Paying Your Dues

Let me preface this post by saying that I have never been a fan of the phrase, or concept of, having to “pay your dues”… I think too often it is a convenient way of putting a young, often successful coach, “in their place”.

  • “That LB (or DB or RB or OL) coach isn’t ready to be a Coordinator yet…. he hasn’t really “paid his dues.””
  • “That Offensive (or Defensive) Coordinator isn’t ready to be a Head Coach yet… he hasn’t really “paid his dues.””
  • “That 1A (or 2A or 3A) Head Coach isn’t ready to be a 5A Head Coach yet … he hasn’t really “paid his dues.””

You get the idea.

But…

With that being said, I know there is great value in experience.
I have had several conversations in the last couple of weeks with high school administrators commenting on how it seems that many young coaches now need “instant gratification”. How these coaches often expect to be considered for a Head Coaching position (at LARGE high schools) after just a couple years of coaching experience… and are disappointed when not offered the position.

I have had similar conversations with Head Coaches reflecting on the same thing happening with assistants vying for coordinator positions… how some young coaches feel slighted if they are not offered a coordinating position… even if it is only their first or second year in the profession.

My career path was similar to most coaches of my generation.

  • Assistant at a large high school for several years
  • Coordinator at a smaller high school for several years
  • Head coach at a still smaller high school for several years
  • College GA
  • College Assistant for several years
  • College Coordinator for several years
  • Head College Coach

Had any of those steps been skipped, I would not have been as prepared for the next challenge.

Here are a few things from this experience that I would like to share with young coaches.

First, while I always thought I was ready for the next step, rather if it becoming a coordinator or a head coach, there were always things that I WAS NOT ready for… there was always much to learn. I am not saying I was not ready for the new position… but often you do not know what you do not know. I was always extremely glad for the experience I DID have, and always wished I had a little more.

1957Second, the best way to “move up” the coaching ladder is to do a GREAT job in the position you currently hold. I have been around coaches who are always looking toward the next job instead of concentrating on their current position. If your foot is always half way out the door on to your next position, it is difficult to develop meaningful relationships with the people you are currently around. Don’t shortchange your players, staff and administration.

And finally, be careful what you wish for.

As you ascend the coaching ladder, you will find that it becomes more administration, and less coaching.

I loved COACHING… enjoyed the bonds developed with my position group… with my defense.

Reflecting now, I would not change a single thing… I enjoyed (and still enjoy) the experiences I had with every team, at every city, at every level of play.

Love where you are and what you are doing.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Back to the Future

Last Thursday (Chiefs vs Raiders – Thursday Night Football) I devolved into my 13-year-old self.

Let me explain.

I think there is some sort of “maximum emotional investment in a sports team” type of continuum.

And I think many of you can probably relate, based on where you are on this continuum.

Here is my theory… there is a limit… a cap… a max… as to how much one can emotionally invest in a sports team.

When you are young, and just becoming an avid sports fan, your world tends to revolve around your local (or favorite) sports team… for me that team was the Kansas City Chiefs.

From the time I can remember, until I was around 13 years old, my world WAS the Kansas City Chiefs. If they won, it was a good day and would be a good week… if they lost, it was about a week in a foul mood.

My family watched every game on TV (or listened on the radio… it was the era of TV blackouts), whenever we played sandlot football (every day) I was Otis Taylor, and any time I could attend a game in person, I was there!

My family had two season tickets to the Chiefs games… but I was 1 of 6 kids (plus my Father and Mother), and next to the youngest. Which meant that I always drew the short straw… I normally only got to go when the games were cold and wet… but that was still fine by me.

When I was 13 the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

That was about when I started playing football in Junior High (Ervin) and then High School (Blue Springs).

When you start competing and playing on your own team, the amount of emotion you invest in your local (or favorite) team typically begins to wane, as you pour more of that into your own team.

I know that certainly was the case for me.

As I participated in High School, then College, then began coaching, my own teams were where I made the majority of my emotional investments… and remember there is a max as to how much one can invest… which meant my emotional involvement with the Chiefs became much lower… nearly non-existent.

When I was coach at the University of Central Missouri, my wife, Jamie worked at the local Hospital. Each week they would have a football pool, and her co- workers would come to her each week asking if I had given her any “inside skinny” any insight to the upcoming games.   She inevitably would laugh and tell them that she had more idea what was going on in the NFL and with the Chiefs than I did… which was absolutely correct.

Now flash forward.

A few years ago I found myself edging back towards where I was during the 60’s on the “maximum emotional investment in a sports team” continuum.

No longer needing to invest everything I had, 24/7, into my own team, freed up more “emotion” that could be invested elsewhere… namely back into to my Chiefs.

And that brings us back to last Thursday night… my de-evolution was complete.

Chiefs vs. Raiders

smith

dawson

But instead of Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis calling the game,it was Jim Nantz and Tony Romo …. Smith and Carr instead of Dawson and Lamonica…. nice big color TV instead of watching on a small, snowy black and white.

 

I was sitting, (standing, pacing) screaming at the TV like my 13 year old self… emotionally exhausted after the conclusion (Sam Mellinger from the Star summed it up best… The Chiefs won the game twice, but the Raiders won it three times) … replaying the “what-ifs” in my brain while attempting sleep after it was over.

 

Back to the Future… back to 1969.

I guess the one good thing is that I did not have to get up and go to Ervin Jr. High School the next morning!

Go Chiefs!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Body Language

At my current stage in life (retired) I am able to get out and watch a LOT of football games. In the last two weeks I have attended 3 high school games, 2 college games, and 1 middle school football game.

I have begun really studying something as I attend these games.

Not X’s and O’s…

Not scheme or systems…

Not technique…

I have really been paying attention to body language… the body language of the athletes on (and off) the field.

Here is a distillation of my thoughts.

I am not sure if you can fake body language… it is like a lie detector test … a non-fiction documentary film on how you are really feeling… feeling on a deep, inner level.

It shows how you will react to adversity… and how you will react to success.

Body language never whispers… it screams!

I can pretty much tell if an athlete’s “hype” is real, or just show… and not by observing when they are getting “hyped”, but observing their body language the rest of the time… when their real “film” is playing.

body languageIt seems that body language must be hard to change… maybe because it is not taught, stressed or coached.   The reason I say this, is that I have observed athletes that I have been around in middle school and high school, that are now participating in high school and college ball. The same athletes that had issues with “body language” in middle and high school are having identical  problems in high school and college.

After hearing TV commentators talk about the body language of a former player, I turned to my wife and said “we had the very same issues with him in middle school!”

I suppose that body language is so hard to change because people develop and “practice” it daily over the entire course of their lives… it become really ingrained in their being. It may be hard for the athlete to realize what exactly their body language is “saying” and how it is perceived by teammates and coaches. To see and understand this, an athlete needs to have a very good self-awareness, which demands a pretty high level of maturity.

I know as a coach, I didn’t spend a lot of time teaching or coaching body language. About the closest I came to it is demanding that my players physically “keep their heads up”… adding that “If an opponent sees you with your head down, you are beat.”

So that leads me to the somewhat, but not totally rhetorical question of “Do you teach/ coach “body language” and if so, how/ what do you do?”

Comment or shoot me an email… I am really interested in your thoughts on this subject.

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

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Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Fairy Dust

Let me preface this by saying that I have never been a big Urban Meyer fan.

I really don’t know why that was… and I say WAS because a couple of things happened this past week that made me feel a little more akin to Coach Meyer.

The first was Coach Meyer’s response to a statement made last week by Tom Herman (OC under Meyer at Ohio State) not being able to “sprinkle fairy dust” on the Texas Longhorn team he inherited from Charlie Strong (DC under Meyer at Florida) following a loss in his debut against Florida.

“C’mon man. I don’t know where that came from,” Meyer said during an interview with CBS sports “It’s like a new generation of excuse. Herman said, ‘I can’t rub pixie dust on this thing.’ He got a dose of reality. Maryland just scored 51 points on you.”

 

“Players read that,”

 

“That’s like, when I got here, everybody wanted me to say Jim Tressel left the cupboard bare,” Meyer continued. “If I heard any assistant coach say that, they’d be gone. You’re done. “

 

“Those are your players. I hear TV guys say, ‘Wait until they get their own players in there.’ They’re our players. What do you mean ‘their players?’ The minute you sign a contract, they’re your players.”

 

“You didn’t choose me, I chose you. You’re mine, absolutely. I love you, and I’m going to kick the s**t out of you, and we’re going to do it right …”

 

“[Blaming players] drives me insane.”

There was much back and forth banter on the TwitterSphere debating whether or not Coach Herman was just using “figurative language” or his comments were disparaging in regards to the previous UT staff.

I know what I though the minute I heard the comment… exactly what Coach Meyer thought.

I have written about this before in this post… Chain of Accountability, Chain of Praise… about two different ways leaders can respond to adversity and success.

While it does not “drive me insane,” it does make me cringe whenever I hear coaches (or leaders) blame players for losses. I think it shows lack of maturity … lack of leadership… it’s the easy way out.

The second thing that came to light this week was Urban Meyer sharing how a “gift” he has is also a curse. Meyer talked about how his “gift” of being an obsessed, perfectionist, competitor led to his anxiety, sleep deprivation, and poor health… Something, I am sure, many reading this column can relate to… but more on that in a later post!

And now a quick (but shameless) plug for my new project, the YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel … a resource for players, parents, and coaches to help better understand and navigate the collegiate recruiting process.

This post – The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, has links to the most recent episode and a playlist of all the episodes currently uploaded.

I hope you can take the time to watch and share this link to colleagues, players and parents. Your help is appreciated!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Strength in Numbers

As coaches we sometime get caught up trying to get BIG improvement out of our athletes and out of our teams.  And that is OK, and expected…but, don’t forget that there is also strength in numbers.

Imagine …..

  • If everyone on your squad got just a little stronger
  • If everyone on your squad improved even a little on their ball handling skills
  • If everyone on your squad became just a little better at tackling
  • If everyone on your squad got just a little faster
  • If everyone on your squad became just a little better at bunting
  • If everyone on your squad improved his or her free throw percentage just a little
  • If everyone on your squad became just a little bit better technicians
  • If everyone on your squad improved his or her mental toughness even a little
  • If everyone on your squad reported to camp just a little better conditioned than last year
  • If everyone on your squad improved their batting average even slightly

You get the idea.

If everyone improves, even just slightly, it adds up to big team improvements… In strength, ball handling, tackling, speed, bunting, free throw percentage, technique, mental toughness, conditioning, or batting average.

Which leads to better team performance.

weakLinkThe key, of course, and the trick is, the “everyone” part of the equation.  Great teams have it figured out… Every team member has bought in and understands that their teammates are counting on them to improve, even if it is just a little…. the old “weakest link” adage.

 

As we are heading into our Fall seasons, what can you, your staff, and your team leaders do to insure that everyone on the squad feels the need to improve… even just a little?

You Can Do More (even just a little)… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Improving through “Failure”

I became a better sailor today…. by “failing”

My cousin has a Hobie 14 catamaran that we have sailed on a small Missouri lake (Lake Tapawingo) for the past two years… probably 20+ times total.

We also sailed a Hobie 14 on Potrero Bay, in the Pacific Ocean of the shores of Costa Rica.  Here is a brief clip of that sail…

 

We have always sailed in conditions that were “comfortable” for us… about 10 knots of wind, both on the lake and ocean… and we have become very good at sailing this small/ quick boat.

We have never gotten into trouble, had any mishaps, and were feeling pretty confident about our skill level.

After our last time sailing in the ocean, we both agreed that we would like to test ourselves by sailing in some more extreme (windy) conditions.

Those conditions presented themselves yesterday (20+ mph winds) so we took to Lake Tapawingo to test our skills.

On our first trip across the lake… maybe 2-3 minutes into the sail we got tested.

The wind picked up and immediately capsized the Hobie. While we had read, and knew how to right the vessel, we had never been forced to do it.

As we gathered ourselves (and gear that was floating everywhere) the Hobie “turtled” on us … went completely upside down… mast pointing down into the water, bottom of the boat up.

turtle

After about 30 minutes of work (and with the help of two other boaters, one of which had experience sailing a Hobie) we were able to get the boat righted and started off.

Learning from our first mistake, we adjusted our weight on the boat to help prevent another capsizing and began sailing again…. and had several minutes of good sailing, putting to use our new knowledge of managing the boat in higher wind.

Then we got tested again…. another big gust and over we went!

This time, though, we got the boat righted immediately and were again on our way.

We had learned from our first “failure” and handled this challenge with relative ease.

A broken part on the rudder prevented us from continuing, or we may have been tested even more. As it was, we licked our wounds, dropped the sail, and ingloriously paddled the boat back to the dock.

At the dock we both debriefed… looking at what we could have done differently (better), what mistakes we made, and what we had learned.

We both agreed that, although we didn’t get a lot of sailing in that day, that we were glad we went out… that we tested ourselves.

It is only by getting out of our “comfort zone” that we can grow. It is only by testing our limits, that we can expand our limits.

I know now that I improved my Hobie sailing skills because of our “failures” that day.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Share a Day With a Pistol Expert!

I am extremely excited to announce the following:

coach-bA longtime friend, great coach, and awesome clinician, Coach Scott Baumgartner, will be coming to the Kansas City area to hold a one-day clinic on Saturday, March 4.  Coach Baumgartner and I were on staff together at UCM where he coached receivers.  He is currently coaching RB’s at the University of New Mexico under head coach Bob Davie.  The Lobo’s pistol offense led the FBS in rushing this year.

coach-b2This is truly a rare opportunity.  Coach Baumgartner is considered one of the top experts in the country regarding the Pistol Offense.  He was on staff for 9 seasons at the University of Nevada under Chris Ault, and was QB coach there the year (2005) the Pistol was invented by Ault and the Nevada staff.

The clinic will be held at the Lecture Hall at Truman High School in Independence, MO, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Many of the KC area coaches know Coach B.  He is a regular on the Glazier circuit and is a polished presenter… sharing very good information from drills, game cutups, philosophy, etc.

The cost of the clinic will be $10 per coach.  You can pay with a Credit Card via the PayPal link on my site, or cash/ check (made out to Jeff Floyd) the day of the clinic.

Here is some additional information regarding Coach Baumgartner and his coaching experience:

Considered one of the leading experts on the Pistol Offense, University of New Mexico running back coach, Scott Baumgartner has over 20 years of coaching experience.

Baumgartner has roots in the Kansas City area through his years as wide receiver coach at the University of Central Missouri from 1996-2003 … this prior to his stint as QB/WR coach at the University of Nevada under Pistol Guru, head coach Chris Ault from 2004-2012

NCAA Football: Gildan New Mexico Bowl-Arizona vs New MexicoCoach Baumgartner begins is fourth season at the University of New Mexico, and his second year of coaching the running backs. The Lobos led the FBS in rushing this past season, his first with the RB’s. Prior to coaching the backs, Coach Baumgartner guided the wide receiver corps that established record production in the UNM pistol offense during the Bob Davie (head coach of UNM) era.

nm-bowlThe Lobos have earned bowl berths the last two seasons under Davie, their first since 2007. Davie has turned around the New Mexico football program that had won 3 total games in the 3 previous seasons prior to his taking the helm.

Before arriving at UNM, Coach Baumgartner was an assistant at the University of Nevada under head coach Chris Ault for nine seasons. Baumgartner was a member of the Nevada staff (QB coach) that in 2005 invented the pistol offense. During his tenure at Nevada, the Wolfpack had seven finishes in the top 15 nationally in total offense.

I hope you will be able to join us for this single day of offensive football learning.  I know this is fairly short notice, so I am hoping you will help me in disseminating this information to interested coaches!

  • Coach Scott Baumgartner – University of New Mexico RB Coach
  • Truman High School, 3301 S. Noland Road Independence, MO 64055
  • Lecture Hall
  • Time – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Cost $10

Any questions, contact me via phone (214.385.8695) or the twitter or email links below!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Inclusivity

As you read on, it will probably become apparent why I have written this post, and written it at this time.

Let me begin by saying this is not an indictment of any coach or program… I am not pointing fingers at anyone except myself… pointing out my own inadequacies so that others may learn from my shortcomings.

I am just posing a few rhetorical questions… some food for thought.

How inclusive is your athletic program?

Would students from other backgrounds, cultures, religions, or ethnicities feel welcomed, safe…. feel “at home” in your program?

diversity

If your school were primarily an urban school, would a young man (or woman) that transferred from a rural school be made to feel included in your program?

If the athletes in your program (and your coaches) were predominately Caucasian, would an athlete of color that wanted to participate feel welcomed?

If your school population (and your coaches) were predominately Christian, would a Muslim student feel like they were accepted in your program?

If you believe (as I do) that participation in athletics is an important piece of the total educational puzzle… that there is so much more to learn by participating in athletics than X’s and O’s… then really the answer to these questions needs to be YES.

I detailed an experience from my past in this post about a former player of mine Toriano Porter… I hope you take time to read it. Without rehashing the whole story, let it suffice to say that as a young, white, teacher from the suburbs coaching at the University of Central Missouri, I did not understand the plight of young, black, urban athletes nearly as well as I thought I did.

Another experience from a few years ago…

I was teaching in a very affluent…but a fairly diverse culturally… community in Texas. We had many students of color, and many different ethnicities in the school population… and this diversity was reflected in the students who participated on our football team.

This diversity was not reflected on our coaching staff. We were all white and predominately Christian.

Why does that matter, you might ask?

We had several young men who were Muslim that played on our team. I am quite sure that at times these athletes felt like outsiders… different. That year the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan fell during our season. We all knew the “normal” … “traditional” holidays… Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter… but Ramadan? (or Yom Kippur, or Diwali)

I knew what Ramadan was… I taught World Religions for a couple of years… but had not thought about when it occurred or the ramifications in regards to sports participation. During Ramadan Muslims fast from sunup to sunset… no consuming food or drinking liquids… that meant no water during, hot Texas summer practices… mouthpieces could not be worn.

As coaches, we really had no plan as to how we could help accommodate these players who were practicing their faith, other than to acknowledge that “boy, that is going to be hard”. I was unprepared… inadequate.

This is not an easy topic… but it is important.

If participation of athletics is an important part of our education system, then this topic needs to be explored… these questions need to be considered.

How inclusive is your program?

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Competing at a High Level

It is that time of the year.

Over the next few weeks of the high school season we all will have the pleasure of seeing players (and teams) competing at a high level.

I have written often about competing in this blog… I just did a search to see how many of my posts contained the words “compete”, “competing” and “competitor” and stopped counting after 50.

My catch phrase (my very domain name) “You Can Do More” is an entreat to compete!

I have not written about competing at a high level… and there is a difference.

Competing… and learning how to compete… is really ALL mental … as the rest of my phrase indicates… “your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!”

To compete you don’t have to be a skilled athlete… or really an athlete at all.

You don’t have to be in great shape… or have learned good technique… you just need to give your best… a great… effort. We all have seen… and probably coached players (and teams) that were not the most skilled… the most athletic… but still competed well.

But competing at a high level requires much more…. and the teams that continue to advance through the playoffs over the next few weeks will be doing, and will have done the “much more” that it takes to compete at a high level.

football-playoffsTo me, for an individual to compete at a high level means that they have done everything in their power to make themselves mentally AND physically into the best player they can be…. a team competing at a high level means that the coach has engineered the same preparation to the bulk of the athletes (and coaches) on that squad.

The individuals competing at a high level will be in shape, strong, fast, use great technique, will be mentally prepared and confident in their training… they will reach down and Do More!

Teams that advance these next weeks will exhibit the same characteristics… great team speed and strength… mentally sharp, focused, confident and making few mistakes…. these teams will find a way to Do More… find a way to get it done.

Over the next month it will be fun following individual players and teams that have put the work in required to compete at a high level… good luck to you all.

“Big time players make big time plays in big time games”…. “The cream will rise to the top”

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

What Motivates Your Athletes?

What motivates… inspires… drives your athletes ?

Of course, I cannot answer that question for you…. but I can share a few things that I have learned about motivation.

  • There is no “cookie cutter” approach… every athlete is different.
  • There is no “magic bullet”… it often is a variety and an accumulation of things.
  • What works one year, may not the next… every team is different.
  • You have to develop a relationship with your athletes and team to find out what their “hot button” is.
  • Every athlete has a story… a set of circumstances that make them unique.

And I was made keenly aware of one more things this past week…

Sometimes the best motivation happens daily… it is often tied to the mundane and is in the minutia.

A discussion broke out on Facebook the last couple of weeks among a group of former student-athletes that I had the honor of teaching and coaching 30 years ago in Osceola, Missouri.

It started with a Throwback Thursday photo (thanks Brandon Shelby) showing the cover of our playbook from 1986.

86-playbook

A rapid exchange of posts followed…

More pictures of old playbooks

playbook2

Men recalling names of plays in the playbook (Gambler, Kelly)

gamblerkelly

A picture of the football we used (USFL ball) that our QB (Paul Carney) had saved.

usfl-ball

And an email to me that included a digital copy of the entire playbook! (Thank you Ryan Self)

I have written about the value of a playbook as a teaching tool MANY times (The Value of a Playbook, The Playbook is dead… Long Live the Playbook, Flipping the Practice Field) but the playbook as motivation?

YES… it is clear to me that it was important to this group.

We were the “Osceola Air Force”… it was our identity.

We were a 1A school… but I wanted our student-athletes to think bigger… I wanted them to have pride in everything we said and did.

It was at the height of the USFL… the Houston Gamblers and Jim Kelly… we were running a “spread offense” in 1986 using “run and shoot” concepts.

  • The mundane… a playbook.
  • The minutia… the name of a play.
  • The daily… the type of football we used in practice and games.

And 30 years later these men (and their sons and daughters) still talk about it… they have saved their playbooks, and their old beat up football.

It is clear that this stuff was important to them… it helped motivate them.

It all matters… It has a cumulative effect.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com