Advice From the Other Side

Take care of yourself.

It is that time of year.

  • School starting …
  • Fall seasons beginning …
  • 110+ hour workweeks ramping up…

And only 24 hours in a day

If you are like most coaches that I know, your priorities will look something like this…

  1. Take care of your family
  2. Take care of your team (which means putting them in the best position possible to be successful)
  3. Take care of your staff

Any extra minute/ hour you can eek out will be allocated back to one of these three things.

I was the same way.

For most of my career I would grind… putting all of my time and effort into Family, Team, and Staff.

I went from consistently training and being in great shape, to each year spending less and less time doing so… until my personal training became non-existent.

About 4 years ago I was forced to begin working out when I had a hip replacement and needed to rehab… progressing from walking…. to walking/ jogging… to jogging… normally for about 45 minutes to an hour, 3 or so times a week.

And when the season/school started… maybe on the weekends if at all.

Low intensity + Inconsistent Routine = Not Great Results

My advice… based on my experience… carve out some time to really take care of yourself.

  • Eat right
  • Exercise

Here is what I learned first hand this summer (yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks)

Instead of a long, slow, plodding jog/ walk… I stared doing interval training.   It is not a new concept, just something that I had not done since I was a competitive track athlete… and in great shape.

Basically 4-5 times a week I do one of the following workouts.

45 Second Interval Workout

  • 5-minute warm up
  • 45-second medium tempo interval
  • 45-second fast tempo interval
  • 2-minute recovery (walk)
  • Repeat intervals 5 times
  • 5-10 minute cool down

30 Second Interval Workout

  • 5-minute warm up
  • 30-second medium tempo interval
  • 30-second fast tempo interval
  • 2-minute recovery (walk)
  • Repeat intervals 7 times
  • 5-10 minute cool down

On days that I am not doing one of these interval workouts, I try to go out for a longer, more leisurely walk.

And that is it.

The interval workouts take maybe 40-45 minutes.

Physically and mentally I feel better than I have in 30 years…. at times I feel I could be back on the crushed gravel track at Blue Springs High school (yes… crushed gravel… no synthetic surface) running repeat 200m runs.

My heart rate data confirms my improved physical condition. You can see on this chart that my heart rate recovers quickly during each 2-minute recovery.

workout data

Now back to you.

It is a long season…and a long school year…

  • Wouldn’t you like a little more in your tank in October when you are heading into playoff time?
  • Wouldn’t you like a little more in your tank in January when you deep into your off-season routine?
  • Wouldn’t you like a little more in your tank at the end of next summer when you are preparing for another Fall campaign?

You get the idea… time spent on YOU will pay off with more quality time with Family, Team, and Staff.

I am not saying you have to do THIS workout, but I can tell you that I feel better, and spend less time doing this routine as opposed to the LSD (long slow distance) type of training I was doing previous.

Good luck this season… I will enjoy following you all during the next several months!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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Your “Happy File”

Being a Coach/ Teacher is a difficult profession.

We put our product… our self and our team… out there for everyone to see and “evaluate” many times a year.

As Coach Greg Schiano said,

“There are two things every man in America thinks he can do: work a grill and coach football”

Or volleyball, or basketball, or soccer.

And our harshest critic is typically our self.

If we lose, we shoulder the blame and analyze everything that could have been done differently or better…

When we win, we heap praise on those around us and immediately start scheming for the next contest, often without taking time to enjoy the one that finished bare minutes ago.

Here is a suggestion, as corny as it sounds, to help achieve some balance when the negative voices (including those of our own making) start getting too loud.

Many years ago my wife suggested that I keep a “Happy File”… a file to hold all the nice things that come my way… cards, letters, notes, etc.   I file that I could pull out every so often and get reminded of the good work… the good people… that have happened to me.

IMG_0414I started my “Happy File” over 30 years ago and it has traveled with me throughout my career.

I have letters from athletes that I coached during my first head coaching position at Osceola High School.

I have a letter from the mother of the first athlete I recruited and signed while I was at the University of Central Missouri.

I have notes from principals, Athletic Directors, Journalists, Assistant Coaches, and English teachers.

When I pull that file out … like recently when I added some things to it… and glance through its contents, I am immediately taken back to that time… that event… and the emotions surrounding it. It is powerfulvisceralreal.

And it always lifts my spirits.

It does not make the job any easier, but keeping a “Happy File” is a pretty simple way to help achieve some balance when you hit that inevitable rough patch.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

What Your Athletes Really Want From You

The week leading up to my retirement in May, a couple of teachers did a really nice thing. They encouraged students that were in my Strength and Conditioning class to write “thank you” letters and cards to me.

FullSizeRender 3I received about 80 of these notes!

What these 7th and 8th graders  wrote was sweet, thoughtful, and revealing. I think that because they knew I was leaving, they felt comfortable really opening up…. and they did.

Here are some excerpts from a few of their letters….

“You have motivated and inspired us to be physically and mentally strong. We will use this strength for the rest of our lives.”

“From you, I learned about confidence and never giving up… and I thank you so much for that”

“Thank you for everything you have taught me this year… mentally, four words, “you can do more” mean so much and apply to all things”

“You made me stronger and taught me how to compete and never give up”

“Thank you for teaching me how to be a better athlete and compete. I will carry these skills throughout high school and life.”

“You motivated me and made me believe I can do anything and not to give up. I feel like I can do more because of you and I appreciate that.”

“You taught me how to push myself and try my best all of the time.”

“I want to thank you for pushing me to do my vest, believing in me, and for never letting me give up”

“I have improved in so many ways, both mentally and physically, and I know it will help me the rest of my life.”

“This class made me both mentally and physically stronger and made me more competitive”

“Thank you for always pushing me to work hard. I will carry everything you taught me throughout my life.”

“This class also helped build up my self confidence and helped my focus”

“Thank you for helping me push through and do things I thought were nearly impossible. I will always remember you and use your advice for the rest of my life!”

“I have learned more about myself this year in weightlifting than I could have imagined. Without this class I wouldn’t be the person or athlete I am today.”

“Because of the strength and conditioning class I accomplished that goal, and now maybe I could accomplish the other goals on my Goal Card like go to BYU!”

“I just want you to know that you have changed my point of view in about everything! You have showed me that no matter the challenge, I could accomplish it as long as I do my best. I want you to know that you have affected my life greatly and I wont ever forget you.”

“Thank you for always pushing me in the weight room, sports, academics, etc. You have had a big impact on my life.”

“You helped me become a better athlete and person by pushing me and never letting me quit even if I wanted to.”

You can probably see for yourself that there are some common threads running through the notes from these thoughtful young adults. Here are some of my takeaways:

  • They want to be pushed… they want to work hard
  • They want someone to believe in them
  • They know they are learning life skills 

I shared these heartfelt comments not to pat myself on the back, but so you will realize THIS

You have kids in your program that feel the same way about you… but since you aren’t retiring, you aren’t afforded the luxury (and enjoyment) of reading 80 thank you cards.

Those kids are out there… they are counting on you… they are looking up to you… they want you to inspire and push them… they want you to believe in them.

They need you… and you make a difference in their lives.

Yours is an awesome job with awesome responsibilities.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

When Everyone Stops to Watch

We have all seen it…

No buildup or promo is needed…

It is not a matter of mass marketing or launching a social media campaign…

It is genuinehonestorganic

Everyone in the room knows that they are witnessing something special

There is a mutual respectadmiration… for what is being attempted…

Everyone stops what they are doing and watches…

Anxiously…. nervously… hopefully…

Wanting to witness a successful attempt.

This happened yesterday in one of my Strength and Conditioning classes.

Airianna Miller, an 8th grader in her second year in this class, was attempting a new PR for her 8-rep max on push press.

Airianna plays basketball, volleyball, and is a competitive cheerleader.

This is what happened at the end of class yesterday.

 

None of this was staged or pre-arranged.

The class knew what she was attempting… and as you can see in the video… more and more people stopped to watch as she successfully completed each rep.

By the time she had finished everyone had stopped to watch.

At the end there was great excitement. You can only see the beginning before the film cuts off, but the whole class stopped to give Arianna an ovation.

Including me.

  • Who says 8th graders are silly and immature?
  • Who says 8th graders are mean spirited?
  • Who says 8th graders are irresponsible?
  • Who says 8th graders can’t work together?
  • Who says 8th graders are not physically or mentally ready to take a Strength and Conditioning class?
  • Who says 8th graders like bodily function humor?

OK… maybe the last one is correct… the others… not so much!

This job can be really awesome!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Abraham, Martin and John… and Bobby

Abraham, Martin, and John

and Bobby….

Some of you may remember (or may have heard) this song by Dion (not Clisso… just plain Dion). It was written after the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy in 1968.

Although just a kid, I remember the song resonating with me and thinking, “those are all special people… they are really going to be missed… why is this happening?”

Bouchard, Oder, and Boehm

and Schartz …

Fred Bouchard, Greg Oder, Royce Boehm, and Ryan Schartz.

Slide1

Now, I am not trying to compare the accomplishments of these coaches to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John and Bobby Kennedy, or the gravity of their assassinations, but I have to tell you, collectively, this hits hard….

These retirements have and will leave a void among the Kansas City area coaching family.

And this does not even include our colleagues on the Kansas side and others on the Missouri side…

I can write about these four because I competed against them, my teams battled with theirs, and I admired their work…. up close!

They are extraordinary.

Their teams were always well coached, disciplined, and smart.

Their teams always played hard.

They always got the most out of the talent they had.

They all have at least one state championship under their belts.

I had these programs in mind two weeks into the 2014 season when I wrote this post, Winning, when Blue Springs South was 0-2, and Fort Osage was making winning look “easy”.

I know the new men in these positions will continue the great traditions established by these coaches… but I still can’s help but think….

“those are all special people… they are really going to be missed… why is this happening?”

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Player Ranking Process

As coaches, we always want to make sure our best people are on the field at the correct time. Personally, I also want to make sure, as much as possible, that these decisions are based on good data and accurate information… that personalities and biases are not included in the equation.

To help insure this, when I was at the University of Central Missouri, we started a procedure to that end… a Player Ranking system.

Here is how it worked.

Immediately after every practice each position group coach would rank every player in their position group, assigning them a number (if you had 10 players in your position group then 1-10) based on their performance at that practice. I always tried to mentally go through each period and recall how each individual did… both good and bad for each period… and then assign the ranking after that thought process.

The important part of this, which we stressed to our players, was that the practice ranking was for their performance at that practice only.

It was not an indication of…

  • how good a player they were
  • who the starters were
  • what we thought they were capable of
  • how we thought they practiced yesterday
  • if we “liked” them
  • their potential
  • how they did at the end of practice

It was based on that practice … that entire practice… only.

As defensive coordinator, I collected all of the coach’s rankings and entered them on a spreadsheet. We sorted each position group by the rankings for that day, printed and posted them in our team room. We also had a column for their average ranking each week.

This process, tedious as it could be during double day practices in August, gave us some valuable information, and forced our coaches and players to be more accountable on a daily basis.

The players knew they were going to get ranked, and their rank was based on the entire practice… period by period… and those rankings would be printed and displayed.

The coaches, too, knew that their position group rankings would be displayed… and that they must be able to discuss the “whys” … the specifics… with their players.

As coaches by noting any variance in our player’s weekly average, we could see and spot (hopefully early) any trends that were developing and address them.

And, of course, it also became a valuable tool to fall back on when setting our weekly depth chart. We had very few discussions when the depth chart was posted as to players positions on the chart… there were few surprises.

This process was independent and separate from our film grading (see post – Film Grading Tool) procedures which we used during game and scrimmage situations.

Here is a sample player-ranking template for the Linebacker defensive position group at Anytown High School… made up names, but this is pretty much what it looked like in the day.

Defensive Player Ranking

You can download the template by clicking this link – Player Ranking Template.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

It’s That Simple

Last week, while sitting at a varsity basketball game, I had the chance to visit with a group of former students that I had in my 8th grade Strength and Conditioning class last year. These student-athletes are now high school freshman and have had a really terrific year… athletically and academically… at our high school.

The conversation centered on their successful first year, and their anticipation of great things to come… they really are a gifted class, by the way.

One of the students made the comment along the lines of  “We’ve got this, Coach… we are going to be the class to turn things around at this school”

I replied, “keep working… you will

He came back with “That’s all you’ve got coach… keep working?”

Yes”, I said, “it really is that simple… and that difficult

It really is that simple…

  • Keep working….
  • Keep chopping wood
  • Keep pushing
  • Keep grinding
  • Keep plugging away
  • Keep driving

And really that difficult…

  • when you start to get pulled different directions…
  • when you lose sight of your goals…
  • when academic rigor gets tough…
  • when cars, and jobs, and relationships start stealing your time…
  • when your alarm goes off at 5:30 am during summer “vacation”…
  • when injuries happen…

when you and your classmates get hit with the million different distractions that are always lurking… just waiting to pounce on you… during your high school career…

Keep working.

chopping wood

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Make Their Day

One of the Assistant Superintendents in our district stopped by last week before school and chatted with me…

You see, I am retiring after this school year.

We talked a little bit, about my plans, school, etc… before he left he said…

“I want you to know you have made a difference is this district”

I have to tell you, that made my day…

whistleIn fact it made my year, and really it was what I had hoped my whole career had been about

Who has made a difference in your school… on your team… in your district… in your life… with your career?

Make their day… tell them.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Resilience

I am continually fascinated by how many concepts from other disciplines relate to coaching, teaching, athletics… and well…. life.

Bestselling business/ marketing author, Seth Godin (I read his blog daily, and have read all of his books) wrote about resilience last week…

Resilience

Given how important it is, it’s surprising we don’t hire for it.

How easily do you bounce back from a disappointment? What is your reaction to change? As an investor, or a board member or an employee, are you seeking stability or impact?

Resilience is a skill, one that’s probably more valuable than most.

As a teacher and a coach… itresilience… is equally important.   There are always hurdles… there will be setbacks… we all have challenges…

snow dayIt is a trait I personally want to possess…

It is a trait I want my assistant coaches to possess…

It is a trait I want my players to possess…

My question then becomes, as teachers and coaches how do we teach resiliency to our student-athletes? How can we coach our players to be more resilient?

Now, this is not a rhetorical question.

I would like your input… this is a call to action.  I would like to hear your ideas on this… what do you do in your program to foster this trait… lets collaborate.  Leave a comment on this blog… or shoot me a quick email.

I will share the results.

Here is another opportunity to collaborate…

As I mentioned last week, Lee Weber (CSIC and head football coach at Wamego High School, KS) is asking coaches to send in their favorite drills so he can compile a “best of” Twitter #fbchat drill guide. Please consider sending one of your favorite drills to Coach Weber (gcwarrior@gmail.com) for inclusion in his drill guide.

“A rising tide lifts all ships”

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Your “Magic Bullet”

Clinic season.

Offensive schemes, defensive techniques, vendors touting all the latest gear guaranteed to help elevate your program.

What if…

What if the single thing that would make the greatest difference in your program wasn’t for sale?

What if the most important thing that would move your program forward had nothing to do with X’s, O’s, workouts, or technique?

In the last week I have seen four different references to this “magic bullet”… all from people who are experts in our field…

Relationships

In Tom Coughlin’s farewell press conference he had this to say about relationships

“While it is the job of the head coach to get the technical football right, …it is our duty to equip these men with the virtues that will last a lifetime, the values like honesty, trust, responsibility, respect, service and integrity, those are the things that we teach in addition to the football”

“What has become extremely important to me as I’ve grown in this position is relationships. Relationships have become the primary objective in my career.”

“While the two Super Bowl trophies right out here are incredible accomplishments, and I’m very proud of them, don’t get me wrong, I believe it is the unbreakable bond between coach and player that defines me as a coach…”

In an article for the Michigan State magazine, The Players Tribune, Kirk Cousins (Redskins QB) described a certain “Freshman” on the Michigan State squad during his initial year as a Spartan… (spoiler alert… the “freshman” he is describing is first year head coach Mark Dantonio)

“The other thing about this freshman was that he would ask all of these questions. I swear, with every guy on the team, he’d sit down next to them, and he’d just … ask stuff. He’d ask about everything. He’d ask about their family (“How are things at home?”) … about their love life (“You seeing anyone?” — and if they were: “How’s that relationship?”) … about their spiritual life. He’d ask about what sort of classes they were taking, and about how they were doing in those classes. And whether they were doing poorly or well, he’d dive into that subject with them and want to know all about it.”

“And again: We’re talking every guy. And we’re talking a whole football team. Like 100-plus players, easily. It was crazy. But this guy just cared. I don’t know how else to explain it. And he was so committed to caring. To see that from anyone would have been impressive. But to see it from a freshman? It was inspiring.”

“That freshman’s name was Mark….you might know him better as Coach Dantonio.”

The Freshmen

He went on to describe how the culture “trickled down” into all aspects of the program…

“…the thoughtful outlook, the supportive attitude, those personal conversations — they’re not a stunt. Rather, they’re examples — just a few of many I could give you — of the culture that Coach D has built at Michigan State over these last nine seasons. It’s a culture that values people as people — not athletes, not blue chips, not superheroes, not scapegoats — and uses relationships, more than anything else, as its positive energy source.”

“And while that culture started with Coach Dantonio, it wasn’t long before it permeated through the entire program. Trust me on this one: When the head coach acts like that … you notice. Everyone notices. The coordinators pick up on it. The position coaches pick up on it. The strength coaches, the team leaders, the other players — they all pick up on it. And then pretty soon, you have an entire culture where everyone has bought into this one, big idea.”

“Coach convinced us that being better people would, literally, make us better football players.”

Mark Bachtel, the head football coach at Scurry-Rosser High School in Texas had this to say during last Wednesday’s session of #TXHSFBCHAT… The Question (Q2) was…

(Q2) What are the priorities for your position to accomplish between now and the beginning of the 2016 football season? #txhsfbchat

Amid the myriad of answers from coaches about kids getting bigger, stronger, faster, and coaches plans to get “clinic-ed up”, popped this answer…

(A2) From a HC perspective I want each position coach to get buy in/commitment from their guys. Build relationships. #txhsfbchat

And finally, a recent Houston Gazette article on the University of Houston’s first year head football coach Tom Herman describes the culture he has developed during this seasons 13-1 campaign.

One by one, the University of Houston football players will get off the team bus Saturday morning at Rentschler Field.

First-year coach Tom Herman will be there to greet them at the door, giving each a hug and peck on the cheek.

It’s all a part of a “love culture” Herman has brought to the UH football program since being hired last December.

“We use the word ‘love’ a lot around here,” explained Herman.

“It’s not ‘love you bro, or dawg’ with a one-handed, (butt) out hug. We’re not into that around here. We are into real, genuine love. It is the only way I know how to do it, and it is the only way that we know how to do it. It has paid off so far.”

Since arriving from Ohio State, where he spent three years and was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for last year’s national champion, Herman has preached a culture based on family and each player “playing for their brothers.”

“I have been a part of and played against you name it and see on TV talented teams that don’t care about each other, and they’re average. To say that you are going to be elite in this sport, or championship-level without genuine love or care for the guy next to you, it can’t happen. I know it can’t happen.”

Four times this week… guys that are at the top of their craft talking about relationships.

We all have a lot on our plate.

Sometimes, amid our quest to become a better “technical” coach, we give short shrift to the most important thing we can do in our programs… develop relationships.

What would/ could that look like in your program?

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