Curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat

I think curiosity has gotten a bad rap.

The longer I am in this profession, as a teacher and coach, the more I realize the importance of this trait – curiosity.

I have been thinking about this since a conversation I had with my wife about traits she looks for in her sales force… one of the top traits – curiosity.

I want my players and coaches to be curious… to want to know why. Instead of just robotically obeying or reciting rules, I want them to have the curiosity to learn and understand why.

curious

  • Why Cover 2?
  • Why zone blocking?
  • Why “club up” instead of “wrap up”?
  • Why hang clean?
  • Why take this angle?

 

The more the players and coaches understand the why, and have the yearning to investigate and learn the why, the deeper their understanding will be.

Give me a curious, sentient human being over a robot any day.

Even better… give me a curious, sentient, athletic, hard working human being.

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Beyond Moral Victories

In my opinion, one of the toughest things to do in athletics is turning a program around. Now, I am not talking about going from a single down season to a winning one, but rather taking a program from the throes of despair, and getting it on solid… winning… championship level performance. It is admittedly tough, but the flip side is that it is very rewarding

I have been fortunate to be a part of this a couple of times in my career… yet, I also was involved in an attempt that was never completely successful… we never quite completed the turn. What I do know, is that when you are successful, it takes everyone involved… student-athletes, coaches, teachers, administration, parents, and community.

I have many colleagues at both the high school and collegiate level that are in the midst of this type of challenge. In visiting with them, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most difficult thing is this… getting beyond moral victories.”

Here is what I mean. From my experience, when taking over the reigns of a floundering program, one where the school, players, parents and community are not accustomed to success at any level, it is important in the beginning to find some small successes… some “wins“… even if you are not immediately getting actual wins…

  • Great turnout in the weight room
  • Better participation in the off-season program
  • More players in the program
  • More players at camp
  • Improved work habits in the weight room and practice
  • Improved leadership

These small, specific successes can lead to some “moral victories” during the season, even if you are still not getting more actual wins… it allows the athletes to see the program is headed in the right direction…

  • Better margin of victory …or even
  • Improved margin of loss
  • Improved statistical performance
  • Playing good opponents tougher
  • Winning the “easy” games

But at some point, in order to turn a program around… often the last and most difficult hurdle… you need to go beyond just these “moral victories”…. And typically that means defeating an opponent that you were not expected to beat, or historically you have not beaten.

This is an incredibly difficult thing…. it is a chicken or egg problem.   In order to win you have to have confidence… in order to have confidence you need to win.

I really don’t have an answer, just acknowledging the fact of how hard this is. In reflection, I don’t really think there is a single, magic bullet that can accomplish this, but rather a combination of all of the factors needed… a perfect storm… to complete a turnaround.

Coach James Vint, of Coronado high school in Lubbock, Texas, wrote one of the best articles that I have read on the subject. You can find the blog post here: Building Championship Culture

To all of you that have been involved in this process… (not to slight anyone, but area notables Bill Snyder of K State, Ryan Schartz of Fort Osage HS) congratulations on your great work… for all of you in the midst of this challenging situation, keep plugging away… you can do more!

turnaround

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Everyone has a story

A few years ago I spent a year teaching and coaching at an urban charter school.  I used to tell people that every student there “had a story”… meaning they had a situation that required your teaching and coaching methods to be individualized, tailored, to them; single parent, no parent, low income, etc.

Well, really, ALL of our students (athletes) “have a story” regardless of urban, suburban, rural, socioeconomic status, race or gender.  Seth Godin nailed it this week in his post, All the same:

“It’s forty degrees out and there’s a guy standing in front of the office building, shivering, indulging in his nicotine addiction. I can’t possibly empathize with what he’s thinking or feeling.

As I walk down the street, I pass an elderly woman in an electric wheelchair. Again, I have no idea what it is to be her.

And there, whipping around the corner in a fancy car, is an industrialist I recognize, someone with more employees, power and money than most of us would know what to do with.

It’s easy to lump people together into categories, easier still to say, “I know how you feel.” But we don’t, we can’t, and given the choice, people will choose to be the people they wish to be.

Mass markets were a shorthand forced on marketers who had too little time or information or leverage to treat different people differently. They are the result of the mass merchant, the mass media and mass production. But humans aren’t a homogeneous mass, we are individuals, as individual as we dare to be.

Marketing and governance and teaching and coaching and writing are built on a foundation of ‘everyone’, but in fact, we’d rather be someone.

Treat different people differently. Anything else is a compromise.”

You may have one team or one classroom, but it is made up of individuals, and if we are good, empathetic, compassionate teachers and coaches, we will treat them all individually… slightly different…. a form of differentiated instruction I suppose. We will try to learn what makes them tick… what their hot buttons are… what motivates them as individuals.

globales Sourcing

I was asked the question in a job interview once… “Do you treat all the players on your team the same?”… I think the insinuation was that if you didn’t, that you were practicing some form of favoritism.

My answer was this – “No, I do not treat all my players the same because they are all different individuals… but I do treat them all fairly.”

By the way, I got that job.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Highest Quality Mental Reps

Mental reps….

Quality mental reps…

The highest quality mental reps…

There are limitations to the number of actual, physical reps that your athletes can take during the week.

  • Access to fields and equipment
  • Practice time
  • Access to other players to compete against
  • Fatigue
  • Access to coaches
  • Increased risk of injury

In a previous post, Adaptation, I wrote about how, with the changing nature of our sport, it will become increasingly important for coaches to come up with new and better ways to mentally prepare our athletes for peak contest performance. One way to do that is for the athlete to take mental reps along with their physical reps.

Mental Reps

The problem with mental reps is, well, they are mental. Being such, there are limitations to their effectiveness. In the past, in order to see positive results of taking mental reps, a player had to rely on a great imagination, concentration, or a great mental visualization process (see my post on Mental Visualization). It is a tough skill for a 15-21 year old kid with a lot on their mind and limited time to develop.

Quality Mental Reps

In my post, Adaptation, I shared a technique we have used for years to get quality mental reps during the week. You can read in detail about this teaching technique here (Adaptation) but in essence we try to construct a crude virtual reality setting by using a large area with an overhead projector. We arrange 11 desks (or chairs, or have the athletes stand) facing the screen, roughly in our defensive alignment… 4 desks up front for the DL, 3 behind those for the LB’s, and 2 desks outside for the corners, and 2 behind for the safeties. We run through a script, projecting an endzone shot of the plays on the screen, giving our players a down and distance situation for each play. We signal, communicate all calls, and mentally play the play.

This technique works well, but as I said, it is a relatively crude attempt at virtual reality. It is 3rd person NOT 1st person.

The Highest Quality Mental Reps

This past week I had an opportunity to see the future… a future that is available to coaches now through a system called EON Sports VR – Virtual Reality Training… and there is nothing crude about this product. Their software SIDEKIQ is a Virtual Reality Training software for football that allows coaches to replicate game-like plays, scenarios, and situations.

 

Brendan Reily (@EONSportsVR), the CEO of the Kansas City based company, gave me a great demonstration of the powerful teaching system. Brendan, a Kansas City product himself, was a former GA for Bill Self at KU, and developed this product with help from some of the leading football programs in the country.

With the EON Sports VR system, coaches have the ability to create a virtual reality football arena using their playbook and/ or their game film. Using the SIDEKIQ software, coaches can do this themselves, or have the team at EON Sports do this conversion for them (for a fee).

The system is nothing short of amazing. As a coach, you can convert plays from your game film to a virtual 3 dimensional platform. If you have ever created a play using PlayMaker Pro or Hudl, getting your team into a 3D virtual reality playing arena using SIDEKIQ is a piece of cake.

 

Now here is the main difference.  Once the play is animated and rendered in 3D,  instead of watching from an endzone or pressbox perspective, your athletes can get completely immersed in the play…. they can watch from the QB’s perspective, or see the play from the LB’s helmet…. or the helmet of any other player on the team.

It is as if you are in the play…. It is total immersion…. it is from a 1st person perspective… It is the highest quality mental rep.


Watching the play is intuitive, using a computer screen, projector or even better, the OculusVR, a virtual reality headset.

oculus

This software/ hardware system is poised to revolutionize teaching and coaching, much in the same way Hudl did with film exchange and evaluation 5-6 years ago. It is potentially a game changer ….

 

The videos that I have embedded really do not do the EON Sports VR Training system complete justice.  I suggest contacting Brendan to set up a demonstration… I promise you will not be sorry!  Tell him you read about it here at YouCanDoMore.net!

Did you know 2 of the 3 founders of Hudl were from KC as well?

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Ask the Questions

Even though there is “officially” no football this time of year, it is always an exciting time for prep programs…

  • Everyone is undefeated
  • Everyone is right in the middle of their off-season program
  • Everyone has their athletes working hard to physically improve
  • Everyone is full of optimism
  • Everyone is excited about gains their athletes are making in their speed, size, and strength
  • New team leaders have surfaced

And… there are always questions to be answered.

While some programs are trying to make a turnaround to success, others are attempting that leap from pedestrian to elite, and a few are trying to figure out how to stay on top.

Ask_QuestionsWe have all heard the (overused) adage regarding the definition of insanity … “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”…. My question then is, what can you do differently… better… this off-season to get different… better results?

I know as teachers and coaches, we are always busy… but for most of us, we can catch our breath a little bit during the spring and summer (compared to in-season at least)

Here are some ideas …

What can you do to improve meeting time with your athletes? Try these Posts :

How can you make your preparation more focused?  Try these Posts :

What can you do to shake up your athlete’s physical workouts?  Try these Posts:

What can you do to improve your game preparation next season?  Try these Posts:

How can you improve your instruction and playbook?  Try these Posts:

My take on “team building” ?  See Post

Can you improve the mental toughness of your athletes?  Try these Posts:

How can you use technology to improve instruction?

I (or anyone else for that matter) do not have all the answers… but sometimes the questions are just as important… keep asking those questions!

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

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post on their site today.  I hope you can take some time to visit PrepsKC, and “Like” this post!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Spotlight Update – Becca Jonas

A quick update on an athlete featured in the You Can Do More “spotlight” last spring, Becca Jonas

In the Spotlight – Becca Jonas

direnna awardBecca has finished her senior seasons in volleyball and basketball at Truman High School.  A four-year starter in both sports, Jonas was recently was awarded the DelRinna Award for the top high school girls basketball player in the Kansas City Metro area. Jonas, the, 6-1 Center was also named the 2013-14 Examiner Player of the Year, and selected to the MBCA All-State, All-Suburban Middle Six, and all-district basketball squads.  Becca will play in the GKCBCA Missouri All-Star this year.

Jonas, who is headed to Drake University, led her team to a 25-2 record (50-3 over the last two seasons) and an appearance in the Missouri Class 5 state sectionals. She averaged 18.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and four assists per game.

Becca trained as part of the Strength and Conditioning program at Truman High School for 4 years, and is a testament to the fact that hard work pays off.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Avocation “Coach”

Yesterday was my birthday….

Like most people that use Facebook, I heard from many birthday well-wishers on that site… which is always a nice thing.

Here is what really struck me.  I am very flattered (humbled, proud, honored, appreciative… etc.) that so many people… grown men and women… many with kids and families of their own…  still call me “Coach”.

I am proud to be called “Coach Floyd

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Most Productive Spring Breaks

Most of the good stuff that I do, know, or teach, I got from fellow coaches who eagerly and openly shared their knowledge. It is one reason that this blog was started… I am attempting to “pay forward” all the good that has been given to me.

Here is the best advice I can give to any aspiring coach… young or old alike.  All my most intense learning sessions were during our annual spring practice trips visiting college programs.

Each spring, beginning when I was a head high school coach at a small 1A program in Missouri (Osceola), I would go through this process:

  • We would determine (from off-season analysis – see post Becoming a “Stronger” Coach in the Off-Season) what we needed to focus on as a team, or as an offense or defense.
  • We would determine which football programs in the country (within striking distance) were doing the best job with that selected focus. It did not have to be a big time FBS program, just a program or staff that was doing a great job of what we wanted to improve on.
  • If we knew someone on that staff, we would contact that coach… if not we would contact the coordinator.
  • We would find out when they were holding their springs practice, and if they would be open to our staff visiting and spending some time with their position group coaches.

One tip that I would share, that made the trips consistently productive… we always tried to narrow our focus to one key concept.  Here are some examples:

  • Defending the option out of an even front
  • Cover 2 pass coverage change ups
  • Defense Call Sheet (see post Defensive Game Planning – the Call Sheet)
  • 4-3 stunt package backed up with zone coverage
  • Specific drills (pass rush, tackling, etc)
  • Practice organization

mike whiteWe were always welcomed, and always treated with enormous respect and kindness… Mike White, who was the head coach at the University of Illinois, spent the better part of a day with me (a young 1A high school football coach), going through QB development and drills.  Later in my career, when I was at the University of Central Missouri and we had coaching staffs visit us (both high school and college), we always tried to treat those coaches with the same respect and kindness that was afforded us.

Go and get it.. then pay it forward.

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com