FNF Coaches Talk

FNF Coaches Talk for Wednesday, Dec. 12

Good afternoon, Coaches. Hope you’re having a good week. Here are some stories that caught our eye on a Wednesday.

1. Breaking down ‘Santa’s Sleigh’, the wildest play call of the Bears’ season (NBC Sports)

Here’s a play call for coaches who like to bring in the big bodies when you get close to the goal line. Dubbed “Santa’s Sleigh” by the Chicago Bears defensive staff, the play-action pass featured quarterback Mitch Trubisky, six offensive linemen, and four defensive linemen. Not a single skill player was on the field.

Here’s the play:

Coaches — In what ways do you try to create size mismatches around the goal line?

2. Weightlifting Training for Football Players (Barbend.com)

Here’s a training regiment that would likely appeal to most high school coaches — one that focuses on Olympic lifts. In a 2001 study that surveyed 28 professional NFL (National Football League) strength and conditioning coaches, 88 percent of coaches said they integrated the Olympic lifts (snatch, clean, and jerk) within their training programs.

This article has it all — the benefits of Olympic training, lower-body and upper-body exercises for football players, and a sample offseason program. It’s tough to specify what is the most important part — go ahead and read all of it.

However, we found this explanation of one of the benefits of Olympic lifting to be the best sell: 

Research has repeatedly indicated that the Olympic lifts require high amounts of muscle coordination, strength, power, and neurological adaptations. While these lifts are the most complicated and time-intensive to teach athletes, “short-term training effects of the weightlifting movements seem to be more beneficial for improving performance. The greater skill complexity required for the weightlifting exercises facilitates the development of a broader physical abilities spectrum, which seems to be better transferred to performance”.

What changes to this strength program would you suggest to new coaches?

3. What W&M football coach Jimmye Laycock taught me about leadership and business (Washington Technology)

We love stories like this one — written by a former player of William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock. He shares the lessons he learned in football and how they translate to his success in the business world.

Todd Stottlemyer is a longtime technology sector executive and CEO. He played offensive line for Laycock and is a 1985 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of William & Mary.

Here’s one of the tenants of success that all coaches can appreciate: 

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – We would sometimes run the same play over and over again in practice until we executed it perfectly. Coach Laycock was intentional in practice in putting his teams in every possible game situation he could think of so that they were prepared for anything they would face in an actual game. The team studied film of opponents, looking for tendencies and anything that would give them a game day advantage. There were no shortcuts to being fully prepared. Preparation is also critical in business. The difference between winning and losing is oftentimes very small. The better prepared team usually wins.

So often football games come down to one score or even a few yards here or there. For that reason, we also loved this lesson.


Do the little things well – Some football teams are just athletically superior to other teams (think Alabama). But oftentimes the key to being successful is the accumulation of doing a lot of little things well. Coach Laycock emphasized this repeatedly. Execute on the little things exceptionally well and you will build a winning team and organization. This is true in football, in business, and in life.

What is the biggest lesson you took from your high school coach?

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!