Coach's Corner: Joel Applebee 3/20
By Joel Applebee Mill Valley Head Coach
Building a championship level High School football program starts with building a great junior football program at the elementary level. A junior football program has many benefits for athletes.
From an early age, athletes begin to learn the same terminology and drills that are used at the high school level. A junior football program allows for a smooth transition from grade level to grade level, as well as, builds a tight sense of community in athletes in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Throughout their years in the Junior Football program, athletes will be taught and learn the same terminology and drills as the high school program runs. As a head high school football coach you can host coach’s clinics or “chalk talk” sessions for all junior football coaches. This will allow all coaches to learn the terminology and drills used at the high school level.
Coaches will also learn how to structure practice and to apply their knowledge gained from the clinics to get the most out of the athletes they are working with. It is important for all coaches to understand your philosophy and expectations so they can teach it to their athletes during practice.
Once an athlete learns the philosophy and expectations of the program then it makes for an easier transition from year to year and grade level to grade level. Athletes will enter the high school program already knowing and understanding terminology, knowing drills and knowing the scheme.
It also allows each athlete to understand the philosophy and expectations of the program. Coaches and athletes are able to get more out of each practice because of the structure provided by the program. Athletes know what to expect from drill to drill and practice to practice.
Having a program that runs kindergarten through 12th grade allows for a tight sense of community. Young athletes aspire to be a high school player within the program because of having spent the time in learning what the program is all about – “Building Championships.”
Athletes learn the expectations of championship level play at an early age and they feel a part of the team from the beginning. Once the program is established it will lead to winning and allows each coach within the program to have a sense of pride knowing they had a part in the success of the athletes as they reach the high school level.
Building a winning football program takes time, talent, and cooperation of everyone involved. If done right it will lead to winning, which will lead to Championships. Junior football programs help to build pride. Pride in each athlete, pride in each team and pride in the community.
With everyone working together towards a common goal you are sure to have success. “Building championships” does not start on the high school football field. It begins in the stands, with the future of your program proudly wearing their Junior Football jerseys to cheer on their high school team on a Friday night.
Joel Applebee is the head coach at Mill Valley High School.
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