Father and Son

My son, Carter is getting married this weekend.

One of the happiest days of my life was when his life began… I am sure this weekend will rival that day.

I actually got out of college coaching after the 2000 season so I could spend more time with family and enjoy his “growing up”… a decision that I never regretted.

kneeDuring that time, I actually got to coach my son. Although they already had a staff in place, two kind men welcomed me and allowed me to help coach the Blue Springs Gators, my son’s Pop Warner team. I will be forever indebted to Bill Feldkamp and Dave Roberts, my fellow coaches on the team. Sadly, both of these men have passed… too early… leaving many great memories to countless young athletes they influenced… and to me.

I do not know how many readers have had the opportunity to coach their son or daughter. My two years coaching the Gators rank as some of the most enjoyable I have had in my career. I always knew it was special to me, but did not fully understand how it impacted my son until his junior year in high school. An essay he wrote for his journalism class brought it home… here are his words.

“During 5th and 6th grades I played football in a little league team coached by my dad. I know it sounds great to have a dad as a coach. It sounds like I would play a lot- I mean my dad was the coach why wouldn’t I?

But what I remember about that season is that I had to do every drill twice because the first time was never perfect, and that if I didn’t go all out on every play, I knew that he would see.

Last summer when he coached our school’s 7-on-7 football team, my dad and I would squabble about things he thought I needed to work on. It happened almost every day when we would get home after practice.

Even during that year’s football season he would annoy me in his attempts at tactility, trying to teach me ways to play better – my stance, my pass drops, how I needed to get my pads lower when playing, but he has always managed to commend my work ethic.

That work ethic is something that my dad has instilled in me since I was young, and something that I carry with me because it is something I know is right. I have learned to listen more, no matter how irritating he can be, because whether I like to admit it or not, a lot of the times my dad is right about a lot of things. Being a former high school and college football coach, my favorite sport (football) is one of those things.

So is teaching.

My dad has always said that coaches make good teachers. And we have talked about the fact that if you are a good teacher, you can teach anything. Teaching is not necessarily about the subject being taught, but about having a certain, specific rapport with students.

I noticed something special about my dad last weekend at his 50th birthday party, something I hadn’t known before. I noticed that he has changed so many people’s lives in a positive way either by being their coach or teacher. This was not only evident by the hugs they would give him or smiles they would show when talking to him at the party, but by the stories they tell me.

When his former college football players showed up to his party that Saturday, they came with presents and jokes and their smiles and hugs, but also came with their stories, many of which were about the way my dad coached and pushed them. Former players who were now coaches, teachers, and principals themselves told many of those stories.

One of my dad’s players told me a particular story about how my dad had changed their season by telling them that they could take their team as far as they wanted. And that if he really worked, and really wanted it, the NFL was not out of reach. That player, Joe Grubb didn’t make it to the NFL though… he wasn’t “tall enough”. He told me that my dad really connected with them when he coached them, and that their team would not have worked the way it did if my dad had not been their defensive coordinator that year.

But they did work. Hard. And they ended up having the second highest ranked defense in the country that season.

Joe Grubb’s story made me think of the way my dad has shown me to work hard, and the methods used by others to teach. Whether they are your coaches, your teachers, your parents, or your friends, His story reminded me that every person’s actions affect the lives of those around them. It made me want to listen when spoken to, and to think before speaking, because everything said or done affects everyone around, and I would prefer to do so in a positive manor. I would like to do so in the way my dad has on his students, players, and me.”

IMG_3619I got back into public education, teaching, and coaching Carter’s senior year, at a Middle School (Wester) in Texas that fed into his high school (Centennial). Being a small part of his senior year of high school football … I was in the press box or on the sideline during his games… made that season memorable as well.

I am looking forward to many more great memories as his best friend, Cambria, “officially” joins our family this weekend!

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Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The “Dash”

The 2014-2015 school year…

We all start and finish about the same time.

The 2014 Football Season… August 4-November 25

We all start at the same time… only a handful will play until the third week in November.

The start and end dates are not that important.

dashWhat is important is the “-“… the “dash”… what happens “in between” those dates. It is the “season”… the “school year”… and ultimately that is what we will remember.   Although it often seems like a DASH… a sprint… I am hoping that you enjoy … savor… the “-“ … the “dash”… the  “in between”

  • Enjoy each victory…
  • Learn from each defeat…
  • Savor the relationships with your athletes…
  • Appreciate your colleagues…

Good luck to all of you this school year and this season!

Enjoy the journey!

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Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tis the Season

Like colorful fall foliage, there are a few things that, for me, herald the upcoming football season …fall foliage

  • My wife, Jamie’s, birthday… 8/8/64… a square root baby… through the years her birthday celebration has always been a little shortchanged because it falls right when fall practices are gearing up… she has always (mostly always) been very understanding.
  • Wedding anniversaries… my anniversary… 8/13/83… along with MANY coaching colleagues fall during the last week of July through the first week of August. For the old-timers, the first official practice day used to be set at August 15. I was married on a Friday, and started 2-a-days the next Monday. This year was our 31st … (we celebrated by going to see Rod Stewart and Santana at the Sprint Center.)
  • Heat… although this year has been slightly different in Missouri, normally when football fall camp started, you can count on the heat index being around 100+.
  • Blog stats… The stats on my blog site show a huge spike on the posts dealing with football… especially the game planning posts. During the last couple of weeks, there have been nearly 700 views of posts relating to game planning… 9 out of the top 10 posts (based on traffic) are on game planning, and there have been over 500 downloads of my game planning tools from the site.   Coaches are grinding!

Good luck to everyone as they head into the 2014 season… enjoy the journey… embrace the grind.

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Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Pre-Season PD

It has arrived… the last two days… the bane of all coaches, especially fall coaches.

Professional Development In-Service on Pre-Season Practice days.

Now, I never wanted to shirk any of my teaching duties or responsibilities, but I can remember stressing, mentally going through “to-do” lists, and thinking to myself virtually every minute of each session …

“Man, I have soooo much to do… I should have gotten up earlier (like 3:00 AM instead of 5:00 AM)”

Now, that being said, each year I go back to something I learned over 30 years ago in my first year of teaching and coaching.   I was at Blue Springs High School, and was an assistant in Fred Merrell’s football program. Coach Merrell would always say, before each clinic we attended that,

”If I can get just one thing out of a clinic, then I consider it worthwhile.  I don’t think I have ever been to a clinic that wasn’t worthwhile”

So with Coach Merrell whispering in my ear, I approached this year, as always, trying to find that one kernel to take away that will improve my teaching and coaching.

This year it slapped me in the face… and a Seth Godin post that I read early in the morning was prescient:

Analytics without action

Don’t measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions.

If you’re not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don’t get on the scale.

Most of the last two days has revolved around data… from Performance Based Teacher Evaluations, to MSIP, MAP test, STAR test, and all educational related data in between.

student data

The big takeaway… finding efficient and productive ways to use all the data we have access to…. and how can we best use the data to help improve the performance of our students?

How does this relate to coaching?

  • What data do you collect in your football program?
  • What are you measuring?
  • What are you testing?
  • How are you using that data?
  • Do your players understand how and why you are using the data?
  • What data are you collecting when you scout an opponent… or yourself?
  • How are you using that data?
  • Are you using it?

If you’re not prepared to change your diet or workouts, don’t get on the scale!

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Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

And WHY?

The other day I was out for a run and during my “cool down” (a real misnomer when the heat index is above 100 degrees) my son called. When I answered he gave his usual greeting of “what are you doing?” When I replied, “I was out for a run” he said “and WHY?”

I laughed off his rhetorical question, but it did get me in a contemplative mood on my walk back home. Why do I workout?… why do I run?

photo-10When I got back home and opened up this months copy of Runner’s World I was hit with the same query … “Tell Us Why You Run”

The reasons have evolved.

When I was young and a competing athlete, I worked out to improve my performance.   I wanted to “be the best” sprinter, defensive back, shortstop, etc. I was always “chasing” something.

I still remember the record board in my elementary school gymnasium. I wanted my name beside the 60 yard dash and shuttle run… when I went to high school I wanted my name listed for the 100 yard (yes yard back then), 220 yard and 440 yard. I wanted to start on the football team and be an all conference player. These types of things drove me to workout… to run… through my college days.

When my competing days were over, I continued to workout, but the reasons changed. No longer was I chasing records or playing time. I worked out for the same reason many young or middle aged men or women do… to look better. I wanted to be lean, muscular, and strong. I wanted my arms, traps, and lats to bulge… signifying time spent in the gym.

But back my son’s rhetorical questions… “And WHY?” Why do I workout now? Why do I go out and run when the heat index is 100+?

  • I workout… run… now because I want to be “Younger Next Year”
  • I want to feel better…
  • I want to be able to physically do things I enjoy now, and also able to physically do them in 20 years…
  • I want to witness the great things my son, and his family will accomplish…
  • I want to LIVE…
  • The prize that I seek now is to be active when I age (active aging)…
  • I want to be healthy, mentally and physically … and runningworking outNOW will help.

I suppose I am still chasing something… but something that it will take 20+ years to catch.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com