The Hard Parts

Here is a quote from Seth Godin’s Sunday post, “The Hard Parts”:

In an industrial setting, the obvious plan is to seek out the easy work. You’re more likely to get it done with less effort and then move on. The easy customer, the easy gig, the easy assembly line.

Today, though, it’s the difficult work that’s worth doing. It’s worth doing because difficult work allows you to stand out, create value and become the one worth choosing.

Seek out the difficult, because you can. Because it’s worth it.

Few of us became coaches because it is easy… it is difficult work.  I would encourage you today… tonight… to examine your job as a coach.  Are there any “Hard Parts” that you can do differently… better… allowing you to stand out… to become the one worth choosing?   Maybe it is time to reinvent the wheel.

sad coach

And that is the perfect segue for my next two posts that will go live later this week.   I am very excited to share:

  • Why do a Playbook?, on Wednesday, and
  • The Playbook of the Future, on Thursday

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Recruiting – The Official Visit

Today is the third of a six-part series designed to help student-athletes and their parents know what to expect at the various stages of the recruiting process.  I briefly explained these stages in the post, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level Of Interest; I will be going into greater detail at each step to help you maximize every opportunity to market yourself.

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.

Today I am going to discuss the level regarding the “Official Visit” and what to expect during your time on an NCAA campus.

offer visit pyramidWhen an NCAA school offers you an “Official Visit”, this indicates a very high level of interest.  An “Official Visit” is one where the college or university is paying for you (and your parents) to travel and visit their campus.  Colleges normally will have you (and your parents) spend the night, feed you, pay travel expenses, give you tickets to games, etc.  All this is legal (to a point) and what most colleges will do regarding Official Visits.

A typical itinerary for an Official Visit is highly choreographed and will  probably look something like this:

Day 1

  • 8:00 AM – Arrive on Campus, met by Recruiting Coach
  • 8:30 AM – Greeting and introduction of Staff by Head Coach
  • 9:00 AM – Tour of Campus – Led by Football Hostess
  • 10:15 AM – Tour of Athletic Facilities – Led by Coach
  • 11:30 AM – Lunch at Student Union with Coaching Staff
  • 1:00 PM – Meeting with Professor in you area of Academic Interest
  • 2:00 PM – Meeting and Presentation by Strength Coach
  • 3:30 PM – Change clothes for Testing
  • 4:00 PM – Physical Testing (225 lb bench rep test, Vertical Leap, 40 yard dash, Pro Agility Shuttle, possibly position specific drills -Division I football cannot test or tryout )
  • 5:30 PM – Change for Dinner
  • 6:00 PM – Transported to Dinner with Coaching Staff at a local restaurant.
  • 7:00 PM – Back to Football Complex – introduction of player hosts
  • 7:30 PM – Attend Basketball Game on Campus
  • 10:00 PM – Free Time with player hosts

Day 2

  • 7:30 AM – Breakfast at Student Union
  • 8:30 AM – Meet with position Coach
  • 9:00 AM – Meet with Coordinator
  • 9:30 AM – Meet with Head Coach
  • 10:00 AM – Depart Campus

Keep these two things in mind.

  1. The official visit is highly choreographed by the university and the coaching staff to put their institution and football program in the best possible light.
  2. You are being evaluated the whole time you are on campus.  You not only will be evaluated on your physical testing results, but also on how you handle yourself during the entire visit.  The head coach will get feedback from every coach you meet with, and also from the professor you met with, the football hostesses that gave your campus tour, and your player host.  They will want to know how you conducted yourself, the type of questions you asked, and your responses to questions.  They will want to know if you are the type of student-athlete that will fit in and be successful academically in school and in their football program.

During the visit there will be times that you are with your parents, times that you are alone, and times when you will be with other players.  This is done intentionally.  The coaching staff will want to see how you will act without parental guidance in these situations.  Your parents will not be there to watch over and answer questions for you while you are in school.   Typically, you will not be staying in the same hotel or campus room as your parents.   A hotel room will be provided for your parents, and you will be rooming with another prospective student athlete.

The Official Visit is also a great opportunity for you to continue evaluating their university and football program.  It is an excellent time to find out what the coaching staff and football program is REALLY like.  You will have time to spend with current student-athletes without coaches around.  During the recruiting process, it is easy for a coach to “sell” themselves and their football program.  They will tell you the good stuff.

Make sure to have questions ready for your academic advisor.

  • What types of jobs are available in my major field?
  • What is the placement rate for jobs in my field after graduation?
  • What kind of extra help is available in I need it?
  • What is the graduation rate of student-athletes at this university?

Make sure to have questions ready for the coaching staff.

  • How many players are currently at my position group?
  • How do I compare athletically to the current players in my position group?
  • How many people are you currently recruiting in my position group?
  • How many JC athletes do you recruit and sign each year?
  • What is your philosophy regarding redshirting?
  • Do you have required study time for athletes?

Make sure to have questions ready for the current players.

  • How is the head coach?
  • What kind of coach is my position coach?
  • How do they treat the players?
  • Are they interested in me academically?
  • What will a typical day look like in season?
  • What is the off-season program like?
  • How do they treat injured players?
  • How is the food on campus?

college recruiting ebookThe Official Visit is one of the last, and most important pieces of the recruiting process.  Things are getting very serious regarding the school’s interest in you as a prospective student-athlete. Normally colleges will not spend the time, money, or energy bringing a prospect on campus for an Official Visit if they are not planning to invest some scholarship aid in that athlete.  Make sure you maximize this time you spend on campus, both in marketing yourself, and evaluating the interested school.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Disciplined Mental Toughness

XC_running_symbol_revI just finished my second 4-mile road race, The Kansas City Trolley Run.  I have completed several (5-6) 5K’s in the last year and am developing an increased appreciation for distance runners, and their toughness… especially their mental toughness.

I am a competitor.  I like to win at everything I do.  I like being the best.  I was a football player and a sprinter in track, so my longest running competition was over in less than 60 seconds.  In football, the competition comes in quick spurts – 4-5 seconds, a play at a time.  Distance runners, good distance runners, have to keep a sharp mental focus, for several minutes… or many minutes… or hours!  They have to be disciplined competitors, physically AND mentally.  It is not an easy thing, for me any way.

Distance runners are tough, competitors, and disciplined.  I respect those qualties.

Congrats to Cindy Joy Davison for beating her goal by 8 minutes today in the OKC half marathon, and fellow “Team 616” runners Jamie Floyd and Becky Nace for running their best 4 mile times in the Kansas City Trolley Run!

YCDM! = You Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Film Grading Tool

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 your game and practice film; it is a tried and true process. The film grade sheet (download the template here: film grade template) that we have used has been an important tool in this transformation, giving the players concrete feedback on their play, and helping our coaching staff to “check for understanding” and focus our teaching in needed areas.

film grade sheetThis template has room for 16 games or practices (you might copy the template and have one for practices and one for games) and can easily be customized using your terms for fronts, stunts, coverages, plays, etc.   If the coordinators have time, they will try to have the sheets ready to go, with the defensive calls or offensive plays from the game or practice already entered on the position coach’s spreadsheet. Otherwise, each position coach can enter this from the game’s call sheet.  From there it is simply a matter for the coach to fill his athlete’s jersey numbers and click on the pull down menu in the grade box for each play. Here is a brief video explaining how to use the excel that I am sharing.

We grade every player on every play and they get a copy of the grade sheet.  We do it by position group, so the most any one coach is grading is 3 or 4 athletes. We give each player a “plus” or a “minus” each play.  If we have given them a minus, then our “rule” is that we have to explain why they received that grade.  At the end we total how many “pluses” they have, divide that by the total number of plays that they played, and that gives us a percentage “grade” for that game or practice.

By grading every play, it shows the athletes that you care about them becoming a better player, and that your evaluation of their play is not arbitrarily arrived at – it is based on their performance for each play.  The other thing that it gives us as coaches is a reference for what areas may need more work.  It is a way for us to “check for understanding”.  We total up the various categories that players have received a minus grade, which gives us an area of emphasis for the coming week.  If we see that “missed tackle (MT) ” was one of the leading categories contributing to minus grades, they we can adjust practice accordingly.  If we see an abundance of alignment/ assignment mistakes, we know that either some concepts are too complex, or we need to do a better job of teaching these concepts.  At the conclusion of the season, this workbook becomes part of our end of season analysis(Becoming a “Stronger” Coach in the Off-Season).  We can go back and calculate the total number of minus grades in each category to give us an idea for teaching and coaching priorities in the off-season.

If you have any questions, or would like help customizing this grade sheet to your offense or defense, just drop me a line!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

100%

When it comes to effort, 100% is IT…. it is the gold standard…. perfect… perfection… totally and completely spent…. nothing more to give…. everything…

Sorry, but there is no such thing asgiving 110%

The whole concept behind the phrase, the concept that drives this blog, You Can Do More!,  is that most of us don’t approach giving 100%.  When things get tough, physically or mentally, our brain goes into survival mode and we start shutting down and slowing down.  It is our job as coaches to get our athletes (and ourselves!) to ignore that lying brain and start inching closer to that magic 100% mark.

In 1959 during his first meeting with the Packer Quarterback group that included future Hall of Famer, Bart Starr,Coach Vince Lombardi had this to say:

“Gentlemen,  we’re going to relentlessly chase perfection knowing full well we will not catch it, because perfection is not attainable.  But we are going to relentlessly chase it because, in the process, we will catch excellence

lombardi chalk talk

Chase perfection… chase 100%… inch closer to it by doing more… even a little bit more… achieve excellence!

Thanks to former players Jake Wingo (@JakeWingo) and Trevor McKie (@tbmckie01) for the inspiration behind today’s post!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

In the Spotlight – Becca Jonas

jonas basketballToday in the Spotlight is junior two-sport standout athlete, Becca Jonas.  Becca participates in both volleyball and basketball at Truman High School, and has been starting varsity in both since her freshman year.  Her play has been instrumental in the success both of these programs have enjoyed the past few seasons.  Becca has been training in our strength and conditioning program since the winter of her freshman year, and has made great gains since that time.  Her estimated 1RM on both the Push Press (170 lbs) and Hang Clean (160 lbs) are among the leaders of all of our women athletes at Truman High School

Here is a copy of Becca’s most recent workout card

jonas card

Beyond just starting as a freshman, Becca has earned many accolades in both sports.

Volleyball Honors

  • 2nd Team All-Conf 2011
  • HM All District 2011
  • 1st Team All-Conf 2012
  • 2nd Team All-District 2012
  • HM All-Area 2012

Basketball Honors

  • 1st Team All-Conf 2011
  • HM All Area 2011
  • 1st Team All-Conf 2012
  • 2nd Team All-Area 2012
  • 1st Team All District 2012
  • 1st Team All-Conf 2013
  • 1st Team All-District 2013
  • 1st Team All-Area 2013
  • 1st Team Media All State 2013
  • 1st Team MBCA All-State 2013
  • 1st Team All Metro 2013

Becca has committed to play basketball and attend Drake University upon her graduation from Truman High School.  With her senior season still to go, we are looking for continued great achievements for Becca and the Truman girls volleyball and basketball squads.

Here is a brief video of Becca training, working out on our four Core lifts.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Battle the Time Crunch with “Active Recovery”

active recovery for 3Yesterday  (Tuesday) we incorporated a combination lift (hang clean to front squat) ANDactive recovery” into our weekly (A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout) workout schedule.  With many of our athletes involved in multiple sports, most of them do not have a true off-season.  Couple that with only having 40-45 minutes during a class period, and time becomes a factor.  Dr. Dan Lorenz discussed the concepts of combinations lifts and active recovery in a recent article at PrepsKC.com, “Training Multi-Sport Athletes.

“Secondly, workouts can be kept shorter for the kids by doing combination lifts. For example, an athlete can do a hang clean to front squat to a press, or a squat to press. These are extremely fatiguing movements, but because it’s multi-joint and gets both upper and lower body, an athlete can do 4-5 sets of this and be done. Numerous combinations exist and are only limited by creativity of the coaches.”

“Next, exercises for other sports could be used as an “active recovery” between sets. For example, baseball players can do their rotator cuff program exercises in between sets of squats, cleans, or deadlifts. That way, the athlete is completing more exercises in less time, but also addressing needs for each sport they play. Sometimes, rope jumping or doing various hop patterns in place provide a useful means of an active recovery.”

Tuesday is our “Light” Clean day.  We had our athletes use the weight showing on their card for the Tuesday, Clean, 3 x 8 cycle, decreased the reps from 8 to 5, and added a full front squat on each rep.  We also had the athletes who were not doing the primary lift (Clean to Front Squat) engage in what is known as an “active recovery” phase.  We set up the routine and rotation as follows:

2 Person Rotation

  • 1st Set – Clean to Front Squat – Tricep Extension
  • 2nd Set – Clean to Front Squat – Upright Row
  • 3rd Set – Clean to Front Squat – Bent Over Row

The athletes rotated after each set, going from Clean/Squat to the dumbbell exercise and visa versa.  The athlete completing the active recovery phase (dumbbell work) began when the Clean/Squat person started, and stopped when he was finished.

Here is a brief video showing what the 2 Person Rotation looks like:

3 Person Rotation

  • 1st Set – Clean to Front Squat – Tricep Extension – Jump Rope (2 ft same place)
  • 2nd Set – Clean to Front Squat – Upright Row – Jump Rope (2 ft front to back)
  • 3rd Set – Clean to Front Squat – Bent Over Row – Jump Rope (2 ft side to side)

The athletes rotated after each set, going from Clean/Squat to the dumbbell exercise to the Jump Rope drill.  All of the athletes in one group began when the Clean/Squat person started, and stopped when he was finished. You can see the Jump Rope patterns at a previous post – Jump Rope Training

Here is a brief video showing the 3 Person Rotation:

When all of the athletes in the group had finished 3 sets of the Clean/Squat combination lift, they went on to their “Medium” push press workout, which is what the normal Tuesday workout calls for.  It was a GREAT day in the weight room!

We Did More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Motivation and Repetition

Seth Godin talked about a different sort of reps (repetitions) last week in his post, “Frequency, repetition and the power of saying it more than once

“Repetition increases the chance that you get heard.”

“Repetition also increases (for a while) the authority and believability of what you have to say. Listeners go from awareness of the message to understanding to trust…..”

“Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles.”

Yesterday as I was working on the web site, I noticed that nearly 40 (out of 110) posts dealt with some aspect of motivation.   I am OK with that number… for a couple of reasons.

MotivationMotivation is a key component of our job as coaches and teacher.  We are constantly trying to get young men and women to “do more” than they think they can, to perform beyond what they believe they can.  That is not an easy task.  For that reason it has been a point of emphasis … and my repetitions have reflected that importance.

Also, I have tried, using Godin’s words, “delivering the message in different ways”, trying to “describe ideas from several different angles.”  Isn’t that what motivating young student-athletes is all about?

I don’t believe there is a single way to motivate young men and women… they all are different and respond to coaching differently.  I think you have to “deliver the message in different ways” and see what “sticks”… what works for each individual student athlete.  You have to figure out what his or her individual “hot button” is; you have to figure out the thing that motivates each athlete.   I don’t believe there is a cookie cutter… a one size fits all approach to this.

It is hard, but interesting and satisfying work when done correctly.  It is about developing meaningful relationships with your student athletes.

It is coaching…It is teaching.

You can get your daily dose of Seth Godin at his blog – sethgodin.typepad.com

True Team Building

trust fallI have a different take on “team building” than many people.  I have never bought into the idea that going to a ropes course, or doing the “trust fall” builds teams… true teams.  Every successful team I have ever been associated with, as a player, coach, or a YMCA Executive Director had a few things in common – and none of it included going camping, canoeing, or playing paint ball as a team.  Those successful teams were all about everyone that was on the team working hard, sacrificing and dedicating themselves to a common goal, whether it was winning a championship or opening a new YMCA.

Team building happens in the weight room during December when you and all your teammates and coaches are there,  “going to failure” despite the season being nine months away.  Team building is hanging your head over a trashcan with six of your teammates throwing up the breakfast you didn’t eat because you didn’t want to throw up your breakfast during 6:00 am morning conditioning.  Team building is when you and 90% of your teammates have made 90% or more of the summer workouts, even though the weight room is not air conditioned and the temperature on the turf rises to over 100 degrees by 10 am.   Team building is when you go into “battle” and you can look to your left, look to your right, look behind you and look over to your teammates and coaches on the sideline and become filled with confidence because you have all already battled together daily over the course of the last year.

I don’t have anything against activities such as ropes course, trust falls, paint ball etc.  I think they are fun activities and have their place.  I think they can ADD to a team that has already been “built”.  They can’t replace the hard work that is true team building.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Hang Snatch to Overhead Squat

Last week we introduced a new “combination” lift to our workout, Hang Snatch to Overhead Squat.  We occasionally add a combination lift (see post Combination Lift) to our weekly workout as a changeup; most recently I have discussed and shown video on the combination lifts Hang Clean to Front Squat, and Hang Clean to Push Press.

We try to be as simple as we can in our teaching and coaching of these combination lifts.  I know you can go into great detail teaching every part of this and every Olympic lift, and if I were training the athletes to be Olympic power lifters, I certainly would do that.  We are using this lift (and all of our lifts) to efficiently train our athletes, both men and women who participate in a variety of sports, to help improve performance in their sport(s).

When we teach it, we break in down into a few pieces that we have already discussed and taught.  To simplify the teaching, we tell the athletes that we want them to go from the Power Position (which they already know as the starting position for several of our lifts) to the Overhead Support Position (which they know from Push Press and Snatch) to the Overhead Squat Position.  The Overhead Squat position is “new” but we use essentially the same terminology as we do in teaching the Squat or Front Squat; Posture, Base, Full Range of Motion, Feet Flat, etc.

Although it is very similar to both the Squat and Front Squat, executing a squat with the bar in the Overhead Support position takes some getting used to especially in regards to balance.  We do this combination lift with light to medium weight, telling our athletes we want the movement to be a smooth, almost graceful motion.

Below is a telestrated video with audio comments showing a few of our athletes completing this combination lift.

As with the other combination lifts, this workout is taxing, but efficient.  In a recent column for PrepsKC.com, Dr. Daniel Lorenz talks about the benefit of these combination lifts for multi-sport athletes:

“Secondly, workouts can be kept shorter for the kids by doing combination lifts. For example, an athlete can do a hang clean to front squat to a press, or a squat to press. These are extremely fatiguing movements, but because it’s multi-joint and gets both upper and lower body, an athlete can do 4-5 sets of this and be done. Numerous combinations exist and are only limited by creativity of the coaches. “

The rest of Dr.Lorenz’s excellent article can be found here: Training the Multi Sport Athlete

Questions and Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com