FNF Coaches Talk

FNF Coaches Talk for Tuesday, Nov. 27

Good morning, Coaches. Let’s get right to the stories we’re talking about in our newsroom.

1. Make your players do a self-evaluation at the end of the season (USA Football Blogs)

The football season always seems to end suddenly at this time of year, with teams getting eliminated from postseason contention with a single loss. That’s why it’s time to start thinking about the plan for the days following that last game. Do you have one in place? If not, you need one.

USA Football podcast guru Keith Grabowski provides a blueprint for coaches who are looking to meet with players for postseason exit interviews. It’s one thing for a coach to tell a player what he needs to improve. It’s another for a player to come up with the idea on his own.

While the self-evaluation tool remains separate from the on-field aspects of technique and scheme, the questions offer plenty of opportunity for each position coach and head coach to understand the players under their guidance. The conversations that stem from this questionnaire are very helpful in developing the player-coach relationship.

The self-evaluation is divided into five parts. The first is an evaluation of off-the-field behaviors (film study, attitude, etc.). The second part is designed for players to provide all of their contact info so they can be reached during the offseason. The third is for the player to state his goals and desired role on the team. The fourth is a get-to-know-you type section so that the coach might better relate to the player. And the fifth is a part we found interesting:

The fifth page is designed to help understand the dynamics of next year’s team. These few questions should elicit perspective on the upcoming team. Understanding who the players like/do not like helps the staff work on team dynamics. As mentioned in the podcast, if players appear on the “do not like list” often, this should indicate a red flag that your staff will need to address.

It’s an interesting exercise and one that could help spark better team chemistry for the following season.

Coach — How do you deliver your message to players heading into the offseason?

2. Tale of the tape: Local football coaches reveal the nuances of watching game film (Auburn Pub)

No two coaches do it exactly the same, but it can certainly be helpful once in a while to hear how other coaches do it. In this case, we’re talking about watching game film.

These Alabama coaches share their processes. Some watch film on Friday night immediately following a game. Some wait until the players return to the locker room on Monday. One coach surprised us by saying he might not even watch game film with his players at all.

Skaneateles (Ala.) coach Joe Sindoni will reveal his initial game plan and some information about the next opponent. He’ll draw up various formations on a whiteboard at the front of the room, suggesting plays he likes for the upcoming game and throwing out those he doesn’t. Each player has a binder of the playbook, with various amounts of notes to refer to.

Sometimes, that will follow with watching the film as a team, though that varies from week to week.

“There are weeks that we don’t do film at all and we’ll just do whiteboard. We start each day in this room and we’ll do some sort of whiteboard about what we’re going to be doing that day,” Sindoni said. “Going back to my days as a teacher, kids learn in different ways. Showing it to them, letting them watch it, walking them through it — I’m not going to sing a song but if I felt like that would help I’d get someone to do it. We want to give it to them as many ways as we can so they get it.”

Another Alabama coach shares a challenge that all coaches encounter — how to be critical of players during film sessions without pushing them away.

“When you get sophomores, this is totally new to them where a coach is calling you out in front of the whole team. They haven’t had that type of coaching yet,” Weedsport’s Sgarlata said. “By the time they get to junior and senior year, they get it and understand that it’s part of it. We’re just trying to get better by pointing out mistakes.”

What is the most efficient way to watch game film and share it with players?

3. High School Football Coach Freaks Out After Celebratory Ice Bath (Sports Illustrated)

This funny video has been making the rounds for the last 24 hours, so we’ll share it with you in case you haven’t seen it.  St. Thomas Aquinas was just finishing off its victory against Wichita Northwest in the Kansas Class 5A state championship game when the Aquinas players decided to give coach Randy Dreiling a Gatorade bath.

We’re not sure what prompted that reaction from Dreiling. Nonetheless, congratulations to the veteran coach for his state championship victory.

How would you react if you were on the receiving end of a Gatorade bath following a big victory?

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!

About the author

Dan Guttenplan