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Everything posted by Johnp2

  1. George makes a great point here. First and foremost, I have never, NEVER confronted an official on the field--it sends the wrong message, and it is too easy to get suckered into. Be bigger than that. ALL the officials now this about me, and I promise it works to my favor. What I DO, however, is grade each official after each game and send it to the league. The Program Director actually looks forward to it. I thought he was patronizing me until I was late with one and he asked where it was. Much of the time, it is commending the officials for the game they called, but I will point out areas of improvement as I see them. The bottome line here is that you have to check your emotions on the field (remember--EVERYONE is watching you) and at the same time you cannot allow an official to ruin the game. Let's face it, most officials at the level don't understand the vested interest coaches/players/parents have. I've seen playoffs game LOST by an officials poor calls. My first season coaching football, I had an official dismissed of his duties due to his incompetence and lack of composure on the field (he made a few comments about my team on the field). I told the league we will not take the field as long as he is the official, and they swiftly mitigated things. The lesson here...don't back down. Don't let a poor official affect your season. However, use the right protocol when handling the situation. Don't punk out and argue on the field as is what's easy. Take the high-road on the field. When it comes down to it, go straight to his boss for help.
  2. Thanks for your replies. Full disclosure here: I am well known for checking our game balls and if the one we have is better, I ask that we use mine. Most coaches are tentative to it at first, but if the game ball is complete junk (and I've seen them), they have a hard time disagreeing. Of course, our team always practices with the same ball, so it is an advantage for us to play with the football they are familiar with---plus it is a good football.
  3. Schann--I am so sorry to hear about this. Please know that my thoughts and prayers will go out to your family.
  4. Question for the QB-oriented coaches: Today I noticed that my son's football is getting some wear and tear (we throw EVERY NIGHT). Each season I get him a new ball, so this one is only a few months old. It's not in bad shape...it's just not "new". This got me thinking about what would benefit him more: continue having "perfect" footballs to practice with, or learn how to throw with less than quality footballs. We always enjoy when it rains, so he can get some reps in with a wet football. The game balls we play with are not all that great. I'm thinking as he grows, all footballs will not be perfect, and he will learn how to adjust when he needs to. On the flip side, I want him to be able to continue honing his skills with the best equipment. Thoughts?
  5. I hear this a lot from coaches starting out. I think, by default, most parents don't truly understand the importance of practice. I think you are on target to let he parents know to always assume practice is on unless they hear from you. Our league has a no practice/no play policy, but I don't enforce it. Instead, I've always been very up front with my players' parents letting them know how much I duly appreciate full-attendance. We all know some players will get sick, have a vacation, etc. but this should be the exception, not the norm. I will admit, I have not had a problem with players attending practice in the past five seasons. It was a problem at one time, but I have at most 2-3 misses for the season as a whole typically now days. Some things that have really helped me with this: --Instead of just telling the parents "Practice is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:00 pm", I always get them together before the season and ask, "Which nights are definitely out for you?" From there we negotiate and always come up with days/times that works for everyone. This way, they understand that missing practice should be a rare exception. Years ago, there was a parent who simply could not make the agreed upon time. We were down to the last only two days/times available for everyone--except her. I had not coached her son before, so I helped her find another team. I saw them when we played, and she was actually grateful for it (I could have just said "too bad" and her son would have missed all of our practices). --During the first few weeks, I always send "Thank you" emails to the parents letting them know how much I appreciate them being at practice. I give reasons at to why, and explain how it benefits the entire team when they are all there. --I offer to give rides to kids as needed. --I help coordinate car pools, for other parents. --I'll even go so far as challenge them to see if we can get 100% attendance for the season, and promise to take the entire team/families out to a nice dinner if we do. We've yet to have 100% for the season, but we've been close. --I always ask the parents to ensure they let me know if they cannot make it. This way, you walk into every practice knowing what you have. The bottom line, is letting the parents know how grateful you are for their attendance, puts into persepctive the importance of them attending. No one wants to be the one parent who never gets his/her child to practice. p.s. This is just practice, wait until you start
  6. Also, I agree having 12 players on 5v5 team is too much. I would not be happy about it, especially if other teams don't have that many.
  7. I would not concern yourself too much on getting players equal playing time in each game, but instead get them equal playing time for the season as a whole. By that, some kids will play three quarters, and some will play two. In the next game, the ones that played three quarters, play two....etc. Just track how many quarters each player plays in the games and make new lineup each game. If you try to focus on getting each player equal time (i.e. down to the minute) in each game it can become too much. Remember, you can still do this AND have separate squads. Lineup.doc
  8. The good thing is you can see what a well-coached team can accomplish. This is not to say their coach was superior in anyway, just that his players have had a lot longer to implement his system. Can the Center run in your league? If so, one running play I would suggest is the "Center End Around". I learned it on this forum. On paper it did not seem like much to me, but others were having success with it, so I tried it. It was a home run for us last season. I'll break down what we do with it (I modified it a little bit). 1. Trips right formation. 2. Send left receiver on a go route (simply to bring some attention deep). 3. Send RB and slot receiver on slants. 4. After snapping the ball, the Center turns right and takes the hand-off. 5. The Center then runs right parallel with LOS. 6. The far right receiver runs end-around and the Center fakes the reverse. Be sure to have your Center hold the ball out to really show he is going to reverse..then he tucks and runs upfield. Of course, after running this a few times--simply call the same play, but have the Center actually reverse it. I've attached and example. This is a good play, I believe, as the one thing you want to avoid is to give it to your RB on every running play. Defenses will hone in on him if you do. Instead, mixing it up by handing it off to any player (e.g. Center) can possible catch the defense off-guard. Center Fake Reverse.doc
  9. For me, it's: "I don't care how many touchdowns you score. I don't care about how many flags you pull. It's not about individual statistics. We let our opponents worry about who they are going to rely on. All I care about is at the end of the game, our opponent remembers who they played. Do your part." That's pretty much how we roll. It's all about execution for us. Teach your team how to play smart football, and you will succeed. I guarantee it. :-)
  10. Well there's your problem right there! JUST KIDDING. They are great coaches with great playbooks. I believe you said you cannot block, but think of ways to impede the rusher. Also I would advise practicing being rushed in practice and come up with one or two sure-fire plays to make the defense pay when they rush. On your passing plays, do you have a primary receiver? If not, I would advise designing passing plays with the specific goal of getting one receiver open (even if you sacrifice the other receivers). Create one for short, medium, and long routes. I personally love high-percentage passes. We've faced teams that like to go long on most plays. 60% of the time it is incomplete. 30% it is a pick, and 10% it is completed (even then we have a safety to get the flag). Those are not good odds for an offense. The team we defeated in the Championship game threw on 99.9% of their plays, and we shut them down by playing the percentages and allowing them to beat themselves. I'm curious how many times you ran the ball? If not a lot, perhaps establishing the run so they respect it, and then some play-action (once again high-percentage) passes? If they are getting you 6-8 ypp, roll with it all day! I've seen this happen quite a bit. Luckily your player took it in stride. Most times I've seen kids either want to fight, or cry when it happens. ;-) Agreed! Our last few seasons we audibled quite a bit, and often I would let me son call the audible by signaling to him which one. Hearing him say, "Omaha, Omaha..Twister...Hut!" was a hoot. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Just take this game, reflect on what worked and fine-tune it, and throw away what did not work. p.s. How is the talent on your team? Were you physically overmatched in this game, or were they simply more crisp...or both?
  11. This is always the great equalizer (playing a team that has been together a while). Not just because of the players, but assuming they have had the same coach--he probably knows how to use his players well. As long as everyone got a "touch" that is fair, in my opinion. Of course if one player got it 15 times, and the rest only 1-2 then that is different. However, if you were on the losing end (by a wide margin) I imagine you had a limited number of plays on offense.
  12. This is very interesting. i.e. How do you deal with players who are are simply having a bad game. First, I am proud to say I've never given the same player the ball twice (i.e. two plays in a row). I don't think there is much wrong with that other than it can possibly send the wrong message if you are not careful with it. To that end, when I see a player has unprecented fumbles or drops, I tend to break the rules. So often in these situations, I find myself in the huddle telling the kids "We aren't going out like that. Same play!" By that, if I feel it was a freak thing, I go right back at the player to build some confidence. I do agree if it's not the kid's day and he begins to embarass himself out there, it's important to let the kid know that. As I always tell the team when a player has a bad game, "Joey is coming out with a vengeance next week!" Usually this comes true. So basically, I give the player one more chance to make up for a complete meltdown play, and if he bombs again, then it becomes one of our focus items for the week.
  13. This is an interesting question. You are correct that the majority on here track touches as means to define participation. However, I think it should be re-worded (at least in my approach) as tracking "plays". On each passing play, we have a primary receiver. If the ball is thrown the the receiver and he drops it, I consider that a "touch". I've had games were a receiver did not get a single hand-off, but he had the ball thrown to him four or five times. In my mind, that equates to same thing as handing the ball off to him 4-5 times. I don't really count touches at the QB level. Ironically, my son (who is our QB) once tried to pull the ol' "But I did not get x carries today." I told him if he wants to play QB, that is simply how it is, and if he would rather not play QB and get x carries, we can modify things (he got the message pretty quickly). ;-) I think at the end of the day, if certain players are not involved, it is obvious. The majority of the teams we played last season only involved 3-4 players the entire game. It was glaring. One thing I would recommend against is playing half the kids ONLY on offense, and half of them ONLY on defense. There are always one or two teams in our league that do this, and I simply don't think that is right to do.
  14. No problem playing devil's advocate (it's how things are often thought through). My initial answer is I do not see this happening at all. Please know that the team I have created is made up of 100% character guys. That means more to me than any sort of athletic ability, and I also know that many of the players continue to return to the team because they all know the rest of the team (who are all character guys) will be returning also. However, let's say that your scenario does occur for some unexplained reason---which again I cannot even fathom. If that were to happen, I would have a serious talk with the team, and ensure to the best of my ability that all the kids are on board with what we are doing. This is one of those situations where I let the team decide, and their decision is final--and they all have to buy into it. If this still did not work, and I had one or two players who were simply adamant about being insubordinate, then I would next speak with the parents (all of whom I know very well). If that still did not do the trick, I would remove the player from my team. Among the things I can base my belief I will have no problems goes back to the Player of the Week concept. I've been doing this forever, and I remember when I started, I did have a bit of a concern how the other players would respond. However, it has been a resounding success. As importantly, the players know how/why the person earned it. There are no rules. I've had MVPs not earn it in a season, and I've had some players earn it multiple times throughout the season. Regadless of whothe outcome, the players are very much enjoy the "ceremony" that goes along with it, and have always been extremely supportive of the recipient. To that end, I've decided that (per protocol) the Player of the Week will still join me at midfield for the coin-toss. I'll probably have the captains there too, but the Player of the Week will be the one engaging in the coin-toss, along with signing/wearing our special jersey during practice that week, etc. So I'm really not taking anything away from the honor. Great question! You are correct it is something that needs to be explicitely explained to the team prior to their voting. It also needs to be more than just a "title". First and foremost I will make it very clear that non-captains are still as important to the team as captains. I certainly do not want to break the team up into classes. I will also ask non-captains to embrace leadership qualities so that they too can become a team captain in the future. Where I am at an advantage, I believe, is because my players all know each other--very well--it will most likely be a sound, congnizant decision. This as opposed with simply "picking" someone they hardly know. As for the captains' responsibilities, I envision the following (in no particular order of importance): -- Lead by example. I expect them to be the players who give their heart and soul at practice (active listening, going full-speed, etc.) -- Encourage teammates to follow our Team Pact. Each season we come up with a pact. All players help design it, and they all agree to honor it. I expect the captains to help 'remind' players who are swaying away from the pact what they agreed to. --Mentor lesser-skilled players. Regardless if the selected athletes are physically superior, I'd like to see them work with players who have a glaring opportunity for improvement. Whether this is fine-tuning their routes, catching the ball, perfecting their assignments, etc. I'd like the captains to be the ones who see a player struggle in an area, pull them to the side and say, "Here's a tip that can help you." --Possess a contagious, positive attitude. We all know how easy it is for one or two players to slump their shoulders/bow their heads when things are not going well for the team...only to see this spread to other players. We will be very challenged this season, and it is important for the kids to see PLAYERS tell them to keep their heads up when things are not going in our favor. Understand I am not expecting perfection, but I think it will be (as you said) a wonderful opportunity for the kids to have teammates that are preaching the same thing that I am. I really believe it will create unity. As mentioned, I no longer want to have a weekly captain, but instead put some substance as to what that title really means. We'll see how it goes. I really do appreciate your feedback/questions, as it helps me get my arms around exactly what I want to accomplish. Thanks!
  15. That's a great story. I like the way you left it up to the players as to what to do. I myself have done that quite a few times (but never to that magnitude). Hopefully the parents supported you in your decision to allow them to decide.
  16. I agree but I am also going on record to say that I too was one of those coaches at one point. I am 46 and grew up in the era when that was the way coaches did it. In your face, calling you names, etc.. That always motivated me and made me work harder. Yep, that was pretty much the way I was coached (probably starting around eight grade) and I'm 40 so we are somewhat from the same era. I remember two-a-days in the hot Texas sun, and our punishment was no water. For me, I think it started when I first coached. I had 3-4 year old co-ed soccer, and even then I saw coaches yell at their players and remember thinking, "wow".
  17. Yep, this is exactly why I am considering two "full-time" captains. I think it's advantageous to have a few players on the team that will lead by example in practice, look out for the lesser-skilled players, etc. It's also important for the players to know that as they grow older, teams will most likely always have captains, so understanding this concept is good for their mental approach to a team environment.
  18. I think you are right on target with that. The majority of our plays use a similar syntax. %Position.Action.Formation%. e.g. "MR End Around--Fake, Spread". This is just an end-around to our MR who fakes the reverse, out of the spread formation. Last season, just for grins, I started calling some plays at the LOS. Even though I was basically stating in english what the play is, the defense nor the defensive coach never picked up on it. I think as long as you use a consistent syntax with key words like that, the players should pick it up no problem.
  19. This is where it gets tough. First, my son is without a doubt the leader of our team. He is the QB, and is a true mentor to the other players. In fact, some of the players got my son a gift after the season because they said he was "like a big brother" to them. With that, I will not be picking captains, but instead allowing the players to vote on two captains. The two with the most votes will be our captains. I think if I were to just choose him, the team would be more than fine with it. However, I want the kids to make the decision themselves. With that, I fully expect my son will be one of the players selected, but if he is not, my son will be fine with it--as will I. I would just roll with it and work with the player on enhancing his leadership attributes.
  20. I agree wholeheartedly with this! When I first started coaching football, I really anticipated that I was going to be a very strict coach. Players must say "Yes sir!", take a knee when I am speaking, run laps until they puke, etc. Then much to my surprise I found out that I am very much a "player's coach". This does not mean I don't instill discipline (in fact I believe we are far away the most disciplined team in our league), but it's HOW you go about doing it. Instead, I ensure I get complete buy in from my players on most matters. A small example is our huddle. Seasons ago, I instructed my team that I wanted them to put their hands on their hips while in the huddle. One of the players raised his hands and said, "Coach, I don't know about doing that. I think it makes us look sassy." Instead of telling the player that he'll put his hands on his hips and like it, I decided to do something else. I told the kids for the most part, I don't care what they do in the huddle, but it must look professional, and everyone has to do it. I asked them to come up with ideas and we'll vote as a team on it. The kids all agreed and voted on putting their arms around each others shoulder in the huddle, as it signified 'unity'. I thought it was pretty cool, and noticed my players are the only ones that do that. Being a dictator is the easy way. Finding ways for your players to appreciate and buy into discipline is the real challenge, and very satisfying when you accomplish it. It turns my stomach to see the way some of the coaches in our league treat their players. I know they think they are doing the right thing, but continually losing your cool and humiliating your players. Really?
  21. As we approach what will be a challenging season for us, I decided that it would help to have a pair of captains for our team. In past seasons I've always allowed my "Player of the Week" to be the official captain for that week. However, this season I am thinking about having two captains for the entire season so that the role has more responsibility (helping with assignments, ensuring team protocol is followed, leading by example, etc.). I'm going to ask my players to vote on two captains. It will be a secret vote. The only rule is that they cannot vote for themselves. Each season I take the players' jerseys to have their nickname monogramed on the back. I won't announce who the captains are, but instead have a 'C' put on the upper-left of their jersey, and they will find out when jerseys are handed out. I'm fortunate in that I know my players will not have any jealousy issues, as they have always been great about congratulating and supporting our Player of the Week and have always appreciated having a captain on the field (even if it is just for that week). I'm curious as to how many of you have captains, and how you go about selecting them.
  22. Pick who you want to be at QB and roll with that. If a parent has an issue with it, tell them they can go start their own team. I know this sounds crass, but you have to nip this from the beginning and let the parents know that while you are happy for feedback, your decisions are final. Let the kids know this too. As Rob mentioned, pay homage to the other positions. I've played the same kids in the same positions for numerous seasons, and they all still come in to each season HOPING they get to continue playing their position.
  23. We script our first 10 plays. For the past 3+ seasons we've also started each game with the same two plays (simple end-around followed by a fake end-around/bootleg). The remaining plays are everything from reverses, fake reverses, passes to the seam, statue of liberty, etc. What this does is help me to understand how disciplined the defense is. A lot of coaches teach their players to swarm to the ball. Our offense is designed for an over-aggressive defense, so once I see we can condition the defense to go the direction we want them to, it helps me call the rest of the game. Much like you, I pretty much show everything right off the bat (we like to start strong) and then based on what has worked/not worked I decide what to do next (which is typically at the start of the 2nd quarter). The past few seasons we've also started to audible a lot. I'll give you a quick example where we had a lot of success last season using my modified version of the Center End-Around I learned on here: 1. Quad left formation (all four receivers left of Center). 2. Based on how the defense lines up for this I will call one of two audibles: a. "Ranger" The receiver closest to the Center goes in motion to the far right. Ball is snapped, center gets the ball and runs parallel to LOS and we reverse to the receiver on the right. b. "Falcon" The exact same as Ranger except the center fakes the reverse. Other types of audibles are to reverse the play in the opposite direction. We have about 7-10 plays where we can do this. I will start calling these once I figure out who the best defender is the play, and the play I called in the huddle goes to that player's side. I've heard rumors that our league does not allow coaches to call audibles on the field in the 10-12 league, and if this is true, I will teach my players code phrases to work around it. "Did anyone watch the RANGERs game last night?" ;-)
  24. Agreed--this is a good topic. (Schann, you might consider putting this in the 'Where to Start' thread.) I'm glad to see that you will be back on the field when time permits. At the end of the day, anyone who volunteers their time in the community to help with youth sports is doing something great. Something that is very much needed in every community. Just the fact that you have a desire to make a difference ensures you are successful, regardless of the win/loss record.
  25. Ah, the ol' shovel/shuffle pass. ;-) This was actually a staple in my first few seasons, and we had some really good success with it. Funny thing though--about my third or fourth season--it simply stopped working. Not sure if the kids just got older or what, but defenses starting sitting on it, thus I ditched it. I might actually bring it back this season (a newer/more exciting version) just for old times sake! In fact---I took a stab at drawing it up. The QB fakes to an RB rolling out and quicklyshuffles it to the Center. Take a look as I would like feedback and any ideas on how to perhaps tweak this. Thanks! Shuff_2010.doc
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