FNF Coaches Talk — A champion coach of a low-income school shares strategy, tips for acceleration, funny Zoom spoof

Coaches — We’ve got three stories for you. One is motivational, one is strength-training specific, and one is hilarious. Check it out.

1. How a champion coach at a low-income school in California is dealing with the COVID-19 stoppage (FNF Coaches)

Mike Moon is the rare California coach who led his team to a state championship at small, low-income public school. Moon will forever be known as the coach who directed Oxnard Pacifica to its first Southern Section championship in Division 6 and its first CIF state championship Division 2-A bowl victory.

Coach Moon shared some of his thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis today, and one thing that sticks out is his feeling that coaches might be trying to do TOO MUCH right now.

“I think a good program has that (culture) embedded in the system. I’m thinking we’ll be back in July — I hope so, at least. So, I don’t feel the needs to force it right now. I’ve seen some of the programs other coaches are posting, and some of those seem like a lot. My question to them is, ‘How much do you normally do with your team in March and April?’ We typically work out for an hour-and-a-half and let them move on.”

One thing that is stressing out Moon right now is the way in which recruiting is being affected by the pandemic.

“We normally send a lot of guys to college. This is having a huge effect on recruiting. Recruiters are typically at our school from April 15 to May 31. The kids get a lot of attention, and we’ll have four or five coaches on campus evaluating kids and getting their paperwork. We have a kid who was 6-foot-1 last season. He’s 6-foot-4 now. I can tell coaches that over the phone and take pictures. But if they can’t see him in person, it’s not the same thing. I can tell them a kid is moving better now vs. last year. But colleges are cancelling camps. That’s another way of evaluating kids. That’s my big concern right now. We have five guys who should be getting looks.”


What will be the biggest consequence of the coronavirus outbreak for your team?

2. 4 Strategies to Improve Athletes’ Innate Acceleration (Cressey Sports Performance)

Football players’ game speed is measured with the 40-yard dash. But this columnist argues that a better measure of football aptitude is acceleration — or the time in which it takes an athlete to travel the first 10 yards.

Well, the body was built with a pretty smart design. It has the ability to feel fear and either attack it or escape from it: the Fight or Flight response. I have learned to tap into this to make my athlete faster. Because this response is innate, all we have to do as coaches is put our athletes in situations that bring out this attack and escape approach.

The way in which that fight or flight mentality is best expressed for football players is this: If a defensive player sets up with his feet square to the line of scrimmage, his first move when a player is running at him will be a “false step”, or a step backward. If he starts with his foot in a better position — behind him — he’ll eliminate the false step and explode forward to save himself time.

I can still hear my high school football coach yelling at us for taking what he called a “False Step.” A False Step by most people is when an athlete takes a step backwards before moving forward. This action occurs in virtually all sports where the athletes have to react and move in a straight forward or angled movement. What has boggled my mind over the years is in spite of the fact that athletes very commonly take this step, very few coaches have bothered to ask, “why are they taking this step?” Let me explain…
Going back to our fight or flight survival response we are designed to move quickly to attack or escape. In order for this response to be realized into fast acceleration, the body must have proper alignment to do so. In order to accelerate, we must push the ground away from the direction of travel. When an athlete is in an athletic stance, the feet are directly under the center of mass – which, unfortunately, is not a great position from which to accelerate. We need the push-off foot to be behind the body. Well, when a stimulus occurs and the athlete reacts and now knows the direction of travel, one foot will instinctively reposition in order to create a proper angle of force application into the ground. I call this a Plyo Step.


What drills are you recommending for your players to improve their acceleration?

3. Hilarious video of long-haired men conducting a Zoom meeting three months from now (Funny or Die)

Look, we understand that coaching this spring is anything but “business as usual”.

We could all use a laugh because we’re in the throes of a global pandemic. I think this will do the trick.

What are some of the biggest follies in your Zoom meetings?

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