Happy Friday, Coaches! We found a few stories of interest to take you into the weekend.
1. The Saints’ Game-Changing Fake Punt Depended On Fletcher Cox’s Indifference (Deadspin)
“Never take a play off. The eye in the sky never lies.” We, as coaches, say those lines all the time, and here’s video evidence of why that’s so important. Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox got caught on film taking special teams plays off, so the Saints targeted him on a fake punt in the NFC Divisional Round.
Never take plays off.
👀 Incredible video:
On one of the biggest plays of the game, the Saints WANTED to run a fake punt into the Eagles *regular defense* because they knew Fletcher Cox was going to play passively from film study. They ran right at him & converted the 1st down. pic.twitter.com/DhlWD8Yt9Q
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 17, 2019
As the clip explains, the Saints had noticed that in previous games Cox failed to get off the line with any intensity while on the field to guard against fakes on fourth down. Thus he became the perfect target for Hill to run at, the first down was picked up easily.
In what ways do you game plan to exploit a particular player’s lack of effort that you see on film?
2. Crosstown rivals in Portland contemplate combining their football teams (Portland Press Herald)
We know that participation numbers are down across the country in football, and Portland, Maine, appears to have been hit particularly hard. Tackle football participation in grades 2-8 in the Portland Youth Football League dropped from 190 in 2015 to 97 in 2018. Only 14 eighth-graders played last fall.
This story shares the process that two schools in Portland are going through to become a co-op team.
Thursday’s meeting, titled “Football in the City of Portland,” will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in Room 141 of the Portland Arts & Technology High School. Principals and athletic directors from Deering and Portland are expected to attend, Deering AD Melanie Craig said.
Due to the decrease in participation numbers, Maine school administrators are also weighing other versions of football, such as 8-man.
On Tuesday, a Maine Principals’ Association panel proposed two divisions of eight-man football – a version of the sport never played at the varsity level before in Maine. Schools must inform the MPA before Jan. 25 whether they are going to play eight- or 11-man football next fall. Deering and Portland have not expressed an interest in eight-man football.
What measures have you taken to combat the decline in participation numbers in football?
3. What Football Firings Teach Managers About Staying Relevant (Harvard Business School)
This article is about NFL coaches getting fired, and it’s applicable to coaches at any level that are between jobs. Many coaches are confident they can retain their skills over time. This study proves that to be false.
Based on this model, we estimate that the peak for coaches on a given team would occur around year six. The winning percentages of all coaches during the first halves of their tenures were about 15 percent better, on average, than winning percentages in the second halves. This result was significant, indicating that coaches’ teams tend to tail off after peaking. We have dubbed this 15 percent drop-off “the second-half tenure penalty.”
The article takes a look at NFL coaches and examines the personality traits and skill sets that make the most successful coaches great.
As we took an in-depth look at the most successful coaches, several skills stood out: Effective managers make efforts to adapt based on industry changes, as well as on team strengths and weaknesses; they get the most by leveraging competitive resources, while communicating and collaborating effectively with key organizational stakeholders; they outsource a variety of tasks where it’s wise; and they stay curious, continuously learning from others and reinventing themselves.
It’s a great breakdown of coaching from a business perspective. We highly recommend it.
How do you challenge yourself to make sure you’re growing each season as a coach?