Little Things = Big Fixes

Do you need to make some BIG fixes to your squad?

My suggestion is … focus on the “little things”.

I think many times as coaches it is easy to get caught up thinking that some “shiny” new scheme might be the answer to woes your team may be experiencing… maybe adding a play… introducing a new “wrinkle”… a different pre-game routine… any enticing “magic bullets” that might be available.

But alas, there are no magic bullets.

If you examine what successful teams are doing, and how they are doing it, I think you will find that regardless of scheme, the good teams… the GREAT teams are well coached. Well-coached teams do all of the “little things” very well.

Here is a checklist of “little things” that I have used as a self-evaluation at different times during the season

Penalties

  • How many are you accruing?
  • What type?
  • How can you improve in this area?
  • Are you allowing or correcting these things during practice?

Film… examine/ study and GRADE film of your players… of both practice and game.

  • How is their technique?
  • Are they aligned correctly?
  • Do they execute their assignments correctly?
  • Do they give good effort?

If you are not examining these things during the week by evaluating practice film, do not expect much improvement during the game.

Here is a link to my thoughts on grading film – Film Grading

And here is an editable film grading tool that you can download and use to streamline your film grading and evaluation: Film Grading Tool

And here is a video that explains the features of the tool and how to use it:

Game plan

  • Was it correct… did your opponents do what you anticipated?
  • Did your coaches have input, understand, and buy into the game plan?
  • Did your players understand the plan?
  • Did you execute the plan… if not, where was the breakdown?

Here is a link to all of my posts on game planning: Defensive Game Planning, All Posts, Forms, and Videos

Practice Time

  • Are you efficiently using your practice time?
  • Do you set a daily practice schedule?
  • Do your coaches know what to expect prior to practice?
  • Do your players know what to expect prior to practice?
  • How much time are you allocating in each area… fundamentals, game plan, special teams, etc.?

Here is a link to my thoughts on practice planning: Practice, Not a Minute to Spare

Here is a post about our weekly work schedule: Weekly Workflow

And a practice schedule template you can download: Practice Template

Coaching staff

  • Are you efficiently using your coaches during practice?
  • Are you efficiently using your coaches during the game?
  • Do your coaches understand your scheme?
  • Are your coaches doing a good job of teaching your scheme and techniques?

How is effective is your communication from coaches to your players?

  • Play calling
  • Signaling
  • Sideline adjustments
  • Substitutions

How effective is your communication between your coaches?

  • Press box input
  • Between each series
  • Adjustments

Here is a post on Game Organization – Game Procedures

How effective is your kicking game? How much practice time are you allocating to special teams?

Often fine-tuning and focusing on a few of these “little things” can give you the BIG fix that you are looking for.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

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Well Coached

Well Coached…

What does a well-coached team look like?

  • Few mental errors or penalties…
  • Good clock management…
  • The players are in shape…
  • Good knowledge and execution of their offensive and defensive systems…
  • Solid kicking game…
  • Great fundamentals…

Doing all the “little things” needed to be successful.

You would assume that all SEC teams, especially two that were both ranked in the top 5 in the country would be equally “well-coached”.

Well not so fast.

A couple of weeks ago Alabama (1) played Texas A & M (5)… a game which featured these two top ranked teams… Alabama ended up cruising to a 33-14 victory.

It is my contention that while both teams’ rosters are filled with great athletes, only one of these teams was truly well-coached… only one of these teams did all the “little things” needed to be successful.

In a clip from the show SEC Film Room, Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson discusses how they picked up several “tells” from the A & M offensive line… specifically how their offensive tackle’s stance gave away if the play was a run or pass. (Thanks to Coach Cooper – @GorillaMyscles for helping me locate this clip)

run-pass

This is basic stuff.

Maybe it is no wonder that A & M lost three straight games after this.

And guess what Alabama Coach Nick Saban said his team was going to focus on during the bye week following their defeat of Texas A & M?

  • Attention to detail…
  • Fixing some “little things”…
  • Fundamentals….

Needless to say, Alabama is a well-coached football team.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Be Prepared

It is always a joy watching teams that are well prepared… that never seem flustered… that seem to expect the unexpected.

It is a joy watching teams that are well coached.

I know most football coaches use a script for their Thursday (day before contest) practice to “rehearse” kicking game situations. We, too, used a script for our final practice, but expanded its use cover more “unexpected” situations outside the special teams.

script-jpeg

You can download the Excel file of the script we used here (Thursday practice script) but equally as important as the script itself is how we used it in teaching and preparing our athletes.

Here are some basic tenets that we employed in our Thursday practice script:

We tried to keep everyone involved both physically and mentally.

You can see in the script sequence there are times when JV and Scout team players are actively participating in situations. In addition, the athletes know that for each segment we will call out for at least one substitute… so they ALL have to be on their toes.

We wanted to keep all our coaches involved.

Our coaches should be coaching. Everyone has a function during this script… if they are normally on the field during the game, they will be in their same locations doing their same duties (i.e. “get back” coach). If they are normally in the pressbox, they will have assigned duties during the scripted scenarios (i.e. spotting the ball during 2 minute drill). Nothing undermines the importance of this practice like some of your coaches standing by the side and talking about their evening plans!

We wanted our athletes to understand the situations.

We used our Thursday script to make sure that our athletes understood personnel, alignment and assignment for each of these situations, but also the “why”, the strategy and philosophy that corresponded to each of these scenarios. For example, when and why might we want to take a safety during the course of a game, what can we expect in sudden change situations, what is our thinking offensively when we are “backed up”?

We want the practice to be “crisp”.

Each week, we kept the routine (and the script sequence) the same… including how each group huddled prior to entering the field, where each position group would stand during the game, how we would communicate, and coach’s assignments. We had already spent practice time during the week working on specific technique and assignments… this should be a refresher.

The first few weeks, we would spend more time explaining the concepts behind each of these scenarios, but as the season progressed we were able to be more succinct.

We had weekly “reminders” for each scenario.

For each special team, and special situation we would interject a reminder (or two) based on our scouting report for that week. If we knew the opponent had a particular strength (or weakness) it gave us one more time to emphasize that point prior to the game.

We used the script to continue teaching the kicking game.

It gave us an opportunity to quickly reinforce concepts like alignment, assignment, angles, and technique used in each phase of the kicking game. Although we did not use the time for in-depth coaching (as I mentioned we wanted to keep the practice crisp) it gave our athletes another opportunity to hear our “catch phrases” in each special team segment… phrases like “cone to the football”, “lane integrity”, “hay bail them” or “2-gap them”.

The bottom line is, we wanted our athletes to be prepared… in ALL situations. This was one tool we used to put a capstone on our weekly prep.

I hope this effectively communicated how/ why we used this script as part of our Thursday game prep practice. If you have any questions over this (or any other post) please shoot me an email or message me…. I WILL reply.

Good luck to all of the coaches this week as you enter the halfway point (how is that possible!) of the season.

Related posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

The Process is the Key

By the time this post goes live, Missouri High School football squads will already have one game under their belt with most other states following suit this week. For the next 10-15 weeks coaches across the country will be knee deep in the demanding but exciting grind of the high school football season.

As coaches, we have a lot on our plate each week…both on and off the field. One of the biggest time consuming jobs in this process, is of course, game planning…. making sure that we have done everything in our power to insure that we put our athletes in position to be successful offensively and defensively against the upcoming opponent.

My most popular series of posts, by far, are the eleven pieces that detail the game planning process our staff honed while at the University of Central Missouri. Posts in this series have been viewed over 20,000 times. The series was featured on the Washington Post’s Insiders Blog that had this to say:

For anyone who’s ever wondered how a defensive coach assembles a game plan, youcandomore.net has a whole series on the thought process behind it. This particular link is to the call sheet, how a coach picks what works against the opponent’s best plays in certain situations each week, and has them handy so he can call his defense in a matter of seconds.

A tool we developed (the Call Sheet) that is included in these posts, has been downloaded nearly 10,000 times. But really, more important than any single tool, spreadsheet, chart… more important than any “magic bullet” you are trying to find… is the PROCESS that we developed and that is outlined in these series of posts.   A data driven… thoughtful… efficient …time tested… PROCESS. A process that you may be able to use “in toto”, or incorporate pieces into what you are currently doing.

LUCall

Here are brief descriptions and links to each post that will take you through this process.

Genealogy

This post looks at the people and programs that shaped our Defensive Game Planning process at the University of Central Missouri.

Weekly Workflow

The day-to-day sequence of designing and implementing the game plan, including practice plans and scripts is outlined in this post

Film Breakdown and Formation Analysis

How and why particular game film is chosen and the tools we use to analyze an opponents offense

The Ready List

How THE key component of a successful game plan is developed

The Play Grid

How we chart and opposing offense, taking into account down, distance and formation

The Call Sheet

The final product of this process and the tool we use to select our defensive calls on game day

Game Procedures

How we man the press box and sideline, and delegate duties and responsibilities to each coach…. Includes game day chart templates that we use

FAQ

Questions that have been asked and answered over the years regarding this process

Flipped Coaching

Some ideas on how to “flip” meeting, practice, and study to better utilize time

Defensive Installation Progression

Some considerations and ideas when planning your defensive installation… includes a sample form

All-in-all over a couple dozen charts and videos to help explain the game planning process we developed.

For those of you that have been following my blog (over 400 posts) for the past three years (nearly a quarter million views!), a heartfelt thanks and a couple of requests…

  • If you have found the blog helpful, interesting and/or entertaining… please share youcandomore.net with your colleagues…. AND
  • You will notice a new feature on the blog this week… a way to make a monetary donation… A “donate” button in the right panel… if you feel so moved.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Player Ranking Process

As coaches, we always want to make sure our best people are on the field at the correct time. Personally, I also want to make sure, as much as possible, that these decisions are based on good data and accurate information… that personalities and biases are not included in the equation.

To help insure this, when I was at the University of Central Missouri, we started a procedure to that end… a Player Ranking system.

Here is how it worked.

Immediately after every practice each position group coach would rank every player in their position group, assigning them a number (if you had 10 players in your position group then 1-10) based on their performance at that practice. I always tried to mentally go through each period and recall how each individual did… both good and bad for each period… and then assign the ranking after that thought process.

The important part of this, which we stressed to our players, was that the practice ranking was for their performance at that practice only.

It was not an indication of…

  • how good a player they were
  • who the starters were
  • what we thought they were capable of
  • how we thought they practiced yesterday
  • if we “liked” them
  • their potential
  • how they did at the end of practice

It was based on that practice … that entire practice… only.

As defensive coordinator, I collected all of the coach’s rankings and entered them on a spreadsheet. We sorted each position group by the rankings for that day, printed and posted them in our team room. We also had a column for their average ranking each week.

This process, tedious as it could be during double day practices in August, gave us some valuable information, and forced our coaches and players to be more accountable on a daily basis.

The players knew they were going to get ranked, and their rank was based on the entire practice… period by period… and those rankings would be printed and displayed.

The coaches, too, knew that their position group rankings would be displayed… and that they must be able to discuss the “whys” … the specifics… with their players.

As coaches by noting any variance in our player’s weekly average, we could see and spot (hopefully early) any trends that were developing and address them.

And, of course, it also became a valuable tool to fall back on when setting our weekly depth chart. We had very few discussions when the depth chart was posted as to players positions on the chart… there were few surprises.

This process was independent and separate from our film grading (see post – Film Grading Tool) procedures which we used during game and scrimmage situations.

Here is a sample player-ranking template for the Linebacker defensive position group at Anytown High School… made up names, but this is pretty much what it looked like in the day.

Defensive Player Ranking

You can download the template by clicking this link – Player Ranking Template.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

16 Links to Kickstart Your 2016

Thank you!

2015 was a terrific year for this blog, YouCanDoMore.net, with more views (over 60,000) and downloads (over 15,000) than ever before.

These were the top performing posts in terms of views this year… if you are a recent follower, some of these may have escaped you. Please click through to dig into the content.

  1. Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet (6,000 views)
  2. Weight Room – 101 (3,000 views)
  3. Film Grading Tool (3,000 views)
  4. Defensive Game Planning – The Play Grid (1,700 views)
  5. Making a Screen Recording (1,500 views)

These were the most popular series of posts in 2015. As you can see, the Defensive Game Planning series continues to be far and away the most popular.

  1. Defensive Game Planning – All Posts, Forms, and Videos (13,000 views in the series)
  2. Coaching Tools (9,000 views in the series)
  3. Recruiting (8,000 views in the series)
  4. Middle School Strength and Conditioning Program (5,000 views in the series)
  5. Lessons from the Masters (2,000 views in the series)

And finally, the most popular downloads this year.

  1. Defensive Call Sheet (1,000 downloads)
  2. Film Grade Template (800 downloads)
  3. Defensive Game Plan Play Grid (700 downloads)
  4. Practice Template (400 downloads)
  5. Workout Template (400 downloads)

But wait, there’s more… one more link to make it 16 links for 2016!  A popular post about multi-sports athletes:

  1. Fast “Track” to a Great Football Program

youcandomore

Thanks again for your loyal readership. One request…. if you have found the information on this blog interesting, helpful, informative or entertaining, please share with your colleagues.

Now, go watch some bowl games and enjoy the remainder of your holiday break!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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

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

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.

Related Posts:

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

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!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com