FNF Coaches Talk — Experienced coaches have an advantage, keep players engaged, motivational tricks

It’s almost Friday, coaches! Let’s go over three important stories.

1. First-year high school football coaches in California feel like experienced coaches have advantage in COVID-19 era (VC Star)

The COVID-19 crisis has made it particularly difficult for first-year coaches to establish a new identity for the team.

As impatient as first-year coaches might be getting with the stoppage in play, the last thing a new coach wants to do is push players too hard if they are dealing with issues at home or know people who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Hueneme High (Calif.) first-year head coach John Mack believes the more experienced coaches will have an advantage in the post-COVID-19 era.

“The returning coaches are going to have a solid advantage,” he said. “They’ve spent time with their players, have their systems in place. The rest of us will be catching up. It’s going to be a unique challenge.”

Filmore High (Calif.) coach Charlie Weis will be taking on his first head coaching job and knows what type of team he wants to field.

“I want us to be physical and disciplined,” he said. “It’s a strong group that went 8-2 last year and knows how to win. We’re looking for that next level. These players are ready to make that step.”

Weis will serve as his own offensive coordinator. He’s one of those coaches who is ignoring the “distractions” of the coronavirus outbreak and conducting business as usual.

“I’ve been influenced by a multi-set offense and that’s what we’ll use,” he said. “I want to play to our strengths. There will be a spread influence but also the ability for strong downhill running.”


What’s changed — if anything — in your goals for the fall as a result of the last month?

2. High school football: How are coaches keeping their kids focused through the coronavirus pandemic? (The Morning Call)

High school coaches all over the country are staying in touch with players via the Internet, giving them workouts to do, talking X’s and O’s and generally keeping them focused during an uncertain time in which it would be easy for complacency to creep in.

Some coaches are saying the most frustrating part is the unknown. Who knows when we’ll be getting back on the field?

“The problem is right now we don’t have a definitive plan for when we’re coming back,” Northampton coach Kyle Haas said. “There are a lot of question marks. The only way to keep your sanity is to stay busy.”

April is normally a time to work on strength gains and speed and agility drills. The non-contact spring football sessions generally begin in late May and go into June.

With the nationwide social-distancing restrictions in place, coaches can only communicate with their players via communication apps such as Zoom, BAND, Google Meet, and Hudl.

“We’re just trying to make the best of it,” Notre Dame-Green Pond coach Phil Stambaugh said. “We’re trying to stay patient even though we’re very anxious to get back to normal. I can’t wait to get back to the team, the kids, the school.”


How are you keeping your players focused during this period?

3. Tips and motivational tricks for athletes working out from home (The Independent)

Plenty of high school athletes work out on their own at home, but it’s not usually the only thing they’re doing, as it is now amid the coronavirus crisis. Bert Reid of Olympic Physical Therapy and Steve Canter, former football coach who works in leadership development, motivational speaking and life coaching, gives his advice in this story.

When it comes to working out at home, Reid recommends getting creative. Stairs allow for step-ups and step-downs – front-facing or sideways – dips for arms, and squats. You can increase resistance for push-ups or planks by resting your feet on the stairs or a stool. Substituting heavy cans for weights or even adding weights to crates or shopping bags can help with strength training. Inexpensive resistance tubing with handles is a great value for reproducing almost any exercise. Doorways are perfect for stretching.

Reid also recommends checking out quality online resources, like Gary Gray’s Dumbbell Lunge Reach Matrix, a pattern of moving that can grow with your fitness.

“Best advice is to make it simple,” Reid said. “Less is more, meaning too many stations can be confusing, overwhelming and will lower your chance of getting going. Three or four well-chosen stations of functional training done twice or three times through may be easier to accomplish rather than a page full of items.”

Canter’s best advice for football coaches is to set short-term goals, even if it means offering false optimism about a return to play.

“What if, all of a sudden, the season pops up on you? Are you prepared? I like the quote, ‘I don’t get ready. I stay ready,’” Canter said. “You say, ‘I don’t feel like working out because I’m unsure of the future.’ Well, we’re all unsure of the future, so I’m not real sure why that matters.”


What timeline are you predicting to your players in terms of getting back to play?

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