football Team. Unfortunately, this is not possible. The coaching staff will determine who will start. Consequently, I feel it is important for you to understand how we will determine depth charts as practice progresses.

The following five points will be:

  1. Knowledge of assignment – we cannot and will not play people who do know their assignments. Your position coach will spend extra time with you if you so desire. Everyone can and should know their assignments.
  1. Hustle and effort – everyone will be expected to give 100% at all times. Your teammates will be giving 100% and they will be expecting that you will also. Extra effort wins games.
  1. Hitting and mental toughness – we will discover during Summer and Fall training who has a strong desire to be physical. Football is a contact sport and must be played with a great deal of toughness. Everyone can hit.
  1. Contribution to the overall team – the individual who motivates his teammates to do better, is always enthusiastic and ready, will make a greater contribution than one who does not have this quality.
  1. Talent – If the above four characteristics are equal – and they should be – then the young man who produces on the field in the way of making plays will start.

We explain to the athletes in our program that part of our job (at the varsity level) is to put the best players, the players who give us the best chance to be successful, on the field Friday nights. If we were not doing that, if we were just playing “our favorites” then we would not be doing a very good job of coaching. The preceding Player Placement document articulates nicely what constitutes the “best players” in our program.

Thanks again to Coach Oder for sharing this document with me years ago!

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

Jeff Floyd –



300 posterSorry, no historical (or even quasi-movie historical) references to the Battle of Thermopylae, Sparta, or Persia… just a reference to the number 300.

I have been writing this blog for about a year and a half … Today is my 300th post!

I want to thank all of the folks that have been following, many from the very first post.   I also have a request. If you find the blog helpful, interesting, or motivational, please consider sharing this link ( with…

  • Any coaching colleague…
  • Any student athlete…
  • Any teaching colleague…
  • Any parent….
  • Any administrator…

Who might find it useful as well.   They can follow in a number of ways, including email notification, or RSS feed.

Your loyal readership is appreciated.  Thank you!

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

Jeff Floyd –


This is easy…

No, it really isn’t.

Whenever athletes of mine whine, grouse or complain that a particular workout, technique or drill is hard, my comment is always,

“Why would we ever want you to do something that was easy?”

Business author Seth Godin echoed this in his recent post:

Fast, easy, guaranteed

…pick none.

That’s the work that’s worth doing.

And by the way, the athlete was “whining” was really just wanting affirmation that yes, this is hard, and yes, I did it and, aren’t I pretty awesome for doing this thing that is so hard?

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

Jeff Floyd –



Is Luckey, “lucky”?

In my post last week, Lessons from the Tech Industry, I mentioned Palmer Luckey, the inventor of Oculus Rift, and how this technology is being used in athletics and coaching by the company, Eon Sports VR (see post, The Highest Quality Mental Reps)

I am traveling today, and during a quick stop in the airport bookstore, I noticed that there were no less than three magazines that were featuring Palmer Luckey:

palmer luckey

Pretty impressive stuff for a 21 year old gamer… a 21 year old gamer who exhibited great genius, persistence and determination in solving a series of problems that had stumped others in the virtual reality field.

While some may say that Luckey was “lucky”, I am reminded of a couple of quotes:

  • “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – Thomas Edison
  • “The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn

I hope you can get a chance to check out one of the articles… there is much that can be learned.

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

Jeff Floyd –


Lessons from the Tech Industry

I can be a bit of a nerd.  I did own an Apple IIc in 1984 after all.

Yesterday I read two articles… an article about Oculus Rift in Wired Magazine, and an article about Google X in Fast Company.

oculusrift1The piece in Wired Magazine chronicled the development of Oculus Rift, the virtual reality head mounted display, by its 21-year-old inventor, Palmer Luckey.  The development is a testimony to persistence, ingenuity, and problem solving.

Palmer is an avid gamer, and gamers are excited about the Oculus Rift because it, according to CEO Brenden Iribe, is the first VR headset that delivers a

“sense of presence in the virtual reality… your brain says, OK, I’m comfortable in this environment… I know it’s not real, but I think it is”

I am not a gamer at all and am not interested how Oculus Rift can fully immerse you in Call of Duty or Titanfall.  I am interested in how this technology can be used in athletics… how you can get fully immersed in a virtual reality world consisting of game footage of your upcoming opponent.

I wrote about the Kansas City Company, Eon Sports VR, a few weeks ago in my post, The Highest Quality Mental Reps. Brenden (different Brendan!) Reily’s company uses this technology along with your existing video and playbook to fully immerse your athletes in a virtual football arena.  Brenden gave me a demonstration, and I can tell you that you get that sense of presence that Iribe spoke of.

The Fast Company article on Google X was the first time a reporter has been allowed inside the innovation lab on the Google campus.  Google X is about finding

“audacious innovations that have a slim chance of succeeding but might revolutionize the world if they do”

The four main projects that have so far emerged from X:

  • Driverless cars
  • Google Glass
  • High-altitude Wi-Fi balloons
  • Glucose monitoring contact lenses.

contact lenseWhat the article is really about is the culture at Google X that embraces failure… that only by pressing the envelope… by risking failure… do you achieve audacious innovations.  On the just first page on the article there were almost 20 references to failing – here are a few:

  • Slim chance of succeeding
  • Course-correct
  • Setbacks
  • Falling
  • Fail
  • Rejecting
  • Cult of failure
  • Defeat
  • Fall apart

How does this philosophy translate to teaching and coaching?

Well, I am not suggesting that you set out to lose every Friday night contest.  But, there are many opportunities for “failure” before Friday night arrives, and this is the chance for real growth.

What I am saying is that if you are a coach preparing your team for a contest:

  • If you only practice at what you are good at
  • If you only put your athletes in situations where they will be successful
  • If you don’t test your athlete’s boundaries physically and mentally
  • If you don’t help your athletes get better at what they are not good at

Then your team will probably not improve to its full potential. Don’t be afraid to attempt, fail, re-teach, and try again.

What I am saying is that when attempting new things, “failing” is part of the learning process, and it is OK.

Attempt… and DOgreat things… and in the process don’t be afraid to fail greatly!

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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!

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

Jeff Floyd –



For me, Fathers Day is always a day of reflection… an evaluation of sorts…regarding Fatherhood.

How am I doing… am I making the grade… am I making a difference?

My wife and I were expecting with our first (and only) child… our son, Carter, during my stint as Defensive Coordinator at the University of Central Missouri. I remember how all of our friends and coaching colleagues that already were parents would constantly be telling me, “having a child will change you!”

I remember thinking, “well I am sure it will change me, but it will not change my coaching”

You see, prior to my son being born I was fairly selfish coach. I was the type of coach that would just piddle around the office… looking at a little more film… examining a few more tendencies. My wife understood… we got married on August 13, 1983 … and I started two-a-day practices on August 15. She knew what she was getting into, understood and supported my career, and had a career of her own.

Well I am here to tell you today that having our son, Carter, did change me and did change the way I coached… for the better.

While my wife always understood my career and allowed my to spend all the time I wanted in the office and at work, I knew that a newborn (or 1 year old, or 5 year old, or 10 year old) probably would not understand to the same degree. I wanted to be a great father… and also wanted to be a great coach. Each takes a large time commitment. There are only a given amount of hours in a day. So how was I (and my family) able to reconcile the time demands each “career” (coaching and fatherhood) need?  If I shirked either responsibility, guilt was sure to follow.

A couple of things made it possible in our situation.

I became a more efficient, organized and focused coach. Instead of just piddling, I always tried to work with a purpose.   It also helped that I was a morning person, and my wife (and son) were not. By going into the office early, (5:00 am) instead of going in at 6:00 or 7:00 am, I would not be missing any family time.

familyThe most important cog in making our family work, and allowing me to be a meaningful father (especially in season) was my wife, Jamie. It is funny now to look at family videos and pictures from that time period. It is amazing how many were shot at the Multi, Walton Stadium, or the practice field at UCM. Jamie would schlep Carter up to campus whenever I had a few free minutes… after practice… prior to team meetings…. during a recruiting weekend… just so we could have some family time.


If I could sneak away for an evening meal at home before heading back to the office to work, she would make sure that the family schedules jibed. We would read to Carter every night before he went to bed (even through most of the Harry Potter series) and if that meant he stayed up a while longer until I made it home, Jamie allowed that to happen. Sunday night became our “Library Night”. Before coming home on Sunday evening, I would head to the children’s literature section of the UCM library and get 5-6 new books to read.

So each year when I reflect on Fathers day, it really is a reflection on how lucky I am… lucky to be the father to our wonderful son, Carter… and lucky to have my wife, Jamie of 30+ years that made our family, and my fatherhood, FUN!

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

Jeff Floyd –