Becoming a “Stronger” Coach in the Off-Season

As coaches, we stress to our athletes the importance of the off-season to make individual and team improvements.  We have a fairly large block of time (several months) and we teach if they use that time well, they will see great gains.

The off-season is also an important time for growth as a coach. While I was at the University of Central Missouri, our staff would schedule a learning trip each spring to visit colleagues on other College or NFL staffs.  In order to efficiently use our time on these junkets, I always wanted to have some very specific topics to investigate, rather than just going and “talking football”.

Each winter, our staff completed the following three-step process; End of Season Self-Scout, an End of Season Efficiency Analysis and The “Lowlight” Analysis.  Completing these tasks gave us the data on what we needed to focus on during the off-season, which ultimately made us better, more efficient coaches.

End of Season Self-Scout

During the season, as each game was played, we broke down every defensive scrimmage play by down, distance, field zone, first level (DL) stunt, second level stunt and coverage.  At the end of the season we compiled all of the data to determine if we had any glaring tendencies based on down and distance or field zone.

End of Season Efficiency Analysis
def statsUsing the same breakdown data, we analyzed how efficient we were in each area.  We calculated average yard per play for each down (1-4) and distance (S,M,L,XL) combination.  We did the same for every front, stunt, and coverage we ran, as well.  From this we could calculate, for instance, the percentage of times we were successful on first down (under 4 yards) and what front, stunt, coverage combinations we were using.  We could readily see which of our fronts (and stunts and coverages) we were having the most success with, and which ones there may be problems with.


The “Lowlight” Analysis

The third annual analysis entailed examining all of our “bust” plays.  We made a “cutup” of every running play that gained over 10 yards and another for passing plays that gained over 15 yards.  In the era of Hudl and web based video editing this can be accomplished in a snap.  When we first started this process at the University of Central Missouri, we were literally “cutting up” 16mm film and splicing together all of these clips.  It was quite a process and involved about a weeks work just making the film.

Once the video was compiled, we would go through and analyze every play to determine what was the main cause (or causes) for the play to “bust”.  We assigned causes to general categories such as alignment, assignment, missed tackle, bad call (by me), poor angle, pad level, lack of effort, etc..  The tallied results gave us an immediate area of emphasis going into the next season.  We also analyzed the “bust” video based on front, stunt, coverage, and down and distance.

At the end of this three-step process, we usually had a pretty clear picture of our priorities for the upcoming spring (or fall) practices.  It also gave us as individual coaches, areas of improvement we needed to make going into the next season.  Along with the physical and mental improvements we are asking our athletes to make in the off-season, we also expected concurrent improvements in our coaching and teaching methods.

Thanks to for featuring this post in their Coach’s Corner column today!

Any Questions – Just Comment or Email!

Jeff Floyd –

Recruiting – Make a “WOW” Highlight Video

I have a pretty good perspective on this topic.  As a college coach at the University of Central Missouri and William Jewell College, I was recruiting in the era of VHS tapes.  I had to literally go from school to school and pick up videotapes (game and highlights) of athletes or leave a postage paid packet for them to mail the video to our office.  Players and coaches at that time had to physically sit with two VHS recorders and manually punch a button to record from one to another to make a highlight video.

My son played and was recruited during the era that video was computer based and DVD’s were used to record games and highlights.  Most schools used a system like DSV or other similar editing systems.  To make his highlight video, he had to schedule times to sit with his high school coach at a computer to record highlights from the original computer game files.  Every athlete wanting to make a highlight DVD had to go through this process! This was only slightly better than the VHS to VHS method, but easier to copy and send after an original was made.

hudl-1440x900Now as a high school coach using the web based program Hudl , things have really changed for the better.  It is now easier than ever for an athlete, parent, or coach to make a highlight video from your own computer and send it instantly via email to any recruiting coach or school that requests it.


Using improved technology, putting together a great highlight video can help get your foot in the door and your name on the colleges list.  Here are my suggestions for marketing yourself and making your highlight video.

  1. Do it yourself, don’t pay a service.  As I said, it is now easier than ever to do this using Hudl.
  2. Use your schools videotape, not a handheld video your mom or dad took of your Pop Warner games.
  3. Your highlight video should be 15-20 plays, not 50-100.  Pick your VERY best plays – what I call WOW Plays; plays that make the coach watching say to himself WOW, I need to see more of this guy”. If they are NOT outstanding, but just average play after average play, he will pass.
  4. Pick plays that highlight your athletic ability  – that exhibit the remarkable (the Purple Cow) qualities that you have. This advice is not just for “skilled” positions.  If you are a lineman, pick some plays that show you running, changing direction, and exhibiting flexibility.
  5. No music or fancy fades between plays.  The coach has a limited amount of time and doesn’t want to be entertained, but wants to evaluate you.  An arrow or circle around you at the beginning of the play is OK – it will help the coach find you quickly.  Hudl has a cool feature that makes it easy to do this and can be seen here:  Hudl Highlight Tutorial
  6. Put one or two complete games on after your highlight.  In addition to your highlight video, a college coach will also want to see a complete game of you.    It should go without saying to select your best, games.  If it is against good competition, then that is even better.  The recruiting coach will be familiar with the better football programs in your area.
  7. Make it easy on yourself and start this at the beginning of the season.  After each game, pick 5-10 of your best plays and mark them.  Hudl makes it very easy to do this.  At the end of the season, you can then go through the 50-100 plays you already have marked and pick your 15-20 best plays of the season.  Figure out what your two best games, against the best competition were, and your recruiting packet will be ready to send to interested coaches.  If you wait until the season is over to begin this process, you may not have these ready when a college coach asks for them.
  8. Make sure you have all the correct information (phone, email, address, academic information) on Hudl.  This helps the college coach who has a limited amount of time and needs to evaluate thousands of prospects.  He will have all of your information AND your video right at his fingertips, and that will increase the likelihood of him following up with you and your family.

Market yourself – Make a WOW highlight video using the tools at your disposal.  Ask your coach if you need help, or drop me an email or leave a comment.

In addition to these written posts, I have recently launched my YouTube Channel that deals specifically with the recruiting process.  The channel can be found here : The YouCanDoMore YouTube Channel, and the complete playlist can be viewed here.


Jeff Floyd –