Paying Your Dues

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

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

You get the idea.

But…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, be careful what you wish for.

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

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

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

Love where you are and what you are doing.

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Back to the Future

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

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When I was 13 the Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

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

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

I know that certainly was the case for me.

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

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

Now flash forward.

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

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

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

Chiefs vs. Raiders

smith

dawson

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

 

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

 

Back to the Future… back to 1969.

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

Go Chiefs!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Body Language

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

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

Not X’s and O’s…

Not scheme or systems…

Not technique…

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

Here is a distillation of my thoughts.

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

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

Body language never whispers… it screams!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Fairy Dust

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

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

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

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

 

“Players read that,”

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“[Blaming players] drives me insane.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Little Things = Big Fixes

Do you need to make some BIG fixes to your squad?

My suggestion is … focus on the “little things”.

I think many times as coaches it is easy to get caught up thinking that some “shiny” new scheme might be the answer to woes your team may be experiencing… maybe adding a play… introducing a new “wrinkle”… a different pre-game routine… any enticing “magic bullets” that might be available.

But alas, there are no magic bullets.

If you examine what successful teams are doing, and how they are doing it, I think you will find that regardless of scheme, the good teams… the GREAT teams are well coached. Well-coached teams do all of the “little things” very well.

Here is a checklist of “little things” that I have used as a self-evaluation at different times during the season

Penalties

  • How many are you accruing?
  • What type?
  • How can you improve in this area?
  • Are you allowing or correcting these things during practice?

Film… examine/ study and GRADE film of your players… of both practice and game.

  • How is their technique?
  • Are they aligned correctly?
  • Do they execute their assignments correctly?
  • Do they give good effort?

If you are not examining these things during the week by evaluating practice film, do not expect much improvement during the game.

Here is a link to my thoughts on grading film – Film Grading

And here is an editable film grading tool that you can download and use to streamline your film grading and evaluation: Film Grading Tool

And here is a video that explains the features of the tool and how to use it:

Game plan

  • Was it correct… did your opponents do what you anticipated?
  • Did your coaches have input, understand, and buy into the game plan?
  • Did your players understand the plan?
  • Did you execute the plan… if not, where was the breakdown?

Here is a link to all of my posts on game planning: Defensive Game Planning, All Posts, Forms, and Videos

Practice Time

  • Are you efficiently using your practice time?
  • Do you set a daily practice schedule?
  • Do your coaches know what to expect prior to practice?
  • Do your players know what to expect prior to practice?
  • How much time are you allocating in each area… fundamentals, game plan, special teams, etc.?

Here is a link to my thoughts on practice planning: Practice, Not a Minute to Spare

Here is a post about our weekly work schedule: Weekly Workflow

And a practice schedule template you can download: Practice Template

Coaching staff

  • Are you efficiently using your coaches during practice?
  • Are you efficiently using your coaches during the game?
  • Do your coaches understand your scheme?
  • Are your coaches doing a good job of teaching your scheme and techniques?

How is effective is your communication from coaches to your players?

  • Play calling
  • Signaling
  • Sideline adjustments
  • Substitutions

How effective is your communication between your coaches?

  • Press box input
  • Between each series
  • Adjustments

Here is a post on Game Organization – Game Procedures

How effective is your kicking game? How much practice time are you allocating to special teams?

Often fine-tuning and focusing on a few of these “little things” can give you the BIG fix that you are looking for.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel

Featured

There is a very detailed explanation of my new YouTube channel project at a previous post,  Project Launch!, but this will be a little more succinct description with links to the videos that already reside on YouTube.The channel will have a series of tutorial videos, each 6-8 minutes, that will discuss some aspect of the collegiate recruiting process.  There will eventually be around 25-30 videos on the channel.

Some of the topics will be:

  • Why the playing field is not level
  • How to market yourself
  • Expanding the scholarship pool
  • NCAA Clearinghouse
  • Gauging level of interest

… and many more!

This video is the latest episode, “How Do I Get Recruited?”

Here is a playlist that includes all of the YouCanDoMore channel videos.  Right now there are 12 videos in the playlist… more will be added at the rate of about 2-3 per month.  I recommend that you watch in order, as many will build on previous knowledge/ episodes.

In this video I explain the platform, Patreon, and how it works.

The content on my YouCanDoMore channel is and will always be free.  If you choose to become a Patron of team YouCanDoMore you can join here : The YouCanDoMore Patreon Page.  Becoming a Patron will unlock additional content and services that will not be available on my YouTube channel.

A few simple ways to help me with this project:

  • Subscribe to the YouCanDoMore channel…. Just click on the button in the right hand column of this page and you are finished!
  • “Like” (thumbs up) the videos that you watch
  • Leave a comment or ask a question on the videos you watch
  • Share the YouCanDoMore YouTube channel with your cohorts via social media
  • And… the ultimate support, of course, would be visiting my Patreon Page and becoming a Patron!

As always, thanks for your support!

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

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

Inclusivity

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

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

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

How inclusive is your athletic program?

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

diversity

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

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

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

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

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

Another experience from a few years ago…

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

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

Why does that matter, you might ask?

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

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

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

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

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

How inclusive is your program?

Related Posts:

 

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com