You Can Do More: Jeff Floyd 8/9
By Jeff Floyd former Truman High School Head Coach
Let me preface this by saying I love football.
I loved playing football.
I love coaching football.
I love practicing football… did as a player… do as a coach.
But…. I am truly worried about the future of our sport… for a number of reasons. As I wrote about last year (History Lesson) our game is under siege… and the battle has not lessened over the past year.
Decreasing numbers of participants…
Bad behavior by student/professional players…
Here are some things to think about.
I will just go ahead and get this out first. The 25 summer contact days allowed in our state (Missouri) is too much. By judiciously using the days, combining them with summer strength and conditioning days (which don’t count for your 25) a coach can effectively add three months to football “season”.
We are talking about a season… with pads… and practice… and scrimmages… and contact… that now lasts nearly seven months!
I think it is too much for the players, too much for parents, and too much for the coaches …who often don’t get paid any additional stipend for their summer work.
When you multiply that summer commitment required by students and their families for players who are multi sport athletes, it becomes an even crazier schedule… especially in those schools where each sport uses all of their 25 contact days.
We tell our athletes that we want them to be multi-sport athletes, but this model makes it nearly impossible.
On the same subject (25 summer contact days) let me just say that the MSHSAA required acclimatization period (first three days of practice helmets only) is obsolete. Our kids can practice nearly all summer with pads, but then when practice “officially” starts they have to go back to helmets only… it makes no sense.
The emphasis on concussions and head injuries increases daily. It is a hot-button issue at all levels. It is changing the nature of our sport, and we as coaches will need to adapt our coaching and teaching styles.
I am not sure what the best solutions are for this problem, but here are some ideas.
First, I think that we, as coaches, need to be more proactive regarding these issues….
We need to effectively communicate to parents, administrators, community, and media:
I think the tough, challenging, part of this situation is how to strike a balance between teaching what needs to be taught before you line up and play Friday night, and how to keep your athletes as safe as possible.
Football is a physical game… that is part of what makes it a great sport. Your players have to know how to tackle, block, hit, and be hit, in order to play safely. It may take some out-of-the-box thinking and ideas to teach them these skills and give them enough reps and time to be successful on Friday night. I wrote about some ideas in these posts, Adaptation, and The Highest Quality Mental Reps.
I don’t have the answers, but I know collectively as a group… we as coaches will find the answers in order to keep our sport healthy and strong.
Good luck to everyone this season, I am looking forward to watching your teams compete!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!
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