Setting the Standards for a Successful Football Program

Mission Statement

The mission of the of any High School football program should be to develop a team that excels on the field, achieves in the classroom, positively impacts the greater school community and is prepared for success beyond high school. Every student-athlete in our program will be treated with respect and dignity but will be challenged to reach their potential, both as an individual and as a member of a team.


Vision Statement

Year in and year out the football program will produce tough, disciplined, cohesive and fundamentally sound football teams, whose team members will value their educational experience and give back to the community around them.

(Your School) will continually compete to win Conference championships.

football will earn a state playoff berth every year.

football program will have a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or better

football program will have half of its players recognized as academic all-conference.

football program will positively interact with the community.

football players will understand how to live morally and ethically. They will be student-athletes of character

football players will be leaders of their school.

Core Values

  1. Live a Total Effort life
  2. Excel at the basics (block and tackle).
  3. Weight room is your best friend.
  4. Education is your future
  5. Team before self.
  6. No excuses.
  7. Be coachable.
  8. Practice leadership.
  9. Be a person of character.
  10. Refuse to lose.
  11. Live and play with passion.
  12. Give back to your community.

Phase 1: Offseason

Standards (players)

1. Improve strength, speed, agility and conditioning (see attached speed/agility drills and weight lifting regiment)

A. Team members not participating in another sport (wrestling, basketball, swimming, track and field, tennis, baseball or soccer) will lift 3 days per week. Sessions will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings either during early bird or extended first period.

Attendance is mandatory unless communicated with head coach or strength and conditioning coach.

I. Team members will be tested (in strength, speed and agility) prior to the start of offseason work and every 10 weeks thereafter. Results will be used to personalize each team member’s workout regiment.

B. Team members participating in another sport (wrestling, basketball, swimming, track and field, tennis, baseball or soccer) will lift at least 2 days per week. These 2 sessions will be scheduled by your in season head coach.

2. Achieve academic success

A. Each coaching staff member will monitor their position players’ grades. Every third week (3rd week of January, 2nd week of February, 1st week of March, 4th week of March, 3rd week of April, 2nd week of May) each coaching staff member will send a list of their position players with a C grade or below to the head coach. Information will include players’ name, name of class/teacher, current grade (percentage) and number of missing assignments.

B. Team members with a D or F at one of the checkpoints will meet with head coach or position coach to formulate a plan to improve the grade and attend 8th period (resource period) in head coach’s classroom until grade is a C or above.

C. Team members with a C can be individually communicated with by head coach or position coach.

D. Recognize team members’ improvements in grades and those obtaining honor roll status.

3. Advancement in leadership skills (attach leadership program and application)

A. Any junior or senior submitting a leadership academy application and being accepted into program will meet twice a month on Wednesday mornings to complete leadership program.

4. Set goals for upcoming year and football season

A. Team goal setting meeting will take place in January of each year. All team and coaching staff members will meet to go through goal setting process for the upcoming year and season. All team members will have 1 week to complete their goals and submit to their position coach and head coach. Individual meeting/discussion can be set up at this time as well.

5. Develop team unity/cohesiveness

A. Team ‘tail gate’ in weight room prior to basketball game or wrestling meet. Coaching staff will provide pizza, then all team members will go cheer on their classmates, together.

B. Team service project. Seniors, along with head coach generate possible ideas. Players will lead organization and execution of service project.

C. Saturday morning ‘Bulgarians.’ Periodically, team members will participate in competition based activities on a Saturday morning.

D. Team dodgeball. Offense vs. Defense, Juniors vs. Seniors, Players vs. Coaches, in the high school wrestling room.

Standards (coaches)

1. Equipment inventory and reconditioning

A. Coaching staff will inventory all equipment, throw out old equipment and get equipment ready to be sent off for reconditioning. Head coach and equipment manager will decide on new equipment to be purchased for next season

B. Facilities check. What facilities improvements do we need? What adjustments/improvements can we make to our existing facilities?

2. Post season meetings (head coach with AD, assistant coaches with head coach, all staff with their position players)

A. Head coach will meet with AD for evaluation of season and program progress. Head coach will present list of possible improvements/needs for the program.

B. Each staff member will meet with head coach for evaluation of season and program progress. Discussion of staff member strengths/weaknesses, goals for future and ideas for program improvement will take place

C. Position coaches will meet with their position players to discuss past season and the future (after goal setting).

3. Season evaluation-strengths and weaknesses (coordinators complete season summaries)

A. Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams coordinators will complete their season summary. Season summary will include statistical information about their unit, achievement of unit goals and ideas for changes in the upcoming season.

B. Position coaches will evaluate the skills and drills used with their players. Season performance of their position will also be evaluated. Can also meet with respective coordinator to discuss schematic improvements for upcoming season.

4. Learn (attend a clinic, visit another football program, read, etc.)

A. Head coach will identify at least one opportunity for the whole staff to learn. That opportunity may vary from year to year.

B. Each staff member has individual responsibility to do work (learn) on their own as well.

C. Organize staff clinic for any new coaching staff members.

Phase 2: Leadership Academy

Who: Any junior or senior on the football team who completes Leadership Council Application and submits it to a coach.

What: Athletes learn what leadership is, what it looks like (doesn’t look like) and how to get better at it. Athletes will learn essential concepts related to leadership and be expected to apply these concepts throughout the season and the rest of their life.

When: Twice a month on Wednesdays at 7am (starting in January and going through the end of May).

Where: Coaches classroom.

Why: Everything that is great (team, business, organization, family, school, country, etc.) has high levels of leadership (many times at multiple levels-i.e. not just CEO). People need a guiding force to help them when things are hard, to push them to places they never thought they could go and pat them on the back when they are successful. In order to reach our true potential as a team we need positive leadership from team members. Giving them some knowledge and tools won’t guarantee that greatness will be achieved, but it gives us a chance.

NOTE: Program is based on author, Jeff Janssen’s book titled ‘The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual.’ If possible every athlete participating in the program should have a copy of the book to use during the program. There is areas for the athletes to write, reflect and take notes about what they are learning. If a copy of the book is not feasible, then copies can be made to use on a meeting by meeting basis.

Week 1: Defining Leadership (1st January Meeting)

-What is leadership?
-Who do you respect as leaders? Why?
-What are characteristics of effective leaders?
-How do you perform and feel with effective leaders?
-Discuss Risks/Rewards of leadership.
-Discuss responsibilities of leaders.
-Complete leadership self-evaluation (page. 16)
-Based on results what can you do to become a better leader?

Week 2: Commitment (2nd January Meeting)

-What specifically is your team’s goal(s) for the season?
-How important is this goal?
-What are you willing to sacrifice for this goal?
-Commitment Continuum (page 29-30)
-In which category would you rate yourself?
-In which category would your teammates rate you?
-In which category would your coaches rate you?
-In which category do you want to be in? How will you get there?
-Commitment=hard work, passion/enthusiasm and competitiveness/will to win.
-What motivates/drives you?
-What can you do to help your teammates be more committed?

Week 3: Confidence (1st February Meeting)

-How much importance do you place on what other people think of you?
-What do you stand for? What are you about?
-Can you say/do the right thing even if it is against the crowd?
-Confidence=preparation, strengths (what do you do well), past success and praise.
-Complete confidence worksheet, or part of it (page 44)

Week 4: Composure (2nd February Meeting)

-Traffic light analogy (page 52) Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light
-What can you control and not control related to your life and your team?
-What are most stressful situations for you?
-What do you do to maintain composure during these times?
-What are consequences if you let pressure get to you?
-What are some things that could lead the team into stressful situations?
-How could a leader react during these situations?

Week 5: Character (1st March Meeting)

-Do the right thing…on the field, in the classroom, in your social life and in the community.
-Know right from wrong (Newspaper headline test and proud to tell mom and dad test)
-What kind of ethical decisions do you make on a regular basis?
-What guidelines do you use to make these decisions?
-What are some consequences of people who act without a conscience?

Week 6: Servant Leader (2nd March Meeting)

-What kind of leadership styles have you been exposed to (teachers, parents, athletes, friends, coaches, etc.)
-What did you learn from these people about effective leadership?
-What is your philosophy on leadership?
-Servant leader: do the grunt work, take others ‘under your wing,’ keep tabs on your teammates, take care of yourself too.
-What advice would you give your younger teammates?
-How could you express these to younger teammates?

Week 7: Confidence Builder (1st April Meeting)

-Develop a relationship with all teammates
-Observe your teammates and how they act/react
-How to build confidence in teammates…focus on positives, let them know what to expect, remind them of their strengths, remind them of preparation, show teammates you believe in them.
-Why do some people lack confidence?
-What do you do to build confidence in teammates?
-How confident are you in your game right now?
-From where do you get your confidence?

Week 8: Refocuser (2nd April Meeting)

-Real leadership is under adversity
-What are controllables of football game?
-What are uncontrollables of football game?
-Focus on the present
-Focus on the positive
-Play with perspective
-List some challenging situations and how a leader could refocus the team

Week 9: Team Builder (1st May Meeting)

-Establish a team goal(s)
-What do we need to do to get there?
-Help teammates except their role.
-Teambuilding ideas/activities
-Is team chemistry important?
-What are problems that get in the way of team chemistry?
-What do you currently do to build team chemistry?

Week 10: Enforcer (2nd May Meeting)

-Conflict is inevitable
-Have the courage to confront
-More encouraging can lead to less enforcing
-Six steps for resolving conflict (page 130)
-How do you handle conflict?

About the Author of this post:

Jerry Campbell has over 30 years of high school and college coaching experience. He has experience as a head coach, offensive coordinator, and various position coaches. He has written numerous football coaching articles in various publications, is the author of over 30 books on coaching football, and has produced 12 coaching video series. Additionally, he is a nationally sought after speaker on the coaching clinic circuit.

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