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

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Drill, Drill, Drill

The Internet…

You can have your own personal clinic every day.

Earlier this week an online call came from Lee Weber (CSIC and head football coach at Wamego High School, KS) asking coaches to send in their favorite drills so he can compile a “best of” Twitter #fbchat drill guide.

I have become a virtual colleague of coach Weber via Twitter and the various football coaching chats (see post #TXHSFBCHAT… the Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet) that take place weekly online.

I immediately responded to his collaboration call, and in the process realized that, although I have written many posts regarding football drills, and detailed many of my favorites, they were spread over a time period of three years and nearly 400 posts… not the easiest navigation to find some good ball drills.

Here is a compilation of articles I have written about drills including philosophy, terminology and diagrams… hopefully a little easier for you to navigate.

step-over-dummy-0811Please consider sending one of your favorite drills to Coach Weber (gcwarrior@gmail.com) for inclusion in his drill guide. As you can see from my drills, they were all learned from colleagues in our profession that were willing to share.

The coaching profession benefits when we collaborate.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Team > I

OK…

Here is my annual foray into the world of baseball coaching, which I really know very little about.

But I do know a little about TEAM.

And I do know a little about leadership.

And I do know a little about coaching in general.

2015 World Series… Game 5 Sunday night… Royals vs Mets.

Matt Harvey is pitching a gem… a masterpiece… trying to win the Mets back into the series.

Eight great innings, from an athlete coming back from serious arm surgery… from an athlete that had an “inning count” during the season.

Mets manager Terry Collins and pitching coach, Dan Warthan, make the decision to send in a reliever for the top of the 9th inning.   A decision they get paid to make.

The TV cameras captured the exchange when word was given to Harvey by Warthan that he would not be finishing the game.

“No Way!” …

you can see an agitated Harvey yell.

He then takes his argument to manager Collins.

“NO WAY! I want this game. I want it bad. You’ve got to leave me in. I want this game in the worst way.”

View post on imgur.com

Collins relents and Harvey takes the mound in the 9th.

At that point it became ALL about an individual, Harvey, and not about the team, the New York Mets.   It was selfish.

Three “I’s” in Harvey’s argument… one “me”… no “We”, “Us” or “Team”

That was the difference in game 5.

That was the difference in the series.

Team > I

Go Royals!

My post after the 2014 series about lessons that we all can learn from the Kansas City Royals can be found here… those are still applicable (or more so) this year as well:

Royal Lessons

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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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

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Back to Basics

About this time of the season, amid all of the game planning and scheming, I always like to remind myself to get “back to basics”… basics in regards to fundamentals, coaching technique, and philosophy.

In our last contest, there were several things that I was not happy with on the defensive side…. Our angles to the ball, getting off blocks, and tackling technique were not very good. I realized that our poor play was my fault; I was not teaching these concepts very well.

I also thought about a tweet that I read recently… “Instead of yelling at your players for what they are doing wrong, TEACH them how to do it correctly”

This week I went back to a drill that we used at the beginning of every practice when I was defensive coordinator at the University of Central Missouri. The drill is called String Out Tackle, and it was a staple at our practices when we were one of the top defenses in the nation. We got the drill during one of our spring trips to Oklahoma State University. They used the drill when Bill Miller was their defensive coordinator.

stringout

String Out Tackle teaches most of the concepts that we are currently struggling with as a defensive unit. It is a simple drill that quickly allows all the players to get multiple reps… I should have been running the drill all season! You can download a copy of the drill at this link: String Out Tackle download.

I am confident that our extra work on this basic, fundamental area, will translate to better defensive performance this week.

Is there something basic to your team’s performance that you can put an emphasis on at this point in the season? Are you staying true to your philosophy? Is there a fundamental that you can teach better?

Now is the time.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Acclimatization

Let me preface this post with these statements: I am a pretty tough cookie.  I am tenacious.  I ran a 5K three months after having my hip replaced.   I tell you this not to brag, but to underscore how difficult the acclimation process is.

I just returned from 10 days in Northern California.  I worked out every day, running 2-4 miles, or walking 3-6 miles.  The terrain is flat, and more importantly, the temperature was in the 70’s with NO humidity.  It felt great – like I could run forever… that I could Do More!

sunI just finished a run at home in downtown Kansas City – my first since returning.  The temperature was not oppressive (in the 70’s) but it IS humid, and the terrain is hilly.  After a mere 1.5 miles, with a hill ahead, and sweating like a P.I.G. my jog turned into a walk.  Sure, some of it was mental, but keep in mind that my perception is my reality.  In my head, if the humidity and hills are killing me physically… then the humidity and hills are killing me physically.

Two things to point out regarding your athletes (and you) as we head into the depths of summer:

  1. Heat (and humidity) Acclimation
  2. Movement Acclimation

Heat Acclimation

Dr. Daniel Lorenz posted a very good article on the PrepsKC site outlining the importance of, and steps to, get acclimated to the summer heat.  It pretty much follows the MSHSAA (and other state High School activity associations as well) protocol for heat acclimation.  It is a physical AND mental acclimation process.  I am preaching to the choir, I know, but the more of your athletes (and coaches) that can be acclimated by the end of summer and the start of practice, the more efficient your actual practice time will be.

Movement Acclimation

I was not ready physically or mentally for the challenge of the hills in my run today.  I had spent nearly two weeks running on flat terrain.  Are your athletes training in the summer doing things that will carry over into your practices?   Are they getting down, and coming out of the stance they will be using?  Are they practicing the movements they will be doing in their position group – backpedaling, shuffling, 3 step drop, pass set, defensive charge? Are they completing explosive movements for a short duration – the length of a football play?  If not, even if they have been working out, when it comes time for practice, they will be smacked in the face like I was in my run today.

Two very good conditioning drills that will help get your football athletes ready: Pattern Runs, and 40 yard dash drill.  I have detailed each in these posts – Two Birds With One Stone, and Great Football Conditioning Test .

The Pattern Run Drill, which we got from the Kansas City Chiefs, is the best football conditioning drill I have ever used.

RB patterns

The diagram above is a sample of the Running Back pattern runs.  The entire workout is explained in the post Two Birds With One Stone.

Questions and comments are always welcomed!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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EDD’s – Every Day Drills

ole missA question about football drills from a young coach got me thinking about practice scheduling, drills, fundamentals, and ultimately a concept and term that I learned from a colleague while at the University of Central Missouri, Corey Batoon.  Coach Batoon in now at the University of Mississippi as Assistant AD for recruiting operations for Ole Miss.

The concept and term that Coach Batoon brought to our staff was EDD’sEvery Day Drills.

For every position group there are a set of basic fundamentals that they need to master in order to be successful on the playing field.  For DB’s it might be the shuffle, back peddle, crossover and run.  For the LB’s that I coached it was stance, read step (start) and shuffle.  The point is, every position group on the field has this set of fundamentals that are important enough to do EVERY day – hence the name EDD’s.

All the coaches on my defensive staff were teaching these drills, but we were all going through the process of writing down each drill, every day, on the practice schedule.  Coach Batoon helped us streamline the process of setting our practice schedule, and also helped us imprint the idea on our players that these drills were important; they were important enough to do every day; they were our position group’s EDD’s

I cannot tell you what the EDD’s for your position group should be…  that depends on your (and your coordinator and head coach’s) philosophy.  What I can tell you is that from my experience, many coaches, especially the first few days of spring or fall practice, tend to hurry through these basic fundamentals in order to get on to the process of installation.  Often they assume, especially if they have veteran, experienced players, that they already know this “basic” stuff.  I think this is a mistake.  I have observed many successful coaches, in many successful programs at all levels – high school, college, pro – and one thing they all have in common – they all spend time teaching their athletes fundamentals; they spend time coaching their position group’s EDD’s.

Below is a picture of a defensive practice schedule from a couple of years ago.  You can see how we began teaching the concept of EDD’s with each position group.  You can download the Excel practice schedule template by clicking on the picture – or clicking the link – practice schedule template.

Practice 1

Next week – more about scheduling practices

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Checking for Understanding

A point of emphasis for all teachers in our school this year has been  “checking for understanding” with our students.   As teachers, we are trying to move away from a strictly lecture format, with the instructor asking at the end of the period, “OK, did everyone get that?”; And with the students thinking to themselves, “No, I have no idea what you are talking about, but I am not about to let everyone know I am confused.”  By the time the final test rolls around, be it the MAP, EOC or any other standardized test, it is too late to check and see it they have “gotten it” or not.

As a coach, it is extremely important that we are doing a great job of teaching important concepts, and that we have ways to “check for understanding” with our players.  We do not want to wait until our final “test”, our contest Friday night, to see if our players have understood a particular concept, play, or defense.  If our players have not “gotten it” by that time, game time, then it is too late.

learning pyramid

Coach Keith Grabowski, Offensive Coordinator at Baldwin Wallace University, had an excellent post last week discussing the Retention of Learning and the “Learning Pyramid”.  In it, he details various ways to improve meetings, play insertion, practice and drill time.  I would like to share and piggyback off of a few of his ideas.  In preparation for Spring Practice, Coach Grabowski had these thoughts:

“With our coaches the message was to make meeting time as interactive as possible and to move away from lecturing and having their players read bullet points off a Power Point (lowest retention rate of learning). Instead, I wanted them to move towards using dynamic content whether that was Power Point diagrams with animations, still shot step-by-step illustrations with coaching points, film or preferably a combination of those things.   I encouraged our coaches to make the meetings as interactive as possible: Ask questions, have a player demonstrate, have them all stand up and show exactly the footwork or hand placement we expect. Don’t just allow the players to be passive learners.”

Yesterday, I used a play from Coach Grabowski’s playbook in my Advanced Strength and Conditioning Class.  We were evaluating video tape of their Power Clean technique. I used film from our previous class day, which I had exported to Hudl.  As each student’s clip came up, they were given the instruction to “Coach themselves and the rest of the class, focusing on 1) Power Position 2) Explosion Phase and 3) The Catch.”

We normally would do this in our Lecture Hall where it is a little more conducive to this type of teaching method, but it was being used.  We had to “monitor and adjust” and set up a film viewing station in our weight room.  Here is a clip showing one student-athlete going through this process.  The quality of the film is a little rough, but you can see and hear what is going on:

Coach Grabowski also discussed the benefits of making a screencast (or screen recording) of a presentation:

“I also encouraged them [coaches] to use our editing system to prepare video walk thru – essentially a screen cast of them talking through a play and giving coaching points. I like this method for an install because your comments as a coach are saved and accessible for player review later, whereas if you just talk through video in a meeting, once the meeting is over, there is nothing for the player to refer back to.”

My post yesterday , Making a Screen Recording, details how to make a screencast, or screen recording.

Coach Grabowski also took this philosophy out to the practice field:

“I also believe that our coaches do a great job organizing and preparing their practice drills and periods to be efficient and effective. As the learning pyramid shows, this has a 75% retention rate. The biggest area I encouraged both our players and coaches to improve on was having the players coach each other. I want every player not involved in the drill to be coaching and helping his teammates. I want the players to develop a coach’s eye for proper technique. I want them to understand and be able to see exactly right versus almost right.”

“To facilitate this I asked our coaches to follow a simple procedure:
1. Name the drill they are working and give the exact coaching points (being very efficient with language) that they are looking for.
2. The players should then be looking for those coaching points being executed by their teammates if they are waiting their turn.
3. They should also work to use the precise language that the coaches use. In all we do, we want to be able to communicate a coaching point in one to three words.”

You can see my thoughts on organizing practice drill work at this post: Running an Effective Drill

By implementing technology and insisting on interactive teaching and coaching methods from his coaches and players, Coach Grabowski is “checking for understanding” on a daily basis in the Baldwin Wallace football program.  Which instructional methods from the Learning Pyramid are you using to teach your student athletes in the classroom, in the weight room, or on the field?

Thanks to Coach Grabowski for providing a daily dose of great information via his blog: Coach and Coordinator.  You can follow Coach Grabowski on Twitter @CoachKGrabowski.

Questions and Comments are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com     Follow Me on Twitter   @youcandomore1

My Squidoo Page – You Can Do More!

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.

Comments and Questions are always welcome!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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You Reap What You Sow

Those things you spend time practicing, talking to your players about, and teaching, you will improve on.  True story….

reap sowDuring the spring of 1992, our defensive coaching staff at the  University of Central Missouri took a learning trip to several universities, including Oklahoma State University, to learn more about the 4-3 Defense they were running.  Billy Miller was the defensive coordinator at the time, and OSU had a history with the 4-3 that could be traced back to Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt.

 

We were able to spend some great meeting time with their staff and then watched a couple of their spring practices.  At their first practice they ran a crazy drill that Coach Miller had warned us about – they called it the fumble score drill, and is diagramed below.

fumble score drill

It was a spirited, high-energy drill, and all the coaches and players were having fun with it.  As a defensive staff we decided that we would implement the drill, but I knew as defensive coordinator that I would have to do some “selling” to get our head coach to agree that it would be productive practice time.

When we talked to our head coach, Terry Noland, about the drill, we told him all of the great fundamentals that we would be working on.; footwork and pad level while we were going over the bags, and the correct technique of recovering a fumble.  We talked about how recovering the fumble was job #1 – everything else was secondary.  We taught that if they were in any traffic at all, or had any difficulty recovering the ball, do not attempt to scoop and run, but curl and recover. We kind of glossed over the whole idea of defensive lineman and linebackers pitching the ball to a teammate part of the drill!

We implemented the drill during our pre-season camp, and ran it at least once a week.  It became one of our weekly team defensive drills.  Just as it was with OSU, it was a high energy drill that the athletes and coaches both had fun with.  One day, as a big lumbering defensive lineman recovered a fumble and pitched it to another, big lumbering defensive lineman, our head coach came over and said something on the order of “this is all well and good, but the first time we lose the ball when a DL tries pitching it, you will have some explaining to do.”

Our first game that season, 1992, was against the University of North Alabama, who would go on the become National Champions that year.  In the second quarter, on an option play, our corner made a jarring tackle on their RB out in the flat.  Our safety scooped up the ball and raced down the field until the QB caught him.  Right before going down, he pitched the ball to the corner who ended up taking it into the end zone for the TD and the go-ahead score.  We ended up losing that game 16-17, but defensively gained great confidence.

Over the next 4 weeks our defense scored a TD in a 10-7 win vs Missouri Southern State University and another in a 24-10 win vs Southwest Baptist University.  Against Northwest Missouri State University in our 5th game that season we set up a score in a 10-7 win.

By this point in the season, the fumble score drill became the high point of our practice.  Even if we wanted to eliminate the drill, our players would have revolted.  They believed!  They believed that because we were doing this drill each week, we were scoring defensive touchdowns.

The bottom line – we talked about recovering fumbles and taught the correct way to do it.  We talked about scoring on defense and taught the correct way to do it.  After 5 games into the season, we had scored 3 TD’s and set up another score for our offense. The previous season we scored exactly zero touchdowns!

What seeds are you sowing with your players?  What crop do you want to reap next fall?

Comments and Questions are always welcome

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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