Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 3/12

Tom Radke

By Tom Radke St. James Head Coach
Posted: March 12, 2012 - 7:06 AM

Those of us who are married would probably say that we “out kicked our coverage.” I know I did. As coaches we always strive to do better than we think we can. We strive for perfection, and many times we get “lucky” and exceed expectations.
We always say that football mirrors life, so why settle for mediocre special teams? Why not strive for perfection? Maybe late in a game, a “lucky” play on special teams might just win you a game.
As a coach there is no way we would settle for a mediocre running game, an efficient running game wins championships. We would spend more time perfecting every aspect of our run plays.
So, why do we not spend enough time on the kicking game? There is a reason why we call it special teams. Most of the game changing, “special plays” happen on plays involving the kicking game. So coaches, if you want to take advantage of the “special plays” in the game…. practice, practice, practice! Take the time to teach the little things, just like offence and defense.
As a head coach, many people may call Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech and myself crazy. Frank and I don’t call the offense or the defense; we call the special teams. As the head coach am I in charge of all the paper work, parents, grades and the special teams. I know many of you would never be able give up control of your offense or defense, but I trust my assistant coaches, and we have won many games because of our special teams.
So, how do you teach your special teams to become great? One word, ATTITUDE. Our guys know that the special teams are very important on our team. The main reason is because the head coach is coaching them. We also make it like an All-Star team. We platoon, so if you are on one of the special teams it is an honor. Our guys do not see is as play off, they see it a way to get on the highlight tape. We give out three games ball every game, offense, defense, AND special teams.  
The easiest way to make your kicking game, special is to take the TIME to make them better. We spend at least 40 min. every day on our special teams. That involves, individual time, group time, and team time. Treat the special teams just like any other part of the your practice. Take time in the middle of your offensive or defensive team time to practice special team situations. You never know if you are going to need to quick kick, or try for a last second field goal. Spend time practicing ALL aspects of special teams.
Teach your kicking game to be special. Take extra time to improve your special teams, because if you don’t somebody else will. If you don’t take extra time, the other team will be the ones celebrating and saying how “lucky” they were on that big special teams play.
“I'm a great believer in luck. I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” - Thomas Jefferson.