FNF Coaches Talk — NJ coaches record PSA, COVID-19 podcast, Illinois champion coach talks culture-building

Happy Friday, Coaches. We hope you find something new and exciting to do this weekend.

Here are three stories for you.

1. 50 New Jersey high school football coaches band together in PSA video about coronavirus (NorthJersey.com)

New Jersey high school football coaches have banned together in an effort to flatten of the curve.

Over the course of a week, 50 different football coaches throughout the state recorded individual short video clips delivering messages of encouragement and reiterated the need for social distancing to slow and ultimately stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The finished product is a public-service announcement that has gone viral in recent days.


What message are you spreading about social distancing?

2. FNF Coaches Talk Podcast – Boise State University Director of Athletic Psychology Stephanie Donaldson on Coaches vs. COVID-19 (FNF Coaches)

Shortly after the coronavirus outbreak caused NCAA schools to cancel the spring season, Boise State University Director of Athletic Performance Stephanie Donaldson drafted a BroncoBOLD Guide to Managing Anxiety Induced by the Coronavirus. She has since put together a strategy for Coaches vs. COVID-19.

Joining host Dan Guttenplan on the podcast, Donaldson shared strategies for coaches to cope with anxiety during this stressful time. She also offered leadership advice for coaches who may be wondering what to tell athletes who are unsure of what the future will hold.

Join us as we discuss the mental health effects of the pandemic, and let us know your take on Twitter @fnfcoaches

3. Illinois champion coach on building a winning culture during the coronavirus outbreak (FNF Coaches)

We’re all trying to figure out how to build a winning culture in the COVID-19 world.

For one team in Illinois, a plan is in place. The emphasis of the Peoria High (Ill.) football program’s spring season is culture building.

That approach has worked for head coach Tim Thornton since his hire in 2010. Taking over a struggling program in a low-income area, he leaned into building relationships and establishing a family feel for his players.

Since his hire, he has led the team to a record of 72-35 and one Class 5A championship in 2016.

Thornton’s annual spring goal of building a winning culture has a higher degree of difficulty in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and stay-at-home orders. He joined FNF Coaches to discuss the ways in which he is still trying to emphasize building a winning culture.

Here are some highlights.

“We talk about e+R=o. ‘e’ is event,” Thornton said. “The whole nation and world has been faced with a tough event. ‘R’ is the response. Our response has never been more important. The ‘o’ is the outcome. The emphasis is on the ‘R’ and that’s why that’s a capital letter. You can’t control the ‘e’ or the ‘o’. You control the ‘R’ every time. You put forth your best ‘R’ to influence the outcome.”

Thornton also said his assistant coaches are connecting with his players over video games. Don’t be afraid to meet the players where they are!

“I think our assistants are doing a great job of playing Madden with our guys and communicating while they’re playing. That’s keeping relationships alive and letting the kids know they have someone to lean on. From a mental health perspective, we have guys that need a little extra and might not have somebody at home to talk to about how they’re feeling. When we’re playing games and online chatting, we’re able to give them some of that.”

How are you monitoring the mental health of your players during this crisis?

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