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Author Topic: Coaching aggression  (Read 7704 times)

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Offline Milehighmagoo

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Coaching aggression
« on: March 15, 2018, 02:09:52 AM »
I'm not as experienced as some here and all of my time has come as a youth coach 10-11 or younger.

I'm an offensive line coach first so a lot of this point of view comes from that perspective. I'll try to keep this post on aggression a little more general.

It's difficult to narrow down a singular quality I look for in players. I guess if you had to pin me down i would say coachable players. But let's for a second pretend you have a team of kids that are fairly coachable. What next do you look for?

In my experience the next most desirable trait is a kid who is aggressive or aggression is easily extracted from him. And with that said, I do believe a great deal of aggression only follows after a strong understanding of what we're asking of the player is understood.

So that got me thinking. What tactics do you use to draw out aggression from your players? What drills do you run specifically to make your players more aggressive?

Offline patriotsfatboy1

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 08:55:24 AM »
You might want to search for previous posts from someone like Coach Potter (CoachDP).  It has been covered many times.  I am sure that he has talked to many on the phone about this very subject.

1. I think that you can teach/coach aggression.  I have seen it and done it (although I am not as good at it as others).
2. It is not necessarily what drills you run, but how you run all of your drills and your practices
3. Notwithstanding #2, there are some drills that are better than others to help with that, but I don't know that just posting what drill to run is the best way to go

Offline gumby_in_co

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 08:56:39 AM »
It has to be a part of your culture from top to bottom. Endeavor to make competition a part of every drill you run. Then, refuse to accept any effort that is not mean, nasty and fast. Make sure your team understands that your team is out to hurt people. Then explain the difference between hurt and injured. To me, injured means a player can't continue. Hurt means he doesn't want to.

When I watch most other teams practices, I'm always amazed at how jumping offside in practice will get you a lap/pushups/whatever, but lack of aggression goes unpunished.

As far as specific drills. Tee Time is a personal favorite and so is "Whose ball?", but if you don't run them with the right attitude, you may as well have them run wind sprints.
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Offline ZACH

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 08:57:49 AM »
Aggression comes with confidence

Confidence comes from correct reps in practice and consistent reps comes from you the coach.

Over exerting your adrenal glands with kids that lack that development physically creates a weird dynamic.

Be aggressive in your coaching, and how you speak but always coach... words like "but" or "next time" dont help...

Talk with Michael about this
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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 09:37:56 AM »
I am sure that he has talked to many on the phone about this very subject.

--Probably more than anything else.  Sometimes I think I should start coaching youth ball again just to show coaches how we apply it.

1. I think that you can teach/coach aggression.

--Absolutely, it can be taught just like any other fundamental.  As a matter of fact, the two main reasons that teaching aggression are so high on our list of importance is because 1) in youth football, the team with the most aggression almost always wins, and 2) you don't have to be big, strong, fast or athletic to be aggressive, so any player can learn it.  Aggression, in it's purest form, is not about how mean you are, but how much effort you give.  And any player can give effort.  It's just that many coaches don't understand how to ask for it, to get it.

2. It is not necessarily what drills you run, but how you run all of your drills and your practices

--There is a right and a wrong way to run any drill.  To the misinformed, they believe that running a certain drill provides the magic elixir.  But you as a coach need to understand what you are teaching and have expertise in teaching.  Just because you already know how to speak english, doesn't mean that you have expertise in teaching it.

3. Notwithstanding #2, there are some drills that are better than others to help with that, but I don't know that just posting what drill to run is the best way to go

--Good call, Eric.  I've talked to plenty of coaches who took a smattering of drills and tried to apply them without rhyme, reason or understanding and ending up with something worse than what they had.  Although I am a big believer in our approach and application of our P.A.I.N! Program, I'm much more careful about how I distribute the information about it.  Not because of political reasons, but because of safety reasons.  Even with safety classes and certifications, letting someone drive a car who doesn't understand how to drive is a bad idea.  That's why I haven't distributed my PowerPoint on it.

--Dave

« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 10:03:58 AM by CoachDP »
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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 09:45:36 AM »
It has to be a part of your culture from top to bottom.

--Yes, it does.  But some coaches have no idea how to create a culture or environment.  It is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your team as a coach.  Great coaches and great programs have a definable culture.  It's not something that occurs through happenstance.  Culture and atmosphere were the two things I set out to create and define since the first day I stepped on our campus.  And every day I am at practice, I pay great attention to seeing that we are keeping it.

When I watch most other teams practices, I'm always amazed at how jumping offside in practice will get you a lap/pushups/whatever

--I'm always amazed that jumping off-sides at practice gets a punishment that is completely unrelated to jumping off-sides. 

Tee Time is a personal favorite and so is "Whose ball?", but if you don't run them with the right attitude, you may as well have them run wind sprints.

--The same can be said about any drill or practice plan.

--Dave

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

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Offline CoachDP

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 09:52:15 AM »
let's for a second pretend you have a team of kids that are fairly coachable. What next do you look for?

I stopped "looking for things" a long time ago.  What happens if you don't find what it is that you're looking for?  Too many coaches hope and pray to win the football lottery and have "what they're looking for" fall in their lap.  I don't look for anything.  As far as aggression is concerned, since there is no physical or mental quality that a player needs to already have, there is nothing to look for.  My concern and challenge is to be able to teach what I know.  If I can do that, the player(s) will learn and develop "what I'm looking for."  If I can't do it, then the player(s) will not.  Do not make the mistake that this is somehow about what players already bring to the table.  It isn't.  It's about what you know how to teach.

--Dave
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 10:09:52 AM 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 CoachDP

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 09:58:41 AM »
I compare what coaches are taught to look for, as opposed to what teachers are taught to look for.  I hear coaches say they can't find a QB, find a Center, find a Wide-Out....They are usually looking for players who already have the fundamental, so that they don't have to teach the fundamental because they know that if they have to teach it, then their team is in trouble.  Most teachers are rarely intimidated by a child who does not already know, because they already know how to teach. 

Make no mistake, I appreciate athleticism and talent as much as the next guy, but that has nothing to do with your ability to teach what it is that you want your players to have.  That's your responsibility.

--Dave
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 10:12:04 AM 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 Wing-n-It

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 10:26:34 AM »
I compare what coaches are taught to look for, as opposed to what teachers are taught to look for.  I hear coaches say they can't find a QB, find a Center, find a Wide-Out....They are usually looking for players who already have the fundamental, so that they don't have to teach the fundamental because they know that if they have to teach it, then their team is in trouble.  Most teachers are rarely intimidated by a child who does not already know, because they already know how to teach. 

--Dave
Dave have you ever noticed that some cooks need a recipe book to get the dinner done and once they are done shopping for the meal they can get started, where a great chef doesn't have to have all the ingredients on the recipe to make the meal.
Most of the time the meal taste better when the ingredients are not from the recipe.

My point is hardly any of us has the players we are "looking" for. But we can make the ingredients we were given mix and make a great team.

Aggression is the seasoning that I have found to make any meal taste awesome.
Its also the best equalizer IMO
Robert

2 Things my offense will always have is a Wing and a Wedge

Offline patriotsfatboy1

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 10:39:40 AM »
I do have a slightly different view of this or maybe it is just an expansion.  I do think that there are some character traits that make the process easier, though.  I have found that I can teach many kids how to be aggressive, but there are some that I can't get to (and maybe that is just my fault).  It might be oversimplifying, but I have found that the kid has to want to get better and be part of a team for that aggression to be most useful. 

There will be some kids that are out there because dad is forcing them to be, they are timid and have no desire to change it.  I may never get that kid to be aggressive. 

I might also have someone that has no problem being aggressive, but they don't care about their team so they just go out there hitting random people and getting penalties.  Part of teaching aggression is having kids know that there are some boundaries.  If they are dropping kids 2 seconds after the whistle, then we have a problem.  If they are hitting in a restricted area (for example, head-hunting), then we have a problem.  Both of those are because the player is being selfish and not thinking of the team.  On the other hand, if everyone is aggressive and working for each other, then it becomes viral and it is much easier for those on the bubble to "get it". 

Offline gumby_in_co

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 11:03:45 AM »
I have found that I can teach many kids how to be aggressive, but there are some that I can't get to (and maybe that is just my fault). 
I've had a couple of these over the years. One is with us on our Spring team. He turned a corner for me in the Fall playing o-line. At Tuesday's practice, he turned back into a wall flower. I understand why, but we won't tolerate it. Mahonz is going to have a chat with the young man tonight. He was on the bubble as far as being cut and I really stuck my neck out to keep him.  The thing about these kids is that given the way we practice and how 99% of our players are all in, practice must be MISERABLE for them. When they are younger, I tend to make "projects" out of kids like this and spend a lot of time/energy to get them where I need them to be. From 6th grade on . . . jump in the water, kid. Be a shark or be chum.

Quote
I might also have someone that has no problem being aggressive, but they don't care about their team so they just go out there hitting random people and getting penalties. 

I may have had 1 kid like this. It was 2nd grade and the kid had severe impulse control issues. Unfortunately, I lost track of him, but I imagine he turned out to be a heck of a football player. We probably take more than our share of aggression penalties, but never anything dirty. We get called for holding because we are taking our guy for a ride 15 yards down field. We get called for blocks in the back because the defender turns his back on us. We get personal fouls because we make a hit on the sideline and drive the ball carrier into the folding chairs. I watch the body language and as long as the kid looks upset for how he cost the team, I leave him alone. I even jump on other coaches if they yell at linemen for being overly aggressive. If we are blatantly breaking rules, that's entirely different, but I haven't seen that. I see subjective calls that are probably the result of players and coaches whining about being held.

One exception. I'm not proud of this and it's probably the hockey player in me. Last Spring a scrimmage opponent had a RB that was blazingly fast and scored a couple of TDs. On one, he turned around and ran backward the last 10 yards, taunting our team with the ball. He drew a penalty, but so did we. One of our players trucked him 5 yards behind the end zone. My initial and emotional reaction was to be pleased that we sent a message. That was wrong of me.
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Offline Milehighmagoo

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 11:19:03 AM »
The reason why we "look for things" in kids as opposed to coaching things in kids is time. Dp, you make a great point but on a youth level your limited by the county as to the allowable time you have with your team each week. In my area it's 6 hrs. Your also potentially limited by a small coaching staff or having more dad's who are helping vs real coaches. "Finding" a kid who has a talent to play QB, C, or WR before the coaching begins speeds up the process significantly as the investment becomes more affordable. So I guess we may agree to disagree on that one.

Offline gumby_in_co

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 11:27:35 AM »
So what do you do with the kids who don't have what you're looking for?
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Offline blockandtackle

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 12:11:07 PM »
Honestly, it's probably just semantics, but I don't want to coach kids to be "aggressive."  I want to coach them to be "physical" and "tenacious."  The difference is that "aggressive" might cause parents to flip out or even sue, but "physical" and "tenacious" is just part of the game.

As an OL coach, I want my kids to get off the ball with proper footwork and leverage, make good contact with proper hand/head/shoulder placement, and finish the block with "tenacity."  What I've found helps develop those things:

1.)  Weightroom--I coach HS.  Not many youth coaches have access to this and that's ok, but at our level it's vital.  If you get a kid conditioned to squatting 400+lbs and stressing his central nervous system with 500lb deadlifts, asking him to go toe to toe with a guy across from him doesn't feel like such a big deal.

2.)  Detailed teaching broken into small steps--coach it all little by little and take your time, then put it together in chunks, then put it together against bags, then put it together against bodies.  Then do that all over again until it's automatic.

3.)  Simple scheme--Confident players are better players.  Confused players are tentative.  If you know who to block, you can get to him faster and better.

4.)  Physical acclimation.  The first time I got in a fight in Kindergarten and got punched in the mouth, I didn't know what to do.  All I knew about fighting was from movies where it was choreographed and slow.  But I grew up fighting all through school, so I learned pretty quickly that it wasn't such a big deal to get hit and that I needed to just shrug it off and take the fight to the other guy so I wouldn't get my own tail whipped.  The same concept applies here.  It's crucial to work against live bodies just to develop a tolerance and feel for contact.

We all need to limit contact and only have so much practice time, but I see coaches hit bags and sleds or have their OL always work on air and then they get upset and pull their hair out when their kids are soft and confused as to who or how to block.  It shouldn't be a mystery.  That doesn't mean you need to beat each other up all practice and tackle to the ground, but you do need to go all out in limited, controlled situations with a quick whistle.  This is what individual and group periods are great for.

The most physical teams I've ever coached had the entire team line up and do 5 minutes of quick board drills a day, every day, until the season started and then we still had them do that once a week.  We had an All-State QB with D1 offers getting in there and mixing it up with the WRs and DBs one-on-one in the same board drills as our OL and DL.  It really helped teach kids to not be contact shy and to compete in physical contests.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 12:16:53 PM by coacharnold »

Offline gumby_in_co

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Re: Coaching aggression
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2018, 12:13:33 PM »
The difference is that "aggressive" might cause parents to flip out or even sue,

Interesting. I teach them that "we hit to hurt" and "we're looking to hurt people".
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