Last Days

Although the current high school playoff systems in most states have changed this situation, back in the day, most teams knew going into the final week of practice if they had a chance to make the playoffs or if indeed it was going to be the last week of preparation.  At the college level, that is still pretty much the case for most teams.

I received a tweet this week that made me think of those “Last Weeks” and a standing rule we always had on our teams.

Hey fellas, the saddest day of the year for me is tomorrow.  Check in your equipment right after school.  Please have clothes washed!

I know the feeling.  We always had a standing “rule” during that final week:  There was to be no mention that it was the final week!  No “this is the last full pad practice”… no “this is the last Friday walk through”… no “this is the last pregame meal”…. You get the idea.

Pad-StorageWe always told our athletes that we did not have to be reminded that it WAS the last few times this team as we know it, this years iteration of our football squad, will get together… and it did ALWAYS sadden me.  Even the years that we fell below expectations, it was still OUR team… this years TEAM, with this group’s dynamics (which were always interesting and unique), and this years Seniors.  It will never be replicated.   We did not, I did not, want think about it every day that it was our final practices together.

As coaches are prone to do, and I am guilty of as well, it is easy to begin letting your mind start thinking ahead to off-season and next years team.  I did not need any help or encouragement to begin that line of thinking; it would not be very fair to the current squad for me to do so.  We always felt our current group deserved our best work, our attention to every detail for THIS year, THIS game.

As many of us are having, or have already had our “saddest day of the year”, I wish good luck to my colleagues that are still playing, or are heading into your final weeks.  I encourage you to enjoy your remaining days and enjoy your time with THIS team.

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 –

Your Best Work

I have started, stopped, written and re-written this several times trying not to sound too schmaltzy or mushy… but I am a coach… and as we say, I have the “chalk” so here goes.

Last night I had the opportunity to watch the second round game in 1A District 3- Osceola vs Skyline, at Osceola.  It was one of the proudest moments in my coaching career.


My first head football coaching position was at Osceola.  I was there three seasons, and the last two seasons we went 9-1 and made the playoffs both seasons.  The quarterback on that team was Paul Carney, who ended up being an All-State QB his junior and senior seasons.  Paul was one of the hardest working, most dedicated players I have ever coached.

Paul is now the head football coach at Osceola.

imagesOne of the football managers I had on those successful Osceola squads was a young man in junior high named Brandon Shelby.  Brandon went on to be the starting quarterback on the Osceola squad a few years after my departure… a team that also made the Missouri State Playoffs.  He, too, became an All State QB his senior season.  Brandon was a great high school athlete, excelling in football, basketball and baseball while at Osceola High School.

Brandon is now the head football coach at Skyline.

In visiting with both coaches before the game, each shared how bittersweet it was, having to face the other in the playoffs, knowing only one would continue their quest for a State Championship.   Coach Shelby shared how Paul Carney was his idol growing up, and how many great sports memories he had on this Osceola field.  Paul shared his respect for Brandon Shelby as an athlete, coach, colleague and friend.

I watched two very good, well coached, football teams battle last night.  Osceola ended up winning 26-22 after Skyline was stopped short on a 4th down play with just over a minute left.  Both teams played hard and fought the entire game.  I know both coaches were proud of their effort and performance.  I was proud.

Besides Coach Carney, Osceola had about a dozen “Legacy” players … athletes linked to my squads years ago…. sons, nephews, cousins.  After the game, guys that I coached nearly 30 years ago were grabbing their sons and introducing them to me… saying things like “this is Coach Floyd that we have talked to you about”.  It tugged at my heart.  Drew Carney, is #15 in the photo above with father Coach Paul Carney.

I share all of this for one reason.

My best accomplishments have absolutely nothing to do with wins or championships.   If you have not figured this out yet about your work, it will hit you at some point… maybe when you have to pull off the road while driving down a State Highway at midnight coming back from a high school football game to wipe the tears from your eyes.

OK, I am finished… now you have the “chalk

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 –

Teaching your “Language”

This past Monday, I (along with the rest of the faculty in our district) was sitting in a professional develop session listening to the presenter discuss ways to effectively teach Language Arts, specifically vocabulary.  Right before I completely tuned out and went into the Peanuts Teacher Listening Mode (“Waa wa, waa, wa wa”), I heard a few things that resonated with me as a teacher/ coach.

The presenter was explaining that in each discipline, there were a set of vocabulary words that students had to master to continue learning on the next level.  She said that just giving a list of vocabulary words with definitions, and asking the students to learn, was NOT an effective teaching method, but the following were:

  • Ask students to restate in their own words
  • Using pictures or video
  • Repetition

It struck me that, as coaches, most of us do this all the time!  In our discipline (football, basketball, softball, etc) we have a “vocabulary” that our athletes must master.  Most of us use ALL of the recommended effective ways to teach the “vocabulary” of our system… and the better and sooner we teach our “vocabulary” the sooner our athletes are ready to function in our program.

This vocabulary includes basic words that are important for athletes to understand early if they are to progress in our programs… words and terms such as, line of scrimmage, stance, hash marks, block, etc.  Can you imagine trying to teach more advanced words, terms and plays without your athletes having an understanding of this basic vocabulary?

All of our programs also have a set of more advanced, words, terms and phrases that our specific to our system.  We talk to our student-athletes all the time about “learning our language”.   The sooner they learn to speak the language of our system, the sooner they can play… they must know and understand our vocabulary…. Force, 3 technique, single high safety, lane of ball, etc

So how do we teach these concepts… this vocabulary?  Using the proven effective techniques the presenter described.

For example, when teaching our concept of “FORCE

  • A written definition of FORCE is given in the playbook:  “The defender responsible for FORCE will re-establish the sideline as close to the ball carrier as possible.”
  • We include a diagram of FORCE in our playbook.
  • Cover 2b

Cover 2

  • We orally explain the concept of FORCE using similar words and phrases – “You must FORCE the play to go inside of you”, “Set the Edge”, “Nothing gets outside of you”, “You need to squeeze down the play, eliminating a big inside pipeline”
  • We demonstrate on the field how a defender would FORCE a perimeter run play.
  • We show video examples of FORCE being executed correctly.
  • We quiz the players, asking them to explain the term FORCE.
  • We check for understanding daily using film at practice.

Quickly, most of our new athletes understand completely the concept of FORCE, and all of our veteran players are ready to incorporate their understanding into more advanced defensive concepts and coverages.

I have never seen a great coach that was not a great teacher…. teaching vocabulary, or teaching character, or teaching a specific skill

Great coaches are great teachers… period.

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 –