A Master Craftsman

Another (quick) toolbox analogy…

As I have chronicled, my son and daughter-in-law have been involved in a project (50/50) over the past year.

During that span of time they have borrowed numerous tools…

  • Drill bits…
  • Jig saw…
  • Extension cords…
  • Socket set…
  • Saw blades…

No problem… I have accumulated (as most do) many tools in my toolbox throughout the years.

I have to admit it was with a degree of hubris that I brandished my overflowing toolbox and tubs of nuts, bolts, and hardware at the work site.

Hubris, that is, until, a former player of mine (a REALLY good former player of mine) volunteered to help with the project.   This man is a professional… he works construction… he is a master craftsman.

He came and in one evening did work that it would have taken us days to finish.

He had more tools on his tool belt than I have in my toolbox.   He had all the right tools…. specialty tools for this specific job… and all the tricks of the trade that he had accumulated over the years.

As a young, hungry, coach, you are always on the lookout to borrow tools that will help you do your job better… to be a better coach.

But even the old grizzled coach can learn from a professional… can find a new tool or trick that might help … as long as you don’t allow your pride (or habits) to get in the way.

Here are links to tools that have helped me be a more efficient, more organized, better prepared coach over the years. Young coach or veteran, I hope you find something of interest.

stringout

Thanks to Joe Grubb for the inspiration behind this post… and thanks to him for helping at the 50/50 project.

The ties that bind Joe, and the special group of men from my UCM days, is a story for another day.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Flying “Eye in the Sky”

The Eye in the Sky Does Not Lie….”

In my opinion, film review is one of the most effective teaching tools at your disposal. I have written about it several times, including last weeks post as well as here. It is contingent, although, on having quality video filmed at a good angle.

Filming from the press box provides good elevation, but the viewing angle (from the side rather from behind) is not optimum for teaching.

An end zone tower cam system, or filming from a lift, provides an optimum angle (elevated and from behind) for viewing, grading and evaluating your film.

But, these systems do have some limitations or drawbacks.

  • They are difficult to set up, take down, or move to a different location. Therefore, they are often not utilized for the daily filming of practice segments; or if they are, the drill has to be moved to the camera, rather than the camera moved to the drill
  • Lifts can be dangerous, with liability a concern especially if using students to film.
  • Tower cam systems are expensive, with pricing between $2,500 and $7,000.

There is yet another option that many programs are utilizing… A flying video platform… A drone!
You might think that using a drone to film practice or games is too “Techy” or difficult, but recent advancements in quadcopter technology make it possible for a novice to fly, record video and take photos, from a extremely stable platform.   This is a sample video from a summer practice that I filmed using a drone. This particular drone (Parrot Bebop) was purchased for under $500, shoots HD (1080p) video, is very stable, and is easily controlled using an iPad.

As you can see, the ball is on the opposite 35-yard line from where a typical tower or lift cam would be located… and at the point where the viewing angle would begin to deteriorate. But, by using drone video technology, you can easily fly the camera into position to get the most desirable viewing angle.

During practice, you can fly the camera from drill to drill, yard line to yard line, behind or in front of the offense or defense, or at a higher altitude to get the whole field view.

The practice film that we took this summer using the drone was, in the opinion of the coaches evaluating it, some of the best they had ever seen.

Here are some considerations:

Video quality – There are many inexpensive drones that shoot video and take pictures… look for ones that are HD, 1080p or 4k…. they will provide the quality that you need to evaluate your players.

Battery life – Most batteries will give you 10-20 minutes of flight time. Shorter flight time means more batteries will need to be purchased, and more frequent battery changes/ charges.

Ease of control/ flying – There are some commercial drones available that require extensive training to fly. Look for one that is easy to fly.

Safety – Typically the heavier the drone, the more potential for injury if someone gets hit by it… the Parrot Bebop drone I mentioned above weighs less than a pound, and in the event of collision the propellers stop automatically.

Durability – Crashes are infrequent but possible… will the drone stand up to some abuse, and how difficult is it to repair?

Rules regarding drone usage – Most state high school activity associations now have rules regarding how drones can be used during a game. The MSHSAA rule allows for a drone to be used, but it must keep behind the field media line, thereby making it like an end zone tower or lift camera. The cameras on most drones do not zoom, so although the angle (height) will be good, if the ball is at midfield, the action will be further away. One advantage over a tower or lift camera is that when the ball is toward the opposite end zone, you can land the drone, carry it down to the other end zone and start flying and filming from there.

Other uses in your program – Having aerial footage of your stadium, field, and your team can be a great marketing/ PR tool. Many professional, college and high school programs are already doing this. Lee’s Summit high school in Missouri recently produced this cool video after their opening game.

The thought of using a drone to film your practices and or games may seem like a crazy idea or a passing fad, but I think it could be a valuable, cost effective addition to your program’s technology toolbox.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tools and Time

This week I had the opportunity to help out at my daughter-in-law’s project called 50/50.   Her team is putting an art gallery in the West Bottoms of Kansas City made out of shipping containers.

Stay with me…. this isn’t about an art gallery.

Here are some things that came up during my work at the 50/50 project one evening…

  • They commented that “the new Phillips head drill bits made it a lot easier to set the sheet rock screws without stripping them out”.
  • We had a box of long drywall screws, but ran out of the shorter screws (which they preferred using) … so we went around picking up short ones that had been previously dropped on the floor and used them. We ended up having enough to finish what we were working on.
  • We needed a drill bit extension to drill a hole into a tricky spot on a doorframe. We had to stop until we got one.
  • I had to run home and get tin snips to bring to the project site so we could cut the sheet rock corner bead.

Now, this team is doing tremendous work, but it really reminded how much time is saved by having the right tools…. good tools when you are working.

For football coaches, especially during our season, time is at a premium. The amount of hours in the day is same for all of us. Saving hours or minutes using good tools puts more time in your kitty…. time that can be used doing additional football or teaching prep (which is what most of us do!) OR maybe you could sneak in some additional family time.

Over the last three years I have shared a variety of football coaching/ organizational tools (all for free) via my web site, YouCanDoMore.net. These are tools and procedures that I trust, and have saved me countless hours over the years.

Here are my most popular (using views and downloads as a metric) categories of posts, with a little information about each:

Defensive Game Planning:

sample call sheet

My post, Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, has been viewed over 10,000 times. If you Google “football defensive call sheet” my post is the third one listed, and the second one if you filter it for images. The Call Sheet we developed while I was at the University of Central Missouri is a great tool… but even more important than the single tool was the process we used for game planning.

Those procedures and ALL the tools we used can be found at this link – Defensive Game Planning – All Posts, Forms and Videos.   These posts on game planning have been viewed over 30,000 times with over 15,000 downloads of the tools and videos included in the Defensive Game Planning series.

Film Grading:

film grade sheet

We all look at video, and most of us grade it… practice, scrimmage, and game. I believe film evaluation can be one of the most powerful teaching tools at our disposal. While I was at UCM, we developed a tool that we used in grading our film. You can read about how we used the tool at this post, Film Grading Tool, and download the Excel template here, Film Grade Template.

We used this tool not only to evaluate our athletes, but also to evaluate how effective we have been as coaches and to self-scout. It tracks mistakes made, and defensive efficiency by front/ stunt and coverage. These posts have been viewed over 5,000 times and this template downloaded about 1,500 times. If you Google “excel film grading football” the two top hits are from these posts.

Practice Planning:

Practice 1

Every good coach that I have ever worked with has been meticulously organized regarding practice planning. A simple organization piece that can save you time during season is to have a practice plan template.   You can read about the template we developed at UCM at these posts, Practice, Not a Minute to Spare,  Running an Effective Drill, and EDD’s- Every Day Drills.

You can download the template we used at this link, Excel Practice Plan Template. These practice-planning posts have been viewed over 1,000 times and the template downloaded 600 times.

As I mentioned, all of this is free. It was all shared with me, either partially or in its entirety… and they are all customizable with just a little Excel knowledge.

The single thing that I will ask, that if you read the post, download the file(s) or click the links, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on these subjects…

  • Do you like the ideas?
  • What tools do you use in your program?
  • How could I tweak them to make them better?

As always, if you have a question just shoot me an email or tweet… I will respond!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Saving Our Sport

Let me preface this by saying I love football.

I loved playing football.

I love coaching football.

I love practicing football… did as a player… do as a coach.

But…. I am truly worried about the future of our sport… for a number of reasons. As I wrote about last year (History Lesson) our game is under siege… and the battle has not lessened over the past year.

  • Concussions…
  • Decreasing numbers of participants…
  • Bad behavior (leading to bad press) by student/ professional athletes…

Here are some things to think about.

I can’t believe I am saying this… and it may be considered blasphemous, but I will just go ahead and get this out first. The 25 summer contact days allowed in our state (Missouri) is too much. By judiciously using the days, combining them with summer strength and conditioning days (which don’t count for your 25) a coach can effectively add three months to football “season”.

We are talking about a season… with pads… and practice… and scrimmages… and contact… that now lasts nearly seven months!

I think it is too much for the players, too much for parents, and too much for the coaches …who often don’t get paid any additional stipend for their summer work.

When you multiply that summer commitment required by students and their families for players who are multi sport athletes, it becomes an even crazier schedule… especially in those schools where each sport uses all of their 25 contact days.

We tell our athletes that we want them to be multi-sport athletes, but this model makes it nearly impossible.

On the same subject (25 summer contact days) let me just say that the MSHSAA required acclimatization period (first three days of practice helmets only) is obsolete. Our kids can practice nearly all summer with pads, but then when practice “officially” starts they have to go back to helmets only… it makes no sense.

safe footballThe emphasis on concussions and head injuries increases daily.   It is a hot-button issue at all levels. It is changing the nature of our sport, and we as coaches will need to adapt our coaching and teaching styles.

I am not sure what the best solutions are for this problem, but here are some thoughts…

First, I think that we, as coaches, need to be more proactive regarding these issues….

We need to effectively communicate to parents, administrators, community, and media:

  1. The value of our sport, football, and how we teach life lessons, character, healthy lifestyle, and leadership to our student-athletes. We teach more than X’s and O’s. If you have not seen them, here are a couple of excellent pieces by John Harbaugh of the Ravens and Chris Creighton, head coach at Eastern Michigan.
  1. We care about the safety of our athletes. We teach how to play the game safely. We are trained to recognize the symptoms of concussion and head injuries, and we will not put your child at risk.
  1. We have the best equipment. We recondition and recertify our equipment each year and replace when needed.

I think the tough, challenging, part of this situation is how to strike a balance between teaching what needs to be taught before you line up and play Friday night, and how to keep your athletes as safe as possible

Football is a physical game… that is part of what makes it a great sport. Your players have to know how to tackle, block, hit, and be hit, in order to play safely and play well. It may take some out-of-the-box thinking and ideas to teach them these skills and give them enough reps and time to be successful on Friday night.   I wrote about some ideas in these posts, Adaptation, and The Highest Quality Mental Reps.

I don’t have the answers, but I know collectively as a group… we as coaches will find the answers in order to keep our sport healthy and strong.

Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post (and my posts weekly during the season) on their site.  If you get a chance, check them out for great content regarding football in the Metro KC area!

Good luck to everyone this season, I am looking forward to watching your teams compete!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com