I’m not as well versed in the ways of football like Coach Dub Maddox, but his article led me to do some thinking on my own. I’ve been an offensive coordinator for two years, and a football coach for eight.
Each off season I reflect back on the previous season and see what I did right and what I did wrong. I try to improve on my strengths and work on trying to negate my weaknesses.
This list came to me while I was reflecting on the previous season . I thought I would share.
- Less is always better.
Every year going into the season I put in a crap ton of plays, formations, motions, and tags. And every year I take all of those things out as the year goes on. And you know what? We get better. Kids confidence goes up. Point total goes up. Passing yardage goes up. Rushing yardage goes up. Kids’ confidence in the offense goes up. And more importantly, the wins go up.
Think there is a correlation?
So this year I’m going to keep it small and get great at a couple of plays instead of going big and being average at many plays.
2) Players - not plays - win games.
We are down four points with thirty seconds to go. We are driving for the winning touchdown. It is fourth down and six. I call a shallow cross play because I know it will work against the defensive coverage the DC likes to play. The ball is completed but we don’t get enough yards and we loose the game.
The next day I’m watching film and see that we’ve got a six four kid being played by a five nine corner. The play I called has him third in the passing progression. Why didn’t I call a play that gave him the ball instead of the one I called?
Because I’m an idiot.
You better give your play makers the ball when it is crunch time or you will be looking for a new job.
3) If you are going to be a passing team then you better be throwing the ball all the time in practice.
I love throwing the ball. I think the forward pass is the greatest invention besides the coffee maker.
So I call passing plays all the time during games. And my players were dropping balls during the game.
Because we weren’t throwing the ball enough in practice for the players to work on catching.
That changed though. We went from throwing only during 7 on 7 and team to throwing and catching every period in practice - including inside.
And our dropped passes dropped to zero.
Practice what you will be doing in games. Crazy concept, right?
4) Use the defensive guys on staff.
Don’t know what coverage your opponent is running? Confused by why your opponent would blitz in this situation? Suck up your pride and ask those defensive guys in the next room for help. Those guys love defense like you love offense.
Use one another and get better as a team.
5) If the players don’t like a play then scrape it.
Your players are the one running the plays. So if they aren’t comfortable running the play then don’t run the play. Run things the kids are good at and you will be successful. Run plays that the kids aren’t good at and you will get fired.
6) Sometimes the opposing defense makes a good play.
That team across the field practiced hard all week like you did. They have great players like you do. They have quality coaches on their staff like you do. Sometimes the coaches call a great blitz or their players make a great play. Tip your hat to them when they do, then call the next play.
7) Make sure you have two plays you are great at when it is 3rd and long.
There will be times when you are in this situation. Make sure you have a play, and your kids have repped the play throughout the week, so that you aren’t looking like a stoner trying to pick which flavor of ice cream he wants.
You will be amazed at how successful you will be in third and long when the kids are confident in the play because they’ve practice it enough during the week.
8) Don’t yell at your kids during the game.
These kids have their friends and family in the stands watching them during the game. So they aren’t messing up on purpose.
You don’t like it when your boss chews you out in front of your peers. Why do you think kids are any different?
You are the adult. Act like it.
9) Don’t take things personal during the game.
Sometimes things are said on the headset in the heat of the battle. Brush it off. Trust me, the parents in the stands are saying things a lot worse about you than the other coaches on the headsets.
10) Remember that football is a game and have fun.
Life sucks sometimes. Football shouldn’t. Make it fun and rewarding. You will last longer in this profession and the kids will enjoy the sport more. It’s win-win.