Planning YOUR Off-Season

Typically, Coaches are pretty good planners

We have our practice plans

We spend hours each week game planning

We have a plan for our offensive and defensive insertion.

How much time to you spend planning your off-season work?

Not the off-season workout your squad will be doing, but YOUR off season.

Do you have a plan on how YOU and YOUR PROGRAM are going to improve over the next 7-8 months?

For many of us at this time of year the pace begins to slow a bit… we can finally catch our breath, and gather our thoughts.

It is tempting to use a big chunk of this time period to “recover”… it is easy to head into YOUR off-season with the “plan” of “going to a lot of clinics to learn more football”.

Like every other aspect of your program, if you formulate a specific, detailed, goal-oriented plan for YOUR off-season, you will be more productive… you will see better results.

This is what has worked for me… keep in mind that I like data, and like to base decisions on data.

The first step is to conduct an end of the season analysis on both sides of the ball and the kicking game.   These are the defensive categories we always looked at… there are, of course, corresponding items for the offensive side.

  • Down and distance efficiency
  • Efficiency of each front/ stunt and coverage
  • Efficiency in field zones
  • Big plays
  • Bust plays
  • Mistakes

For our staff, it was always pretty easy to compile this data, because each games film was graded using the method and tool I describe in this post: Film Grading Tool

As a head coach, coordinator or position coach, I would look at this data to help determine our needs in the off-season… what needed to be our area of emphasis… what were the main areas we needed to see improvement in.

The next step is determining where to look for answers… where can you get help. I think there are three main sources that are available… 1) Online 2) Clinics and 3) Spring Practice visits

clinicWhile there is abundant information easily available online, I always considered the most productive learning we spent as a staff was either visiting a college during spring break or attending live clinics where a number of speakers/ topics were presented.   The more live, interaction, and Q/A that was possible the better…. It made it possible to drill down into the information to see if would fit the needs of our program.

Armed with our self-analysis/ self-scouting data we determined what clinics to attend (looking at speakers and topics) and where we wanted to visit during our spring break (see post – The Most Productive Spring Break).

Our staff at each clinic (because most clinics had multiple speakers speaking at the same time) would be very deliberate as to which coach would attend what speaker… basically “divide and conquer”. After each day at the clinic, we would debrief, with each coach discussing main points of the speaker’s presentation.

As a staff, we would then determine… and this was maybe the most important part of the process… what (if anything) we wanted to implement into our current defensive (or offensive) scheme or teaching. In making this decision we were always very careful to make sure that if we were changing or adding anything that:

  • The change fits into our current philosophy
  • There was good evidence that the change or addition would improve our team in the areas of emphasis determined by our self-analysis. We did not ever want to make a change just because something was the “flavor of the month

There are many great schemes, systems, techniques, workout programs, etc. out there. Information is readily available and easily accessible. There are many ways to “skin the cat”. Be focused this off-season… have a PLAN for improvement, work your plan and you will see the results next season!

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

Jeff Floyd –

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