Reach out…  Reconnect

“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as a result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.” Dalai Lama XIV

While it is imperative that we exercise social distancing during these unprecedented times, it does not come naturally to us.  We, as humans, must connect.  Last weekend, I joined 4 of my best friends (friends of more than 40 years!) on a Group FaceTime call.  While we talked, the miles between Vermont, New Jersey, Virginia, 2020-03-26 Connecting Across 40 yrs & 1000MiNorth Carolina, and Florida disappeared and it was if they were sitting with me in my kitchen.  After 90 minutes of catching up on everything from our children’s accomplishments to our home projects, we ended the call grateful for our friendships, time together, and with plans to schedule the next one.

Find ways to be social.  Use this time as an opportunity to connect with someone with whom you have lost touch.  Check-in on someone who you know is alone in your family or in your neighborhood.  While the elderly are most threatened by this pandemic, they are also the most impacted by the epidemic of loneliness.

Reach out.  Reconnect.

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Seek The Good

It is difficult not feeling sorry for yourself these days.  Especially for those of us dealing with high school students.  Schools are closed, meals and health services are no longer accessible, friends are in self-quarantine, classes are online, sports seasons are canceled, proms and graduations are threatened.  These are difficult times.

But my concerns were put into perspective today when I was exiting our school’s publicly accessible fitness center.  An elderly couple I had never seen before was coming in.  I thought it odd that with all the social distancing they would enter an often crowed space, especially at their age.

So I stopped and asked, “how I could help them?”  The reply, “we were just hoping we could come in and get warm.”  We welcomed them into our lobby and gave each of them a hot cup of coffee.

Though we easily find ourselves consumed by the uncertainty around us, and may unfortunately only have the stressors of the day sensationalized and amplified by myriad channels, I was reminded today, of the importance of doing for others. Part of our teambuilding culture is to put the good of the team (quite literally the good of others) ahead of our own interests.

A welcoming smile, a warm lobby, and a hot cup of coffee in and of themselves may not be much, but we found a way to give others something to be grateful for amidst the stressors of the day. In moments such as these, the cacophony of a 24hr news cycle, staccato of social media feeds, and a world where toilet paper and milk disappear from supermarket shelves fade away and afford us the opportunity to give some time, some attention, and some relief to others.

As I say to my team quite often, (and you may have read a few times on this blog), “The hand that gives, gathers.” These are difficult times but be thankful for your many blessings and look for opportunities to help others be thankful for theirs.

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Alercio OLine Clinic Kickoff

Back on the road again this weekend.  I head down to the NYC/North Jersey Glazier Clinic at the Hanover Marriott for three presentations on Saturday beginning at 1:30. I will again present on our 4th & Go Offense, Compartmentalizing the Passing Game, and Compartmentalizing the Screen Game.  Again, I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we share ideas well into the night.

From Glazier, I will head down to Media, PA, 2020-03-12 OlineClinicBrochure(Penncrest)and Penncrest High School for the first of three Alercio OLine Clinics this year.  I look forward to returning to the Philadelphia area where we hosted a clinic several years ago.

We will open the doors at noon for registration and will begin the clinic at 12:45.  The clinic will start with an indoor session where we teach the stance, steps, visual targets and strike points they will need for the technical work they do on the turf when we head outside.

While outside, we will teach and train technical aspects of a variety of run blocks, pass blocks, and pulling technique.  We will also teach the tactical usage of each block within various Man, Zone and Gap run and pass blocking schemes.  The clinic will end at 5pm with hopes that all players in attendance will continue to train the techniques and schemes they learned at the Alercio OLine Clinic.

Players wishing to avoid the Walk-up registration rate can still register by scanning and sending me a completed registration form at richalercio@gmail.com followed by payment through Venmo @RichAlercio. Coaches, as always, may attend for free and parents are invited to stay as well.

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Click here for your 2020 “Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure.

Keep It Simple…

Football is a complex game often made more 2020-03-05 Rich at Nike New England2complicated by coaches trying to prove how brilliant they are.  But the key to prolonged success in football is keeping it simple so the players know it almost as well as the coaches.  One of the greatest compliments I received was from Mike Kuchar, Co-founder and Senior Editor of XandOlabs.com, when he said, “the clarity of your teaching simplifies the game tremendously.”

Two of my three clinic sessions at last weekend’s New England Nike Coach of the Year Clinic were about simplifying the game.  I shared how we do this in our passing and screen game by compartmentalizing receiver routes and quarterback reads.  In the last session, I shared our always popular “4th & Go Offense.”  I look forward to working with the dozens of coaches who have reached out by email to continue the discussion and trust they will be willing to share something with us.

A personal highlight happened on the first night of the clinic soon after I arrived.  I went into the Marriott Member Lounge to grab dinner before my first presentation.  I was eating alone until Kirk Ferentz, Head Football Coach at the University of Iowa, asked me to join his staff for dinner.  I never met the man before, but it became abundantly clear why he has been so successful.  I wound up sitting next to QB Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Ken O’Keene, (who I had previously met when we were both Division 3 football coaches.)  The night ended with them inviting me out to Iowa during Spring Ball.  While I do not think I will make the trip this year, I will most certainly maintain contact and look forward to a future opportunity.  In the meantime, our focus turns to keeping it simple for our players and coaches as we begin Spring practices in St Johnsbury this week.

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Click here for your 2020 “Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure.”

Road Trip!

Lots of travel this week as I had forecast in last week’s blog… The Atlantic City Glazier Clinic was well worth the 7-hour drive.  I particularly enjoyed listening to Kyle Schmitt, Head Coach Archbishop Spaulding HS in Maryland.  Great sessions on Read Triple, RPOs (Run Pass Options), and Tempo out of the Spread.  It was also great to catch up with former players and long-time coaching friends.

The 13-hour drive to Clemson did not disappoint either.  Magnificent facilities, great branding all over campus and tremendous school spirit.  2020-02-27 Winning ProgramsThere was a tiger paw everywhere you looked on campus and in town and everyone wore Clemson Tiger apparel.  The football stadium and facility were a highlight.  Championship rings and trophy displays were amazing. I was struck by scope, scale, and complexity of the football operations and culture, but then realized the same teambuilding process we employ in northern Vermont (albeit at a much smaller scale) happens there in Clemson, South Carolina.

Needing to be back in the northeast for the Meeting of the Minds at Western Connecticut, I flew back from Clemson.  I thank Joe Loth for the invitation to attend and opportunity to speak about our Screen Pass Options, the most popular topic I have shared in more than two decades speaking at clinics.  The day was packed with information to help me and our staff stay current with trends in football.  The discussion topics included:  Operations, Play Action Pass, RB Screens, Plays vs 4i fronts, RedZone Packages, and Run Pass Options.  The last couple of hours were spent in breakout sessions where I joined the OLine coaches.  We had an in-depth discussion about the nuances of Midzone, Inside Zone and Duo.

Now, I am headed to the New England Nike Coach of the Year Clinic where I will be presenting on the following topics:

  • Thu 7:15pm:  Compartmentalizing your Passing Game.
  • Thu 8:45pm:  Compartmentalizing your Screen Game
  • Fri 8:30am:   4th & Go No Punt Team

Our 4th and Go philosophy has also been extremely popular on the clinic circuit.  In an 11 game 2019 season, we only punted 12 times with 0 return yards.  We converted 63% of our 4th down.

I hope to see you at Nike this weekend, NYC Glazier in 2 weeks or one of my OLine Clinics.   Click here for your 2020 “Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure.”

  • Malvern Prep (PA)                  March 15
  • St Johnsbury Academy (VT)  March 29
  • The Hun School April 5 (NJ)   April 5

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Clinic Season

On Thursday, Feb 20, I will drive down to Bally’s in 2019-01-24 oline clinic photoAtlantic City, NJ to attend the Glazier Clinic.  I look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new ones and sharing ideas.  After the clinic, I will join my wife and youngest son for the drive to our college visit at Clemson University.  While my son had a great senior season on the gridiron for the Hilltoppers, he knows he is not the next Trevor Lawrence and would only be going to Clemson as a student.  Nonetheless, the staff of last year’s national championship finalist was kind enough to invite us to tour the football facility during our visit.

After the Clemson tour, my family will drop me off at Greenville airport so that I can fly back for The Meeting of the Minds at Western Connecticut State University on Tuesday, Feb 25.  The Meeting of the Minds is an annual, invitation-only clinic.  Each year, one staff from every college conference on the east coast is invited to participate.  I’m humbled to have been invited and will be sharing our Screen Pass Options (SPOs) with my fellow coaches.

From there, I will join back up with my family for our college visit to Rutgers University where I hope to stop in and visit some old coaching friends.  The last stop on my journey home will be Windsor, CT for the New England Nike Coach of the Year Clinic Feb 27-29 where I will be presenting the following sessions on Thursday and Friday:

Session 1:  Compartmentalize your Passing Game into three different QB Reads: Triangle, Levels, Curl-Flat Middle Reads

Session 2: Compartmentalize your Screen Game into 2-count SPOs, Jail Breaks, and Run Screens

Session 3:  4th & Go No Punt Team:  Keep your offense on the field and the ball in your QB’s hands.

Though still some chilly winter days ahead in Northern Vermont, Clinic Season always reminds me Spring will shortly be upon us and it’s time to intellectually “turn over the dirt,” and “prepare the soil,” in our minds for cultivating plays, players and our staff. Spring meetings and practices soon follow… Though more than six months away from the 2020 season’s opening kickoff, I am reminded, “Games are not won on weekends 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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Click here for your 2020 “Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure.”

The Hand That Gives, Gathers

After graduating from college and starting my journey in the coaching profession, I coached at five different schools in three states.  I was told that if you want to “make it” as a football coach you had to move.

At the fifth school, I got off the coaching carousel.  2020-02-13 by what we giveMy focus turned to being great at the job I had; investing in players, building teams, and studying the game. I looked for opportunities to contribute, to help others succeed rather than pursuing the “next great job.”

Asking myself the same thing my coaches asked of me when I played, I challenged myself to put the good of the team, my players, and fellow coaches ahead of my own interests. In doing so, I found more opportunities for success than I ever could have dreamed of. Both professionally and personally mentors, friends, and family invested in me and in turn created opportunities for me to invest in others.

If you have a good job, work every day to be great at it, to contribute to the team and to the betterment of others. Give of yourself freely and realize the lesson contained in the maxim, “the hand that gives, gathers…”

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

Click here for your 2020 “Alercio OLine Clinic Brochure.”