Welcome back, Coaches. We hope you’re having a productive week. We’ve got three stories for you.
1. National Federation of High School Associations released guidelines for schools when they re-open weight rooms (NFHS)
Some states are getting ready to allow high school athletes to return to practice in some shape of form. For most of us, that will mean getting players back in the weight room after an extended stay-at-home period.
The NFHS put high school sports into three categories; lower risk, moderate risk, and higher risk sports. Not surprisingly to most, football was placed in the higher risk category.
The recommendation from the NFHS is to involve a three-phase approach to returning. In all phases, players should bring their own water bottles and the coaching staff should have an intense sterilization plan in place. Here’s a look at each of those recommended phases.
Phase 1 includes all coaches and athletes being screened for symptoms of COVID, including a temperature check, prior to workouts. Those with positive symptoms should not be allowed to workout and should be referred to a doctor. The first phase also limits gatherings to no more than 10 people at a time, with no use of locker rooms, and workouts should be done in groups of 5-10 students who will always workout together while a six foot distance should be maintained (so exercises that require a spotter should be avoided).
Phase 2 would still require preworkout screening, and while no more than 10 people can gather at a time inside, workouts outside will allowed to be scaled up to 50. If locker rooms are opened, individuals should observe the 6-foot social distancing guidelines at all times.
Phase 3 relaxes the preworkout screenings to say that any person who has had a fever or cold in the past 24 hours shouldn’t be allowed to participate and attendance should be taken of every workout. Modified practices are recommended to begin for high-risk sports like football during this phase.
What will be different about your players’ experience when you reopen the weight room?
2. Coach Regalado brings some humor to Twitter by poking fun at variations of game-day coaches (Marco Regalado Twitter)
If you’re looking for coaching humor on Twitter, we recommend following Coach Regalado of PSJA Memorial in Texas. He’s got the comedy angle cornered with a lot of coaching humor and — more recently — jokes about the current landscape of high school football.
Anyway, here’s a great video montage of game-day coaches.
What type of game-day coach are you?
3. Why the three-point stance could become a football thing of the past (ESPN)
ESPN recently posted a feature about why the days of lineman getting in three-point stances could be numbered based on research done from engineers from Stanford and Purdue.
The reasoning, they shared, is based off data collected on offensive linemen during the professional development Spring League. The data they gathered showed that 40 percent fewer head acceleration events occurred when offensive lineman started from a two-point stance instead of a three-point stance.
LeCharles Bentley, a former NFL center who now runs OLP, an academy in Arizona that specializes in instructing offensive linemen, estimated that college offensive linemen are in two-point stances on 70 percent of plays. NFL numbers are more varied per team. But from Pop Warner through USA Football and into many high schools and colleges, linemen are learning to block from two-point stances with a frequency that belies any concern that a rule change would require a massive adjustment in technique.
Absent a rule change, though, Bentley now advocates for changes that don’t require additional research to implement.
“Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is change player behavior at all levels,” Bentley said. “The two biggest influences on player behavior in terms of performance is your coaching language and drill selection. Coaching language is going to create player behavior, and your drill selection is going to reinforce it.”
For example, Bentley wants coaches to stop teaching players to “get their head across” opponents when blocking on outside run plays. “That uses the helmet as a coaching point,” Bentley said.
Instead, he suggested something like: “I need you to own the angle on the defender’s outside armpit.” Such language accomplishes the same goal, but removes the once-ubiquitous demands that lead to relatively mild but still damaging head impact.
“We can teach the game through angles, targets and coaching points that are tangible to a kid,” Bentley said, “without using the perspective about leading with the head.”
How would you feel about eliminating the three-point stance from line play?