Coach's Corner: Joel Applebee 8/28
By Joel Applebee Mill Valley Head Coach
The first game is very important in our program for many reasons, but you cannot let it determine a season. Our goal is to improve daily; repetition to repetition, practice to practice, and game to game.
We want to be playing our best football in weeks seven, eight, nine and hopefully into the playoffs. Win or lose, the first game can be used in many ways to show progress.
We talk a lot about how important the first game is with our kids. It is important to set the tone. We also use it as a very important evaluating and teaching tool. We evaluate where we are and teach these young men where we need to be. It is the first chance to evaluate our athletes facing another opponent. It allows our coaching staff to break down each position groups’ technique. We use this break down to show each individual how they can improve. This evaluation process also allows for our staff to critique schemes.
We believe as a staff in our schemes, but it is always important to evaluate what you are doing to see if any small or big changes need to be made. This evaluation process allows for our coaches to set the daily practice schedule to allow for the improvement we are looking for.
We also want to use the first game to get not only the players excited about the season but the parents, student body and fans excited about the upcoming season as well. This excitement and atmosphere is very important to our program. We want to use that excitement to build momentum for the season. If parents, players, student body and fans are excited then they will all help to create a game time atmosphere that is ideal for a successful football program.
We also do not want to get our kids to high or low on the season. The first game is always very exciting for the kids, but it cannot determine how the season plays out. Win or lose a coaching staff needs to focus on what is going to make them better as a team and better as a program. Many good things come from a loss. A win or loss so early in the season should not be dwelled upon. Remember, there is an entire season left to build upon.
In Kansas, week seven, eight and nine are obviously the most important weeks of the season. These three weeks are district play, which determine whether or not you are playoff bound. You want to build up as much momentum as possible going into these three weeks.
As a coach this is when you want your team to be playing their best. You want to look back on games one through six, whether it was a win or a loss, and find the teaching tools in those games to help you become your best in week seven, eight and nine.
Joel Applebee is the head coach at Mill Valley High School.
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