“Back in my day…”

Last Saturday as I pulled out my phone to help guide me to a location I was not quite sure of, my thoughts drifted back to my early days recruiting at the University of Central Missouri, and how much technology has impacted that job. I have written at length regarding how technology has changed various aspects of our profession… game planning, practice planning, video evaluation, etc.   Many things we take for granted today that make our lives (and jobs) easier were not available in 1987 when our staff hit the recruiting trail.

OK, I have become that guy… “back in my day we had to walk to school every day, uphill both ways in a blizzard”… I have become that coach… “back in my day we didn’t have no stinkn’ Google Maps”.

Here are a few of the changes:

phone boothCell phones? We didn’t have them… In order to contact a coach (or a prospect) while on the road you became an expert at where the payphones were located… and not just any old payphones, but the kind you could drive up to and call from you car. It was frustrating… you could not retry the number every 5 minutes from your Bluetooth enabled smartphone while driving. You had to pull off the road, find a phone, look up the number on a printed contact sheet and hope that they were available.

Google Maps? Nope…. there was no pleasant voice giving us turn-by-turn directions as we drove. We usually had either a Mapco street guide (a huge book with about 100 different maps of about 3-4 city block on each page), or a giant folding map of the city. Both were cumbersome and impossible to use while driving. You had to figure out your best routes the night before and hope that the map was not dated too badly.

Hudl recruiting packages? Nada… Remember VHS tapes? We tried to get 2-3 game tapes for each athlete that we wanted to evaluate. Multiply that by 4-5 schools a day, and 3-4 days per week, and we came home each recruiting trip with easily 40-50 videotapes. With 6 or more of us on the road, the process of copying the tapes was a never-ending job for the people back in the office.

The NCAA Clearinghouse? HA… It wasn’t in place in the 80’s. At that time, each school certified their own athletes regarding eligibility… meaning, that for each prospect we were recruiting we had to obtain (from the counselor) a transcript for each student, and a list of core courses for that school. We then had to calculate each student’s Core GPA to determine their eligibility.

And there is much more… text messaging, email blasts, Facebook, twitter feeds… on and on. But my wife reminded me of an accompanying truth – Being teachers and coaches, as each new technological breakthrough brings us a few extra minutes or hours, we just invest that time in another aspect of our job… it is what we do… we will not ever have “spare” time. I am not complaining… I am chuckling!

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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Royal Lessons

royalsOK… I am not a baseball expert, but I am a fan. I am hopping directly and unapologetically on the Royals bandwagon.

I think there are many lessons that coaches and players can learn from this 2014 Kansas City squad and this Royals organization that can be transferred to other sports.

Here is my list:

Turnarounds take time

Turning around a struggling program takes time… maybe not 29 years, but time. It is hard work, and typically takes “buy-in” by everyone from management (administration) and coaches, to players and community…. and…

See post Beyond Moral Victories

They had a plan and stuck to it

They had a philosophy, and keeping with that philosophy drafted and traded accordingly. They did not go looking for a “quick fix”, instead opting to take “long way” as the only real shortcut.

See posts What is your “Elevator Speech” and A Guaranteed Shortcut

Money is not everything-Budget

The Royals are not in a “major market”… their payroll ranks 19th out of the 30 teams in MLB…. actually less then half of each of the top three clubs. I know it is easy to get caught up in the “we don’t have the budget (facilities, staff, etc) of the cross town school.” As a Coach, there are many things that we can do to improve our program that cost nothing… except effort.

See post Don’t Spend-Invest

Coaching

Despite his leading the team to their first winning season in 10 years (in 2013) and taking them to the playoffs this season, many “fans” and “experts” have questioned manager Ned Yost over the last four years during his stint as Royals manager. I have heard people say that the Royals are winning despite Yost rather than because of him. As I said, I am no baseball expert, but any time people…. fans… question coaching I bristle a bit. The “fans” or “experts” have no idea what happens on a daily basis… in the clubhouse, on the practice field, in the batting cage, or with the players physically or mentally. The coaches do. They are professionals that are making decisions based on everything they know and observe. An outsider has no idea. The proof is in the pudding.

See Post The Courage to Compete

That what Speed Do!

It has been a common theme among football coaches that “speed kills” and “you can’t coach speed”, but for it to be an important aspect and consideration for a baseball squad… on par with hitting and pitching… is a relatively new revelation. I think in most sports, speed and quickness… and developing it as much as possible… will help your team’s performance.

See Post In the Spotlight – Roy Bay

Confidence

I remember around the middle of the season, a member of the Cleveland ball club was talking about the Royals… he said, “They don’t realize how good they are… I hope they never do”. Ned Yost said that during the comeback in the Wild Card game, the players were pacing in the dugout, confident and enthusiastic that they would win.   That feeling has not ebbed since…. and it is reflected in their play.

See Post Confident vs Cocky

Defense

The old adage in football is that “Defense Wins Championships”. The Royals are proving that this maxim applies to baseball as well. While many team’s evening highlights display home runs and extra base hits, the Royals’ reel is riddled with great defensive plays.

See Post Dirty Red

Team Players

The Royals are unselfish. They bunt… they will swing to protect a runner…. they sacrifice to advance a runner. They understand and welcome when they are taken out for a pinch runner… Whatever will put the TEAM in a winning position is OK. It is evident that they respect one another… and

They Have Fun!

I have never been around a great team that did not enjoy and have a special bond with their teammates. It is a chemistry that develops from mutual sacrifice… the mutual shedding of blood, sweat, and tears.

See Post True Team Building

Many Lessons! Go Royals!

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

Two Lists

Seth Godin is a writer that I read and learn from daily. Although Godin is not a coach in the strict sense of the word, his writing often resonates with me. He recently added this post:

Make Two Lists… One list highlights the lucky breaks, the advantages, the good feedback, your trusted network. It talks about the accident of being born in the right time and the right place, your health, your freedom. It features your education, your connection to the marketplace and just about every nice thing someone has said about you in the last week or month.

The other list is the flipside. It contains the obstacles you’ve got to deal with regularly, the defects in your family situation, the criticisms your work has received lately. It is a list of people who have better luck than you and moments you’ve been shafted and misunderstood.

The thing is, at every juncture, during every crisis, in every moment of doubt, you have a choice. You will pull out one (virtual) list or the other. You’ll read and reread it, and rely on it to decide how to proceed.

Up to you.

As coaches, we are in the spotlight (or crosshairs) daily. Our teaching skills are evaluated each Friday night… we put our product out there for everyone to see. We are vulnerable.

listlistI know I can come up with numerous items for each of these two virtual lists… I think we all probably can. It is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of wallowing in the sludge of the negative list…. I have done it.

But….

It is our choice…

It is my choice…

As I remind some of my students daily…. “Let’s make better choices”

I am going to take my own advice…

I am a very lucky guy.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Back to Basics

About this time of the season, amid all of the game planning and scheming, I always like to remind myself to get “back to basics”… basics in regards to fundamentals, coaching technique, and philosophy.

In our last contest, there were several things that I was not happy with on the defensive side…. Our angles to the ball, getting off blocks, and tackling technique were not very good. I realized that our poor play was my fault; I was not teaching these concepts very well.

I also thought about a tweet that I read recently… “Instead of yelling at your players for what they are doing wrong, TEACH them how to do it correctly”

This week I went back to a drill that we used at the beginning of every practice when I was defensive coordinator at the University of Central Missouri. The drill is called String Out Tackle, and it was a staple at our practices when we were one of the top defenses in the nation. We got the drill during one of our spring trips to Oklahoma State University. They used the drill when Bill Miller was their defensive coordinator.

stringout

String Out Tackle teaches most of the concepts that we are currently struggling with as a defensive unit. It is a simple drill that quickly allows all the players to get multiple reps… I should have been running the drill all season! You can download a copy of the drill at this link: String Out Tackle download.

I am confident that our extra work on this basic, fundamental area, will translate to better defensive performance this week.

Is there something basic to your team’s performance that you can put an emphasis on at this point in the season? Are you staying true to your philosophy? Is there a fundamental that you can teach better?

Now is the time.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Immortality

I hope this does not offend anyone… it is not meant to. I do not mean this to be sacrilegious in any way. … but, as coaches, we have the opportunity to be immortal.

Of course, not in the physical sense, but our words and ideas can live on in perpetuity.

This realization hit me squarely a few weeks ago at my son’s wedding. A friend of his, Miles Hochard, (who played football at William Jewell) was visiting with me about a previous post  on this blog that he had read called “Dirty Red”.

In that post I explained the phrase and the attitude of “Dirty Red” that characterized our defense at the University of Central Missouri. “Dirty Red” was a term used by Mike Foster, the defensive coordinator there when I arrived.

When Coach Foster left to take a position at Cal State Fullerton, I became the Defensive Coordinator, and continued using the phrase. In fact, I used it at most stops along my coaching journey after that… including when I became the Head Coach at William Jewell College.

Back to my son’s wedding and his friend Miles. Coach Hochard (he is an assistant football coach at Pembroke Hill) said that when he was at Jewell as a player (a Linebacker), they still referred to their defense as “Dirty Red” and as far as he knows, they still do.

So… a “rallying cry” started in the 80’s by Coach Mike Foster is still going strong in Liberty in the 21st century. In fact, “Dirty Red” could have started before UCM in the 80’s …Coach Foster came to the University of Central Missouri from Coffeveille Junior College in Kansas… their colors are red as well!

ImmortalityIt is amazing to think that a concept you taught, a phrase you used, or a procedure you came up with… 30 years or more in the past… is still being used in your profession today.

Amazing… Awesome… A little Scary!

Ours is an awesome profession… with awesome responsibilities…

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com