As a second year head coach at a 4th year program, I’ve had to learn a lot about coaching as quickly as possible. The lessons I’ve learned I try to share here because I know a lot of the guys and gals reading this are involved in some way with small school, probably budding programs, and are new coaches themselves.
1) Keep It Simple Stupid is relative. I hate calling our guys stupid, but when it comes to Football IQ it’s amazing how dumb our 4.0 kids are. Sometimes coaches have to remember that the amount players can learn and retain is relative to their experience and how many positions they play. The easier a blocking scheme is, the more the kid can focus on technique. Isn’t driving the guy off the ball, even if it’s the same ‘type’ of drive every time, the important part?
2) Jimmy’s and Joe’s matter, but so does having good coaches- Obviously, having D1 talent and lots of it will directly correlate to success. There’s no doubt the 2-J’s matter. But when you don’t have D1 talent, it helps immensely to have guys that can be patient, coach fundamentals, and can TEACH the game. Hire guys you can count on, period.
3) Good truly is the enemy of great- Jim Collins wrote “Good to Great” in which his mantra is that good is the enemy of great. Man, is he right. We had 3-4 guys I truly thought would dominate this year if you had asked me in May. Then the summer came around and they took days off, took it easy when they were here, and they’ve struggled to produce through four games. If anything- I learned to never compliment anyone, they always disappoint right after.
4) Delegate- You can try to do everything yourself but you’ll only regret it by September 1st. Put guys in charge, and if they fail, remind them of their duties. It’s worked much better for me this year to give them the chance, and when they forget or whatever the excuse is (never a reason) to remind them unkindly about their role. It can be small stuff like water/ice, the ball bag, locker room duty or big stuff like Hudl duties or learning the playbook.