Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 1/24

Tom Radke

By Tom Radke St. James Academy Head Coach
Posted: January 24, 2012 - 7:17 AM

It’s clinic season again, but more importantly it is re-tooling time for your team. You have gained the appropriate amount of weight for winter hibernation (your office), and have successfully failed at your New Years resolution, so now it is time to get to work for the 2012 football season.
Coaches, use this time to fill openings or make changes on your staff. Don’t be afraid to make choices that are best for your TEAM. Start the process of ordering all of your equipment and spirit packs now. You will save yourself a lot of headaches this summer if you get all of your pricing and ordering done in the next two months. In season is always crazy but the early off-season can be used to keep yourself sharp and on top of your program.
Head coaches don’t waste this time. Spend time with your staff. Make sure you have off-season meetings with your staff on a regular basis. Use this time to iron out problems from last year, and to discuss new ideas that your assistants have learned at clinics. Head coaches, keep an open mind during this time, the worst thing a head coach can do is stop learning….the young pups have some good ideas, too.
Assistants, this is your time. This is the time to gain as much knowledge as possible from other coaches and clinics. Go to as many clinics and spring practices as possible. Become a master of your craft. I feel the most important thing you can do as an assistant coach in the off-season is spend time with the coaches on your staff, especially the head coach. Use this time to nail down any questions you had in the regular season, but didn’t have time to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask for hints to become a better teacher/coach, and if you want to be a head coach some day, stay in his hip pocket and ask as many questions as possible.
Get together as a staff to discuss your depth charts, season expectations, etc., but more importantly; use this time to fix the things that need fix’n. Tweak what needs to be tweaked and find new ways for your playmakers to win games for you. In a nutshell, look at this time during the winter months as an off-season rough draft. In the spring, finalize your changes, and in the summer practice your new ideas so they are ready to implement in the fall.
Most importantly, take a second this winter to reflect on why you are truly doing all of this work. Hopefully you are not in it for the glory, or the paycheck (ha), but are in it to help develop young men. Hopefully you are spending all of these hours working so you can help develop your guys physically, mentally and spiritually. Because there is nothing more satisfying then having one of your former players come back and say “thank you, coach, you helped make me the man that I am today.”
Good luck with your off-season rough draft!
Tom Radke is the head coach at St. James Academy.