By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Coaches will often implement mandatory study halls when the team GPA needs to be improved. Make the most of that time by keeping the players on task.
Robert York saw plenty of opportunities for improvement when he took over as head coach of Glendale High (Ariz.) in 2016. The team hadn’t had a winning season since 1980, so he had to dissect every aspect of the program.
He started with academics. If the players could start performing in the classroom, he figured they could remain eligible to contribute in games and take more accountability in every aspect of their high school experiences.
He implemented a daily study hall from 2:35 to 3:30 p.m. Here are eight tips for study hall.
Check grades daily. York set up a system for teachers to report grades to him daily. He monitored it closely so that he was prepared with assignments for study hall.
Send players to teachers for help. Any time a player received a “D” or “F”, York sent him to the teacher of that subject for extra help.
Require teachers to sign hall passes. A coach that sends players to teachers for help should use sign-in and sign-out times so players are going directly from classroom to classroom.
Hold players accountable. If a coach is constantly harping on the importance of academics and playing an active role, his players will understand the importance.
Get a list of incomplete assignments. York printed out a list of incomplete assignments for each player so that they had constant reminders of how they could improve.
Have teachers report disciplinary issues. If a player got kicked out of class, York intervened to repair the relationship with the teacher and gather missed assignments.
No cell phones or talking. York bans all cell phones from study hall. Players need to be working – not talking.
Campus patrol. York has an assistant coach patrol the campus to make sure no players are wandering during study time.
Success in Class Translates to Field
The Glendale football team proved York correct in his assertion that improved performance in the classroom would translate to improved play on the field.
In 2017, Glendale football players received the school’s annual Achievement Above All Student Group of the Year Award, which celebrates a student group that exhibits superior traits and representation.
The team’s daily commitment to attend study hall and receive extra help helped improve its collective GPA.
“Their work ethic has changed, the time commitment has grown substantially, and their character on campus has greatly improved,” York said.
The team finished the season with a record of 8-2, narrowly missing the region championship by only four points; this is the best record for a Glendale High School football team since 1981.
“We knew why kids were failing and struggling in school,” York said. “A big part of succeeding in class is about buying in and being accountable.”