The Limitations of 140 Characters

Let me preface this post by saying that I embrace technology and I use many social media tools.

I tweet daily, scan the twittershpere for nuggets, and participate in several online twitter chats (see Post #TXHSFBCHAT… The Fastest 60 Minutes on the Internet)

That being said, twitter 140these tools all have limitations… and in many ways (like for really in-depth study and research), they are doo doo (RIP Gene Wilder).

To think you are going to learn much anything of substance by reading a 140 character tweet is misguided at best, and really pretty lazy at worst.

I worry at times that colleagues are spending… investing… time scrolling through their twitter account searching for that Golden Ticket (RIP Gene Wilder)… that single concept, phrase, or idea that will put their program on the path to greatness…

Probably not an investment that will pay huge dividends.

Most concepts in football (or coaching) have more substance than can be adequately covered in a tweet, Instagram picture, or Facebook post. My single post, Defensive Game Planning – The Call Sheet, has over 1,000 words, (6,500 characters) about a dozen images and a 10-minute video… and I still worry that I adequately covered the subject!
What I try to do with my tweets (or re-tweet) is to get your attention… and then direct you to where the substance is… to where the REAL information is… which normally will take some time to read and digest.

It is not about instant gratification or a sound bite… it is about learning, content, and thoughtful study.

There is no shortcut… the only guaranteed shortcut … take the long way!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

 

Train Your Brain

It is that time of the year.

Every game takes on increasing significance.

Win you continue…. lose and you are on to “next year”

Each week half the remaining teams are eliminated.

For the remaining teams, practice time takes on increasing importance… each week more is on the line.

But, you have to stay healthy… no one wants to lose a player during the week’s prep.

The season is always a grind physically and mentally… and you and your team are still grinding.

So how do you balance the need for quality practice time, and the need to keep your players physically and mentally healthy?

Late Friday night (while uploading video to Hudl) I saw this piece on the STRIVR virtual reality system that Clemson (currently 7-0 and ranked #3 in the NCAA) is using in their football program.

Clemson #GMCPerfectSeason

This next leap in virtual reality training is remarkable.

The systems have gone from CGI animated players (EON SportsVR) which is somewhat akin to being immersed in a video game using your playbook, to the STRIVR system that uses actual 360° video and audio from your practice.

strivr

You can see more about the STRIVR system here… Football Meets Silicon Valley.

So what about the programs that can’t take the budget hit that comes with implementing these virtual reality systems?

I have written several pieces on the topic of mental preparation… maybe you can find an idea here:

What methods do you use to mentally train your athletes? I would be interested in knowing and sharing… just shoot me an email or comment to this post!

Good luck to those of you still playing… it is always fun watching great football during this time of the year.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Tech Tips

As we head into the final portion of our seasons, with conference and district championships on the line and playoff possibilities looming, is there anything that you as a coach could be doing differently or better? Are there any tools, techniques, or tips that might help you teach or coach more effectively and efficiently?

I am always on the lookout for a better way to skin the cat… and invariably my search leads me back to technology.

Here are a couple of new tools that I just started using, and an “old reliable” that I have begun using in a different way.

Twitter

We all know the Social Media aspect of Twitter… and have witnessed people “Tweeting” the minutiae of their daily lives. But there is another aspect of Twitter that makes it a virtual clinic… a clinic that is open 24/7 365. Twitter connects me to coaches and colleagues across the country … coaches that are experts in every field… from Middle School Strength and Conditioning, to collegiate recruiting, to NFL special teams play.

Inside of Twitter, by using the # symbol, you can connect to weekly chats hosted and moderated by coaches across the country. Some of my favorites are:

Typically one coach will moderate by posing a question to the field (Q1) and each participating coach will respond with their input (A1) including the appropriate # for the chat. By searching the # for that particular chat, each coach can view all questions and responses. Often there are guest coaches that will tweet on a topic in their area of expertise

Here is screen shot from a recent #txhsfbchat answers (A3) to the question (Q3): How do you incorporate the community of your school into your academic support system?

chat

Following the session, the questions and responses are archived. Here is a link to an archived chat about Athlete Motivaton from a couple of weeks ago.

Some of these groups are more active than others, but most really get up and running full speed in the off-season.

Any interest in a #kchsfbchat or #mohsfbchat this off-season? Let me know.

Tweetdeck

A program that makes it possible to easily follow several #chats and #streams at once is Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck (part of Twitter) allows a user to monitor multiple timelines, schedule tweets and filter searches. Here is a screenshot of my Tweetdeck, with my most viewed timelines displayed.

tweetdeck

The timelines are displayed in real time and can be formatted, filtered and arranged to your liking.

Remind

remind-logo-1Another new tool we just started using in our program is Remind (Remind.com). Remind is a communication tool that helps teachers and students connect instantly with students and parents. You can send quick, simple messages to any device. It is a free program that takes literally seconds for you and our athletes to sign up. It is safe – it keeps phone numbers private… students never see yours and you never see theirs. Our administration loves this program.

Do you have a favorite tech tech tool that you are using in your program? Are you finding a new way to use an old tool? If so, please share!

Related Posts:

I will ask this question again… Any interest in a #kchsfbchat or #mohsfbchat?

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

Saving Our Sport

Let me preface this by saying I love football.

I loved playing football.

I love coaching football.

I love practicing football… did as a player… do as a coach.

But…. I am truly worried about the future of our sport… for a number of reasons. As I wrote about last year (History Lesson) our game is under siege… and the battle has not lessened over the past year.

  • Concussions…
  • Decreasing numbers of participants…
  • Bad behavior (leading to bad press) by student/ professional athletes…

Here are some things to think about.

I can’t believe I am saying this… and it may be considered blasphemous, but I will just go ahead and get this out first. The 25 summer contact days allowed in our state (Missouri) is too much. By judiciously using the days, combining them with summer strength and conditioning days (which don’t count for your 25) a coach can effectively add three months to football “season”.

We are talking about a season… with pads… and practice… and scrimmages… and contact… that now lasts nearly seven months!

I think it is too much for the players, too much for parents, and too much for the coaches …who often don’t get paid any additional stipend for their summer work.

When you multiply that summer commitment required by students and their families for players who are multi sport athletes, it becomes an even crazier schedule… especially in those schools where each sport uses all of their 25 contact days.

We tell our athletes that we want them to be multi-sport athletes, but this model makes it nearly impossible.

On the same subject (25 summer contact days) let me just say that the MSHSAA required acclimatization period (first three days of practice helmets only) is obsolete. Our kids can practice nearly all summer with pads, but then when practice “officially” starts they have to go back to helmets only… it makes no sense.

safe footballThe emphasis on concussions and head injuries increases daily.   It is a hot-button issue at all levels. It is changing the nature of our sport, and we as coaches will need to adapt our coaching and teaching styles.

I am not sure what the best solutions are for this problem, but here are some thoughts…

First, I think that we, as coaches, need to be more proactive regarding these issues….

We need to effectively communicate to parents, administrators, community, and media:

  1. The value of our sport, football, and how we teach life lessons, character, healthy lifestyle, and leadership to our student-athletes. We teach more than X’s and O’s. If you have not seen them, here are a couple of excellent pieces by John Harbaugh of the Ravens and Chris Creighton, head coach at Eastern Michigan.
  1. We care about the safety of our athletes. We teach how to play the game safely. We are trained to recognize the symptoms of concussion and head injuries, and we will not put your child at risk.
  1. We have the best equipment. We recondition and recertify our equipment each year and replace when needed.

I think the tough, challenging, part of this situation is how to strike a balance between teaching what needs to be taught before you line up and play Friday night, and how to keep your athletes as safe as possible

Football is a physical game… that is part of what makes it a great sport. Your players have to know how to tackle, block, hit, and be hit, in order to play safely and play well. It may take some out-of-the-box thinking and ideas to teach them these skills and give them enough reps and time to be successful on Friday night.   I wrote about some ideas in these posts, Adaptation, and The Highest Quality Mental Reps.

I don’t have the answers, but I know collectively as a group… we as coaches will find the answers in order to keep our sport healthy and strong.

Thanks to PrepsKC.com for featuring this post (and my posts weekly during the season) on their site.  If you get a chance, check them out for great content regarding football in the Metro KC area!

Good luck to everyone this season, I am looking forward to watching your teams compete!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

DI

Good coaches are good teachers.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been listening to someone in education discuss the next “new/ big thing” and think to myself “We (coaches) have been doing that for years

Differentiated Instruction is the new hot topic…. It is a philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing different students with different avenues to learning, often in the same classroom. Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. You probably have read about it, or even had a professional development session on the topic.

Differentiated Instruction is often characterized by:

  • Flexible grouping
  • Continual assessment
  • Allowing for different learning styles
  • Understanding and allowing for different readiness levels
  • Independent work or projects
  • Learning Contracts

The more I hear and read about this “new” concept, the more I think that this sounds like my (or a typical) Strength and Conditioning class or practice field.

IMG_4267 2

In the weight room:

I am sure we can all think of the same type of high quality teaching and learning, using Differentiated Instruction techniques, that takes place daily on your practice field.

Good coaches are good teachers.

Always have been… always will be.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

 

Pre-Season PD

It has arrived… the last two days… the bane of all coaches, especially fall coaches.

Professional Development In-Service on Pre-Season Practice days.

Now, I never wanted to shirk any of my teaching duties or responsibilities, but I can remember stressing, mentally going through “to-do” lists, and thinking to myself virtually every minute of each session …

“Man, I have soooo much to do… I should have gotten up earlier (like 3:00 AM instead of 5:00 AM)”

Now, that being said, each year I go back to something I learned over 30 years ago in my first year of teaching and coaching.   I was at Blue Springs High School, and was an assistant in Fred Merrell’s football program. Coach Merrell would always say, before each clinic we attended that,

”If I can get just one thing out of a clinic, then I consider it worthwhile.  I don’t think I have ever been to a clinic that wasn’t worthwhile”

So with Coach Merrell whispering in my ear, I approached this year, as always, trying to find that one kernel to take away that will improve my teaching and coaching.

This year it slapped me in the face… and a Seth Godin post that I read early in the morning was prescient:

Analytics without action

Don’t measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions.

If you’re not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don’t get on the scale.

Most of the last two days has revolved around data… from Performance Based Teacher Evaluations, to MSIP, MAP test, STAR test, and all educational related data in between.

student data

The big takeaway… finding efficient and productive ways to use all the data we have access to…. and how can we best use the data to help improve the performance of our students?

How does this relate to coaching?

  • What data do you collect in your football program?
  • What are you measuring?
  • What are you testing?
  • How are you using that data?
  • Do your players understand how and why you are using the data?
  • What data are you collecting when you scout an opponent… or yourself?
  • How are you using that data?
  • Are you using it?

If you’re not prepared to change your diet or workouts, don’t get on the scale!

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Is Luckey, “lucky”?

In my post last week, Lessons from the Tech Industry, I mentioned Palmer Luckey, the inventor of Oculus Rift, and how this technology is being used in athletics and coaching by the company, Eon Sports VR (see post, The Highest Quality Mental Reps)

I am traveling today, and during a quick stop in the airport bookstore, I noticed that there were no less than three magazines that were featuring Palmer Luckey:

palmer luckey

Pretty impressive stuff for a 21 year old gamer… a 21 year old gamer who exhibited great genius, persistence and determination in solving a series of problems that had stumped others in the virtual reality field.

While some may say that Luckey was “lucky”, I am reminded of a couple of quotes:

  • “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” – Thomas Edison
  • “The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Samuel Goldwyn

I hope you can get a chance to check out one of the articles… there is much that can be learned.

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Lessons from the Tech Industry

I can be a bit of a nerd.  I did own an Apple IIc in 1984 after all.

Yesterday I read two articles… an article about Oculus Rift in Wired Magazine, and an article about Google X in Fast Company.

oculusrift1The piece in Wired Magazine chronicled the development of Oculus Rift, the virtual reality head mounted display, by its 21-year-old inventor, Palmer Luckey.  The development is a testimony to persistence, ingenuity, and problem solving.

Palmer is an avid gamer, and gamers are excited about the Oculus Rift because it, according to CEO Brenden Iribe, is the first VR headset that delivers a

“sense of presence in the virtual reality… your brain says, OK, I’m comfortable in this environment… I know it’s not real, but I think it is”

I am not a gamer at all and am not interested how Oculus Rift can fully immerse you in Call of Duty or Titanfall.  I am interested in how this technology can be used in athletics… how you can get fully immersed in a virtual reality world consisting of game footage of your upcoming opponent.

I wrote about the Kansas City Company, Eon Sports VR, a few weeks ago in my post, The Highest Quality Mental Reps. Brenden (different Brendan!) Reily’s company uses this technology along with your existing video and playbook to fully immerse your athletes in a virtual football arena.  Brenden gave me a demonstration, and I can tell you that you get that sense of presence that Iribe spoke of.

The Fast Company article on Google X was the first time a reporter has been allowed inside the innovation lab on the Google campus.  Google X is about finding

“audacious innovations that have a slim chance of succeeding but might revolutionize the world if they do”

The four main projects that have so far emerged from X:

  • Driverless cars
  • Google Glass
  • High-altitude Wi-Fi balloons
  • Glucose monitoring contact lenses.

contact lenseWhat the article is really about is the culture at Google X that embraces failure… that only by pressing the envelope… by risking failure… do you achieve audacious innovations.  On the just first page on the article there were almost 20 references to failing – here are a few:

  • Slim chance of succeeding
  • Course-correct
  • Setbacks
  • Falling
  • Fail
  • Rejecting
  • Cult of failure
  • Defeat
  • Fall apart

How does this philosophy translate to teaching and coaching?

Well, I am not suggesting that you set out to lose every Friday night contest.  But, there are many opportunities for “failure” before Friday night arrives, and this is the chance for real growth.

What I am saying is that if you are a coach preparing your team for a contest:

  • If you only practice at what you are good at
  • If you only put your athletes in situations where they will be successful
  • If you don’t test your athlete’s boundaries physically and mentally
  • If you don’t help your athletes get better at what they are not good at

Then your team will probably not improve to its full potential. Don’t be afraid to attempt, fail, re-teach, and try again.

What I am saying is that when attempting new things, “failing” is part of the learning process, and it is OK.

Attempt… and DOgreat things… and in the process don’t be afraid to fail greatly!

Related Posts:

Thanks to PrepsKC, the home of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association for running this post on their site today.  I hope you can take some time to visit PrepsKC, and “Like” this post!

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

A Significant Football Resource

Today’s post is significant for three reasons…

  • I am reviewing a great offensive football coaching resource, The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System
  • I am highlighting some innovative methods available to better teach whatever offensive or defensive system you use
  • I am introducing an outstanding coaching resource, Coach Keith Grabowski

zone offeseCoach Grabowski’s new iBook, The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System is one of the best coaching resources that I have ever read…. and you really do so much more than read it… you read it, you watch it, you interact with it, you take notes in it.  It is a coaching clinic, webinar, PowerPoint, film session, drill guide, tutorial, etc… all rolled into one coaching resource.  It really is as if you had the opportunity to spend a week (or more!) with Coach Grabowski, his staff, and players when he was at Baldwin Wallace University.

Coach Grabowski starts at the beginning and details the philosophy behind their version of the Zone offense, goes through their terminology, (formations, adjustments, etc) and personnel considerations.  He then takes their stretch play and details, for every position group, how to teach, install, practice (including practice organization and drill work) and analyze (via video analysis) their role for that play.

This video is one example of the kind of powerful resource this iBook is.   This piece shows how the iBook takes you through the initial explanation of offensive line combo blocks for the stretch, a drill introduction, and actual practice video of the drill being executed.

This video shows how the iBook explains an adjustment of the tailbacks path on the stretch play.

The final chapters put it all together and discuss (and show via game video) intricacies of the play vs a myriad of defensive fronts.

It is important to note, that although this iBook is optimized for viewing on an iPad, it can also be “read” on a Mac using the new Mavericks operating system.

If you are running, or want to run the zone scheme as part of your offense, then this book is a must have.  If you are not using any zone concepts in your offense (or you are a defensive coach) this book still has much to offer.  This book is a roadmap, a template, for using technology to better teach your athletes.   It is comprehensive, interactive, and incorporates many different teaching styles, to accommodate all types of learners.

If none of this appeals to you… you are not interested in the zone concepts, not interested in using technology to help teach and coach your athletes, then at a bare minimum I would follow and read Coach Grabowski’s blog : Coach and Coordinator.  It is an excellent resource on a variety of topics ranging from offensive football, to game planning, and leadership development.

I hope this post has done this iBook and Coach Grabowski justice… it is an amazing resource for running the zone scheme, it is a great example of using technology to better teach and coach your system, and Coach Grabowski is a true innovator regarding “On Edge Coaching”

You can purchase Coach Grabowski’s iBooks at these links: The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System, and his first book, 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays

You can follow his blog at this link: Coach and Coordinator, and follow his Twitter feed here: @CoachKGravbowski 

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

 

Achieving True Confidence

When I competed in track and field, I was a sprinter…. so anything over 400 meters is “distance” to me.

But this post isn’t about my exploits in track… it is about training, and confidence, and habits, and quitting, and success… all of these are related.

About two years ago I had hip replacement surgery. After the surgery, I began walking, then walking/ running, and then running … distance… 1-3 miles… three to four times a week.

Three months after my hip was replaced, I entered (along with my wife who was new to distance running, too) my first 5K race. It was in downtown Kansas City, and involved a long hill during the second half of the race. It was in the summer and the temperature was over 90 degrees. My goal was to survive… finish… and if possible run (no walking) the entire race.

Well I did survive, and was able to finish the race without walking. My wife and I began to do 5K’s monthly… and I kept my training up, running 2-3 times a week. Over the next couple of years I ran, and completed each race (nearly 20)… from steaming hot KC summers, to a Mardi Gras 5K this year when the wind chill was 10 degrees… all without walking… and generally improving my times as well.

But this post isn’t about my exploits in 5K’s… it is about training, and confidence, and habits, and quitting, and success… all of these are related.

Heading into this past winter my training started to ebb… I was nursing a sore Achilles, the weather was bad, busy schedule… all the excuses our athletes sometimes use. At the start of the spring, my wife and I entered a 5K in downtown Kansas City… pretty much the same course that I ran my first ever 5K on two years ago…. the one involving a long hill during the second half of the race.

This race was different. I had not been training. The first half of the race was OK… I got to the hill and began to struggle. No matter how much I told myself  “I Could Do More, I knew in my gut that I had not done the training to back it up… the mantra was shallow… the internal pep talk was merely bluster.

I started walking… in fact I walked most of the hill, then finished the last part of the race running.

My time was actually much faster than the first time, two years ago, that I had run the course, but that was hollow… I had walked.

There is a link between hard work… training… and true confidence.

I had already entered another 5K a couple of weeks later…. I still had not been training like I previously had. It was a relatively easy course on a pleasant day.   The first hill… the first time things got a little tough this race… I walked again…. and it was easier to do… no huge internal struggle… I just took the easy way and walked a little… I could justify it… I was 57 years old with an artificial hip!

The reality of it was that quitting was becoming a habit… it was much easier to quit … to walk… the second time than it was the first.

Vince Lombardi said Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” and “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.

There is no substitute for hard work.

Hard work=Real Confidence= Success

It all is interrelated … connected.

dont quit

Related Posts:

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

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com