It’s the start of spring which means two things- nicer weather and we are closer to football. Throughout spring, organizations will begin registrations, field cleanups, general coaching/parents/ board meetings. For football coaches, the spring is an important and busy time- it is time to clean up and get ready to go for the football season.
Roster Evaluations- Contact Players and Parents
Now is the time to contact all of your players and parents. Organizations have early-bird registrations so inform your parents and have them take advantage of discounted registration prices. In addition, it’s a good time to check up on your players. See how school is progressing for them and make sure they are staying active and/or playing other sports. Ensure your guys want to come back and play again this season. It is always good to connect with parents and your players. This helps build a relationship and it shows that you care about them.
With my kids, we will have one or two spring practices a month. We will run through some plays so that we can get a jump-start on installing our offense. We focus primarily on installing offensive plays during the spring. When the season begins, we will practice all three phases equally. During spring practices, we focus solely on QB throwing and core run play installation.
We are at the height of the football clinic season. I recommend visiting several local clinics during the spring. I will usually attend three clinics during the spring- two local high school clinics in my area and a Glazier Clinic as well. Right now, is the ideal time for coaches to focus on improvement. We tell our kids that we need to get better every single day, the same goes for us coaches. If you want to improve your team, you need to improve yourself as a coach. Clinics are also great ways to network and get new ideas.
It’s time to throw away the old crap game-plans that didn’t work and implement some fresh concepts. We are a wing t team that utilizes a lot of motions and shifts. We’ll always run our core jet sweep, rocket sweep, belly, wedge, counter, and post-wheel. However, we are going to look to spread the field more this season. We want to add another formation (spread offense) that will help lighten up the box and stretch the defense out horizontally. Every coach has plays that they love and plays that work well for them, so you should install them again, but be sure to improve on your scheme. Spring is for building on your system.
It’s important that you sit down and watch game film from this past season. It’s always good to come back after a few weeks and watch the film again. I bet you will find things that you didn’t notice before. I watch each game from the previous season and determine what worked and what did not. I watch every single offensive, defensive, and special teams play from the previous season.
This is probably the most important part of spring cleaning. I meet with my coaches at least 2-3 times in the spring. Luckily, I have the same coaching staff for the past 5 years so we all know what we need to do and how to get it done. If you have new coaches that are joining your coaching staff, it’s important that they get on the same page. Every single coach needs to be assigned a responsibility and be accountable for doing their job effectively and with enthusiasm. Each coach should only be concerned with their responsibility. For example, the running back coach should not be concerned with offering the offensive linemen coach suggestions. What the offensive line is doing or not doing is not the concern of the running back coach.
Structured practices and structured coaching staffs are critical. We tell our players to do their job. That also applies to the coaching staff as well.
These coaching meetings are also excellent ways for everyone to give their input and make suggestions. Meetings are a great way to work collectively towards the goal of becoming a better, more efficient team. It’s important that coaches listen to each other and share their ideas.
(See Also) Practice Planning and Optimization
(See Also) Selecting a Youth Football Coach
We spend a lot of time in the spring trying to grow our roster. The best recruiters for your team will always be your players. Most kids will play multiple sports and will always have someone on their other teams that may want to play football. You can set up incentive programs for your players to recruit. I will buy a couple of team t-shirts and give them to our players, as a perk, that are able to get their friends to sign up. Referral incentives are great ways to grow your roster if you are struggling to get players. If you have a player that plays another sport, go to their game and see if you can get some of his teammates to play. If you see that there is a good athlete on his team, talk to his parents about playing football. This does not always work but I’ve found some hidden gem players via non-football games. If you want to win you have to become a better coach and recruit good athletes.