July 10, 2010

My Argument For Coaching The Whole Person

It's Not Enough...
In a recent thread on Coach Huey, an argument sprung up surrounding the role of coaches within kids lives. Everyone was very assured that they, in fact, were correct and it was more than a little bit heated, which was unfortunate. It began with a video being posted of QB guru and expert Darin Slack, where he passionately lays out his case for the kids to become aware that the QB position is "Not about you". This is an interesting issue to me because I feel that it closely ties in with Viktor Frankl's book that I recently discussed/introduced.

We're Famous For Our Masochism
Football coaches are particularly famous for the amount of time, energy, money, etc that we put into our passion. My uncle, a very successful coach who lives about an hour away, has more or less forsaken the idea of having his own children because he could never find a woman who could come to terms with the fact that every year he has a family of around 150 children. Every volunteer coach I know gives up money they could be making in order to be there. Every teaching coach I know has taken a voluntary vow of poverty (almost extreme poverty in our district) as part of the gig.
Every offseason we go to clinics, we visit colleges, we have informal sit-downs over BBQ and suds, in an effort to do the things we do BETTER than we've done it before. We buy DVDs, we read books (!), we visit message boards and post stupid questions that we know are dumb but we ask anyways, because we want the learning and the knowledge. But WHY does all of this matter?

It's More Than Football
There's no crime in being an excellent technical coach. I dare say that it's my dream to be considered an expert at producing great technicians in any position. Teaching the technical skills necessary for the game is critical, we cannot roll a ball out and have the team scrimmage for a half hour and expert meaningful improvement. Tim Murphy, one of the most successful coordinators of the double-wing offense, an offense that is largely used to beat up and roll over and physically assert oneself on the opponent, is a fantastic coach of the offensive line.
But the problem for me comes down to this: we cannot only coach the technical skills of our players. We have to coach the whole athlete, all of them, not just coach what we need them to be able to execute. We have to address their personal deficiencies in addition to their athletic ones. We must take EVERY aspect of them and do our damnedest to make ALL of them better, because not doing so is not enough.

You're Overstepping Your Bounds
Maybe. But I don't think so. There's a reason why we have interscholastic sports and it's not fundraising. The purpose behind interscholastic sports is in the meaning of the word extracurricular, which is what sports are. They're for the purpose of going BEYOND the curriculum, they are there to teach something that will not and cannot be learned within the walls of the classrooms.
Now I am not saying that we must all become avatars of His Holiness, Sir Timothy Tebow or disciples of Joe Ehrmann, but we need to have a goal within our programs to improve every aspect of our players, not just their technical skills and physical ability. You can do this in any number of ways, from outwardly preaching and proselytizing, to selecting a scheme that develops the kinds of character you want, to running an offseason weights program that enhances these things, the options are numerous and varied. But you need to do something. Failing to address your players inadequacies or deficiencies is unacceptable because we cannot be content to simply produce more football players. Football will end one day, but their lives will stretch much further and be much more influential. When football is over, our work at creating the best technical player is done and gone, but our work at creating the best PERSON will continue and carry on for quite some time.

These are my final thoughts from the last response in the Coach Huey thread and I think it fits nicely here:
At the end of the day, it cannot only be about the football. If it's only about the football, then I will have wasted every moment of every day that I've spent working on football, both as a coach and as a player. There has to be more to it than just football or this world would've been better off without me, and that's one thing I won't have.

July 8, 2010

Deathly Serious Topic...

My Worst Fear
No joke, I hate zombies. I'm not really one to worry or get scared about much, but zombies freak me the **** out. I pray to God I never need it, but I do, in fact, have a plan in the event of the zombie apocalypse. I highly recommend you do two things: first, read http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Survival-Guide-Complete-Protection/dp/1400049628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278627473&sr=8-1 and http://www.amazon.com/World-War-Oral-History-Zombie/dp/0307346617/ref=pd_sim_b_1. Nothing will prepare you for the zombie apocalypse like those two books. Secondly, take the time to fill out the below image, even if it's only mentally.
Good luck, and happy hunting!

July 5, 2010

Book Review: Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Amazon Link:http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/0807014273/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1278375358&sr=8-1

In no way, shape, or form is this a football book…

This book will have nothing to do with football. In fact, the surface layer of the book couldn't be further from football, with the first portion dealing with Frankl's time as a Jew in a Nazi internment camp and the second portion detailing Frankl's approach to psychotherapy. Frankl's description of his time in the internment camps is shocking, depressing, and painfully visceral. There's not a man whose heart pumps blood that won't be affected by Frankl's prose and storytelling, but that's almost beside the point because this book isn't intended to be some literary version of Schindler's List or Life Is Beautiful. The truly important thing to take away from Frankl's short, but powerful book is his approach to psychotherapy and, by extension, life.

Don't tell me how to live!

Getting past the whole "You're not my real dad!" reaction that a lot of people have when presented with someone telling them what to think or how to structure their values, etc, this book really does have the power to change how you approach your life. Regardless of your belief system, Frankl's book has the ability to focus your life and what you consider to be important.

Simply put: Frankl's book asks us to consider if we're leading a life that we deem meaningful. Whatever you want that to mean is what it means, but the question stands: are you able to find meaning in your life? Frankl asks us to disregard the pursuit of happiness as a foolish and/or temporary notion, because if happiness itself is the destination then what are we to do if we fail, or worse yet, what is left when we succeed? In either case, the pursuit of happiness hasn't result in anything that we can take to our graves with a sense of contentment. Frankl would rather we find something with meaning and commit to that, hopefully finding happiness along the way. If happiness proves to be elusive, then at least we've pursued and hopefully accomplished something meaningful. We may not be able to be happy about that, but at least we can find contentment and/or comfort from it.

So why do I care?

Well, depending on who you are, this book can be great for how you approach what you want to accomplish as a coach, player, parent, whatever. If your goal is first and foremost to win, then this book will seem lame or forced. If your goal is to show up and do your best, this book might be too serious for your tastes. What this book may do for you as a coach is this: it may provide you with an attitude and a culture that can apply whether you're a front-runner or a bottom-dweller. If you make your program about the pursuit of happiness (wins, postseason appearances, accolades, etc) then your culture will be about only that and again, the issue becomes what happens when you fail to accomplish it? Or, when you do? If your goal is to go 13-0 and win the section championship, what's your goal the next year? Do it again? And again? No, the goal has to be something else, something with meaning and purpose. Happiness will come and go in a program with a purpose beyond happiness itself, but what will last beyond that is the meaning that you've infused in your program.

July 4, 2010

Teaching Formations Follow-Up/Example: 3-4 Adjustments

Kind of A Re-Hash, But Whatever...

I wanted to follow up on an older post with some specific examples of how it can all work together. I'll let the pictures do the talking and try to post the PPT slides for downloading if you want.

Real Quick Note:

With the 3-4, most've your adjustments will happen with safeties and OLBs. I make it a point to try to divorce the interior 5 (DL and ILBs) from the adjustors (OLBs and safeties) and both from the trained monkeys (CBs). Corners are beautiful, fragile creatures, but we never want them thinking. Ever.

If you're a 4-4 team, most of your adjustments will happen with your OLBs and FS. Same for 3-3 teams. 4-3 teams can adjust in a variety of ways, depends on the philosophy and coverage of the DC.



Putting Them Together:

Scribd Link:

Alignments PPT


Hopefully this offers some insight into how I want to approach formations and their variants, as well as help you consider how you can teach a consistent set of rules and alignments so that there's zero confusion for your kids. Also, helps a great deal with disguising if you ALWAYS align the same way.