Little Things…

“If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.” That quote is from one of my favorite books, “Make Your Bed,” by Admiral William H. McRaven.  It is also a philosophy I embrace in coaching.  

According to Admiral McRaven, every great day starts with making your bed.  If you cannot accomplish that simple task, how can you expect to have success tackling the larger challenges you face throughout the day?  In football, if you want to have success in blocking, you must start with a good stance.  As coaches, we need to see that we do not teach anything else until our players understand and can demonstrate a good stance.

Every Alercio OLine Clinic starts with the teaching of the 2 and 3-point stances.  We start with the feet and work our way up. The feet should be shoulder-width apart with the outside foot staggered back.  Guards are toe-to-instep, Tackles; toe-to-heel.  Feet, should be toed out like a duck, not a pigeon allowing more surface contact with the inside of the foot.  Knees should be over big toes not all toes to see that there is a Valgus knee angle, not Vargus so that you can push off and step in any direction.  Chest is over knees.  These body positions create acute angles at the ankle, knee, and hip allowing for triple extension upon contact on run blocks.  The uphand(s) should cup the top of the knee with thumbs on the inside and fingers on the outside and elbows bent.  Never support the upper body with locked out arms or forearms rested on thighs.  The down hand of the 3-point stance should have all 5 fingertips in contact with the ground and the thumbnail of the down hand-aligned directly beneath the eye to see that the hand is not too far out or back.  

Football, (and in many ways, Life) is a game of momentum. Small successes accrue, each adding force in a positive direction, and help accelerate us towards our goals as individuals and as a team. Attention to detail, starting well, and doing the little things with purpose and meaning, sets us up for successful execution of the big things. How will you start your day? What small steps can you take with a purpose to build your own momentum or the momentum of your team? Whether making your bed, correctly taking your stance, or ensuring the team is on time and prepared to begin, find a way to overcome inertia and start the ball rolling toward a goal.

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 and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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