On USA Football: Maximize summer practice time

This article on USA Football includes videos of Dan Gonzalez’s drag drill.  At the end of the drill is a movie trailer of Dan’s latest project.  This is an exciting development.  Dan’s interactive book goes well beyond what he presented in his first two books (both of which are outstanding).  Take a look at the trailer at the end of the video. Here it is on its own:

On USA Football:

For coaches and players, summer is a fun time a year. The challenge is to strike a balance between family, football and fun. With some simple guidelines to help maintain focus, the summer months can be utilized in a way that it isn’t overwhelming for players and maximum commitment is attained. Establish an attendance policy The first thing we always do is establish a summer attendance policy. We want players and families to know that their time is important, but their commitment is expected. We outline that if they are in town, they must attend. We establish well beforehand that summer jobs are not an excuse. We put our workouts in the morning – other than some 7-on-7 nights – at the exact same time that camp will start in August. We feel that this way their bodies are acclimated to working at that time of day, and there isn’t an adjustment period when camp hits. We are flexible with athletes involved in other sports during the summer. We communicate with the other coaches before the summer so that we know what each other’s plans are and can work things out so that the athlete doesn’t miss important events. We also establish communication expectations. We never want to hear from a player that: “Johnny told me to tell you he is out of town today.” We want and expect direct communication with the player. Under these simple guidelines, we have always had very high attendance at our summer workouts…read more

Check out my interactive books:

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays and The Zone Running Game:  Create a Structured System. Both resources are filled with detailed information, interactive presentations, and game film.

Incrementalism – Get Better Everyday

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“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
― Abraham Lincoln

During our preseason camp I posted a thought on incrementalism.  Incrementalism is making changes by degrees or in small steps.  I really like the website www.aplayaday.com; it’s perfect for learning something new in this game everyday.  The videos presented daily (Monday through Friday) are essentially mini-clinics.  While you may not use that particular play or concept, you have a chance to learn about it, because at some point an opponent may use it.

Because the videos are short, you can watch them while having your morning coffee, during your lunch break, or even between classes.  The effect is you are learning or getting more detail on five concepts a week.  Sometimes it’s tougher to carve out time to sit down and watch an hour long clinic video, but this concept of the mini-clinic is much simpler.

If you have an idea that you would like to share, there are simple instructions for submitting your own material and helping others make this game better.  I submitted a video.  It’s up as a free sample that can be viewed here.

The sample is from my iBook. My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides concepts that can be utilized in any offense, not just the pistol. The interactive multimedia book contains 229 pieces of dynamic content and q total of 30 minutes of game film.  I have received some great feedback from coaches who adapted all or some of those ideas in 2013. Get 101+ PRO STYLE PISTOL OFFENSE PLAYS for your iPad or Mac from the iBookstore


Plan Your Work. Work Your Plan.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
Pablo Picasso

Over the past few weeks I’ve shared some ideas for planning and organizing for next season.

Strategic Planning for your Football Program is a series of articles that takes a process used in business and applies it to organizing your work and executing a plan so that you can reach your goals as a program.

Create the Big Picture discusses writing your vision and mission statements for your program.

Goals and Objectives Set the Stage explains how to set objectives and strategic goals which provide the framework for the work you do to build your program.

Action Plans illustrates how to create steps or small to-do lists for each of your goals.

You Get What You Inspect describes the importance of monitoring and evaluating the work done in your program, and gives some suggestions on how to do that.

In Create Your Masterpiece, Jeff Floyd has a post on “the elevator speech” which is actually part of some strategic plans.

If you are a coordinator, I posted some useful information on improving and evolving your systems:

Focus on the Process:  Quality Control discusses “the process” and gives steps on how to identify and solve problems.

Beginning Your Research and Development for Your 2014 Offense provides a list of questions for you to take inventory of your current offense in order to identify areas which you may need to streamline or improve.  It also allows you to identify your strengths.  Four major questions provide a thought process for deciding on whether to implement a new concept.

Your 2014 Offense Research and Development Part2 uses a clinic talk from Andrew Coverdale to present an approach to handling the new information you find in your off season research.  Implementation plan is also discussed.


My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides concepts that can be utilized in any offense, not just the pistol. I have received some great feedback from coaches who adapted all or some of those ideas in 2013. Get 101+ PRO STYLE PISTOL OFFENSE PLAYS for your iPad or Mac from the iBookstore



Creating Your Masterpiece

You Can Do More!

This time of year (for football) offers an excellent opportunity to focus on some “Big Picture” items in your program; setting goals and objectives, crafting a mission statement, honing your philosophy.


Like all great masterpieces, this “Big Picture” is actually made up of many small, detailed, intricate, brush strokes.  Coach Keith Grabowoski, Offensive Coordinator at Baldwin-Wallace University has written a series of great posts that will take you through this Strategic Planning Process to help you create your own masterpiece:

In addition, to Coach Grabowski’s series, I would like to revisit a concept that I have previously…

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Focus on the Process: Quality Control

In the past few seasons, much attention has been given to Nick Saban’s “process.”  Jason Selk explains it in Forbes:

The secret to Saban’s success isn’t finding the latest and greatest blocking offensive and defensive schemes. Quite the contrary. What Saban preaches day in and day out to his players and staff is the tested and true fundamental known as process focus. Saban teaches his players to stop actually thinking about winning and losing and instead focus on those daily activities that cause success.

According to Saban, process guarantees success. A good process produces good results. Likewise, if the process is off, the results will suffer. Focusing on the outcome is paradoxical. The more one emphasizes winning, the less he or she is able to concentrate on what actually causes success.

What Saban has emphasized isn’t anything different than what resulted in 11 National Championships for John Wooden.  Wooden said, “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.”

The process certainly applies to what we do now as coaches to prepare for the next season.  Quality control is simply a way to inspect the process, fix errors, and continuously improve.  I have more thoughts and tips on beginning your off season here and here.

The process of quality control of your systems in the off season should allow you to both streamline what you are doing and better install and practice it in the next season. A decade ago, my staff wanted to improve the running game.  Our search for a more effective running game allowed us to consider all we did in teaching, installing, and practicing our system. We developed our answers to problems we anticipated and prepared for those as well. When that season ended and our quality control process unveiled more concerns, we went into the next off season knowing what questions we needed to get answered.

Finding weaknesses or problems in your systems doesn’t necessarily mean you need to scrap it. Again, the analysis provides control. That control now sets the focus for your planning. Many times it’s learning more about a specific technique and how to practice it. It could also be learning a simple adjustment to make that inefficient run better against a certain front.

Here are six steps for implementing quality control in your program:

1.  Run the reports that are available in your editing system, or, if necessary create a spreadsheet which you can sort to analyze data. What does the data show?

2. Identify areas of concern both from your data and from post-season meetings with your assistants. What concerns or issues did they have from week-to-week over the season.

3. Develop the plan. What are you going to do with the data? Is it time to completely re-tool what you are doing or only make small tweaks. Make this decision as a staff and move forward together.

4. Identify resources like books and videos that can help. Look at clinic schedules and speakers who will be worth listening to. Also identify your local resources  – colleges or other high schools – that you can go and attend clinics. Set up your professional development schedule accordingly.

5. Bring back all the information and present it to each other as a staff. What did you learn that can help you?

6. Design a plan for implementing your new knowledge so that your systems will improve on the field.

Good luck as you move forward in your process.


My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides concepts that can be utilized in any offense, not just the pistol. I have received some great feedback from coaches who adapted all or some of those ideas in 2013. Get 101+ PRO STYLE PISTOL OFFENSE PLAYS for your iPad or Mac from the iBookstore