The off-season is the time of year to put in the work to get better. A huge part of building a championship team is developing the fundamental skills of your players. Developing a quicker first step and sharper handles doesn’t just happen when your player walks in the gym. It takes a lot of work and a plan of attack.
Learn How To Get A Quicker First Step In Basketball
We recently released this proven off-season ball handling routine. It’s a 3-day/week workout that you can easily implement across your whole program this off-season. The video below shows a preview of Day 1.
Download today to improve ball handling and minimize turnovers next season!
3 full days of structured ball handling drills
over 30 drills to improve your team’s stationary, first step, and speed dribbles
the ideal number of reps for each drill
Plus, we wanted to make these drills as easy as possible for you to implement, so as a bonus, we’ve put together 3 videos that walk you through the drills with perfect form.
Summer is coming. What do those words mean to you? The season most often associated with vacation, time off, and relaxation has a very different significance to those who run football programs. As the temperature rises, so does the urgency to get better for the season ahead.
There is no one single recipe for driving improvement within your program; there are a million different ways to attack it, and it happens one day at a time. If you’re looking for new ideas here are eight of them broken down into three categories:
Strength and Conditioning
If you put just one or two of these to work in the coming months you will set your program up for even more success in the season to come.
Strength and Conditioning
1. Think Creatively About Strength
There are countless strength building tools and resources available to coaches. Outside-the-box options such as CrossFit, Kettlebells, and even yoga can provide outstanding options for customizing your summer workout program. Bringing fresh ideas and new challenges to your strength program will not only boost the excitement of your athletes, but also keep them engaged and working hard.
John Allen Snyder, Head Football Coach at Indiana Area High School described his diverse and creative approach this way:
“Our program is spearheaded by our OL coach… our district Strength and Conditioning Coordinator…and myself the head coach. We feel the three of us together bring a varied approach to Strength and Conditioning…[One] Powerlifting, [another] HIIT/CrossFit and Flexibility, and myself the football aspect. This allows us to throw everything on a wall and see what sticks. It allows us to create varied programming based on three fundamentally different strength approaches, but we always make sure that there is on-field application for everything we do.”
It doesn’t have to be a new fad workout, either. Something as simple as unique warm-ups that are introduced in a different space, or a finisher exercise that generates energy and competition in the weight room can help to increase engagement in your program.
2. Make it Feel Individual
Customization yields results. Creating a plan for individuals helps them to invest in their own strength and skill improvement. In other words, they are more likely to buy into their own development.
Just as important, custom training allows for the unique situation of each athlete to be taken into account in his training. Here are the top areas coaches take into consideration when creating individual workouts:
Current state of conditioning
Years in the program
The result of this individualization is a safer, and in many cases a faster, way to maximize strength and skill development.
If this level of customization sounds like a great deal of work, know that there are tools out there that can do the heavy lifting for you.
3. Give Them Options
Providing flexibility within the strength and agility programs you prescribe to your program can pay big dividends in the summer months. Not all athletes’ schedules are the same, and a rigid schedule may not be possible for some. Several top coaches who we spoke with discussed the way they empower individuals or groups to get their work in at a time that best suited them. Turns out these programs discovered they got more effort and better results over time.
Most coaches open the weight room four days per week during the summer and many are using software platforms such as MaxOne to create pre-set regimens allowing athletes to be more efficient in the weight room.
Joe Price, the head coach for Plainview High School in Oklahoma provides detailed instruction of the workouts, and the athletes got down to business at the most opportune time for their schedule.
Coach Price: “The workout program allows me to add an eight-week cycle which the kids can access anytime they have their phone. So, if a kid is in baseball and can’t make it to workout… he can do our lifting program wherever and whenever he has time.”
The key is in laying the groundwork and empowering your athletes to be accountable in their work. The results may surprise you.
4. Connect with Athletes Every Day
It can be easy to fall out of touch with your team during portions of the summer months; out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, when engagement drops between you and your athletes, so do accountability, hard work, and results.
If you want the most from your athletes this summer and beyond, regular communication is key. Keep everyone in your program (including parents) in the loop and in constant communication. What should you communicate? Whatever you have for them; including schedules, details on workouts, motivational videos, new achievements, and inspirational notes to individual athletes. When should you send it? Every day! Engage your athletes, and they will engage in you and your program.
Take it from JohnAllen Snyder: “We communicate with our kids all the time. We use the messenger through MaxOne and Twitter. Parent meetings are done at the beginning of the off-season and then again before camp to outline the change in schedule and procedures.”
Dave Brozeski, Head Coach at Norwin High School had a similar report: “The only system I use is MaxOne. It allows me to text and email the kids and parents. It also has the calendar feature so parents can see the schedule at all times, and can sync that calendar to their phone, which is really helpful.”
Find the channels that work for you and establish them today. If you have the channels already in place, work on using them more effectively. Never stop communicating or improving the way you do it. It will pay off in ways you never imagined.
5. Respect Parent Schedules
It’s a well-known fact that parents can be your greatest ally or your biggest enemy. Be sure all the hard work you are putting in this summer helps to move them to your corner.
One of the easiest ways you can do this, according to our coach respondents, is to respect their time and their schedules. Certainly, the flexibility mentioned in the first point can be a part of this. So can proactive communication. Hold semi-annual meetings, include parents in messages, and avoid scheduling shake-ups if at all possible. Also encourage family time with the way you schedule. Balance is important for both your athletes and their parents.
Mark Smith, Head Coach at Liberty High School, said the following: “I post my whole summer schedule on MaxOne so parents can be up to date. The great thing about it is that when I make a change to the schedule, it automatically changes on parents’ schedules.”
Know that you can’t please everyone, but taking a few of these tips to heart is certain to help build the working relationship with parents that coaching so often requires. And what program doesn’t need a few more advocates on its sidelines?
Program Building / Youth Development
6. Start Early
Want to build a powerhouse football program? Make sure you’re putting in work on the ground floor. In other words, devote attention to the up-and-coming youth. The summer months are the perfect time for doing this, as more time is generally available for you, your coaching staff, and the kids.
Here is how a few of the coaches we spoke with described their efforts to start early:
“We start in 4th grade with speed and conditioning three days a week in the summer and also start them on mat drills. We also work body weight foundational movements. In 7th grade we begin the strength and conditioning program with the basics of what we do with the high school, but a scaled down version that focuses on teaching in the weight room, not trying to compete. We do a ton of reps on a bunch of different lifts.”
“We start lifting in 7th grade. Lifting is a loose term. It’s total acclimation; body weight, body control, and core focus. Our kids don’t touch a weight until they can lift themselves. Form is stressed here exclusively.”
The result of this work is more coachable, physically intelligent athletes who grow through your system, know what is expected, and understand how to train. What coach doesn’t want that in their program?
7. Empower Varsity Players to be Heroes
“We want our youth around our varsity team all the time! Our goal is to build the tradition of our football program at the lowest level to where kids want to wear [the star player’s] jersey when they come up. When they play pickup they pretend to be their favorite varsity football players.”
Remember looking up to older athletes as a kid? Use that natural admiration to the advantage of your program. If you can create a hero/mentor relationship between the youth and the varsity team, the younger athletes will look up to them and want to be them. Give them the visibility to instill that love and drive, and someday they will be the hero. And on and on it goes.
One coach did it this way: “We do a football buddies program with our grade school kids on home game Fridays. Make sure the interactions are short and positive. Get older players in your program involved with the younger ones.”
Another brought the teaching of skills into the equation: “I watched one of my senior offensive linemen teach a 4th grader how to get into a stance, and he came back and got into a really good stance in all the drills the rest of the day. It was nice to see that older kid had learned a good stance and could teach someone else how to get into one.”
It’s the same in any discipline: if someone can teach the principles, it means they know the principles. Interactions like these are to the benefit of both sides.
However you choose to encourage hero or mentor relationships, it starts with getting the young athletes involved with the older athletes. Try it this summer. The benefit could very well be a program that is generationally stronger.
8. Teach the Fundamentals (and Make It Fun)
“How you do something is as important as what you do.”
We couldn’t have said it better than the coach who provided that modern proverb. At MaxOne, we know the importance of fundamentals and doing things right. Putting the foundation in place through practice and repetition helps to ensure things are done right when the pressure mounts—whether you’re working with 6th graders or varsity athletes. We also know there is no better time to work on fundamentals than during summer.
That coach’s statement could just as easily be talking about style of leadership, and it wouldn’t be wrong. Top coaches not only find ways to drive their players to improve, but also to make them want it for themselves. Pulling the very best out of your athletes could mean fostering their love for the game. Providing fresh approaches to training that keep it fun, competitive, and entertaining can do just that.
This article was originally posted on Sperry Baseball Life, written by Chris Sperry. 17 inches is a great story about resilience, discipline, faith, and commitment that we can all learn from. While this is a baseball story, the message is applicable to all sports. At MaxOne we believe coaches play a tremendous role in the growing of our youth. Please check out our demo videos to see how we can help.
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
I woke early the next morning and found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven. At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants.
I managed to find a seat between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pomona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.
I had no idea.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.
“… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.
His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”
Pitch count is a big issue in baseball and always has been, especially at the younger level. What is the right number of pitches that should be thrown by each player? How do you know when your pitcher is getting tired? We all know you want your team to win, but when is the right time to say enough is enough?
The issue of pitch count has been around for years. More and more pitchers are getting tommy john at an early age. Back in the 70’s and 80’s most pitchers in the MLB would throw entire games, but now it’s rare to see a pitcher throw a complete game. Why is this? It could be a number of reasons. Maybe pitchers today are throwing harder, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe it’s because pitchers are starting to throw more as well as throwing more off speed.
The Curveball Myth
The most daunting pitch of them all and the one that has caused the most controversy on this topic is the dreaded curveball. Some coaches don’t even allow it to be thrown by their little leaguers. Some parents have even tried to ban it! Luckily this hasn’t ever happened. Is this the reason so many young pitchers are hurting their arms? That answer would be a no. The one pitch that is taking youngsters down is actually the slider. And you may ask, why is this pitch worse than a curveball?
With a curve ball the wrist is cocked or with the thumb up throughout the entire motion. Which causes little to no stress on the ligaments of the elbow. On the other hand, a slider is held like a fastball and right before release, the hand is twists sideways to cause more of a side to side motion of the baseball with a sharper cut to it.
Causes of Arm Injuries
To sum this up, the three culprits of arm injuries at a young age are pitching too often, pitching too much and throwing the slider one too many times. Tendinitis has even occurred with kids who throw too much and too often even at this young of an age. Leagues who have pitch count requirements in effect have seen less arm injuries occur during the season. So, what should this mean for you as a coach? If you don’t have a pitch count max, then get one! Start using it and save your players arms. It will pay off in the long run and the kids and the parents will thank you for it.
Keep these few things in mind and have a great season!
The bunting and hitting game both have their place in baseball. Since the new regulations on BESR bats in high school and college, the bunting game has seemed to increase slightly. Some schools even recruit more for the bunting game now. It is true that a bunting game can do great things for your team, but the hitting game is far from dead.
The change in bats was a controversial topic at the time and it definitely took some getting used to. This decision was made for good reason though. Athletes are getting stronger which means hitting the ball harder. The first year or two of the change we saw a big swing in the bunting game. Coaches were implementing more bunting strategies and on defense were running a lot more drills in practice to defend against it. The bunting game is a big part of baseball, as it always has been, but that doesn’t mean since the bats have changed that you as a coach needs to abandon the hitting game. Hitters have more power these days than they used to. Athletes are bigger, faster and stronger than they were 15, 10, and even just 5 years ago.
Advantage of Bunting
I have been part of teams who have tremendous hitters, but believe so heavily on the bunting game that the seemingly take the bat out of the player’s hands. If your hitting lineup is built on power, let them swing. If your team is built on averages, let them do things like bunting and situational hitting. Each team is different and get implement different strategies into the game.
Bunting can raise your average at the same pace, if not faster than just swinging it. If you have a good bunter on your team then that can bring a lot of good. If that player is also a good hitter, then that brings something completely new to the table. Defenses have to now defend against the bunt AND a hit. So, keep in mind that the hitting game is not dead and the bunting game is also a very important part of the game. Work with your players on both bunting and hitting to make your lineup an unstoppable force!
What is a baseball routine? How do the pros get ready? The most basic routine in baseball is your teams batting practice and infield routine. But how does this help us mentally prepare for a game?
A routine helps set the right mind right before a game or practice. If the batting practice is bad how do you think the game will go? If the tempo is slow and lazy how do you except the game to go? Batting practice needs to be short, crisp and to the point.
An example of the rounds would be 4 rounds of 5.
First round starting with opposite field.
Second round hitting line drives up the middle of the field.
Third round is situational hitting which consists of hit and run, move the runner over, and get a runner in from third. This round will focus on more hand and bat control.
Fourth round, hit the ball where it is pitched. As the pitcher, mix inside and outside pitches in with this round especially.
After batting practice, let the players relax and get mentally prepared for what is ahead. This is an important time for the team because it will help them get into the right mindset and as a coach you will be able to talk with them about the game and expectations.
Start implementing these into your game and continue to be successful!
This article was originally posted on TexasHSFBChat, a football coaching blog focused on High School. Educating young coaches is essential to building a strong program and developing better athletes. Are you doing your best to educate your young coaches? MaxOne believes better athletes, better programs, and better coaches start with building a great coaching staff.
When a young coach joins your staff, there are certain expectations placed upon them by the head coach, the other assistants, and the athletes that he coaches. Let’s not forget that the coach is also a teacher in the classroom with expectations from the principal, the teachers in their department, and the students he serves.
For a young coach, especially fresh out of college, this can overwhelm them quickly. Very few coaches arrive on their campus and excel in their position immediately. It takes years to master and develop the skills required to coach their position, breakdown opponents, and build rapport with the athletes. Many times a coach may start their careers with skills in one area, but lacking in the rest. What are your expectations for them and how patient are you with them?
I believe that we are doing a disservice to our young coaches. In this day and age of expecting immediate results, those same expectations are trickling down to coaches who have less than three years of professional experience. If they must perform and achieve at a high level of success now, how are we supporting them? What resources are provided to them and how do these young coaches know these sources are available to them?
These questions are crucial in developing the next generation of coaches that are beginning their careers now and will be tasked with carrying on the values and traditions of the coaches before them. As a veteran coach, we must be able to answer these questions in a way that helps the new/next generation of coaches understand the importance of the duty they are inheriting. We must answer these questions in a language and a style that the current generation understands and is able to apply to their professional development.
From polling coaches that are in their first years of coaching and head coaches, what I have found is communication is key. Consistent, frequent, pointed communication makes a huge difference in helping young coaches understand the job in front of them. James Kowalewski (Coach Kovo), the head coach of Aldine High School in Texas sends daily texts to all of his coaches containing what is expected of each coach to accomplish, athlete injury updates, and the focus for that day.
I love this because this is how the current generation communicates. People respond to their phones and are more likely to engage with a text message. The text gives them a reference point to return to and think about what they need to accomplish that day. A simple text reaches the young coach and lets them know that what they are doing today is important to you and the program. If we expect our new coaches to embrace the standards we have for ourselves and our program, we must be able to communicate our expectations effectively.
This means that coaches must start to evolve. Evolution begins with adaptation, in this case, by embracing technology and how young coaches communicate. Coaches are some of the best at adapting to and using technology when it comes to teaching and reaching their players, yet we still incorporate old habits when communicating with our staff. We can still use staff meetings to relay the expectations of the program, but follow it up with an individual meeting to answer questions and further explain responsibilities.
The daily text used by Coach Kovo can provide reminders to the entire staff of these expectations. We use our video editing system to “flip” the practice field with our players and we can do the same with our meetings. Provide access to resources that they can study using their phones, laptops, and tablets. Give them a breakdown of what the coach needs to know, so as not to overwhelm. Treat them as adults, but use the teaching methods and technology you incorporate in your classroom.
What Young Coaches Need
Coach Jerry Edwards of Killeen Harker Heights HS believes in modeling the practices and behaviors you want the young coach to perform. Young coaches need to see that you actually exhibit the tenets that you teach. Providing a mentor coach is a great resource for the young coach. Someone they may be more comfortable talking to, and someone they can learn from by talking to and mimicking. Every coach has their own way and style of doing things, but we all need that older coach to lay the groundwork and can act as an immediate source of knowledge and wisdom.
Scouting live football games is a great way of establishing this relationship. This is an old school practice that is, and in some places has disappeared from the usual football week. I am a believer in it because it gives the opportunity for the young coach to learn the offensive and defensive system and language you use in your program.
Divide up your freshmen and junior high staffs with a JV coach and send them out to watch games and complete a scouting report. The time together is great for learning football and establishing camaraderie between new coaches and older coaches. Have them follow up the scout by inputting the information into the video editor together. We are quick to divide up video editing into a solo job because of the way technology has evolved. In order for learning to occur we need help to ensure the job is being done correctly.
Advice for Young Coaches
The onus is not completely on the older, more experienced coaches. Young coaches have responsibilities as well. I read an article on How to Think Like a Millennial that has many great insights and ends with some great advice for young people entering their profession.
Step Up. Rise to the challenge in front of you when you don’t want to, don’t have to, and even when you don’t know how. Accept this challenge and show what you are capable of doing.
Step Out. Get out of your comfort zone. We learn when we try things we have never done.
Step Forward. Embrace your role. Set goals and go!
Coaching is an amazing profession that impacts many lives, young and old. In order to pass down the lessons and traditions of the past, we must embrace our future. So be patient with the new guy and communicate consistently your expectations. We can all take the advice to Step Out of our comfort zones and be amazed at what we learn.
This article was originally posted on Beyond the Ball, a football coaching blog focused on the mental aspects of the game. Building a strong coaching staff is essential to great program, no matter what sport you are competing in. Please take a few minutes to read this article and develop your own expectations for your staff. MaxOne believes better athletes, better programs, and better coaches start with proper planning and the expectation of success.
Know Your Values
Recently, I spent some time looking back over my grad school work to see if I created anything of decent value while taking some of my courses (I received my Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration so it is not entirely crazy for me to look back from time to time). I did happen to pull up a document that may be of some use to those who like to lay out every aspect of your program (which the more I talk to great coaches, it seems that the more detail they pour into everything they do). And on the heels of our outstanding conversation with Coach Shannon Jarvis (Mill Creek HS), this seems appropriate.
It is a page written guide to the expectations of an assistant coach. In many ways, it is simply my own philosophy of coaching applied to what I would expect of others on staff.
I highly recommend creating a document like this for yourself. Not only will it force you to acknowledge your beliefs and values as a coach, it will provide you with a tangible way to keep your people accountable to your standard.
Our assistant coaches are expected:
To be consistent in keeping our players accountable for their actions (or inactions). Players need to know the boundaries and have no doubt that those boundaries will be consistently and fairly enforced. This means that an assistant coach should not “play favorites” because no one player is bigger than the team.
To be open and honest about their concerns behind closed doors. Disagreements are to be left in private. Any issues with other staff personnel are to be taken first to the individual and if the situation cannot be resolved, to the head coach. This ensures that no talk goes on behind another staff member’s back as this would breach the characteristic of respect that our coaches are expected to maintain. Once we step outside the meeting room, our staff is a united group. This point is essential in maintaining the solidarity of our entire program.
To perform all of their coaching duties on time and in a manner that is consistent with the quality of excellence that we expect from our players.
To care about the wellbeing of our student-athletes beyond the football field. In order to have the lasting impact and influence that gives our profession meaning, we must be active (and appropriate) in meeting the needs of our players. “Rules without relationship equals rebellion, but rules with relationship equals response.” Our players must know that we care about them and in turn they will respond to our demands.
To be great teachers of the game. There are times that call for a coach to raise his voice but raising ones voice is not the same as teaching. Repeating the same thing over and over to a player is not teaching. Demeaning a player for repeated mistakes is not teaching. We must actively seek ways to engage our players and their learning styles and make time for those who do not understand our teaching. Chances are, it was our teaching that was lacking, and not the player’s intellect.
To actively look for areas to improve our program. Coaches that constantly need to be told what to do and how to do things are a hindrance to the program.
To conduct themselves with enthusiasm and passion for the game. As a team, we are never as good as we think we are, and we are never as bad as we think we are. With this in mind, there is no loss that should put our attitude in the tank, and no win that should keep us from continued dedication and hard work.
To always have a plan for practice and to be organized in regard to communication and execution of duties.
To model the characteristics of integrity, respect, discipline, self-control, and excellence in the way they handle themselves both on the field and in the school building. Our coaches reflect and represent what our program is about to the outside world and this reflection is of the utmost importance in building quality football players and citizens.
This article was originally posted on Hoop Skills, a basketball resource focused on player and coaching development. The “Theory of 2” is a powerful concept and training tool when put into place. MaxOne makes it incredibly easy to deliver customized training to your athletes. It is the best communication, planning, and skill development training resource available to coaches and athletes today. If you choose to improve your athlete engagement, workout routines, and skill competency please try MaxOne.
This time of year finds most serious players working on their games in hopes of adding to their already established skill sets. Whether they are using proven workout tools such as a heavy rope, a heavy basketball, or dribble specs or whether they are just alone with a ball and a basket these players are concentrating on individual skill development.
Kevin Eastman, former National Director of Player Development for Nike Basketball, and currently an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, is one of the foremost authorities on player development in the country.
According to Coach Eastman, there are several major components to consider when devising an effective and quality skill development workout. Those components are:
Always have a written plan
Include conditioning, ball handling, and shooting in EVERY workout
Work out at game speed or faster
Avoid or eliminate the workout killers: boredom and fatigue
Emphasize weak hand development
Ball Handling is for Everyone
It’s interesting to note that there is no distinction between post and perimeter players when it comes to working on ball handling. Even so, there are many coaches who discourage and even refuse to let their post players handle the ball at all, even during practices and individual workouts.
This is definitely the wrong approach as it keeps the player from reaching his fullest potential. Besides that, the towering 6’2 post player in the 7th grade might be the average sized 6’2 guard by the time he’s a sophomore in high school.
If he can’t handle the ball how is he going to play? (When attending Pete Newell’s world famous “Big Man” camps, all players spend as much time working on their footwork from the wing as they do with their backs to the basket.)
Theory of 2
Coach Eastman also emphasizes the importance of understanding that improvement is a process and that it can take quite a while before a skill is mastered. Coaches and players alike can benefit from knowing and accepting the “Theory of 2.”
2 minutes for a coach to teach a particular skill
2 weeks of practicing every day before the player is completely comfortable with the new skill
2 months of practicing every day before the player is ready to use the skill in competition
It’s been my experience that when it comes to perfecting a new skill a person, especially a young athlete, almost always has to be “bad” before they can be “good.”
Unfortunately, many of those same athletes don’t have the focus or patience to work the “Theory of 2” through to completion. In those situations it’s absolutely imperative that the coach understands the big picture and confidently guides his player through the improvement process.
Final teaching points from Kevin Eastman:
It’s a shoulders game – get your shoulder below his and you’ll be quicker and more explosive
Play the game “low to high” – the only time a player should be “high” is on his release or rebound. Don’t play high-low-high.
Going past a defender – shoulders should be at the defender’s hip. Foot first, ball second, when driving around an on-ball defender. The feet give the attacker the advantage, while the ball creates the separation.
In conclusion, while repetition is the key to mastering a new skill, many players today don’t have extremely long attention spans and get bored quickly. When that happens, it’s not what you know at that point that is going to make or break the workout – it’s what you bring! The more energy and enthusiasm you can inject into the workout the harder your player will work and the more effective the results.
Players LOVE coaches who sweat with them! So for best results don’t stand on the sidelines and tell them what to do; instead get between the lines and work out with them! You’ll be amazed at the difference!
This article was originally posted on Beyond the Ball, a football coaching blog focused on the mental aspects of the game. These Six Principles to Fuel Self-Motivation are applicable to coaches of all sports and are great areas of focus for off-season reflection. One of our missions at MaxOne is to empower coaches to be more productive – check out our demo videos to see how we can help.
It is impossible to motivate someone who does not want to be motivated. This makes self-motivation and teaching the importance of being a “self-starter” all the more critical to player development. Once a player has a desire to achieve a task, how can a coach keep the flame of motivation burning until the job is done?
Rice’s Leadership Fitness
I have recently been digging into Coach Homer Rice’s book, Leadership Fitness. It is a practical approach to successful living through the eyes of a football coach. Coach Rice details his “Attitude Technique” that he fine tuned over his own career and believes it to be what propelled him to professional success (high school, college, and NFL head coach as well as Athletic Director at North Carolina, Rice, and Georgia Tech).
In his book, Rice has “Principles of Self-Motivation.” Realistically, these tenets look very similar to a goal-setting program, but I happen to prefer “self-motivation principles” over “goal-setting.”
Here is a rundown and paraphrase of Coach Rice’s self-motivation principles:
Rice isn’t referring to the deep-seeded virtue of desire (the type of desire that propels people to greatness). He simply means to recognize that there is something that you want at the most basic level.
State your desire by writing it down with a deadline attached
Declare what you are willing to give up for the task to be achieved (“you will not receive anything without giving”)
Establish faith that you can accomplish the task. Visualize the completed task (“we attract what we fix our thought upon”).