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3/29/2012 9:18:16 AM -
High School Football Head Coach Mistake #5

I've been around football for practically my entire life, and most of that has centered around high school football -- three years on varsity as a player, and over ten years as a coach. I've never been a head coach, which is something that works two ways. I can't say I've ever walked in a head coach's shoes, the "final pressure" hasn't ever been directly on my shoulders, and I've never been responsible for making the final decisions about major stuff. I understand that.

The other side of the coin, however, is that I've had the chance to closely observe, without all that pressure on my head, a number of head coaches in action. I've been through some shit seasons, and I've been through some championship seasons, and I think I have a good idea of the mistakes head coaches make with regard to meddling (I hate using such a loaded word, but that's what it is) with the physical readiness of their teams.

Here is Mistake #5:

They don't know how to delegate, and they don't allow the S/C coach to simply do his job.

I don't know if this is the biggest mistake, because I haven't figured out what the next four mistakes are yet, but this is one I've always had a problem with. Most head coaches at least played the game. This helps in terms of tactical and technical coaching, but it hinders them in terms of knowing what to do with the strength program. I've said this before, but it's the "That's the way I did it when I played" dilemma, especially if your head coach had a successful playing career. Hang cleans 'til you puke were good enough for him, so now it's time to pass it down and make his team do the same thing.

So, as the S/C coach, you'll be up on all the latest information, you'll meet with other S/C coaches, and you'll painstakingly make a plan to help your kids get better -- all based on other plans that have been proven to get kids better, and your head coach will walk into the weight room, stop the music, and demand that everyone pick up a bar and start doing hang cleans.

If you're a head coach, don't do this. If you're going to do this, don't hire a strength coach. Yes, if he's working with your athletes, he damned well better present his program to you beforehand and justify his rationale for everything he's doing, but once he's done so, and once you've agreed to give it a chance, don't walk into the weight room after your first loss and decide to change the whole program around because your drill sergeant high school coach did things a different way. Learn to delegate. Let your assistants do the jobs you hired them to do, and focus on the bigger picture -- managing your team.

I've seen this season after season, but I can say with certainty that the head coach who gets involved with programming the strength and conditioning for his team after a dedicated strength coach has already started the process is doomed to a losing season. It happens every time.

Angry Coach

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