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10/26/2012 11:38:06 AM -

When we re-examined how we were putting together our practice plans, one of the things we really took a closer look at was how much we’d actually be able to accomplish in a day—and how that related to how much we’d planned to accomplish each day. If you’re a coach, you know how practice works. You try to set out a grid of everything you’re going to work on, you make up your blocks of time, and you try to stick with it.

Things don’t always go like you want them to, though. Myriad problems can arise that keep you from A) Sticking to the schedule, and B) Accomplishing everything you want to accomplish within the confines of the schedule you’ve made. Maybe a couple of your assistant coaches are having bad days, they’re unfocused, and they don’t get as much done in practice as you want them to. Maybe you’ve underestimated the amount of time it was going to take your players to master a certain concept. Or maybe you’ve got disciplinary issues, and part of practice needs to turn into a punishment session.

Whatever the case, shit goes sideways all the time, and you need to prepare for it. I’ve found a way that works for me: Having only one or two goals in each individual practice or day.

When I first started coaching, I knew I had to be organized, but my problem was that my task lists for each day were way too long. I gave myself too much shit to do, and I’d end up rushing through things. What I found is that putting too much stuff on your list is a surefire recipe for not getting anything done, so I started experimenting with this. I cut down the amount of objectives we had for practice each day. I did this as much as I could with the big picture stuff by taking to the head coach and making my points about it, but I also totally cut down the number of things I tried to accomplish within my individual responsibility areas.

I ended up figuring out that there’s an inverse relationship with regard to productivity. The less I had on my list, the more we got done, and the more comprehensively it got done. It’s like the old Vince Lombardi philosophy of doing one thing (in his case, the sweep) and doing it to perfection. This was what I really tried to hammer home in camp. Instead of installing 18,000 things in a day, I considered it a good day if I could figure out how to teach the defensive backs how to backpedal. If I tried to teach them that, but also tried to throw in five other things, I’d be rushing through each concept, they’d be taught and practiced in a half-assed manner, and at the end of the week, the cumulative effect would be that some stuff got done, but nothing was done completely or with any degree of excellence.

I’ve taken this philosophy to work with me, too. Now, instead of trying to get 15 things on my plate at once, I start every day making a list of only 2-3 things I’d like to fully accomplish that day. If you only get two things done in a day, it may not seem like much on that individual day, but at the end of the week, you’ve accomplished 10-15 things—and you’ve done each with the complete focus it deserves. At the end of a month, you’ve accomplished 40-60 tasks—and this includes the various segments of large projects, which you need to break down into manageable segments before you start them (shit like “installing the defense,” for example).

Doing it this way has worked like a charm for me, and it’s helped make coaching a lot easier this year.

Angry Coach

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