You Can Do More: Jeff Floyd 10/7
By Jeff Floyd Former Truman High School Head Football Coach
This past Monday, I (along with the rest of the faculty in our district) was sitting in a professional develop session listening to the presenter discuss ways to effectively teach Language Arts, specifically vocabulary. Right before I completely tuned out and went into the Peanuts Teacher Listening mode (“Waa wa, waa, wa wa”), I heard a few things that resonated with me as a teacher/ coach.
The presenter was explaining that in each discipline there were a set of vocabulary words that students had to master to continue learning to the next level. She said that just giving a list of vocabulary words with definitions, and asking the students to learn, was NOT an effective teaching method, but the following were:
It struck me that, as coaches, most of us do this all the time! In our discipline (football, basketball, softball, etc) we have a “vocabulary,” that our athletes must master. Most of us use ALL of the recommended effective ways to teach the “vocabulary” of our system… and the better and sooner we teach our “vocabulary” the sooner our athletes are ready to function in our program.
This vocabulary includes basic words that are important for athletes to understand early if they are to progress in our programs… words and terms such as, line of scrimmage, stance, hash marks, block, etc. Can you imagine trying to teach more advanced words, terms and plays without your athletes having an understanding of this basic vocabulary?
All of our programs also have a set of more advanced, words, terms and phrases that are specific to our system. We talk to our student-athletes all the time about “learning our language”. The sooner they learn to speak the language of our system, the sooner they can play… they must know and understand our vocabulary…. Force, 3 technique, single high safety, lane of ball, etc
So how do we teach these concepts… this vocabulary? Using the proven effective techniques the presenter described.
For example, when teaching our concept of “FORCE”
Quickly, most of our new athletes understand completely the concept of FORCE, and all of our veteran players are ready to incorporate their understanding into more advanced defensive concepts and coverages.
I have never seen a great coach that was not a great teacher…. teaching vocabulary, or teaching character, or teaching a specific skill
Great coaches are great teachers… period.
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