Having gone 11-0, winning a State Championship, and contributing to the lives of such wonderful young men, I’m thankful for so many things this year. I’d also like to thank you who have followed the blog and our team over a journey we began shortly after Thanksgiving 2016. The outpouring of support from the students, faculty, administrators, and the local community has been extraordinary. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the love and support of my wife, and the utter joy of sharing this season with my sons. All year long we’ve worked hard to be worthy in the eyes of those who invested in us and at the same time, worthy of our individual and collective investments as players, coaches, and teammates. At it’s best, football teaches us dedication, loyalty, commitment, courage, and integrity; individual elements of character amplified by the team. Elements leaving indelible marks on our hearts, and win or lose, ultimately contributing to success later in life.
Having taken a few moments to savor the success of the 2017 season and to be genuinely grateful for the individual and collective successes, challenges, and contributions to our championship, it’s time to move on and think about next steps.
End of Season Duties
We just completed the perfect season, undefeated state champions. As a staff, we worked 15 hour days 7 days-a-week for 3 months. Now it is all over. What do we do now?
Equipment. Collect all equipment. Check for loss or damage. Inventory your equipment to determine needs for next year. Schedule reconditioning of hard gear.
Meetings. Schedule 10-15 minute, 1-on-1 meetings with every player. Get their feedback on the season, their role on the team, and their relationship with their position coaches. Then discuss their future in the program. Where do they see themselves next year? Tell them where you see them. Convey your belief in their ability to contribute, and set expectations for their contributions. Find out what their plans are for the winter season. Discuss future plans for outgoing seniors… college, vocation, military. Then schedule meetings with your assistant coaches to review their roles. See if they are happy in their role and if their family is happy in the program. Get their feedback on the past season and their input on plans for next season. Lastly, prepare a “wants and needs” list then schedule a meeting with your athletic director or head of school. The “needs” should be those things to keep your program where you are. The “wants” are those things that can bring your program to the next level.
Celebrate. Nail down a banquet date to celebrate the successes of the past season. 11-0 or 0-11, there are things to be grateful for, don’t let them go unrecognized. Determine award recipients to honor those deserving players. Make a list of the peripheral people in your program you need to invite and publicly thank…Training staff, Chain gang, Grounds Crew, Booth crew, local media, administrators, boosters and coaches’ wives. Though they may not feel they are the core of your team, make sure they know we couldn’t do it without them.
Athletic Performance. Work with a certified strength and conditioning specialist to create an off-season workout program maximizing athletic performance not just increasing a player’s 1 rep max. If you do not have better players, make your players better.
Professional development. Seek opportunities for yourself and your staff. Visit colleges and/or attend clinics. Identify those things you are interested in bringing to your program next season and research those who do it well.
Video analysis. Perform a self-scout and statistical analysis of your plays, formations, motions, fronts, blitzes, coverages. If it did not work, get rid of it. If it did, build upon it, and as my Marine Corps friends say, “reinforce success!”
Next season. Prepare your depth chart for Spring Ball. Consider moving players to get the best players on the field in the most complementary roles. Have a plan to bring in your incoming 8th-grade class and set expectations for leadership responsibilities across each of the returning class cohorts: every player’s personal example matters!
Enjoy the Holidays and some well-earned downtime, and again, thanks for joining us on this journey. I look forward to continuing the conversation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!