We use a number of methods to build our football team. We try to identify ability levels, develop trust within the team and the coaching staff, set daily expectations, be perfectionists, and do the little things right.
Coaching is teaching, and to teach, you need to identify exactly where the student is with his physical ability and knowledge. We never assume that any of our athletes can already perform or understand what we’re trying to teach. We must identify each athlete’s capabilities by determining current strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, we perform an initial evaluation to determine the athlete’s physical and mental ability.
Method To Know?
After we do the evaluation, we try to raise the level of ability through technique and skill work on the football field and with classroom work off the field. If a quarterback has a footwork problem, then we try to improve it with specific footwork drills and technique. If arm strength is lacking, we have specific drills for that. If the player needs to increase his knowledge, we spend more time in the classroom watching videotape.
We try to enhance trust between the coaching staff and players so that the players believe what we tell them. With that trust, players understand that we’re not doing something just to be doing it but that we have the athlete’s best interest in mind. To maximize performance, players must understand what we expect from them. We must lay down our criteria and expectations, and we must be consistent in enforcing the criteria.
Coaches can’t apply different rules for each player. We strive to create an environment in which the player with the least playing time feels that he’s as much a part of the group as the best player on the team. Find a responsibility for each player and a role for every player.
We try to have high expectations as coaches, and we set daily, weekly, and season goals. Once we reach a goal, we reevaluate and then reset the goal. We constantly talk to our players about setting a level of performance, and although we as coaches try not to harp on reaching a goal, we are constantly setting a level of expectation. In every practice we try to hold them to their goals and prevent them from backsliding.
We have a saying that “You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, but you are not staying the same.” That is one of the ways that we help the player understand that he needs to get better every time he is out on the practice field, that we as a team need to get better, and that everybody needs to push. Whether the player is a starter or number five at his position, he should be pushing the other players.