Thursday, March 4, 2010

Now Is The Time Coaches!

It broke 50 degrees today in NJ on this 4th day of March, 2010... and I got that feeling of football for some reason. Even though snow is still on the ground from the 20 inches we got last week, you can tell that the tide of the 2010 football season is on the horizon.

We got the NFL combine that wrapped up, Major League Baseball is in its second week of spring training, college spring ball is right at the front door, and during my football coaching days I always got this itch around now that it was time to pick it up a notch with our off-season stuff.

I pulled out my old favorite football quotes notebook (which I have saved now on my computer) and the first one, and my favorite still is:

"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price" - Sun Tzu

To me, this quote wrapped up everything that off-season football preparation was all about... I couldn't put it into better words then Sun Tzu did in 6th century BC times.

My first year ever coaching high school football was 1993. That year, our team went 1-8. We had 5 seniors, 16 juniors, and 15 sophomores on the varsity team.

Immediately after our last game that year, a core group of about 25 kids made a commitment not to be embarrassed anymore, as I did ... not only as there football coach, but the guy running the off-season strength program.

Four days a week this core group of guys showed up in the weight room with a lot of enthusiasm, did everything that I told them to do, and continued to get better. They paid the price!

As the guy who had to be there at everyone of these sessions in the off-season, I too had to pay the price as a coach. It meant sometimes disappointing my wife (which was actually our first year married), missing family functions, etc.

In the end... the hard work and commitment paid off! That season (1994), we went 7-3 and made it to the NJ Group 1 state finals, hosted at Giant Stadium. The team we beat in the semi-finals (a triple overtime win) was a team from our league that we hadn't beaten in 13 years, they had a 21 game winning streak snapped that day, by the same team they demolished 38-0 the year before. We actually played them opening day in 1994 and lost 17-6, just itching for another shot at them in the playoffs.

The euphoria after that win was intoxicating, the smiles on the faces of this collective group that gave the ultimate sacrifice to turn it around from 'worst to first' was unforgettable.

That's what it's all about coaches... paying the price now for victories in the fall. No matter what situation you're in now... trust me, it can be turned around if the commitment is made.

Keep spreading e'm!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Running Barefoot Is Great Conditioning For Football Players

I know this is a bit off topic... but if you're reading this blog you're likely a football coach or player who is looking to get better.

We all know how important that off-season training is for building strength, speed, power, flexibility, and injury prevention.

I picked up a book today at the book store ("Born to Run: a Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen" ) and it reminded me of my days working at the Parisi Speed School in NJ.

Martin Rooney (Twitter account: @martinrooney1), the lead trainer and NFL combine preparation coordinator at Parisi's first introduced to me the concept of training athletes barefoot to help improve the strength and flexibility in their feet and lower extremities.

I came home and Googled the concept to try to find out a little more... and I found this interesting article that just came out today.

Go to:

Keep your athletes conditioned and injury free (and obviously be careful doing any barefoot running training - it should be done only on clean artificial surfaces or exceptionally well groomed natural grass) ... and keep spreading e'm!