Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 1/12
By Tom Radke Piper Head Football Coach
Every football coach has a different philosophy on what they would like their athletes to do in the offseason. Some coaches want their kids to “get big” and only lift and do a little conditioning. Other coaches will want their kids to go to a bunch of camps or position specific “specialists.” I want all of my kids to compete in other sports at the high school. I want my guys competing. Period!
I want all of my players hitting the clutch free throw, or getting that last take down to win the match, or be at the plate with a full count with two outs in the last inning. You can’t get that kind of competitive action while lifting with the guys in the weight room or running sprints in the hallways.
If you want your guys to play better under pressure, then encourage them to play another sport. I know some parents, coaches, and AAU coaches believe that you can’t be successful, or get a scholarship to college if you are not practicing or competing in one sport all year round.
I whole heartily disagree. I think linemen can became much more balanced and explosive if they wrestle. I think that wide receivers and running backs can work on their vertical, balance and quickness while playing basketball. You can’t tell me that on fourth and one you wouldn’t want a kid who had to come out of the blocks at the state track meet handling the ball for you. There are so many chances for football players to become better athletes if they play another sport during the off-season.
Another advantage to having your kids compete in other sports is that they are competing and representing your high school. If there are more kids trying out and playing other sports it makes for better competition, and will drive athletes to become better and work harder. From the lessons they learn from other sports they may even become better leaders for your team.
With more students participating in extra curricular activities school pride and spirit will also increase. Younger athletes always look up to varsity athletes, so seeing football players competing in another sport will lead to younger players wanting to follow their example.
Perhaps the most significant reason for having your athletes compete in other high school sports is that it will keep them busy and out of trouble. By staying after school under the supervision of another coach athletes will have less time and energy to spend on things that will get them into trouble. Colleges also like to see recruits who have competed in sports other than football. They want well-rounded athletes, but more importantly they want competitors.
I think it is beneficial for everyone involved if we as coaches help steer our athletes to compete in other sports. I’m not trying to take away from the importance of weight-lifting, but, it is definitely an added advantage if they can get more live game competition in the off season as well. It may be just as beneficial as a full off-season of weight training.
Tom Radke is the head football coach at Piper High school.
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