If You Don’t Have a Mentor, Find One!

 

I have been blessed to have worked with great coaches in my career who have shown me the right way to do things.  Even after coaching for more than 30 years, I will still consult my mentors from time to time when I am in need of advice or direction.  One of my greatest sources of pride is when I receive calls, emails or texts from former players soliciting advice on something in their lives or with their teams.  Years of speaking at clinics and producing instructional videos have given me the opportunity to be a resource for coaches from all over the country.  Being a resource for others is one of the most rewarding parts of our profession.  I regularly send information and schedule calls or visits with coaches to discuss schemes, concepts, culture, or model something we have done in our program.  If there is something I can help you with, do not hesitate in contacting me.

Finding a  mentor might seem like a daunting task, but it need not be. Odds are you have people in your life with the potential to help you grow personally or professionally.  Think about the aspects of life, work, or a program element you’d like to improve and ask yourself who seems to be doing those things well? Ask them to get a cup of coffee, go for a run, or get on a call and relay their perspective on the topic and some of the lessons they’ve learned. Open-ended questions beginning with “What, Why, and How?” often open the door to perspectives you might not otherwise expect.

Another suggestion this time of year is to find a local college team and get their spring practice schedule.  Most programs are very open to high school coaches visiting their practices, sitting in on staff and player meetings, talking with strength staff and observing practice and game video.  These visits could turn into a member of that college staff being a mentor to you.Although I know many great coaches who take advantage of this regularly, it is far too often I talk to a coach who has never visited a college practice.   The football community’s willingness to share is one of the most valuable aspects of the game. Coaches and staffs commonly open practices, schemes, video libraries, and other resources. Take advantage of the open door and willingness of others in our profession to share knowledge, and when the opportunity presents, do the same for others.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

Coach Every Minute of Practice

Time is our most precious non-renewable resource…

One of my biggest pet peeves in coaching is something I observe far too often.  Coaches who do not coach every minute of practice.   In my role as an assistant athletic director, I get the opportunity to observe a lot of practices in a wide variety of sports, during the winter and spring seasons.  Everyone is now doing some type of dynamic warm-up and static stretch cool down, but not everyone takes the time to coach it.  Coaches seem to use that warm-up time to converse about the practice schedule, which should have been finalized long before, or they play catch with each other.  During post-practice stretch, they review the practice that is not yet over.  This sends a clear message…Warm up exercises and stretches are not important.  That festers into players thinking that some parts of practice are important while others are not.  Every minute of practice time is precious. As coaches, we are privileged to be in leadership roles, and our personal example is the single best leadership tool in the kit.

If it is worth doing it, it is worth doing it right.  Coach the proper biomechanics.  If an ankle is supposed to be dorsiflexed, see that every athlete is doing that on every rep.  This will demonstrate to your athletes that attention to detail and strict performance standards are critical to your team.  Further, you expect their best effort in everything they do all the time. If you expect their best effort, you’d better be giving them yours!

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

Alercio OLine Clinic… A View From The Trenches!

This week’s post comes from a guest contributor, Jim Feely, who shares his perspectives on our successful offensive line clinic held at the Hun School of Princeton on March 25th. Jim is a former player and long time colleague of mine who has seen the Alercio OLine Clinic evolve over the years. He’s followed the OLineskills Blog and when he asked to contribute, I was happy to oblige.

Take it away Jim!

2018-04-04 Alercio Oline Clinic overview

 

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of teaching O-Line skills to high school and youth linemen at the 17th annual Rich Alercio O-Line Clinic. I have been coaching at this clinic since its inception when I was still the center and captain of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and Coach Alercio was my Offensive Coordinator and OL Coach.

With over 200 participants from NJ and NY, this year’s Alercio OL Clinic was as successful as ever. The athletes received group instruction, directly followed by drills, progressing from individual techniques to group installation. The clinic teaches the fundamentals of stances, footwork, and hand/body placement for both run and pass blocking. It truly was a beautiful thing to see that many young linemen come together on a cold Sun morning in March to work and get better at their craft!

The techniques and skills that Coach Alercio teaches were essential to my growth into an All-Conference lineman while at TCNJ, and have been for numerous other linemen who have worked with Coach Alercio. I too taught these techniques as a former OL coach with Kean University and as a coach/scout with the National Underclassmen Combine.

I am now available for individual or small group OL training.  If any of you coaches are in the North/Central NJ area (I’m based in Union County) and would like to have your lineman trained in these OL skills and techniques during the spring or summer, please have them (or their parents) contact me at JFeeley77@yahoo.com.  Training sessions can also be requested via the CoachUp app or website (it is like Uber for private/group sport specific training).

I look forward to potentially working with some of your players and lets always remember that the OL scores every touchdown!

Yours truly,

Jim Feely
OLine Specialist

Thanks Jim. We appreciate your perspectives and all you’ve contributed to the Alercio Oline Clinic, and more importantly to the lives of student-athletes over the years.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

 

Alercio OLine Clinic Re-cap

More than 200 student-athletes and 50 coaches from New York and 2018 NJ OLine Clinic BrochureNew Jersey joined us at The Hun School in Princeton New Jersey for the 17th annual Alercio OLine Clinic. Having taught, coached, and mentored football players for more than 30 years now, I relayed with confidence the challenges young men have in learning the tactics, techniques and procedures essential to success on the offensive line. I’m often frustrated by media personalities who refer to quarterbacks, running backs, and receivers as “skill positions.” Most young men learn the basics of throwing, running, and catching as part of growing up. However, successful offensive linemen begin with fundamentals they’ve never considered and build upon them techniques foreign to nearly all except those who study the game.

 For more than four hours Sunday morning, football players and coaches focussed on foot placement, body position, coordination, balance, vision, and more than a dozen nuanced elements of offensive line play. During conversations between sessions with coaches Jim DeSarno, Westfield HS, and Ed Gurrieri, Manalapan HS, perennial New Jersey state powers, both coaches noted they have been to every one of the seventeen Alercio OLine Clinics we’ve hosted over the years.  It is my sincere hope our clinics have in some small part contributed to the multiple state championships they have won. Regardless of our clinics’ impact,  I think it is more a statement of their commitment to player and team development and a testament to players commitment to the programs.  It is no wonder they have so much success.

Some of the young men who joined us are pictured below:

2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (5)

2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (4)

2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (3)2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (2)

2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (6)

2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (7)

2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (8)2018-03-25 Oline Clinic (9)

Special Thanks to my good friend and fellow Coach Todd Zimmerman from Steinert HS, in Hamilton, NJ, for taking pictures of this year’s participants.

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

Alercio O-Line Clinic…How All Began…

As we prepare for the 17th Annual Alercio Offensive Line Clinic, I share how it all started.  In 2001, I was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at 2018 NJ OLine Clinic BrochureThe College of New Jersey.  At the end of the season, one of our offensive assistants, Jim Meert, who had great success as the head coach at Hunterdon Central, pitched the idea of hosting an offensive line clinic for players.  He cited that the techniques and schemes we used would benefit all high school players and noted many high schools do not have an OLine Coach capable of teaching them.  I thought it was a great idea until he shared that he wanted me to run it in March…

At first, I thought he was crazy.  These types of player camps/clinics are always run in the summer months.  His thought was that football players and coaches are starved for football in the spring and unlike college, high school players and coaches do not have spring practice.  He then suggested we target a weekend between winter and spring sports and do it on a Sunday so that there are no other athletic related conflicts.  The more he talked the more it made sense.

I created a brochure and began promoting the clinic when I spoke and Glazier and Nike Clinics.  I was thrilled when pre-registration hit 100 players but I was not prepared for what was to come on the day of the inaugural Alercio OLine Clinic.  We had over 200 offensive linemen from all over New Jersey walk up to register.  The day’s attendance totaled 333 players and dozens of coaches.  Jim’s bold idea proved to be a success and I am proud to say that we have coached over 5,000 offensive linemen from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Vermont.

Please join us this Sunday, March 25, at the 17th Annual Alercio OLine Clinic where more than 300 linemen and coaches will focus on the fundamentals and teach all of the run and pass techniques and schemes your players need for success.

Click on the brochure image to get your Alercio Oline Clinic application, fill it out, send it in with your tuition, and join us at the Hun School of Princeton on this Sunday, March 25, 2018. We will again discount individual tuition for teams sending five (5) or more players. As in the past, Coaches may attend for free.

Although this is a non-contact camp, we recognize that there is the risk of concussion with the sport of football.  For education materials on concussions please visit the USA Football at www.usafootball.com 
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

Stepping Up To Help

NoreasterLast week amidst all sorts of weather in the North East and Mid-Atlantic, we were fortunate to find ourselves in Florida for our son’s spring training baseball game.  At the end of a great visit, we received a text message from Jet Blue saying “all flights to Boston Logan were canceled due to the storm.” The next available flight was in three days, which was not an option professionally or financially… We were able to get on a flight that night to Newark with hopes of getting a train to Logan where our car was parked.  While in the Orlando airport, we discovered all trains from Newark to Boston were canceled. Further, no rental cars were being let out and all hotels near Newark airport were booked.  It sounded as if we were going to spend a couple of days in Newark airport until we ran into one of my son’s FDU baseball teammates who was also on our flight.  Unfortunately, he was leaving spring training early to attend his grandfather’s funeral.  As coincidence would have it, the funeral was just outside of Boston.  He was driving there the next day and agreed to bring us along.  2018-03-20 DependabilityHe also offered us a ride to his home and gave us a place to stay.   This young man just transferred to FDU and joined the baseball team.  We had never met him before.  He just said that he remembered seeing us at the stadium the day before, but when he heard a teammate’s family was in need of help, he stepped up.  These are the relationships so quickly cultivated through athletics…  In developing character and dependability, we teach our student-athletes to “do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason.” This young man clearly is the product of great parents and coaches.  

2018 Alercio O-Line Clinic
Please join us this Sunday, March 25, at the 17th Annual Alercio OLine Clinic 2018 NJ OLine Clinic Brochurewhere more than 300 linemen and coaches will focus on the fundamentals and teach all of the run and pass techniques and schemes your players need for success.

Click on the brochure image to the right to get your Alercio Oline Clinic application, fill it out, send it in with your tuition, and join us at the Hun School of Princeton on March 25, 2018. Early bird rates are still available and will again discount individual tuition for teams sending five (5) or more players. As in the past, Coaches may attend for free.

Although this is a non-contact camp, we recognize that there is the risk of concussion with the sport of football.  For education materials on concussions please visit the USA Football at www.usafootball.com 
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

Coaches Are Teachers…

2018-03-07 coaching_at_the_blackboard
Coaches are teachers, but what is teaching?  Perhaps I can offer a football analogy.  Consider the teacher to be the quarterback, the information the ball and the student the receiver.  In order for the teacher to be successful, the information needs to be passed AND received in such a way the receiver has the ability to do something with it.
Though a coach may pass the information, it is not what you as the coach can do that matters. It is what you can get your players to do. While the pass and catch analogy works fine in basic concept, there is actually a far greater task at hand. With eleven players on the field at any one time, we have to teach, coach, train, and mentor our players on BOTH their individual assignments and the roles and responsibilities of the players on their left and right. When players begin to grasp how each role complements another, and how together teammates are stronger than any could be alone, the team builds cohesion and interdependence.
Now back to the quarterback analogy… As Spring approaches and we as coaches consider the task ahead of us, we clearly have to “throw a lot of passes,” teaching our players their roles and responsibilities. We only return one starter from our championship offensive line, and none of his fellow starters this year will be seniors. With 30 years experience coaching this great game, I have enough plays to fill a high school full of chalkboards. My staff and I could be “throwing passes” all spring… However, 30 years experience has also taught me the importance of focusing on fundamentals, establishing a solid foundation of understanding, and cultivating a culture of interdependence. Prioritizing the “passes we throw” (lessons we teach), will make all the difference if we are to defend our state championship. I look forward to the journey of our 2018 season and am thankful for the opportunity to share it here with you.
Please join us Sunday, March 25, at the 17th Annual Alercio OLine Clinic 2018 NJ OLine Clinic Brochurewhere more than 300 linemen and coaches will focus on the fundamentals and teach all of the run and pass techniques and schemes your players need for success. The Alercio OLine Clinic will prepare your players for “the passes you throw” at them this Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Click on the brochure image to the right to get your Alercio Oline Clinic application, fill it out, send it in with your tuition, and join us at the Hun School of Princeton on March 25, 2018. Early bird rates are still available and will again discount individual tuition for teams sending five (5) or more players. As in the past, Coaches may attend for free.

Although this is a non-contact camp, we recognize that there is the risk of concussion with the sport of football.  For education materials on concussions please visit the USA Football at www.usafootball.com 
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at richalercio@gmail.com and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!