Coaching – A View From the Sidelines

Coaching – A love of Labor?
February 20, 2009, 10:33 pm
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Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

Equipment Manager

Athletic Trainer

Recruiting Coordinator

Facility Manager

These sound familiar guys?

What about….




I have recently ran across this article from the Washington Post dealing with the hours and commitment high school coaches put in.  It can be a daunting task to put in the hours a high school coach has to put in.  It can be hard on your family and yourself to be away from them.  My wife and kids are very supportive in what I do, and I know that a lot of the coaches that I work with and have worked with have been lucky to have spouses or significant others that also understand the time it takes. I average about 60 hours per week at school.  That doesn’t count what I put in on my own time.  There are hours of phone calls and hundreds of emails to college recruiters, hours cutting the fields, hours getting highlight films finished, and then what really matters…Getting to your kids football game, soccer game, pizza bingo, and many other things they need you to be there for.  Also, making time to make sure Mama is happy. Allowing her to go after whatever makes her happy and backing her no matter what.  Those are the things that have to be done. 

The main thing that I do to make sure the family doesn’t feel left out is to keep them as involved in the program as I can.  My kids are at practice as much as they can be.  My wife comes by and hangs out at practice, and we have the coaches and players over for dinner.  That is what it is about.  Connecting with the players on more than just on the playing field.  Trust is built by backing what you preach.  If you preach family, they better see you practicing what you preach.  God-Family-School-Football(or whatever sport you coach) is the order I teach my children, and I make sure my players understand that concept.

The hours you put in are worth every cent in the world when you see your players accomplish something they haven’t in a while.  The tears they cry, and the words they say to you will stay with you forever.  When the tough guy QB comes over to you after the game and gives you a hug and says we did this for you, thank you for believing in us when no one else did.  There isn’t much else that can top that.  That makes those hours worth it.  To see the players then turn and give my little boys high fives and hugs as they run all over the field excited lets me know it is worth it.

As long as my wife and children keep supporting me, I will be right there for those kids.  I will be there every day at Seven AM and leave school at Seven PM,(in the off-season)  Happy to know that I have a job that I love, and that I am working with a group of coaches that I enjoy being around and learning with, and from.  When the day comes that I am not happy to put in the extra hours….I will just walk away. 

Even though we carry each title at the top of this article…There isn’t a better profession in the world.  As I tell my kids at home and at school, there isn’t much in the world I wouldn’t do for you.

Doesn’t get much better than this….Wouldn’t you agree?


An Uphill Battle
February 19, 2009, 9:48 am
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Athletes and Grades.  How much of a part should we play in keeping these kids eligible?  I am not talking about doing the work for them, but I am talking about giving them every opportunity to better their grades.  Since I came to my current school, my focus has been to make sure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing in the classroom.  Sometimes I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle.  I am now keeping them eligible, but the standards that they have are not what I want them to be.  Barely getting by is not good enough in my eyes, nor the eyes of the college recruiters that will be coming by to talk with them. 

A majority of the kids are going to maintain their eligibility, but just getting by, by the skin of their teeth.  They are happy with this, but then they get upset when the College of their choice doesn’t look at them because of their Core GPA.  I have gotten a high school liaison from a local college to agree to come out here and talk with the athletes at the school.  Hopefully this will help them see what they need to be doing. 

I am going to begin meeting with the rising Seniors here in the next couple of weeks.  We are going to meet one day a week for an hour.  These meetings will deal with their leadership.  Not just on the field in the fall, but in the building the rest of this school year.  I think it is important that they understand how much of an influence they are too the younger athletes and beyond.  My five year old sons can tell you the name and number of their favorite players.  They get excited every time they see them outside of football.  My sons find such joy in hanging out with these guys.  What they don’t understand is that the Freshman and Sophomores look up to the Juniors and Seniors in the same way.  My message to them…”BE THE LEADER I KNOW YOU CAN BE.”

The reason I am doing the Senior leadership meetings is that our athletes are losing their Core GPA in their first two years of high school.  It is hard to make up a low GPA when the courses only get tougher in your last two years. 

So I am going to ask again…How much of a part of keeping a kid eligible falls on the coach and his staff?  How much of the responibility falls on the parents or guardians of those kids?  What if they do not have the support that you feel they should have from the home?

Would love to know what your thoughts are on this.  This is something that I know every coach deals with.  I am interested to see how others deal with the same situations.

Pregame Speeches – Give them or don’t give them?
February 18, 2009, 2:11 am
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The pregame speech is something that every coach has put that extra time into before that big game.  Why is it so important to come up with just the right speech before a game?  There are tons of well-known speeches out there.  There is the speech from Rudy, there is the speech from We Are Marshall, and there are others that are out there floating around on the web as well.  Here is a website that is dedicated to nothing but Pregame Speeches

Is the pregame the best time to give that BIG speech?  Doesn’t a teenager have enough to think about at that point in time?  “Mom and dad in the stands with grandma and grandpa, girlfriend brought mom and dad with her tonight, and now coach is telling me how big a game this is for my future.”  Oh and there is a game to be played…”What was that new play we put in this week?”  Do we put too much on these kids in pregame?  Teenagers are going to be teenagers.  Put too much on their plate and they shut off.  To me Less is More when talking to them before the game. 

My question is…..”Is it the speech itself that gets the players psyched up about playing?  Or is it that they believe in the person giving the speech, and they are willing to do whatever they can for that person?”

Why do movies present these speeches as make or break in the outcome of the games being played in the movies?  Our athletes see these speeches and think that is the way it is supposed to be.  Is it a fair comparison? (movies versus reality)



Why did you decide to Coach?
February 17, 2009, 3:54 am
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When I think about who influenced me to become a coach and teacher, two names come to mind, Bill Daniels and Steve Everhart. 

Bill Daniels was my mentor during my senior year in high school.  I worked with him one period a day and helped him teach his middle school physical education class.  His work ethic was matched by no other.  He taught school, owned a karate school, and was an avid motorcycle rider.  It took me a while to figure it out, but he always preached time management to me when I was there.  It was because of his time management skills, that he was able to have the work ethic he had then, and still does to this day.  He has fought off cancer, broken bones, joint ailments, and more since I left Davidson County 12 years ago.  His work ethic is alive and well within me today.  Little by little I have been taking what he said 12 years ago and applying it to my life as a Father, a Teacher, and a Coach.  I am a better all around person by knowing and learning from him.  Whenever I am able to be in Lexington during a school day, there is still a person I love to sit and talk to.  That person in Mr. Daniels.  Thank you for all that you taught me.

Steve Everhart was my middle school football coach.  He was your typical old school coach.  He would yell, spit, cuss, grab, and just be down right mean at times.  He was like this because his desire for perfection was like none I have ever seen.  In his 30 plus years of coaching middle school football this man has only lost more than ONE game in a season maybe 10 times total!  His teams are physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to play the game each week.  In my time at the middle school we lost only TWO game in two years.  The first loss was the first game of my Eighth grade season.  I had always heard about “Hell Days,” but since I had been there, we hadn’t seen one.  I think I bear crawled, rolled, and sprinted hills that one day of practice more than I ever did in all my other years combined.  During the “Hell” portion of practice, he would walk around talk about our statistics for the game we lost.  Not how many yards we rushed or passed for, but how many drops, fumbles, missed blocks, and missed tackles that we had.  We did all this as soon as practice started.  We then had to be physically and mentally strong to make it through the rest of practice.  We all hated it at the time, but now I look back and think about how much harder I worked to learn every aspect of the game that I was involved in.  We didn’t play another close game that season, until the last game.  We ended up losing to Lexington by Four.  Our last second pass had fallen incomplete, at my feet.  But I remember walking off the field that night feeling like we had won the game.  “Big E” told us how proud he was of us for the season, and how much he appreciated the time and effort we had put in at practice, and the passion that we played with each and every game.  It was his quest for perfection that has driven me to this day.  I was never the best athlete, but I made sure that I got all that I had out of my abilities.  Thank you Big E.  I hope that I am making you proud, coaching the game that you and I love. 

My question to you all is this, Why did you decide to Coach?  Who are some of the people that had an influence in your life?