The Limitations of 140 Characters

Let me preface this post by saying that I embrace technology and I use many social media tools.

I tweet daily, scan the twittershpere for nuggets, and participate in several online twitter chats (see Post #TXHSFBCHAT… The Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet)

That being said, twitter 140these tools all have limitations… and in many ways (like for really in-depth study and research), they are doo doo (RIP Gene Wilder).

To think you are going to learn much anything of substance by reading a 140 character tweet is misguided at best, and really pretty lazy at worst.

I worry at times that colleagues are spending… investing… time scrolling through their twitter account searching for that Golden Ticket (RIP Gene Wilder)… that single concept, phrase, or idea that will put their program on the path to greatness…

Probably not an investment that will pay huge dividends.

Most concepts in football (or coaching) have more substance than can be adequately covered in a tweet, Instagram picture, or Facebook post. My single post, Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, has over 1,000 words, (6,500 characters) about a dozen images and a 10-minute video… and I still worry that I adequately covered the subject!
What I try to do with my tweets (or re-tweet) is to get your attention… and then direct you to where the substance is… to where the REAL information is… which normally will take some time to read and digest.

It is not about instant gratification or a sound bite… it is about learning, content, and thoughtful study.

There is no shortcut… the only guaranteed shortcut … take the long way!

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

 

#TXHSFBCHAT… The Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet

If you are looking for a great way to supplement your off-season learning (see post Planning Your Off-Season) hang on to your hat, get your twitter (or TweetDeck) up and running, and follow the hashtag #TXHSFBCHAT on Wednesday evenings from 8:00-9:00 pm.

#TXHSFBCHAT is an online chat, moderated each week by Coach Chris Fisher,(@coachfisher_rp) the offensive line coach at Ridge Point High School in Missouri City, TX. While the name (and hashtag) of the chat is “TeXas High School FootBall CHAT, coaches from all across the country participate each week, and it is but one of a number of these online chats sessions that sprung up last year during the football off-season.

The weekly schedule of these chats (some have yet to start back up yet this off-season) is:

Here is how the sessions typically work. Each week there is a main topic … this past week it was off-season preparation. The moderator will begin each session by asking participating coaches to introduce (via twitter) themselves and where they are from, adding the hashtag #txhsfbchat to their intro. Of course, with the medium being twitter… limited to 140 characters… the intro’s are brief and to the point.

This, in itself, is a great networking opportunity!

After the intros the session really gets going. The moderator will pose a question, using the format Q1 (Question 1) and participants (if they choose) will answer using the format A1 (Answer to question 1)… with each question, answer and comment tagged with #txhsfbchat.

To follow or participate in the conversation you just need to follow (search) #txhsfbchat in Twitter (or TweetDeck)

Here are some responses I clipped from this weeks chat… you can see the question posed by Coach Fisher (Q5) on the left, and some of the responses (A5) on the right.
txchat

Q5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pace, for me at least, becomes pretty frenetic during the chats…. I am trying to “follow” new coaches that are on the chat, “retweet” and “like” responses that resonate with me, and also respond to the questions posed by the moderator. It is the fastest 60 minutes on the Internet!

Needless to say, with a 140 character limit, you are not going to be able to get down to the minutiae of running the pistol offense (or any topic really), but you can connect with colleagues who are experts in many subject… colleagues that you can reach out to later for more information.

I learn something every time I hop on the chat. Often it is simply a phrase or term a coach will use… or maybe just a slightly different way of thinking about something.   Here is an example of something that struck me this past week… you can see the question, the response, and my comment to the response:

Q3

invest

 

Finally, possibly the best part… you can participate as much or as little as you are comfortable with. If there is a topic that you feel strongly about and wish to contribute… then have at it! If you just feel like “listening” to the discussion, that is acceptable as well.

A final shout out to Coach Fisher… in addition to facilitating the chats, developing topics and questions each week, and scheduling guest coaches for the Q/A sessions, he also posts an archive (and upcoming topics) of each weeks chats on his web site txhsfbchat.com

Related Posts:

Any interest in a #MOHSFBCHAT or #KCHSFBCHAT??? Let me know.

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

 

Train Your Brain

It is that time of the year.

Every game takes on increasing significance.

Win you continue…. lose and you are on to “next year”

Each week half the remaining teams are eliminated.

For the remaining teams, practice time takes on increasing importance… each week more is on the line.

But, you have to stay healthy… no one wants to lose a player during the week’s prep.

The season is always a grind physically and mentally… and you and your team are still grinding.

So how do you balance the need for quality practice time, and the need to keep your players physically and mentally healthy?

Late Friday night (while uploading video to Hudl) I saw this piece on the STRIVR virtual reality system that Clemson (currently 7-0 and ranked #3 in the NCAA) is using in their football program.

Clemson #GMCPerfectSeason

This next leap in virtual reality training is remarkable.

The systems have gone from CGI animated players (EON SportsVR) which is somewhat akin to being immersed in a video game using your playbook, to the STRIVR system that uses actual 360° video and audio from your practice.

strivr

You can see more about the STRIVR system here… Football Meets Silicon Valley.

So what about the programs that can’t take the budget hit that comes with implementing these virtual reality systems?

I have written several pieces on the topic of mental preparation… maybe you can find an idea here:

What methods do you use to mentally train your athletes? I would be interested in knowing and sharing… just shoot me an email or comment to this post!

Good luck to those of you still playing… it is always fun watching great football during this time of the year.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tech Tips, Part 2

I received some great comments regarding last weeks post, Tech Tips, and noticed a spike in my sites analytics for the search term “Making a Screen Recording”… so here goes with this week’s post – Tech Tips 2

I have a few “go-to” programs/ apps that I use nearly every day… especially when implementing “flipped coaching” or “flipped teaching” concepts. Included are…

Grab

Grab is a resident program on Macs that allows you to grab an image of your entire screen,

screen shot

or a portion.

screen shot2

It comes in handy when capturing telestrated images from Hudl, or individual frames from any video.  It is extremely easy to use…. very intuitive… and places the image on your clipboard where it can be quickly pasted or exported to another program.  There is an explanation of how to do this on a PC at this link:  How to take a screenshot in Microsoft Windows, but I am not sure if this is the only or easiest way to do it on a PC.

QuickTime Player

This, too, is a resident program on Macs.  It allows you to make a screen recording, also known as a screencast (see post, Making a Screen Recording), of anything that is on your computer screen.  It could be a recording of a telestrated Hudl video that you want to imbed in a PowerPoint presentation, or a recording of an animated PowerPoint presentation that you want to put on YouTube.  Whatever action takes place on your screen after beginning a Screen Recording (using QuickTime Player) will be recorded in a video that can be saved, embedded, used in other programs, or sent to the web.

As with Grab, you can record your entire screen

or a portion.

Aurasma

The app and platform Aurasma is an augmented reality program that allows users to unlock digital content from the world around them through the use of a phone or tablet. It is like QR codes, but with pictures or diagrams.

It is a little difficult to explain, but fairly easy to see in action.

Here is an example.

I have this picture of two students jumping rope… that I captured with the program, Grab!

pat-jump-rope

I have this video (.mov file) of the two students actually demonstrating the various jump rope drills.

Lets say I have a printed picture of the students jumping rope laying on my kitchen counter right now… which I actually do!

The app Aurasma can link the video file, overlaying it via phone or tablet onto the actual picture … augmenting the “real” picture sitting on my counter with the video.

Here is Aurasma doing just that:

The Aurasma  app works with a tablet or smart phone in exactly the same way.  Here is a video showing the same trigger picture and video using a phone… you will also see in this video that you can “layer” overlays so that different commands “single tap” or “double tap” will perform different functions…. In this example a double tap will take the user to my blog post about these jump rope drills.

Cool technology… but how could you use it in coaching and teaching?

Here is a simple example… I printed pictures of the 4 Core lifts we do in class.  I put the pictures on a bulletin board in the weight room.  Lets say the students had a quick question regarding technique, spotting, or what muscle groups the lift worked.  They could pop over to the board, scan the picture using the Aurasma app and get a quick tutorial on the lift.

Some other possible uses – trigger image and overlay (video, image, or website) for each of these

  • One for each piece of equipment in your weight room…
  • One showing the muscle groups worked on each lift…
  • One detailing each station in a fitness circuit…
  • One showing complimentary auxiliary lifts for each core lift…
  • One showing medicine ball drills …
  • One showing resistance band drills…

Like any other use of technology, these things will not replace the teaching and coaching you do, but supplement (augment) it.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tech Tips

As we head into the final portion of our seasons, with conference and district championships on the line and playoff possibilities looming, is there anything that you as a coach could be doing differently or better? Are there any tools, techniques, or tips that might help you teach or coach more effectively and efficiently?

I am always on the lookout for a better way to skin the cat… and invariably my search leads me back to technology.

Here are a couple of new tools that I just started using, and an “old reliable” that I have begun using in a different way.

Twitter

We all know the Social Media aspect of Twitter… and have witnessed people “Tweeting” the minutiae of their daily lives. But there is another aspect of Twitter that makes it a virtual clinic… a clinic that is open 24/7 365. Twitter connects me to coaches and colleagues across the country … coaches that are experts in every field… from Middle School Strength and Conditioning, to collegiate recruiting, to NFL special teams play.

Inside of Twitter, by using the # symbol, you can connect to weekly chats hosted and moderated by coaches across the country. Some of my favorites are:

Typically one coach will moderate by posing a question to the field (Q1) and each participating coach will respond with their input (A1) including the appropriate # for the chat. By searching the # for that particular chat, each coach can view all questions and responses. Often there are guest coaches that will tweet on a topic in their area of expertise

Here is screen shot from a recent #txhsfbchat answers (A3) to the question (Q3): How do you incorporate the community of your school into your academic support system?

chat

Following the session, the questions and responses are archived. Here is a link to an archived chat about Athlete Motivaton from a couple of weeks ago.

Some of these groups are more active than others, but most really get up and running full speed in the off-season.

Any interest in a #kchsfbchat or #mohsfbchat this off-season? Let me know.

Tweetdeck

A program that makes it possible to easily follow several #chats and #streams at once is Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck (part of Twitter) allows a user to monitor multiple timelines, schedule tweets and filter searches. Here is a screenshot of my Tweetdeck, with my most viewed timelines displayed.

tweetdeck

The timelines are displayed in real time and can be formatted, filtered and arranged to your liking.

Remind

remind-logo-1Another new tool we just started using in our program is Remind (Remind.com). Remind is a communication tool that helps teachers and students connect instantly with students and parents. You can send quick, simple messages to any device. It is a free program that takes literally seconds for you and our athletes to sign up. It is safe – it keeps phone numbers private… students never see yours and you never see theirs. Our administration loves this program.

Do you have a favorite tech tech tool that you are using in your program? Are you finding a new way to use an old tool? If so, please share!

Related Posts:

I will ask this question again… Any interest in a #kchsfbchat or #mohsfbchat?

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

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