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

 

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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

Running an Effective Drill

ucmoIn my first season as a coach at the University of Central Missouri, during one of our first staff meetings, our Head Coach, Terry Noland gave us some advice.  His instructions regarding how to effectively run a drill were not only good advice to a young coach with eight years experience (me), but lasting concepts that have served me well for over thirty years.

  1. Have a name for the drill – that way when you run it successive times, you don’t need to spend as much time explaining it.
  2. Teach the athletes what technique(s) you are trying to improve with the drill.
  3. Have the drill set up prior to the athletes arriving at your station.
  4. Have an organized progression as to how the athletes move through the drill – for example “the first person in line will be the ball carrier.  You will go from being the ball carrier, to tackler, to the end of the line.
  5. Don’t be a part of the drill – Coach!
  6. Give the athletes specific instructions regarding the speed of the drill – Is it full speed, ½ speed, or walk through.
  7. Give the athletes a specific start point for the drill.
  8. Give the athletes a specific end point for the drill.

These are simple concepts that make for effective daily teaching.

Remember – You Can Do More… 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

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

Your Creed

I am constantly reminded that, as coaches, we are an amalgam… a combination… of all of the coaches we have played for or coached with throughout our lifetimes.

The philosophy we believe in… the techniques we teach… how we teach…

And the converse is true.   We mentor… teach… inspire all of the players and coaches in our sphere.

We are at the same time a “branch” of one coaching tree, and the “roots” of yet another

I have been very fortunate to have many great individuals influence the way I coach and teach (see posts Genealogy, Your Tree, Immortality).

I bring this all up today because of a post on a Facebook group I belong to (CMSU Fighting Mules Football Alumni) that referenced the “Muleball Creed”.

muleball-creedThe Muleball Creed was (and still is) deeply rooted in the folks that played for and coached with Terry Noland during his tenure as head football coach at the University of Central Missouri.

It was in every playbook, posted on our office walls, part of our workouts, discussed during pre-game, and eventually worked is way into the core… the psyche… the very fabric of the people in our program.

It states simply…

“Man’s greatest moment of happiness is to be tested beyond what he thought might be his breaking point and still succeed!”

We all memorized it, believed it, and could recite it at will… in fact I just typed it out verbatim 20 years after leaving UCM… and most everyone else that played and coached there during those years could probably do the same.

It is strikingly familiar to my Creed… Catch Phrase… Mantra…

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

My” Creed?…It IS what I believe… but hardly… exclusively… originally… mine.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Courage

Being more of a spectator now as opposed to an active coach has given me new perspective (and renewed appreciation) on our job as coaches.

It takes courage to participate in athletics, whether as a coach or participant.

You are putting yourself “out there” for everyone… spectators, family, friends and foes alike to watch, judge, critique, etc. It is easy to sit in the stands and grouse about how your team is lacking, or how your team’s players are “not very good”. It is much harder to compete, take the risk, do the work, and be a Doer!

It takes courage to be a coach, to put your product out for evaluation every Friday night or Tuesday or Sunday afternoon. I chuckle inside when other teachers (non coaches) worry/ complain/ get angry about being “evaluated” once or twice a year. Coaches not only get evaluated during those two “official” teaching evaluations, but also every Friday night when they put their team on the field. The evaluation is done not only by school officials, but parents, community members, students, and the media.

football-pressure-coachIn addition to these “evaluations” many of us also get evaluated almost daily by our Activities Director and/ or administration… watching practice, checking grades, monitoring your teams behavior while they are at school. And it is ALL GOOD! It comes with the job; it is what we signed up for, and generally keeps us on our toes.

So why do we do it? Why do we decide to compete… to coach?

This is a excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog that I re-read yesterday about being a spectator as opposed to a Doer:

“The spectators foolishly assert that if everyone was a doer, a leader and a maker of ruckuses, then there’d be no one left in the audience. As if those that do require an audience.”

“The alternative to being a spectator involves failure and apparent risk. It means that you will encounter people who accuse you of hubris and flying too high, people who are eager to point out the loose thread on your jacket or the flaw in your reasoning. The spectators in the stands are happy to boo, happy to walk out when the team is struggling in the third period, happy to switch if the bread or the circuses cease to delight.”

“Why on earth, they ask, would they want to be anything but a spectator?”

“And yet, those that have foolishly picked themselves, stood up, stood out and made a difference, can’t help but ask, “and why would I ever want to be a spectator again?””

You (and your players) have picked yourselves and stood up…

You (and your players) are Doers…. You are Competitors!

You have chosen a more difficult path…. a more difficult, but much more rewarding path.

You make a difference.

Ours is an awesome job, with awesome responsibilities!

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

Culture

Culture.

The culture of a program…

The culture of your program…

What is encompassed by this phrase?

  • The expectations regarding success…
  • The expectations regarding character…
  • Confidence…
  • Work Habits…
  • Classroom conduct…
  • Team and individual goals…
  • How players are held accountable in these areas

These concepts and many more that I am sure you can think of.

Trying to change the culture of a program is an incredibly difficult task.

How is it done? How can you accomplish this? How can you…

success-sign

  • Move your team from the point of no success or expectations of success…
  • To winning some games against weaker opponents… teams you are “expected” to win…
  • To expecting success…wins … weekly and against all opponents.

I have written on this subject before and highlighted programs and individuals that changed the culture in their programs.

I have been involved in a few of these situations as a coach… both with success and without.

Here is what I have come to believe is one of the most important concepts when trying to change the culture of a program…

  • It takes a village.
  • It takes all hands on deck.
  • It takes everyone speaking the same language with the same expectations.
  • It takes everyone in the building and community being on the same page

If the expectations are understood by the athletes in your football program, but change when they participate in other sports, all the learning and progress made during the fall season is diminished.

If the athletes are expected to compete daily in your strength and conditioning class, but can take days off in another instructors class, the culture you are trying to change takes a hit.

If you are teaching your athletes the importance of great daily practice habits to be successful, but they are not hearing this in their other sports, or their other classes, or at home, then your task of changing the culture becomes more difficult.

You get the idea.

If you are trying to change the culture of your program (or sustain the great culture you already have) and things are not progressing as you would like…. I would take a look at what is happening when the athletes are not under your tutelage.

It is difficult to deliver an effective message… it is difficult for your athletes to “hear” your message if they are only expected to “listen” two or three hours a day.

Your message HAS to become the school/ community message.

It can be, and has been done… so you can do it!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com