Pandemic Impact TECHNOLOGY

Eight tips to leading a football team via video conferencing

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor

Jefferson High (Fla.) coach Joe Midulla typically hosts individual meetings with parents of players four times a year in addition to the dozens of meetings he presides over with players. This year, many of those meetings will take place on Zoom Video Conferencing.

Midulla started leading video conferences shortly after school was released indefinitely on March 16. Since then, he’s learned a few tips to leading meetings on Zoom.

1. Test the platform.

“You don’t want to have a problem when you have kids on the call,” Midulla said. “Make sure the platform works. You’re dealing with kids, so you want to make it as quick as possible.”

2. Start with small groups.

“I think the smaller the group, the better,” Midulla said. “These are high school kids. We try to meet with them by position group.”

3. Make sure you have their attention.

“You can tell by how they log on how engaged they are. If they’re not getting settled, play the detective. They might be doing something else. You don’t know who else is in the house. Ask them who else is there. This is like a meeting at school. What we say on here stays here.”

4. Don’t be afraid to make it fun.

“I have a bald head, and my players are used to seeing that. For our first meeting, I put on a wig as a joke. Halfway through the meeting, they asked me to take the wig off.”

5. State a clear objective.

“When we say it’s football time, it’s not time to play. Everything is remote, so you have to stay locked in.”

6. Give them a sense of comfort.

“We talk about scheme, and we’re showing film. It’s really about giving them a sense of normalcy by seeing our faces and hearing our voices. We don’t want to go weeks at a time without having them see our faces.”

7. Have another coach monitor the players’ faces.

“There’s always more than one coach on the call. One coach can be talking and putting info out there. The other coach can see all of the boxes with the players’ faces. We can see if they’re distracted.”

8. Be clear and concise.

“Get them the info they need. Don’t drag it out. After you accomplish the objective, end the meeting.”

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk