Nothing is more important to success than the time you spend on the practice field. The important thing is how you utilize this time. The time you spend preparing for practice is as important as the actual time you spend on the field. The only way you can determine whether your practices are organized or not is by what you accomplish on the field during your allotted time. You win during the week on the practice field, in other words you play like you practice.
During two-a-day practices, you must get your team fundamentally sound. Attempt to prepare yourself to play a game the week prior to the opening season. Compile a “must list” and make certain every situation is covered on it. Conduct a game like scrimmage and do not conclude it until every situation that might arise during the season is covered.
Practice Philosophy and Guidelines for Coaches During Actual Practice Sessions
Utilization of practice time is of utmost importance. You must have practice segments organized to the minute. Each segment should last approximately 5 minutes but not longer than 10 minutes in duration. Each segment should be coached to its fullest potential and once the period is over then you must proceed to the next period, no exceptions. By sticking to this routine, it forces coaches to coach hard and near game like situation.
Coaches are to get as much “talking” done as possible before going onto the field. You do not want to slow down the tempo of practice. Enthusiasm is a vital role in a good practice. By standing around and “talking” to your players will sometimes slow down their intensity. Players need to know that when they step onto the grass they must be a 150% player as well as the coach being a 150% coach to his players. Your practices should be sharp, enthusiastic, with lots of hustle. This can only be possible if you have “A Unified Coaching Staff” demanding the same style of play. Be Positive … Coach up and make your players the best that they can be!
As a staff you must stress to your players the importance of a great work ethic. If your opponent runs 10 – 100 yard sprints then you must run 12. It is my belief that if you are going to change the attitude of your players then you must change the attitude for what it takes to win. The little Things Make The Difference, Never Compromise Your Beliefs, and The Way You Practice Is The Way You Will Play On Game day. If you are to win on Friday night, then you must prepare Monday through Thursday as players; and Monday through Sunday as coaches. You must want to practice the basic fundamentals of football everyday. You must want to be fundamentally sound, physically and mentally tough.
Developing Your Intermediate and Lower Level Programs
Lower Level Teams: The backbone of your program. You will want to spend the majority of your time working on the fundamentals of football and the basic program core elements of play. As coaches you will want to teach technique, toughness and discipline. Prepare them to be varsity players. This means keep them in the program, keep them out for football, but be firm and fair.
The lower level programs, which also includes the 7th and 8th grade programs if applicable should expect the following from the varsity coaches which also includes the head coach:
• Workout suggestions for off-season training including lifting routines.
• Offensive and Defensive drills that fit the philosophy of the varsity program.
• Techniques for specific positions.
• Complete playbooks with installation procedures for offense, defense, and kicking game.
• Program rules and regulations.
• Any literature that might helps promote educational growth and knowledge of the game of football.
• Standing invitation to all in house clinics.
Expectations for Coaching Staff
• Coaches are expected to be dressed and in the locker room before players report.
• Get drills ready – cones, dummies, etc.
• Work with every player that comes on the field. Don’t allow players to go unnoticed.
• Be properly dressed; look professional, look like a coach.
• Do not use foul language, grab or argue with a player, if he is unbearable, send him to the head coach.
• If you jump on a player hard verbally, be sure that before he leaves after practice you have talked with him.
• After practice make sure you go through the locker room and say something, if not acknowledge each of your position players or any player you felt good about that day.
• Don’t allow anything to lie around the athletic area, which includes the locker room.
• Don’t run off right after practice, pitch in there’s always something to do.
• Don’t expect anything less than perfection in every aspect of the football program.
• As a program you control your own destiny. Whether you win or lose should be determined by you; not by your opponents. You must spend a great deal of time with fundamentals. You must get better everyday by working very hard on blocking and tackling. You should try and cover every situation that might arise in a game and instill in your players the proper way to react with poise and confidence.
• One of the most important ingredients necessary to win is to associate you with coaches and players who love football and can’t live with losing. If you have players who don’t like football, you will constantly find yourself compromising your beliefs in order to keep them from quitting.
• It is the athlete’s responsibility to please the coach and not the coaches place to please the players. Our job as coaches is to run a top-flight program that will eventually lead to
success. As coaches you have an obligation to run a disciplined program that will be successful in the long run. To do anything else is unfair to the athletes who want to win.
• You as a coach have an obligation to place your athletes in a first class environment and to improve on your facilities each year.
• In coaching, you at some point will be faced with adversity; you must be prepared for it. Don’t sit and wallow in self-pity, face it head on.
• I believe its better to have great coaches than great athletes. You can’t win without athletes, but you can lose with them and this is where coaching becomes a factor.
• You shouldn’t care what a good coach is paid; it isn’t enough. Anything a poor coach gets paid is too much.
• Enthusiasm is nothing more than being positive. It is impossible to be negative and be enthusiastic.
• Everyone associated with the football program needs to feel that they are important to the success of the program
• Players like discipline. They do not like harassment. Discipline breeds success. Harassment breeds contempt.
• Championships are decided on the little things. Thus, meticulous attention must be paid to the seemingly “Little” aspects of the program.
• Simplicity should be one of the greatest guides in helping your selection when it comes to the technical aspects of the game.
What Constitutes A Good Coach
• He has thorough knowledge of all fundamentals techniques employed concerning offense, defense, and kicking game.
• A good coach makes a thorough preparation for carrying out his responsibilities at each and every practice session, off-season and in season event. He personally assumes the responsibility for preparing any necessary charts and drill situations to accomplish smoothly and efficiently the teaching expected of him on and off the field.
• A good coach is constantly probing his own thinking in order to assure that he is covering effectively all phases of the game for those players over whom he has direct teaching responsibility. Check lists and related forms are essential to carry this out.
• A good coach comes to practice field in a great frame of mind, which indicates he really enjoys coaching. This means an attitude, which reflects cheerfulness, and an attitude of patience toward the correction of mistakes made by his players.
• A good coach will constantly seek to improve his own teaching methods.
• A good coach is willing to devote his time tirelessly to all phases of the program, with the realization that winning football results when these items are controlled. A coach realizes that to gain that extra amount of excellence, much time and effort is required, but that herein lays the difference between the champion and second best.
• A good coach is willing to personally assume responsibility for thinking out an assignment, and for creatively attacking problems in all phases of the program. The average coach acts only on a direct assignment, waits for an exact spelling out of the assignment and functions only to the extent that an assignment is literally spelled out.
• A good coach is intensely loyal, honest, and sincere.
Once again, the hiring of a good coaching staff should be built around the following recommendations.
Is he trustworthy?
Is he a dedicated coach?
Is he dependable?
Is he energetic?
Does he care deeply about the finished product?
Does he have a good sense of direction?
Does he have a good sense of humor?
General Coaching Axioms
Each and every coach has an obligation to push his athletes in order to achieve things they never thought possible. An athlete and or coach can become whatever he thinks he can be, but he must be willing to pay the price with effort and dedication.
Not everyone can be a coach and or player. One must pay the price to be apart of a successful football program. Any organization that is easy to be a member of generally isn’t worth being apart of.
Dress For Success During The Season And in The Off – Season.
Dress neatly at all times, especially when meeting parents, administrators, attending professional clinic (coaching school) etc. It’s my belief that this is where some programs fall short, I know that not all programs can afford coaching attire but through fundraisers, etc. this should be a priority. Two possible scenarios exist here, with one being that if you can’t afford to pay what you consider adequate stipends then provide good coaching attire make coaches feel good about whom they represent. Secondly, Look the part and act the part of a professional coach. Assistant coaches usually will feel grateful and feel as though they are important to the program and to the head coach.
Chain Of Command
One should not be impressed with the title of head coach, but grateful to have the opportunity. Everyone on his staff should be made to feel that his voice and opinion matters. However, someone has to have the final say. A head coach should take all blame for lack of success, but willing to make the necessary changes to insure future success. If the football program develops a problem and you, as the position coach can’t solve it, bring it to the head coach and give him your recommendations for a positive solution. A head coach should expect his assistants to look for problems before they become big one’s, lets eliminate them, if possible.
While the head coach’s time is not more valuable than yours, neither is yours more valuable then his. Be prompt in completing all your assigned duties and be prepared to discuss duties performed. Be a self-starter and make a personal commitment to excellence. Get the job done regardless of the hours involved. If you like your job, you will never count the hours. Accept responsibilities, accept duties, make personal sacrifices, improve your knowledge of football, and constantly strive to exhibit to your players your commitment to the program and to them.
Loyalty to the head coach is the single most important criteria for hiring and keeping an assistant coach. A staff must be loyal to the school, administration, squad, head football coach, and fellow coaches. This means you must openly and freely be able to discuss all differences of opinion in regard to theory, ideas, and team policies in staff meetings only. You and your assistant coaches must be willing to listen and change if the staff is going to be successful. You must defend and hold each other up at all times. Never discuss anything but good qualities about the staff and the program. Because loyalty is a two way street, it should be pointed out that if the head coach is to be loyal to you, then you need to be loyal to him.
Your staff can’t be split between offense and defensive staffs. No-second guessing. It must be understood that you will win together and or lose together. All disagreements and problems should be handled in private. Don’t take your disagreements unto the field kids pick up on this fast. Assistant coaches should never keep score on which coach works harder, this is the job of the head coach.