Time for an appendectomy?

Many scientists believe that the appendix is a vestige of an organ, the cecum, which was a much larger, important, functioning organ in our ancient (more herbivore) ancestors.  The cecum aids in digestion of plant material.  As we (and our diets) have changed, the appendix has become smaller and less important.

In my opinion, high school football in Missouri seems to have some practices that, though once made complete sense and were important, now seem antiquated, and outdated… vestiges.

Camps – At one time, in the not so distant past, “camps” were a way of getting your players together, for a couple of weeks to do some football specific work. Teams could even wear helmets and shoulder pads.  With the advent of the 25 contact days over the summer, a team now can literally work 4 days a week for most of the summer (6+ weeks) and, after the acclimation period, wear full pads.  Scrimmages, 7-on-7, practices against other teams are all possible.  The good programs are taking full advantage of the 25 contact days and are past the “mindset” of dedicating a couple of weeks to “camp”.  Camps have become a vestige.

Jamborees – At one time, the “new” rule permitting jamborees allowed teams to get together for a controlled scrimmage prior to the beginning of the regular season.  It was a chance to get “game ready” … work out the kinks, go up against opponent’s athletes, and work with officials.  Again, with the allowed 25 contact days, many programs now feel that they have had ample quality work, often against good opponents.  They would rather take the jamboree week to finalize their game plan for their first regular season opponent without risking injuries or divulging any offense, defense or personal tendencies.  Jamborees have become a vestige.

SONY DSCThe 5-Day Acclimation Period – I understand the idea behind the acclimation process – getting players used to wearing pads and acclimated to the heat and practice intensity.  I even dedicated a post to the topic on my blog – Acclimatization.   Back in the days of limited contact with your athletes in the summer, and restricted to a couple of weeks of helmets and shoulder pads, the rule made some sense.  Now, most players, in most programs will have participated in all of their 25 contact days in the summer, with most of those days in full or partial pads.  It makes no sense for those programs, and those athletes to revert back to day one and have to go through the MSHSAA mandated acclimation process (2 days helmets only, 3 days helmets and shoulder pads only) at the beginning of their fall practices.  The 5-Day Acclimation Period is a vestige.

Live Scouting – Back in the day of 16mm film, and only trading two games of film before playing an opponent, everyone sent a crew of coaches (normally sub-varsity coaches) to an opponents game on a Friday night to scout.  Typically a pair of coaches went in order to chart tendencies, blocking schemes, pass routes, etc.  With most teams using the Hudl system, with most teams exchanging multiple angle, intercut films, and with most if not all games available, is live scouting really the best use of your coaches time? I think Live Scouting has become a vestige.

Good luck and good health to all of the high school teams and coaches as they head into their seasons this weekend.

Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post as part of their Coach’s Corner, and in their print magazine available at these outlets.  If you get a chance, visit their site (and “Like” my post!) and pick up one of their print magazines.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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“Dirty Red”

wrightWhen I joined the staff at the University of Central Missouri as a Graduate Assistant football coach, they had already established a tradition of playing very good defensive football.  Head Coach, Terry Noland, had a defensive background, and believed in populating the defense with good athletes.

 

grubbMike Foster was the defensive coordinator and had instituted the slogan “Dirty Red” (red and black were our school colors).  “Dirty Red” was an attitude that we instilled in our defense… a rallying cry… a clarion call.  It wasn’t about playing dirty (illegal, unethical) but rather giving everything you had on the field of play.

  • It meant being completely spent, exhausted, muddy, sweaty, bruised, and sore.
  • It meant doing everything you could to make a play… sacrificing your body, running, crawling, jumping over people, or laying out… whatever it took.
  • It meant everyone ”bought in” completely… you trusted that the guy on each side of you, in front, and behind you literally had your back… resulting in great team effort and great team defense.

We carried on the tradition and the slogan during my tenure as defensive coordinator at UCM.

The phrase was more than words… our players believed.  In one seven year span, from 1987 to 1993, the University of Central Missouri had the MIAA Defensive Player of the Year five times!

  • 1987 – Jeff Wright
  • 1988 – Mark Peoples
  • 1990 – Mike Glass
  • 1992 – Bart Woods
  • 1992 – Bart Woods

peoplesI am sure that all of these honored players would agree that one reason they were selected for this individual award, was because each of these years we played great “team” defense.  We had more than one player or position that teams had to account for – which freed up these great players to make great plays.  We were typically at the top of the league in most defensive categories, and many years ended up being nationally ranked as well… as high as 2nd in the nation in scoring defense in 1992.

576568_10201543079120020_2097547888_nPlayers still use the phrase “Dirty Red” as part of their post football vernacular.  I think it is a reminder of that bond… that attitude… that brotherhood.   They use it as a sign off on Facebook, a greeting, or even name their home brewed beer (Coach Hulet), “Dirty Red”.

 

When Coach Hulet left UCM as my DB coach to become the defensive coordinator at William Jewell College (colors red and black), he instituted the phrase and attitude there as well, and continued it the next year when I became the Jewell head coach.  In fact, I was fortunate to be able to carry on the “Dirty Red” slogan and attitude at a string of schools that had red as one of their colors: UCM, William Jewell, Wester, Derrick Thomas Academy, and Truman High School.  At each stop along the way, I enjoyed telling stories about the original “Dirty Red” defenses and players at the University of Central Missouri.  And at each stop along the way, the players at the new school came to know, admire and emulate the players of old.   The only bad news… the school I am at now (Bridger) has green and gold as their colors.

“Dirty Red”

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Bridger Strength

The Bridger Middle School weight room is coming along!  Over the past several months Truman High School has acquired many new pieces of equipment, which allowed the older or underutilized pieces to be passed down to Bridger.  Seven new racks, with accompanying adjustable benches, a Lat/ Row machine, and some bars and plates has transformed the Bridger weight room, which began with good space and some existing equipment, into one of the top middle school facilities in the area.

bridger1

We will begin the Strength and Conditioning program at Bridger this fall.  It is the current plan that every Bridger student, 6th – 8th grade, will have a 6-week strength and conditioning unit this school year.  It is an ambitious program, but one that we are looking forward to.  I will keep you posted as the year progresses!

bridger2

 

The Bridger Middle School students will soon be realizing that ….

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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The Uncomfortable “Hat”

As coaches, we wear so many “hats” during a typical day that we could open a millenary.

Teacher – This should go without saying.  Every time we introduce a new play, concept, technique or fundamental, we don the teacher “hat”.  To be a good coach, you must be a good teacher (see post Coach=Teacher).

Psychologist – When was the last time you repaired the fragile ego of a 15-year-old student-athlete?  How often do your players come to you for help or advice with their problems?

Motivator – You have to figure out the individual “hot buttons” of your athletes and need to understand the collective state of your team.  An expert motivator will know when and how to push these buttons to get the most out of your individual players and your collective team.

Parent – How often do you reinforce (or introduce) concepts that typically are done by a parent or parents… character, hard work, honesty, compassion, empathy?  When was the last time a student came to you because they were hungry, or couldn’t afford to attend camp, or cleats, or clothes?  It happens.

Administrator/ Guidance Counselor – You keep track of your student-athletes academic progress, and know exactly what their Core GPA, ACT/SAT test score, and know all the classes they are doing well, or are struggling in.  You talk to your athletes about the importance of grades, and conduct at school more than ANY other adult does, with the possible exception of their parent/ parents (see above).

Tactician – Each week you have to come up with a plan to put your athletes in the best position to have success.  It can be an incredibly extensive process  (see post – Defensive Game Planning).

Orator – You speak to large groups daily – to your athletes, at assemblies, at civic functions, to parents, and to colleagues.

AV/ Technology Geek – You know all the intricacies of uploading, ODK-ing, editing, and exporting video to Hudl.  Intercutting a game video with two camera angles in a matter of minutes is no problem.  You can telestrate, make a screen recording (see post – Making a Screen Recording), and post video to your website to help your players learn.   Highlights to YouTube – piece of cake.

College Liaison – You probably have a relation with more college reps than anyone else at your school.

capsAnd there are more…. so many “hats” – so little time.

Here is the thing.  Every coach has skills… “hats” that they are more comfortable wearing.  Great coaches are comfortable wearing all the “hats”… really beyond comfortable… they wear each “hat” with flair.

The more “hats” (skills) that you are comfortable with, and good at… the better coach you will be.  Which of the “hats” that you wear is the most uncomfortable for you?  Improving that skill will quickly improve you as a coach (see post – Get Uncomfortable).

After all, that is the approach we use with our players and team, isn’t it?   Improve the weak part of your game, or team.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post in their Coach’s Corner today!  If you get an opportunity, please go to check out their site.  They are the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association.

 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Must Read – Must “See”

Coach Keith Grabowski of Baldwin Wallace University, hit it out of the park with his article, Making an Impact with Flipped Coaching, for this month’s American Football Monthly online supplemental edition.

13julcoverIn this article Coach Grabowski pulls together resources from Urban Myer, (Urban Meyer – On Edge Coaching ), Coach Jason Hahnstadt, (The Flipped Coach – John Hahnstadt), some of my examples (Making a Screen Recording and Defensive Game Planning – Flipped Coaching) as well as many of his own ideas and implementations.  Additionally, Coach Grabowski includes examples of using technology for review and assessment with your players.

The article also has information and links to a great “flipped learning” resource from John Bergman – Turning Learning on its Head.

Coach Grabowski’s  article is the single best piece I have seen written on this topic.  It has video, practical examples, links to resources, and a narrative that excited me as to the possible uses for integrating this into my (and my colleagues) coaching bag of tricks.

The article itself is an excellent example of integrating technology into teaching and coaching. It is a must read…. really must SEE because of the many video examples and hyperlinks in the piece… article for 21st century teachers and coaches.

Again, the article for the American Football Monthly online supplemental– Making an Impact With Flipped Coaching.

I cannot emphasize this enough…. if you are a coach wanting to learn cutting edge teaching and coaching methods, read Coach Grabowski’s blog – Coach and Coordinator, and follow him on Twitter @CoachKGrabowski.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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The Ideal Coach’s Wife

30 years ago today the most important member of my coaching team joined me… today is my wife, Jamie, and my 30th wedding anniversary.  I was going to write today about how she was the “ideal” coach’s wife, but really, the ideal coach’s wife varies.  It really depends on the people involved.   What I can say is that Jamie is the ideal coach’s wife for me

wedding We got married on a Friday, August 13.  Back in those days, football practice (in Missouri) always began on August 15 (unless it fell on the weekend).  So as it turned out, we got married on Friday the 13th, and started 2-a-day practices on Monday the 15th.  Needless to say, she knew, and found out rather quickly, what she was getting into. And, yes, this is a picture of us on that Friday, August 13, 1983.

Jamie, while always very supportive, is also a very strong and independent woman.  She has always excelled at her career.   Being a coach’s wife has never been an occupation or an avocation with her…. it has simply meant that she has supported me… to the tune of 7 cities and 8 different football teams.

Jamie would tell you that she learned the ropes of being a coach’s wife from Sue Warner, the wife of long time Missouri coach, Bill Warner.  Bill was the head coach at Odessa High School, and I was his assistant – the Defensive Coordinator.  Bill and Sue took us, a young, newlywed couple, under their respective wings. 

Jamie would pass on Sue Warner’s warmth to all wives that ended up joining our team along the way… weather it was Osceola, Warrensburg, or Liberty Missouri.  Veteran wives would often joke about how Jamie would “interview” the new wives each year.

Jamie (and as an extension, our 22 year old son, Carter) is the best thing that ever happened to me… better than any wins… any championships.   As crazy as a coach’s life can get, she has always served to balance it out.  She is the ideal coach’s wife… for me. 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com      

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The Playbook Continuum

The other day, in the span of an hour, I heard from coaches on the opposite ends of the “Playbook Continuum”.

playbookOn one side, I spent some time visiting with a local high school coach about ways to use technology to make their playbook better.  He was willing to do whatever it took to help his athletes better understand their system.  He was explaining how he uses playmaker pro, captures the images and puts them in a document.  This coach wanted to learn how to use new tools to embed video to help make a digital version of his playbook … to help it “come alive”… knowing there are many different types of learners on his team.  He (and all of us) are anxiously awaiting the release of the Hudl playbook function, hoping it will be the “all-in-one” tool for our playbook needs… that it will become the “Playbook of the Future”.

On the other side of this spectrum was a coach that did not believe in playbooks… saying, “No one reads them and they just end up in the bottom of their lockers

Unbelievably, it is almost a direct quote from my post – The Value of a Playbook.  Let me quickly revisit that post:

I am amazed at the reasons (excuses) some colleagues give for NOT preparing a playbook for their athletes.

  • “It is a waste of my time, they won’t even read it”
  • “It is a waste of my time, it will just end up in the bottom of their locker”
  • “We install on the field, that is the best way to learn anyway”
  • “We change what we emphasize each week, so our offense (defense) is really fluid… it’s tough to capture that in a printed playbook”
  • “Kids learn by doing”
  • “We just teach the play concepts, so being able to draw up a play is not that important”
  • “I did not have time – there are so many other, more important things to do”
  • “Kids just don’t have the attention span any more… they are used to playing video games”
  • “Kids don’t read any more – they would rather watch a movie instead”

These reasons (excuses) all have some validity…

  • Some kids DO learn by doing…
  • Some kids WOULD rather watch a movie than read…
  • Some kids will NOT read the playbook…
  • Some kids DO have short attentions spans…
  • Some kids DO relate to video games more than the written word.

Some, but not ALL kids

Without a doubt, publishing a good playbook is hard work and a time consuming project.  But let me pose these questions to you…

  • If having a playbook helped just one athlete perform better on one play during the season….
  • And that one play made the difference between winning and losing one game….
  • And that one game made the difference between being conference or district champions…
  • Would you publish a playbook for your team?

There are no guarantees in coaching… but if having a playbook is going to help win one game… for me the time spent is a good investment.

A digital, interactive, mutli-media playbook is great, but I have to believe that ANY playbook is better than NO playbook.  This may offend some readers, but the above “reasons” for not making a playbook are really just “excuses“… We owe it to our players to make every effort at teaching them using all the tools available.

Those two coaches lead very similar programs… similar facilities, budgets, athletes, etc.  Their teams will meet this season.  It will be interesting to see the outcome…..It is the Singer, Not the Song.

 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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It is the Singer, not the Song

Think of your all-time favorite song, performed by the singer that made it special to you.

karaoke600Now think of that same song performed by a 30 year, karaoke signer at her bachelorette party at the local pub.   Same words, same notes, same rhythm… but there is a big difference in the product.  A singer has skills that turn the words, notes and rhythm into a work of art.

It is the singer… not the song.

There are many different types of singers… rock, soul, blues, country.  Every great singer, in each genre, uses their unique skills to turn the words, notes, and rhythm into a work of art.

As a coach and teacher, we are the “singer”.

We all play under the same rules, on the same field, and often with very similar type players and plays… the “song”.

It is up to us, using our unique skills, to turn out a work of art,  instead of a karaoke screecher.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Your Tree…. Your Legacy

Two items came to my attention yesterday, both stories of people thanking their coaches… after all it is officially (according to my wife anyway) “Thank Your Coach Week

Robert Pearcy played at the University of Central Missouri when I coached there.  This summer he coached his son’s baseball team, and just yesterday received this thank you note from one of the players on his team.

IMG_1038

“The best baseball year of my life.  I will never forget you.” … about as high of praise that you can get!

Next…. In the Kansas City Star yesterday, there was a story about K-State Football Coach, Bill Snyder.  The article details Snyder’s journey from flunking out at MU to enrolling at William Jewell College under the guidance of Head Football Coach, Norris Patterson.

Snyder said that without a strong academic support system at the time, without “all those things that they [athletes] have now,” he was “just lost.”  The article goes on to say,

When Snyder returned to his home in St. Joseph, he was heavy with guilt because of how his mother, a single parent who worked at a department store, had sacrificed for him.

That’s when then-William Jewell football coach Norris Patterson offered Snyder fresh hope in the form of financial aid if Snyder would “do right,” “take care of business” and perform in the classroom.

With that offer, which included a chance to play football again and work as a custodian at the athletic complex, Snyder was revived and wasn’t going to squander the opportunity.

It just kind of put me back on my feet as much as anything. Dr. Patterson had an impact on my life,” said Snyder, who said his sense of debt to Patterson made him strive to be as good as he could be in the classroom and everywhere else.

The diagram below is Coach Snyder’s coaching tree – this only shows the head coaches at major colleges.  It does not include assistant college coaches, or high school coaches that he has influenced.

snyder_tree

If you take Snyder’s “tree” back even further to Coach Norris Patterson, that “tree” would become a “forest”.  Coach Patterson also coached Jim Nelson (who was my college coach for 3 years) Stan McGarvey (the coach for my senor collegiate season) and Fred Merrell (who was my high school coach).  If you looked at all the student-athletes that these coaches influenced during their careers… and all the people that those student-athletes went on to impact, I am quite sure the number would be in the thousands.

Think of the positive effect that all these men… traced back to one man…. Coach Norris Patterson… has had on our society.  Thank your coach this week.

What legacy will you leave… what legacy will you continue?   It is an awesome job… and an awesome responsibility.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Thank Your Coach Week

hofWhile watching the Professional Football Hall of Fame inductions last weekend, I was reminded again what an awesome and important job we have as coaches.  Nearly every one of the inductees thanked their high school coach, and many of their high school coaches were in attendance.

 

The absolute best part of my job, better than any wins or championships, is when a former player or student takes the time to send an email, call, or message thanking me for being their coach or teacher.  It is not always the Hall of Fame, or All Conference player… and usually not people still involved in athletics.  The messages are always very similar… “Thank you for teaching me …

  • the value of hard work…
  • how to push myself…
  • the value of teamwork…
  • that I can do more…
  • how to set my goals…
  • how to be mentally tough…
  • the value of discipline…
  • how to persevere… 

It is such a simple thing to do, yet something that is so powerful.

So here is my question and challenge … have you thanked your high school coach recently?  If not, reach out and make their day.  It is such a simple thing to do.  I am sending my high school coach, Fred Merrell, an email today.   Please pass this on… re-tweet… repost… share with your staff.  Let’s make this “Thank Your Coach Week“… I can’t believe Hallmark hasn’t already come up with this idea!

You don’t have to wait until your induction to the Hall of Fame.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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