Coach's Corner: Stinson Dean 8/13
By Stinson Dean
The Coach’s Corner is a place where several area coaches will give their views on the state of coaching at the high school level.
Teams have started putting on pads and getting things going for 2010 football. The first day of pads is one of the most exciting times all year. It’s been more than eight months for some kids since they last hit. When they get to “set” their pads, do Oklahoma drill and go live, there isn’t anything better happening in early August.
The atmosphere is electric. The loudest players are even louder. The coaches have huge grins on their faces. Guys are flying around the field, making big time plays and looking for reasons to get amped. It matches the atmosphere of game one.
Then, it is day two of padded practice. Not quite as exciting. This is slowly followed by day four of padded practice, going all the way to more than 15 more practices in pads, in the August heat, often on turf and against the same opponent. Day in and day out high schools beat on each other for the sole purpose of winning state. This takes a toll on everyone; players and coaches.
After going through two-a-days as a player for nearly 10 years straight, I can tell you that one grows to detest his own teammates at some point. It is only natural. After hitting the same guy for two and a half weeks, you’re going to lose it once and a while.
What players have to remember is everything stays on the field. Everyone is moving towards the same goal and it is way too easy to forget that. When a D-Line coach is stressing effort (by stressing, I mean yelling incessantly, saying you’re slower than his legless grandma and threatening playing time), that D-Lineman is likely to be slightly aggravated when some offensive tackle blocks him to the ground and let’s him know about it.
During two-a-days, players can literally fight for spots. This happens at camps across the nation. It’s nothing new and can even bring a team closer together if handled correctly. Senior leadership must step in and set a code of leaving it on the field. Players must understand that it’s not personal. It’s probably an accumulation of stress from a position coach, depth chart and competitive fire.
What coaches need to remember is the stress their players are under from them, their parents and themselves. Also, be conscientious of your attitude toward other coaches as well. I can remember being a college freshman and watching my O-Line coach nearly come to blows with the defensive coordinator. This set a horrible example for us players as we began to follow our coaches’ lead and fight with the defensive players. Keep the disagreements among coaches behind the office door. At MidAmerica Nazarene, if two players fight, we let the other players break it up and then make the two involved play the very next down, completely exhausted.
Players must remember to control themselves as they’ll cost their team if they fight during a game. Practicing self-control and focused anger can be used on Friday nights. And if a teammate does lose his composure, keep your helmet on.
Overall, this is what you feel like during two-a-days...I’d fight too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZbtAFq7dP8
Stinson Dean is currently the quarterback coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., and played high school football for Blue Springs from 2000-2003, winning championships in 2001 and 2003.
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