Are you a proactive coach wondering how to implement a winning atmosphere or LAZY?
Over the past several years many programs have extended the olive branch to gain access to @303Gonzo and the brand of football created at two different 5A programs and multiple little league teams. The practice with a purpose was a legendary blueprint for success since sharing in 1999 for USA Hockey and adapted for Football in 2002.
It is no secret leadership starts at the top. So if your principal, athletic director and head coach (HC) are NOT on the same page you should move on as a coach, PERIOD! The HC in recent years has more on his/her plate than ever before and is more of a manger than a physical X & O’s person. Thus the OC and DC as well as assistant coaches are more important than ever before. The modern era should have CO-HCs or a roll @303Gonzo made famous, DFO or director of football operations.
The DFO can deal will all the tedious paperwork, parents, schedules that are really a function of ADs and making sure effective communications like newsletter are being delivered, read and followed. In little league terms, a team mother minus damn orange slices at halftime or juice boxes!
In terms of a training and classes why do you or your school not have a zero hour PE class? We called it Breakfast Club and later Zero Hour to gain high school credits. Do the research about breakfast being the most important meal of the day in addition to exercise to stimulate the brain. Math, Spanish and Science teachers loved us if they had our students in their periods 1-2-3.
Once you obtain a Fall and Spring 6am to 7:15 am class its all downhill. The HC, OC, DC and DFO can run the program both in the weight room and on the fields. After the DFO takes attendance and players are assigned daily groups the work is on autopilot. There are fancy APPS that eliminate paper and are excellent via WiFi when the player walks into the dedicated area, think attendance and will track workouts.
We used the same program from The University of Nebraska. Also patterned our strength and conditioning off of their platform that is legendary. In the end we had control of our players gains, improvements, deficiencies and eliminated students from going outside the program and skipping our OTAs or going to both and ultimately over training. Problematic since many trainers do NOT have the proper certifications or background to properly train or identify aches and pains that contribute to long term ailments. Again a high school has a trainer on sight and can be beckoned at a moments notice and can relay information to the DFO to disseminate to the parties involved.
Once you have the buy in from coaches, players, the school and families it becomes a seamless process to breed success. However, are you willing to put in 6 days a week? The FR and JV do during the season, BUT the off season is for gains and PREPeration. Believe me the students are being prepared for the real world of waking up early to go to work unless they choose post secondary education and delay employment 3-5 years. Hard to imagine 6am reporting six days a week but if you build it, offer it they will come. Ask any former players that were late and the team ran 100 yard gassers as a team for every minute lost by teammates tardiness. By day 4 they get it. Anything work doing is doing it correct. No sacrifices at the top means y’all will continue to loose games and players to subscription based entities telling your players how bad of a coach or program you run. Same guys that to this day do NOT take coaching jobs to prove they can coach but many can sure yell at high volume levels and browbeat or ridicule at the highest levels.Recruiting the hallways is easy for the bigger schools or programs that finally rid themselves of a deadbeat coach. However, it is not your strength until you offer a reason to play. Do NOT force kids into a position. Make them compete and win the job, PERIOD! When 17 QBs line up on day 1 and the competition shakes out by day 3 or 4 you will have an increase at the receivers, TE or safety positions by day 4 or 5. A great concept in volunteer work outs February to May. We had OTAs usually the Monday after the Super Bowl or worked with the other ball coaches via DFO to not interfere with the other sports. REMEMBER we all have to get along and vertical sports does NOT help student athletes. THINK multiple sports like at the lower classifications within the box state.
As for the normal suspects for almost 3 decades using transfers to build their rosters, forget about them as it is a sign of weakness. Anyone can win with the Top 30 players annually! But do the 90+ players on the sidelines or in covid19 era players 51+ develop or gain quality REPS? Answer is NO! Another wasted year just like the coaches that play seniors even if they were NOT in the program 4 straight years. COMPETITION BREEDS SUCCESS (.)
Once a HS or HC establishes the program the kids or parents will want to attend their local attendance area school. The middle schools will benefit as will little leagues or feeder programs. Targeting kids to transfer is NOT a recipe for success, rather building from the ground up! The neighborhood schools will continue to loose a few players primarily because of transportation issues. If busses are unavailable or parents have a school on their way to work it becomes convenience. The best thing was our early hour sessions to feed and train our players. It was not day care but an opportunity for all walks of life to be created equal with hard work over time. We fueled their bodies with pre and post workout snacks, shakes, etc. Got their minds foundations correct for school work and even had study table post last bell to make them well rounded people not just ball players.
Bottom line is that YOU as the HC have to take charge of your program. Stop with the excuses. GET INVOLVED. If your little league teams are playing on your field, ATTEND! Parents are clueless about little league let alone High School. Also if you want your Freshmen to feel involved schedule their games prior to Varsity games at 4pm and have the buses you pay move players to and from your fields. Do not take the easy route rather the path less travelled. Little league participation is 60% down and quality competition is extremely poor going into 2021 and beyond. The addition of another classification does not help the current classes to build success. Especially with running clocks and one dominate team in each conference that will remain unchallenged unless drastic change occurs. Change has to be from the coaches because the association is all about head count revenues collected to pay their absurd salaries and remain status quo, 100 years and counting!
Time to eliminate the hype, get to work and hope the classes of 2025 can augment to what you can build with a plan in place. There will be several HC changes for 2021 but many challenges building a once successful program or create a new program that has not experienced winning. It is fine people think they need to pay for subscription hype or self proclaimed position gurus but what do they do long standing other than degrade coaches annually. SUPPORT YOUR OWN KIDS and build a winner within your four walls or campus. Be creative. Especially with video conferencing or the video platforms that capture gamedays.
If you are not filming practices, Freshman and JV games shame on you as you are missing out on adjustments and teaching moments. I bet your journalism department has students seeking credits to graduate to help you out.
See y’all on the fields!@303Gonzo two fingers, peace out!