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Author Topic: Cause and Effect  (Read 496 times)

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Offline CoachDP

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Cause and Effect
« on: November 19, 2018, 11:53:21 AM »
Coach Davenport turned me on to this article found here:

http://trackfootballconsortium.com/the-origin-and-philosophical-basis-of-feed-the-cats/

It's excellent and it discusses the most important aspects of teaching.

Of particular note, there was this list (written by Coach Tony Holler):

♦ Do high quality work with maximum focus over the least amount of time possible

♦ Prioritize rest, recovery, and growth; never underestimate the power of being happy and healthy

♦ Never forget – people naturally are good at what they like and are OBSESSED with what they love

♦ Promote your program with unrestrained enthusiasm

♦ “Record, Rank, and Publish” to feed the competitive nature of your fast-twitch athletes

♦ Never force-feed

♦ Never grind

♦ Never crush the physical or emotional soul of your athletes

♦ Never inflict physical punishment – punish only by taking away the opportunity to do the work

♦ Never forget, “Light a fire, don’t fill a pail.”

In another article, Coach Holler writes:

"High school football practices look the same as they did 40 years ago. Stretching, agility, stations, special teams; followed by individual, group, and team sessions. Practice always ends with conditioning to conclude a two and a half to three hour practice. Lots of whistles, yelling, and cussing can be heard throughout the session. Encouragement is intertwined with some verbal abuse. Water breaks are hurried and players are expected to hustle from one activity to the next. If anyone screws up the entire team is physically punished. This is the process. The process is unquestioned and dates back to the forefathers of American football (Vince Lombardi, Woody Hayes, Paul Brown, George Halas, etc.)"

The above could also apply to youth football coaches in trying to imitate what they've seen or who they've played for at the high school level, (with the exception of the 3-hour practices).

In his 10 bullet points, I'll have to do more reading about how he handles each of his points, but I can say with great certainty that we embrace much of what he has listed.

As coaches (especially when we are starting out), there is a tendency to put scheme ahead of all else.  Years ago, when I was a coach with our youth org, we would have job interviews in the off-season for whatever open head coaching positions for next year's team(s).  Inevitably, the first question from the first interviewer was ALWAYS "What scheme do you plan to run?" as if that were the singular, most important aspect of the interview.  Now while I'm aware that we must pursue scheme as something to hang our hat on, arguments abound as to the best way to travel (by Ferrari or Volkswagen?) when the real objective is to simply travel successfully and arrive.  What difference does it make what you are driving, when the objective is simply to get there?

The first bullet point ("Do high quality work with maximum focus over the least amount of time possible") is what Dave Cisar has been espousing for years.  Years ago, this was not in my coach's toolbox, but it is now.  What has changed?  2 things: 1) I now have so many drills that I've found worthwhile, I want to be able to get them all in, so I had to become more efficient.  2) When I coached youth ball this year, we had a 90-minute practice schedule.  I was used to 2 hours with my former youth org and 2.5-3.0 hours with my high school team.  As a high school AC, I was being given 10-15 minute blocks where I was used to having as much time as I wanted/needed as a youth header.  Having to get in what I needed to get in within a 90-minute practice structure at the youth level, or in 10-15 minute blocks at the high school level forced me to get better at what I do.  And I did.
 
The third and fourth points ("Never forget – people naturally are good at what they like and are OBSESSED with what they love" and "Promote your program with unrestrained enthusiasm") are two aspects that I know we incorporate.  I spend so much time with the players I coach and at the school I coach at because I am "obsessed" with my players success.  I spend so much time with players and parents that it becomes "promoting the program."  I love what I do (coaching, as well as being in the weight room) and the passion and enthusiasm spreads.  We want our players to love this this so we use a positive coaching model that doesn't allow for cursing, insults, fear or intimidation.  We coach the "next rep" as the "best rep yet."

The next point: “Record, Rank, and Publish” to feed the competitive nature of your fast-twitch athletes" is an approach we used for years with all of our players, even at the youth level.  They wanted to know their stats, so we kept all stats and comparables updated.  It works at high school and it works for youth.

Coach Holler writes an excellent article about teaching: http://trackfootballconsortium.com/new-ideas-for-old-school-football-coaches/ that discusses how we force-feed the teaching of students.  "Never force-feed."  I agree with his analysis.

"Never grind" is an approach I'll have to look into more.  I am a grinder and have been from the beginning of my coaching career.  I grind as a coach and I expect my players to grind, as well.  My offensive and defensive philosophy is all about the grind.  However, we have evolved.  And that evolution went from more of a take-it-or-leave-it approach of "you either have two choices: grind or leave," to now where we still grind but try to do so while keeping all of the sheep ("Ezekiel 34:11-16 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.")  So we do everything we can to make sure players stay.  We know what we have to offer: a safe and productive environment; as opposed to an environment where the player is at home or wandering; either from a single-parent household or where both parents work.  Either way, a child left by himself is a negative.

"Never crush the physical or emotional soul of your athletes."  I wonder how many coaches out there do this without even realizing it?  The words from a coach can pack several times the powerful punch of a parent.

"Never inflict physical punishment – punish only by taking away the opportunity to do the work"  Again, another thing I'm going to have to take a serious look at.  We roll the field, run the stadium steps, etc.  I think that taking away the opportunity to work is the easiest punishment a parent or coach can make and thus, is so readily chosen as a punishment.  "Rolling the field" is a last resort for us, because it does not improve the player's physical condition.  Running a mile, the stadium steps, etc. improves his physical condition, so when we "punish" we are looking to send a message, while improving his physical condition.  Every "punishment" is an opportunity for him to improve.  However, I'm interested in looking more into this, because Coach Holler's approach contrasts from what we presently do.

And finally, "Never forget, “Light a fire, don’t fill a pail" which is simply the golden key to teaching.  It has everything to do with "creating an environment" at practice, that I have spoken endlessly about.  Create an environment where players want to be there, want to learn, want to excel.  And there is no place for negative coaching when you are busy teaching what you have to offer, instead of teaching from anger and frustration.

--Dave
#BATTLEREADY
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 04:13:22 PM by CoachDP »
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline patriotsfatboy1

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Re: Cause and Effect
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2018, 02:37:17 PM »
Some very interesting food for thought, Dave.  Thanks for pulling it together. 

Offline chucknduck

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Re: Cause and Effect
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2018, 05:10:20 PM »
Thanks, Dave.  I appreciate you posting this.  I can't even tell you how many arguments I have had with other coaches about conditioning.  I already emailed the link to the varsity head coach at the school I coached at this past season.   He and the rest of his staff are 40 years behind the times on this.  I mean, beyond stupid.

Offline CHARLIEDONTSURF

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Re: Cause and Effect
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2018, 08:05:33 PM »
This is all thoughtful stuff.  Thank you for sharing.

Offline angalton

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Re: Cause and Effect
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2018, 10:45:49 AM »
The grind/conditioning at the start of the year, I feel is important. Not in the sense of making them physically stronger or faster, but to mentally push them past their limits. There are many approaches and is 1 far superior than the other? I think your team make up will dictate the practices needed for your team. I really liked the write up and it does give food for thought. Thanks Coach
The greatest accomplishment is not in never failing, but in rising again after you fail.

Offline CoachDP

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Re: Cause and Effect
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2018, 10:52:57 AM »
This is all thoughtful stuff.  Thank you for sharing.

You're welcome, Coach.  I thought it was very thought-provoking and went into things that many coaches don't consider.  Especially coaches who are just starting out when everything is new to them.  Since much (but not everything) that Coach Holler endorses were also aspects that we'd implemented, I thought I could give my own take on how we've also successfully used this approach.

--Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline CoachDP

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  • "Want to Get Better Players? Be A Better Coach."
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Re: Cause and Effect
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2018, 10:57:12 AM »
The grind/conditioning at the start of the year, I feel is important. Not in the sense of making them physically stronger or faster, but to mentally push them past their limits. There are many approaches and is 1 far superior than the other? I think your team make up will dictate the practices needed for your team. I really liked the write up and it does give food for thought. Thanks Coach

Eric, I agree about the "grind."  That's long been who we are, and we've not only been successful with it, but it blends seamlessly with everything else we do at practice.  However, Coach Holler definitely has a credible point of view and since I'm always looking for a better approach, it will be something that I'm going to look into further.  But it may not be something that I'm able to get to work for me.  But he raises many great points that I think all coaches should take a look at.

--Dave
"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope