This week Justin Hemphill reported to Nuclear Sub School in the United States Navy.

I received this email from Justin’s mom last week….

“Mary, Justin’s Mom… I had a conversation with Justin one day after he went running.  We were driving up a hill where he had run just hours before, (preparing for Navy PT)…. I was telling him how hard that Hill was for me to walk up, and that I just don’t feel like I can make it sometimes.  He said, “I know I can do it, when I get to that point, I hear Coach Floyd in my head telling me my body can do it, I hear ‘You Can Do More’, and I know I can get through it.”  That was an ah-ha moment for me!  Thank You!  I stopped worrying at that moment about Justin making it through Boot Camp!”

navy_sub_school_decalJustin played three years for me at Truman High School.  He did everything right (see post Do Things Right)  in our program…. worked extremely hard in the offseason… came to all of the summer workouts… I don’t think he ever missed or was late to a practice… did well in school… and was never in trouble.

Justin Hemphill played JV his sophomore year, and his junior season was on all of our varsity special teams.  He was a very important part of our District Championship that year.  He never started a game… he was a backup QB and DB.  He was one of those players that, as coaches, you are always trying to find the right position for him to get on the field.  We probably could have done a better job of that with Justin.

He worked very hard in the off-season and during the summer before his senior year.  Justin was one of our strongest players pound for pound (see post Pound for Pound).   We moved Justin to LB, and although he did play some for us there, his role was still pretty much as a special team player.  He never groused or complained about playing time… just continued to work hard and be a great “team player.”

We all have “Justins” in our programs.  In fact, we have far more players like Justin in our programs than the ones at the other ends of the spectrum… the “big time” players who are making all the headlines and plan on getting DI scholarship, or the others who are making headlines because they are in trouble.  As with many things, it is often the minorities at the extremes that get all the attention, while the majority… the “Justins”… the ones that are doing everything right, all of the time, plug away in anonymity and obscurity… not often (or ever) in the spotlight… just working, learning and being great team players.

We can’t forget about the “Justins”… they often are products of our best work.

I am so proud of Justin Hemphill… so proud that he was part of my program and my life.  I will also be able to feel very secure knowing that he will soon join his new team defending not a goal line, but our country.

Thank you, Justin!

Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Leadership Rules

Whenever I have discussions with my wife (who is an executive in the business sector) about great schools, great corporations or great football programs we always seem to come back to one key, common thread that makes them great. That common denominator is great leadership.  In a school it might be the principal or superintendent, in a corporation the CEO or COO, and in a football program it comes back to the head coach being a great leader.


Just last week I was reading an article in the August edition of the magazine, Fast Company about Education in the United States. The article included a discussion between Anne Sweeney, the CEO/President of Disney Television and Sir Ken Robinson, and Internationally renowned education theorist.

As part of this article, Sweeney shared her three rules for being a great leader:


“Walk around the halls. Eat in the cafeteria. When you show up, it means you are paying attention. It means you want to make sure people know how their world connects to the bigger whole.”


“We are stapled together. We live and die by each other’s successes and failures.”


“Have a conversation. Don’t have it be a reporting relationship.”

I was struck by how much these rules could apply just as well to coaching as they do to the head of Disney Television.

I think, as a whole, football coaches do a pretty good job holding people in their programs accountable… from themselves, to assistant coaches to the players.  But, I must say, too, it served as a reminder to me regarding the importance of these “rules”, and a bit of a “gut check”, realizing that I Can Do More in several areas.

It is often easy to get so caught up with the work that needs to be done (and it does have to get done) that we (I) often put Rules #1 and #3 on the backburner.  Last semester I had 5th block plan… which is an extra long block because all of the lunch shifts take place during that period.  It would have been so easy to regularly walk down to the cafeteria, sit with, eat with, and talk with my players and other students.  I didn’t do it often because there was always “work” to do.   As we all know, there is ALWAYS work to be done.   In retrospect, spending a few minutes eating lunch, connecting with players would have been time well spent.

Communicating as a person, not simply a boss (or football coach) is a powerful “rule” for coaches as well.  Letting your “guard” down occasionally… letting the players see another side of you besides the “Coach” side is not a bad thing… nor does it, or should it be construed as a kink in your amour.  It can show your players you care about them at a level beyond football.

How well are you following Sweeney’s rules for leadership?

For more great information I recommend these links:

Thanks again to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

We Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Hail to the Redskins!

I have to admit to my excitement this morning when I noticed views of my blog several hundred ticks ahead of where it normally would sit at that time.  After some investigating, I found out that my blog, specifically my series on defensive game planning, had been referenced by the Washington Post’s The Insider blog.  Mike Jones and Mark Maske, who are NFL reporters for the Post, write the blog. Here is the reference: 

Around the Web:

For anyone who’s ever wondered how a defensive coach assembles a game plan, youcandomore.net 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.

post insiderYou can see the post and their blog at this link – The Insider, and follow their twitter feeds at @mikejoneswapo and @markmaske .  They have a ton of good NFL information, especially concerning the Redskins.

Hail to the Redskins! 

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com


After reading my post, Dirty Red, last week, I received a message from a friend and colleague who is a frequent reader of my blog:

“Seriously… “Clarion Call”…. “Vernacular”… are you an English teacher or a coach?  I thought for a minute I was going to have to consult Webster!  Luckily I could figure out from the context what the he** you were talking about”


As teachers, and especially coaches, we have an awesome podium from which to speak.  We have a captive audience of athletes for several hours a day, most days of the year, over the span of three to four years.  We are the most important, influential adults besides their parent(s) in many of their lives.  They are young men and women who are literally hanging on our every word.  They believe what we say, and trust what we are teaching.  With that platform, comes responsibility.  Responsibility to:

  • Teach… more than football
  • Coach… teamwork
  • Instill… confidence
  • Espouse… lifelong learning
  • Practice… character building
  • Instruct… work ethic
  • Drill … life skills
  • Mentor… life lessons

If we are not doing all the above and more, we really are missing out on an opportunity to affect a student-athlete for their entire lifetime.  Great coaches know and respond to that responsibility.

Now, back to vocabulary… I know the best way for me to learn a word is by reading and seeing it in context.  In most all of my posts (you can check them) I try to throw in a fairly obscure word… not for the purpose of sounding educated or trying to be “fancy”, but in an attempt to expose at least one person to a word they may not know or feel comfortable using.

dictionaryAll the great coaches that are my idols… from Vince Lombardi and Hank Stram, to Bill Walsh and Bill Snyder, are (or were) masters of the English language.  I really believe having a great vocabulary is another tool in your box that allows you to communicate more effectively.  Communicating more effectively allows you to be a better coach and teacher.  A great vocabulary allows you to explain the often-subtle nuances of different situations; it will help you convey your ideas more effectively to your players, parents or the media.

As we all know, wearing many hats is a prerequisite for the job of being a coach.  I guess at some point I decided to include the “hat” of vocabulary instructor in my wardrobe as well.  My main point is that as teachers, we should relish the chance to teach… and teach more that the intricacies of the sport(s) we are coaching.

Thanks to PrepsKC for running this column both online and in their weekly print magazine. If you get a chance to go and visit their site and “Like” this post, I would appreciate it!

We Can Do More!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com


statsStats, numbers, data, have always intrigued me.  I try to use this type of information to better understand what we are doing well, and what needs to be an area of emphasis.  Last night I took a look at the stats for this blog.

By far and away, the most popular topic (by number of views) has been the series on Defensive Game Planning.  That is in part due to a number of online football outlets posting links to the series – most notably:

Thanks to all of these coaches and sites for sharing this information with their readers.  These are all great sites, ones that I would recommend bookmarking.

The stats ….

So far there have been nearly 5,000 views on the defensive game planning posts, with the most popular two being Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, and Defensive Game Planning – The Play Grid.  There has been almost 2,000 downloads of the various game planning tools that I shared in these posts, with the most downloaded being the Play Grid with over 200 downloads, followed closely by the blank Call Sheet with about 180 downloads.

Other popular topics have been the recruiting series, Recruiting – Gauging Their Level of Interest, and also the series regarding the Strength and Conditioning program, A Weekly (not weakly!) Workout

Thanks to all who have read and shared.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email or comment.  I will respond.  If you have enjoyed these posts, please share with a colleague.

I hit a minor snag with my iBook on Defensive Game planning…. A couple of the images were too small to read so the iTunes store rejected it until I correct those issues.  Hopefully I will have that (free) for all that would like to download it by the end of this month.  Until that time you can get find all of the posts at these links:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Value of a Question

questionI have always wanted my players to understand the “why” behind the way we teach things.  It might be why we align in a particular way, or the reason we take a six-inch step, or even why we kneel down on a specific knee.  I firmly believe that understanding the “whys” leads to a deeper learning and understanding.

Along with that philosophy, comes the importance of questions and checking for understanding.  I explain to my athletes that they can always ask “why”.   I also explain the caveat that there are correct times and ways to do the asking.  Having a confrontational debate about the value of taking a six-inch step, right in the middle of practice is not the correct way to ask a question.   On the other hand, responding to “why” we want something done in a specific way with, “because that is the way we want it done”, is probably a bit shallow.  Teaching young student-athletes how to have an adult conversation … how and when to ask a question… is an important skill.

Questioning does not need to be an adversarial or authority challenging venture. An open, Socratic Seminar type of atmosphere not only will increase your athletes understanding of a concept, but also help you in checking for understanding. If athletes are afraid or uncomfortable to ask questions, it makes checking for understanding a little tricky.  It is often easy to ask, “OK, did everyone get that?”; you often have no idea how many of your players are thinking to themselves, “No, I have no idea what you are talking about, but I am not about to let everyone know I am confused.

About a week ago I received an email from a colleague who asked this question:

Just read your blog article on making a screencast.  How would you capture video on an iPad?”

It was an excellent question that showed me that I omitted an important consideration in my post.  I discussed using a Mac or a PC, but did not mention how to capture from a device that more and more coaches are using… an iPad.  It was actually a problem and a workaround that I had encountered myself a few months ago.  This question not only showed me there was a void, but made it easy for me to fill it in.  To make a screencast from in iPad, I use an app called Reflector (see my post Apps for the Coach), which will mirror anything (video included) that is running on your iPad to your Mac.  While the video (or App, or anything else) is running on your Mac, you can make a screencast as you normally would. (See my post Making a Screen Recording)

If this question had not been asked, I would not have realized my omission.  The question helped me check for understanding with my readers.  It allowed to clarify, explain… to teach better.

How do you check for understanding with your athletes?  How often do you check for understanding with your athletes?  Are your players comfortable in asking why?  Are you comfortable explaining why?  If we are waiting until Friday night to “see if they got it”, it may be too late.

The new issue of PrepsKC is out… both in print and online.  My column can be found at this link … You Can Do More – PrepsKC  … if you get a chance pick up a copy or head over the their site and “Like” todays post.

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Film Grading

film roomIt is that time of the year, and that time of each week during the season… game film evaluation.  I have always believed in the value of grading game film.  As a coach, it gives you a tangible, quantifiable idea of what your players (and you) did well, as well as what they (and you) need to work on.  I have written about the film grade template we have used in our programs… grading each athlete on every play.

  • You can read the post at this link – Film Grading Tool
  • Download the Excel Template at this link – Film Grade Template
  • Or watch the video below to see how to use the Template.

It is easy to then use the data on this spreadsheet to determine what your coaching emphasis needs to be for the upcoming week.  It is a great tool to give the athletes, which helps regarding accountability… both yours as a coach, and theirs as a player in your program.

I have also had serious internal dialogues with myself about the value of watching the entire game, either as a team, offense or defense, or as a position group.  Is it really the best use of 60-90 minutes having your entire position group, starters, subs, role players, and non-players, watch the entire film?

Here is another method that we have used in the past, and which I believe has merit.  Every position coach, after grading the film, determines what their players did well, and what they need to work on to improve as a position group.  By using the film grading template, or something similar, this process is relatively easy.  Once the area(s) of emphasis has been decided, the coach then makes a 20 play (or so) cutup, showing 10 plays that his position group played well, using correct technique, great effort, angle, pad level, etc.  He discusses how these factors led to a positive outcome on the play.  He also includes 10 plays that highlight mistakes (ideally the most common mistakes of the game, and what they will be emphasizing during the next week) and explains how these missteps led to problems on those plays.

The position coach can easily focus, teach, and explain to his position group the main emphasis for the upcoming week by showing these clips… and can do so in a time efficient manner.   It becomes easy for the coach to say, and show, “When we do things right, here is the outcome, when we make mistake _______ , here is the result.”

The players will still have the film grade sheets, and can watch the video on their own to see how they played individually.  It is another example of “flipping” the traditional classroom.  For other posts about this concept see:

Have a good Labor Day … don’t work too hard…. ironic, isn’t it?

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com