FNF Coaches Talk — A Disguised Shovel Pass, High-Poverty Schools Lose More Games, Common Complaints from Parents

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coaches. We hope you enjoyed your weekend. Here’s a few stories you may have missed.

1. Nebraska Disguises Shovel Pass for Huge Gain (Pick Six Preview)

Any time you can lose the camera man with an innovative play design, you’re doing something right. Check out this play from the Nebraska-Northwestern game on Saturday. You have to watch it several times to even figure out what happened.

If you had to guarantee that one of your play calls would confuse the cameraman, what play would you call?

2. Why High-Poverty Schools Lose More Football Games (Austin American-Statesman)

Here’s an article that we’ve been discussing in our newsroom today. On one hand, it makes sense. High-poverty schools usually have the lowest budgets, and it’s difficult to keep up with the top programs around when you’re struggling to replace outdated equipment on the field and in the weight room.

At schools with low student poverty rates, football players eat team meals at restaurants, attend private camps that parents pay for, and train at facilities comparable to those in collegiate programs.

The disparity in resources — and outcomes on the field — has long been noted by close followers of high school football.

Some states — Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, Oregon and Washington — have adopted or are considering adopting policies aimed at grouping high-poverty schools into similar divisions to give those schools more opportunities to win. Officials with the University Interscholastic League, which governs public school sports in Texas, haven’t considered such policies, but some coaches of high-poverty schools in the Austin area say it’s an idea worth exploring.

The average percentage of low-income students at large Texas high schools that have won state football championships since 1994 is 23 percent. The largest Central Texas high schools with the lowest rates of student poverty won 59 percent of their varsity football games between 2008 and 2018. During that same time period, large Central Texas high schools with the highest rates of poverty won 36 percent of their games.

Coaches at low-income high schools told the Statesman that they believe their players possess the same degree of natural talent as those at higher income schools, but because of poverty-related challenges, their players have a harder time realizing their potential. Among the barriers high poverty schools face:

• Students don’t arrive on campus with as much athletic experience because their parents can’t afford expensive sports camps or leagues.
• Students can’t commit as much time to athletics because they are working jobs or caring for siblings.
• Team meals are often simple and equipment worn out because those are paid for and maintained by limited school budgets and in some cases by coaches. At wealthier schools, booster clubs help cover those expenses.
• Coaches have a harder time recruiting players from within the student body.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for coaches in high-poverty areas?

3. How Sports Parents Make Mountains out of Molehills (USA Football Blogs)

Coaches — Do yourself a favor, and forward this one to your team parents.

It’s a breakdown of the most three common complaints from parents:

  • My son isn’t getting enough playing time.
  • The coach doesn’t like my kid.
  • My kid didn’t show continued improvement in the latest small sample size.
A lack of playing time is probably the most common issue that sports parents face. On younger teams, kids should get equal time or at least close to it, but when athletes get to high school, playing time is something that must be earned. The result of this is the many kids who get less playing time than they did before, which then ignites the rage in parents who think their kid should play more.
If your child struggles with playing time, this is a battle they must fight themselves. Help them focus on the process of improvement by working hard and staying committed. The desired result will be more playing time, but even if it’s not, the process will have built character – and that’s more important than minutes on a field.

What is the most common complaint you field from parents?

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