Competing at a High Level

It is that time of the year.

Over the next few weeks of the high school season we all will have the pleasure of seeing players (and teams) competing at a high level.

I have written often about competing in this blog… I just did a search to see how many of my posts contained the words “compete”, “competing” and “competitor” and stopped counting after 50.

My catch phrase (my very domain name) “You Can Do More” is an entreat to compete!

I have not written about competing at a high level… and there is a difference.

Competing… and learning how to compete… is really ALL mental … as the rest of my phrase indicates… “your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!”

To compete you don’t have to be a skilled athlete… or really an athlete at all.

You don’t have to be in great shape… or have learned good technique… you just need to give your best… a great… effort. We all have seen… and probably coached players (and teams) that were not the most skilled… the most athletic… but still competed well.

But competing at a high level requires much more…. and the teams that continue to advance through the playoffs over the next few weeks will be doing, and will have done the “much more” that it takes to compete at a high level.

football-playoffsTo me, for an individual to compete at a high level means that they have done everything in their power to make themselves mentally AND physically into the best player they can be…. a team competing at a high level means that the coach has engineered the same preparation to the bulk of the athletes (and coaches) on that squad.

The individuals competing at a high level will be in shape, strong, fast, use great technique, will be mentally prepared and confident in their training… they will reach down and Do More!

Teams that advance these next weeks will exhibit the same characteristics… great team speed and strength… mentally sharp, focused, confident and making few mistakes…. these teams will find a way to Do More… find a way to get it done.

Over the next month it will be fun following individual players and teams that have put the work in required to compete at a high level… good luck to you all.

“Big time players make big time plays in big time games”…. “The cream will rise to the top”

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –

What Motivates Your Athletes?

What motivates… inspires… drives your athletes ?

Of course, I cannot answer that question for you…. but I can share a few things that I have learned about motivation.

  • There is no “cookie cutter” approach… every athlete is different.
  • There is no “magic bullet”… it often is a variety and an accumulation of things.
  • What works one year, may not the next… every team is different.
  • You have to develop a relationship with your athletes and team to find out what their “hot button” is.
  • Every athlete has a story… a set of circumstances that make them unique.

And I was made keenly aware of one more things this past week…

Sometimes the best motivation happens daily… it is often tied to the mundane and is in the minutia.

A discussion broke out on Facebook the last couple of weeks among a group of former student-athletes that I had the honor of teaching and coaching 30 years ago in Osceola, Missouri.

It started with a Throwback Thursday photo (thanks Brandon Shelby) showing the cover of our playbook from 1986.


A rapid exchange of posts followed…

More pictures of old playbooks


Men recalling names of plays in the playbook (Gambler, Kelly)


A picture of the football we used (USFL ball) that our QB (Paul Carney) had saved.


And an email to me that included a digital copy of the entire playbook! (Thank you Ryan Self)

I have written about the value of a playbook as a teaching tool MANY times (The Value of a Playbook, The Playbook is dead… Long Live the Playbook, Flipping the Practice Field) but the playbook as motivation?

YES… it is clear to me that it was important to this group.

We were the “Osceola Air Force”… it was our identity.

We were a 1A school… but I wanted our student-athletes to think bigger… I wanted them to have pride in everything we said and did.

It was at the height of the USFL… the Houston Gamblers and Jim Kelly… we were running a “spread offense” in 1986 using “run and shoot” concepts.

  • The mundane… a playbook.
  • The minutia… the name of a play.
  • The daily… the type of football we used in practice and games.

And 30 years later these men (and their sons and daughters) still talk about it… they have saved their playbooks, and their old beat up football.

It is clear that this stuff was important to them… it helped motivate them.

It all matters… It has a cumulative effect.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –

Your Creed

I am constantly reminded that, as coaches, we are an amalgam… a combination… of all of the coaches we have played for or coached with throughout our lifetimes.

The philosophy we believe in… the techniques we teach… how we teach…

And the converse is true.   We mentor… teach… inspire all of the players and coaches in our sphere.

We are at the same time a “branch” of one coaching tree, and the “roots” of yet another

I have been very fortunate to have many great individuals influence the way I coach and teach (see posts Genealogy, Your Tree, Immortality).

I bring this all up today because of a post on a Facebook group I belong to (CMSU Fighting Mules Football Alumni) that referenced the “Muleball Creed”.

muleball-creedThe Muleball Creed was (and still is) deeply rooted in the folks that played for and coached with Terry Noland during his tenure as head football coach at the University of Central Missouri.

It was in every playbook, posted on our office walls, part of our workouts, discussed during pre-game, and eventually worked is way into the core… the psyche… the very fabric of the people in our program.

It states simply…

“Man’s greatest moment of happiness is to be tested beyond what he thought might be his breaking point and still succeed!”

We all memorized it, believed it, and could recite it at will… in fact I just typed it out verbatim 20 years after leaving UCM… and most everyone else that played and coached there during those years could probably do the same.

It is strikingly familiar to my Creed… Catch Phrase… Mantra…

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

My” Creed?…It IS what I believe… but hardly… exclusively… originally… mine.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –




Being more of a spectator now as opposed to an active coach has given me new perspective (and renewed appreciation) on our job as coaches.

It takes courage to participate in athletics, whether as a coach or participant.

You are putting yourself “out there” for everyone… spectators, family, friends and foes alike to watch, judge, critique, etc. It is easy to sit in the stands and grouse about how your team is lacking, or how your team’s players are “not very good”. It is much harder to compete, take the risk, do the work, and be a Doer!

It takes courage to be a coach, to put your product out for evaluation every Friday night or Tuesday or Sunday afternoon. I chuckle inside when other teachers (non coaches) worry/ complain/ get angry about being “evaluated” once or twice a year. Coaches not only get evaluated during those two “official” teaching evaluations, but also every Friday night when they put their team on the field. The evaluation is done not only by school officials, but parents, community members, students, and the media.

football-pressure-coachIn addition to these “evaluations” many of us also get evaluated almost daily by our Activities Director and/ or administration… watching practice, checking grades, monitoring your teams behavior while they are at school. And it is ALL GOOD! It comes with the job; it is what we signed up for, and generally keeps us on our toes.

So why do we do it? Why do we decide to compete… to coach?

This is a excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog that I re-read yesterday about being a spectator as opposed to a Doer:

“The spectators foolishly assert that if everyone was a doer, a leader and a maker of ruckuses, then there’d be no one left in the audience. As if those that do require an audience.”

“The alternative to being a spectator involves failure and apparent risk. It means that you will encounter people who accuse you of hubris and flying too high, people who are eager to point out the loose thread on your jacket or the flaw in your reasoning. The spectators in the stands are happy to boo, happy to walk out when the team is struggling in the third period, happy to switch if the bread or the circuses cease to delight.”

“Why on earth, they ask, would they want to be anything but a spectator?”

“And yet, those that have foolishly picked themselves, stood up, stood out and made a difference, can’t help but ask, “and why would I ever want to be a spectator again?””

You (and your players) have picked yourselves and stood up…

You (and your players) are Doers…. You are Competitors!

You have chosen a more difficult path…. a more difficult, but much more rewarding path.

You make a difference.

Ours is an awesome job, with awesome responsibilities!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –


Be Prepared

It is always a joy watching teams that are well prepared… that never seem flustered… that seem to expect the unexpected.

It is a joy watching teams that are well coached.

I know most football coaches use a script for their Thursday (day before contest) practice to “rehearse” kicking game situations. We, too, used a script for our final practice, but expanded its use cover more “unexpected” situations outside the special teams.


You can download the Excel file of the script we used here (Thursday practice script) but equally as important as the script itself is how we used it in teaching and preparing our athletes.

Here are some basic tenets that we employed in our Thursday practice script:

We tried to keep everyone involved both physically and mentally.

You can see in the script sequence there are times when JV and Scout team players are actively participating in situations. In addition, the athletes know that for each segment we will call out for at least one substitute… so they ALL have to be on their toes.

We wanted to keep all our coaches involved.

Our coaches should be coaching. Everyone has a function during this script… if they are normally on the field during the game, they will be in their same locations doing their same duties (i.e. “get back” coach). If they are normally in the pressbox, they will have assigned duties during the scripted scenarios (i.e. spotting the ball during 2 minute drill). Nothing undermines the importance of this practice like some of your coaches standing by the side and talking about their evening plans!

We wanted our athletes to understand the situations.

We used our Thursday script to make sure that our athletes understood personnel, alignment and assignment for each of these situations, but also the “why”, the strategy and philosophy that corresponded to each of these scenarios. For example, when and why might we want to take a safety during the course of a game, what can we expect in sudden change situations, what is our thinking offensively when we are “backed up”?

We want the practice to be “crisp”.

Each week, we kept the routine (and the script sequence) the same… including how each group huddled prior to entering the field, where each position group would stand during the game, how we would communicate, and coach’s assignments. We had already spent practice time during the week working on specific technique and assignments… this should be a refresher.

The first few weeks, we would spend more time explaining the concepts behind each of these scenarios, but as the season progressed we were able to be more succinct.

We had weekly “reminders” for each scenario.

For each special team, and special situation we would interject a reminder (or two) based on our scouting report for that week. If we knew the opponent had a particular strength (or weakness) it gave us one more time to emphasize that point prior to the game.

We used the script to continue teaching the kicking game.

It gave us an opportunity to quickly reinforce concepts like alignment, assignment, angles, and technique used in each phase of the kicking game. Although we did not use the time for in-depth coaching (as I mentioned we wanted to keep the practice crisp) it gave our athletes another opportunity to hear our “catch phrases” in each special team segment… phrases like “cone to the football”, “lane integrity”, “hay bail them” or “2-gap them”.

The bottom line is, we wanted our athletes to be prepared… in ALL situations. This was one tool we used to put a capstone on our weekly prep.

I hope this effectively communicated how/ why we used this script as part of our Thursday game prep practice. If you have any questions over this (or any other post) please shoot me an email or message me…. I WILL reply.

Good luck to all of the coaches this week as you enter the halfway point (how is that possible!) of the season.

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –





The culture of a program…

The culture of your program…

What is encompassed by this phrase?

  • The expectations regarding success…
  • The expectations regarding character…
  • Confidence…
  • Work Habits…
  • Classroom conduct…
  • Team and individual goals…
  • How players are held accountable in these areas

These concepts and many more that I am sure you can think of.

Trying to change the culture of a program is an incredibly difficult task.

How is it done? How can you accomplish this? How can you…


  • Move your team from the point of no success or expectations of success…
  • To winning some games against weaker opponents… teams you are “expected” to win…
  • To expecting success…wins … weekly and against all opponents.

I have written on this subject before and highlighted programs and individuals that changed the culture in their programs.

I have been involved in a few of these situations as a coach… both with success and without.

Here is what I have come to believe is one of the most important concepts when trying to change the culture of a program…

  • It takes a village.
  • It takes all hands on deck.
  • It takes everyone speaking the same language with the same expectations.
  • It takes everyone in the building and community being on the same page

If the expectations are understood by the athletes in your football program, but change when they participate in other sports, all the learning and progress made during the fall season is diminished.

If the athletes are expected to compete daily in your strength and conditioning class, but can take days off in another instructors class, the culture you are trying to change takes a hit.

If you are teaching your athletes the importance of great daily practice habits to be successful, but they are not hearing this in their other sports, or their other classes, or at home, then your task of changing the culture becomes more difficult.

You get the idea.

If you are trying to change the culture of your program (or sustain the great culture you already have) and things are not progressing as you would like…. I would take a look at what is happening when the athletes are not under your tutelage.

It is difficult to deliver an effective message… it is difficult for your athletes to “hear” your message if they are only expected to “listen” two or three hours a day.

Your message HAS to become the school/ community message.

It can be, and has been done… so you can do it!

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

Jeff Floyd –


The Limitations of 140 Characters

Let me preface this post by saying that I embrace technology and I use many social media tools.

I tweet daily, scan the twittershpere for nuggets, and participate in several online twitter chats (see Post #TXHSFBCHAT… The Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet)

That being said, twitter 140these tools all have limitations… and in many ways (like for really in-depth study and research), they are doo doo (RIP Gene Wilder).

To think you are going to learn much anything of substance by reading a 140 character tweet is misguided at best, and really pretty lazy at worst.

I worry at times that colleagues are spending… investing… time scrolling through their twitter account searching for that Golden Ticket (RIP Gene Wilder)… that single concept, phrase, or idea that will put their program on the path to greatness…

Probably not an investment that will pay huge dividends.

Most concepts in football (or coaching) have more substance than can be adequately covered in a tweet, Instagram picture, or Facebook post. My single post, Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, has over 1,000 words, (6,500 characters) about a dozen images and a 10-minute video… and I still worry that I adequately covered the subject!
What I try to do with my tweets (or re-tweet) is to get your attention… and then direct you to where the substance is… to where the REAL information is… which normally will take some time to read and digest.

It is not about instant gratification or a sound bite… it is about learning, content, and thoughtful study.

There is no shortcut… the only guaranteed shortcut … take the long way!

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

Jeff Floyd –



Rocket Science

It is not… getting recruited, that is. It is not Rocket Science.

launch1bHere’s the deal… the concepts are simple, the actual “doing”, tends to be much harder.  There really is no “magic bullet”, sure-fire single thing that will get you a college scholarship.  There really is no “miracle pill” that will get the college recruiters lining up at your door.  Well, there really is a “miracle pill” that you can take, but it just takes four (or more) years and a lot of hard work to swallow!

fork in roadWhat it boils down to is that over the next four years (if you are a freshman) you will be given literally thousands of choices that you will need to make. The result of these choices will either get you closer to your goal of being a college athlete and being rewarded for your hard work, or put you further away from your dream.

The sneaky thing, the really insidious thing, is that most of these choices by themselves aren’t “deal breakers”… making the right choice will not automatically earn you a college scholarship, and making the wrong choice will not prevent it.  So it is easy to think at the time you have to make the choice, “oh, this is no big thing”.  And you are right, this one single choice probably is NOT a big thing, but making these choices, good or bad, is incremental and cumulative.

I have seen student-athletes make these same types of choices over the last 30 years of my career.  The athletes that make the majority of choices that positively impact their goal are FAR more likely to achieve that goal.

Here are some choices that bombard a typical high school athlete…

  • You decide to skip the Friday after school off-season program because you want some extra time to get ready for your date tonight…. It Matters!
  • You decide to take a Team Sports class next semester instead of Advanced Strength Training for Athletes because it is easier… It Matters!
  • You work out with a group of 4 at a rack instead of 3, knowing that there will be more rest time… It Matters!
  • You chat with your friends in the evening instead of reading your literature assignment, which you will be tested over in the morning… It Matters!
  • You miss a summer-school strength and conditioning class session because you were “just too tired”… It Matters!
  • You stand at the side and talk to a teammate while others are practicing and coaches are coaching instead of getting a “mental rep”… It Matters!
  • You take your scouting report home, but don’t study it like the coach asked you to because your favorite TV show was on… It Matters!
  • Your mom schedules a dentist appointment on the day of practice, but you say “It’s OK, we just have practice that day”…. It Matters!
  • You decide to go to a party where you know there will be alcohol and underage drinking because all of your friends will be there…. It Matters!
  • You are late to practice because you have a detention for too many tardies…It Matters!
  • You jog through the finish of a drill instead of going full speed because you know the coach is helping someone else and isn’t looking at you… It Matters!

You get the idea, and could probably add more examples of choices you have had to make.  These types of choices come up all the time… daily… and I am here to tell you that It Matters!  It is not easy – as I said this “Miracle Pill” takes four years and a lot of hard work to swallow.  But you can do it… You Can Do More!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –

The Process is the Key

By the time this post goes live, Missouri High School football squads will already have one game under their belt with most other states following suit this week. For the next 10-15 weeks coaches across the country will be knee deep in the demanding but exciting grind of the high school football season.

As coaches, we have a lot on our plate each week…both on and off the field. One of the biggest time consuming jobs in this process, is of course, game planning…. making sure that we have done everything in our power to insure that we put our athletes in position to be successful offensively and defensively against the upcoming opponent.

My most popular series of posts, by far, are the eleven pieces that detail the game planning process our staff honed while at the University of Central Missouri. Posts in this series have been viewed over 20,000 times. The series was featured on the Washington Post’s Insiders Blog that had this to say:

For anyone who’s ever wondered how a defensive coach assembles a game plan, has a whole series on the thought process behind it. This particular link is to the call sheet, how a coach picks what works against the opponent’s best plays in certain situations each week, and has them handy so he can call his defense in a matter of seconds.

A tool we developed (the Call Sheet) that is included in these posts, has been downloaded nearly 10,000 times. But really, more important than any single tool, spreadsheet, chart… more important than any “magic bullet” you are trying to find… is the PROCESS that we developed and that is outlined in these series of posts.   A data driven… thoughtful… efficient …time tested… PROCESS. A process that you may be able to use “in toto”, or incorporate pieces into what you are currently doing.


Here are brief descriptions and links to each post that will take you through this process.


This post looks at the people and programs that shaped our Defensive Game Planning process at the University of Central Missouri.

Weekly Workflow

The day-to-day sequence of designing and implementing the game plan, including practice plans and scripts is outlined in this post

Film Breakdown and Formation Analysis

How and why particular game film is chosen and the tools we use to analyze an opponents offense

The Ready List

How THE key component of a successful game plan is developed

The Play Grid

How we chart and opposing offense, taking into account down, distance and formation

The Call Sheet

The final product of this process and the tool we use to select our defensive calls on game day

Game Procedures

How we man the press box and sideline, and delegate duties and responsibilities to each coach…. Includes game day chart templates that we use


Questions that have been asked and answered over the years regarding this process

Flipped Coaching

Some ideas on how to “flip” meeting, practice, and study to better utilize time

Defensive Installation Progression

Some considerations and ideas when planning your defensive installation… includes a sample form

All-in-all over a couple dozen charts and videos to help explain the game planning process we developed.

For those of you that have been following my blog (over 400 posts) for the past three years (nearly a quarter million views!), a heartfelt thanks and a couple of requests…

  • If you have found the blog helpful, interesting and/or entertaining… please share with your colleagues…. AND
  • You will notice a new feature on the blog this week… a way to make a monetary donation… A “donate” button in the right panel… if you feel so moved.

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

Jeff Floyd –


Advice From the Other Side

Take care of yourself.

It is that time of year.

  • School starting …
  • Fall seasons beginning …
  • 110+ hour workweeks ramping up…

And only 24 hours in a day

If you are like most coaches that I know, your priorities will look something like this…

  1. Take care of your family
  2. Take care of your team (which means putting them in the best position possible to be successful)
  3. Take care of your staff

Any extra minute/ hour you can eek out will be allocated back to one of these three things.

I was the same way.

For most of my career I would grind… putting all of my time and effort into Family, Team, and Staff.

I went from consistently training and being in great shape, to each year spending less and less time doing so… until my personal training became non-existent.

About 4 years ago I was forced to begin working out when I had a hip replacement and needed to rehab… progressing from walking…. to walking/ jogging… to jogging… normally for about 45 minutes to an hour, 3 or so times a week.

And when the season/school started… maybe on the weekends if at all.

Low intensity + Inconsistent Routine = Not Great Results

My advice… based on my experience… carve out some time to really take care of yourself.

  • Eat right
  • Exercise

Here is what I learned first hand this summer (yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks)

Instead of a long, slow, plodding jog/ walk… I stared doing interval training.   It is not a new concept, just something that I had not done since I was a competitive track athlete… and in great shape.

Basically 4-5 times a week I do one of the following workouts.

45 Second Interval Workout

  • 5-minute warm up
  • 45-second medium tempo interval
  • 45-second fast tempo interval
  • 2-minute recovery (walk)
  • Repeat intervals 5 times
  • 5-10 minute cool down

30 Second Interval Workout

  • 5-minute warm up
  • 30-second medium tempo interval
  • 30-second fast tempo interval
  • 2-minute recovery (walk)
  • Repeat intervals 7 times
  • 5-10 minute cool down

On days that I am not doing one of these interval workouts, I try to go out for a longer, more leisurely walk.

And that is it.

The interval workouts take maybe 40-45 minutes.

Physically and mentally I feel better than I have in 30 years…. at times I feel I could be back on the crushed gravel track at Blue Springs High school (yes… crushed gravel… no synthetic surface) running repeat 200m runs.

My heart rate data confirms my improved physical condition. You can see on this chart that my heart rate recovers quickly during each 2-minute recovery.

workout data

Now back to you.

It is a long season…and a long school year…

  • Wouldn’t you like a little more in your tank in October when you are heading into playoff time?
  • Wouldn’t you like a little more in your tank in January when you deep into your off-season routine?
  • Wouldn’t you like a little more in your tank at the end of next summer when you are preparing for another Fall campaign?

You get the idea… time spent on YOU will pay off with more quality time with Family, Team, and Staff.

I am not saying you have to do THIS workout, but I can tell you that I feel better, and spend less time doing this routine as opposed to the LSD (long slow distance) type of training I was doing previous.

Good luck this season… I will enjoy following you all during the next several months!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd –