One of the things a college football coach quickly learns is the office he occupies, the chair and desk where he spends countless hours… even the locker he hangs his coat in, are not his (or hers). Those resources belong to the school, and you are given the privilege to occupy/employ them as long as the school permits.
As high school football coaches, we also learn the players are not “ours.” When your season is over, they become basketball players, wrestlers, indoor track athletes or pursue other opportunities. Student-Athletes who do not play a winter sport, often shift their focus to preparing for Spring sports like baseball, lacrosse, Track & Field, or other interests.
Just like that office, desk, and chair, the players are not yours either. They (the players) all belong to the school and are led, guided, and directed by others after the football season concludes. While we would like to see them keep up with football-specific strength training programs and know if they did, they would be better prepared for next Fall, we have to leave training up to their in-season coach. If that coach does not understand the value of athletic performance training, speak to your athletic director. It is her/his job to ensure all coaches in the department are doing what is best for the athletes regardless of what sport they play, what season it is, or who their coach is at the time. Do not discourage the football player from being a multisport athlete because you think that is what is best for your program. In fact, as we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, most athletes (and ultimately most teams) benefit from the complementary skills and lessons learned in other sports. As coaches concerned about the overall growth, potential, and wellbeing of those in our charge, it is our obligation to help develop the “whole person.”
Playing other sports allow athletes to develop different muscle groups and movement patterns, avoid burn-out with the intense emphasis on only one sport, develop different skills that can be applied from one sport to the other, and increase socialization by having another peer group and further evolve the elements of character we’ve discussed this Fall. Lastly, go see them play. Encourage their success whether on the court, mat, or track, or in other endeavors like drama, debate, or music. Let them know they are important to you all year, not just in the Fall.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss 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 supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!