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 –


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 –

You Can Do This

My last post was about “doing your best”…

And how, even when you have done your best, “there might be just a little more to give”…

And how that relates to my tag line… You Can Do More.

A little bit about that tag line…

There is a BIG difference between “You Can Do More!” and “you could have done more!

One is an entreat, a plea to ignore what your brain and body are telling you and push on and persevere.

The other is an admonishment for not doing your best and results in guilt and diminished performance.

The mantra “You Can Do More” really is a double edge sword that needs to be wielded carefully.  I do believe an important part of our job as coaches is to get our athletes to do more than what they believe (or their brain is telling them) they can.

I also believe that is an equally important job to acknowledge, praise, and rejoice when our athletes are successful, have given great effort, and have done all that we asked.  They sometimes need to hear your loud positivevoice” in their head to drown out their own (and other) negative “voices” that are often so pervasive.

hard thingsWith young athletes, it is equally important that they first learn that “You Can Do This”… “this” being whatever tasks are before them… hard and challenging tasks… physically… mentally… or both… Initially, when first learning how to compete you don’t have to implore your athletes to “do more”…. just meeting the challenge you have given them is the first step… even if it is just a baby step…

“You Can Do This”

“You Got This”

“You Can Beat This”

Once they get used to being able to meet these challenges head on, and begin to have the confidence that “You Can Do THIS”…. once they get used to COMPETING… once they trust what you are telling them, then it is a simple progression to You Can Do More!

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

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Jeff Floyd –

Getting Stuck

I like getting stuck.  I like being faced with challenging situations.  I like having to figure out elegant solutions to complex problems.   I like finding new and better ways to teach or explain something.  I like figuring out how to use technology to improve my coaching.

edisonAll of these things force me out of my comfort zone; force me to become a better coach and teacher.  I believe that in order to be a good coach, you must be a good teacher (Coach=Teacher).  To be a good teacher and coach, I think you must be a good problem solver as well.  And to be good at solving problems takes some tenacity … As Thomas Edison said, genius is 99% perspiration, and 1% inspiration.  Solving problems, whether it is how to stop the top rushing offense in the nation, or how to make a screen recording to better explain an Excel spreadsheet, is what makes coaching and teaching FUN.  How boring if everything was smooth and easy!

Two things that I took from participating in athletics as a youth that have served me well my entire adult life:

  1. Be tenacious – never give up on a challenge.
  2. Hard work has a value in and of itself.

I was fortunate to play for coaches that instilled these qualities in the athletes that they worked with.

Add another life skill to the things you are teaching the young men and women in your programs– problem solving.  You are developing perspiring geniuses!

Questions and Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd –


In 3 posts this week I commented on what I was NOTNot A big time distance runner, Not A literary critic, Not A scientist.  So this is what I AM


I have always been very proud to say that I am part of the greatest profession in the world.  I am a teacher and a coach.  These two skills (jobs) are linked together – to be a great coach, you must be a great teacher.   I have seen many bad coaches that were also bad teachers, and many good teachers that could not find their way around a practice field or court.  But I firmly believe that in order to be a great coach, you need to be a great teacher as well.  So what qualities make a great teacher and coach?  In no particular order, here are my thoughts on the matter.

  1. Great Knowledge of your subject matter – Without this you will be limited on what you can teach your student-athletes; if you are a fraud you eventually will be found out.  As I mentioned in an earlier post (Lifetime Learning),  continued learning is important as well
  2. Great Communicator – Your communication skills allow you to share your knowledge of the subject matter with your student-athletes.  Without this skill you are simply a repository of knowledge.
  3. Great Motivator – It is your job to push your student-athletes beyond their comfort zone – often getting them to do things that are physically and mentally difficult.  A good motivator will figure out what your individual student-athletes “hot buttons” are and when to push them.
  4. Great Empathy – Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective.;  it is walking a mile in their shoes.  You have to be able to “connect” with your athletes, and I think having empathy helps with this. You aren’t best friends with them, but do understand them.
  5. Great Work Ethic– Coaching and teaching involve hours beyond the time spent on the field or classroom.  Great teachers and coaches understand this process, this grind (Grit and “The Grind”) and embrace it.
  6. Great Energy Level – I have never seen a great teacher/ coach that was boring.  Great teachers are enthusiastic and their enthusiasm is contagious, spilling over to other coaches and players.
  7. Great Organization – Beyond the actual teaching or coaching, the job can be massive – hundreds of players on a squad, with reams of paperwork needed for each one.  In order to efficiently use the limited time you have, in the classroom and on the field, being organized is a must.

I know this list is not definitive – I am surely leaving things out.

Every coach and teacher has his or her various strengths and weaknesses.  The key, I think, is to figure out your weak areas and develop a plan on how you can improve in those areas.  It is the same process with the same expectations you would have with your student-athletes.

Coach Yourself Up!

Questions or Comments are appreciated!

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

Jeff Floyd –

Lifetime Learning

It was with much dismay that I heard a comment that was made by a fellow coach the other day.  He said that he doesn’t really do the “coaching clinic thing” because “he has all the football knowledge he needs right up here”… (pointing to his head).

afcaI was given an excellent piece of advice during my first year of coaching at Blue Springs High School.  Fred Merrell was my head coach when I attended Blue Springs, and I was fortunate to be able to go back after college and work with Fred at Blue Springs for three seasons.  It was after my first season as a member of Fred’s staff and I was getting ready to attend my first coaching clinic.  Coach Merrell could tell I was excited – there were several big name college coaches and many legendary Missouri and Kansas high school coaches.  The thing that Coach Merrell told me that day was this …

”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”

Coach Merrell knows more football than I, or most of us, will ever know.  He would always  attend every session, and always be right up front , listening intently and taking notes.  I figured if this approach was good enough for Fred, it was good enough for me.

I do think there is a danger of a coach trying to take too much from each presenter; of tasting each new “flavor of the day”.  But, I have never had the hubris to think that “I had all the football knowledge” I needed.  If I do get to that point, someone stick a fork in me… I am done.

I like listening to successful coaches; I enjoy the learning process.   Every clinic I have ever attended, from small local clinics to the American Football Coaches Association national convention, I remember what Coach Merrell said to me over 30 years ago…”If I can get just one thing out a clinic, then I consider it worthwhile”.  I like doing the “coaching clinic thing” and have been to many worthwhile sessions over the past 30 years.

Questions and Comments are ALWAYS welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd –