We wrap up our Spring Football practices this week and are fortunate to have an indoor fieldhouse since our outdoor turf field is covered in several feet of snow! Our focus has been teaching fundamentals, team building, and having fun. Working together, we can accomplish these objectives regardless of location.
Spring practices provide an outstanding opportunity to bring a diverse group of people with different skills together to accomplish a common goal. We do so while fostering mutual support, and build the program increasing task difficulty until players realize they are better off working together than going alone. Fostering such recognition reinforces the value of teamwork through experiential learning. Football, unlike baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer, brings together players with vastly different skill sets and body types. The offensive lineman and the wide receiver have entirely different job descriptions. Emphasizing each other’s strengths and knowing one cannot succeed without the other cultivates interdependence, reliance, and dependability, all of which contribute to team-building. Lastly, but perhaps more importantly, we want the players to have fun, so we end every practice with a 10-15 minute period where we play a game. However, we don’t play a football game. Any player-led, competitive game that fosters inclusion while requiring communication, cooperation, and decision making is the baseline requirement. Additionally, we want to see character components such as leadership and followership, as well as athletic components like acceleration, deceleration, and rapid change of direction during play. Besides being entertaining for our coaches to watch, it is a great opportunity to observe and evaluate players’ athletic abilities and other desirable qualities.
We start strong with clear guidance, expectations, and goals. By ending each practice incorporating fun, we hope student athletes depart feeling both like they accomplished something during training, and with the smiles and fond memories of fun likely to entice their return both the next day and ultimately this summer and fall to commence next season.
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!