Everyone Touches the Ball

Everyone Touches the Ball

When you’re a big kid playing youth football everyone expects that you are going be a natural. However, many times, these big kids have no idea how to use that big body. And so, they get yelled at for being soft and often put on the line to never touch the ball.

What makes football fun for young kids?

Fun = getting to touch the ball in a game.

Just play. Have Fun. Enjoy the game. – Michael Jordan

Last year my 3rd grade son, Jacob, played flag football for the our local park and rec. 3rd and 4th graders are certainly a challenging age but I thought the coaches did a good job with the kids. They taught fundamentals at every position and were very patient with the kids.

There was however one thing that I found extremely frustrating. Only about half the kids on the team got to play positions where they handled the ball.

My son is a big kid. Twice the size of some of his teammates. Because he’s so big and growing so fast he’s also not real coordinated. He may be destined to play with his hand down some day. But it doesn’t have to be in 3rd and 4th grade flag football.

Flag football will be the only opportunity that Jacob and other big kids like him will have a chance to touch the ball. When our kids start playing tackle football there are weight limits on who can and cannot touch the ball. As a 3rd-grader, Jacob is already too big to carry the ball in our 5th grade tackle program.

Each week he came home after practice and said he wished he could play quarterback. I would ask if he gets to practice playing quarterback or running back or receiver… nope. He got super excited just to play center because he got to touch the ball in a game.

Jacob said football was fun. But I could tell it wasn’t that much fun. It wouldn’t have been for me if I was 9 and playing right guard and defensive tackle all season.

If we want to keep kids like Jacob in the game of football, then we need to make sure they are having fun. Not just in practice but in games as well. That means giving them the ball a couple times throughout the year in an actual game.


This past season I decided to coach my son’s 3rd and 4th grade flag football. Needless to say, it is a challenging age to coach in any sport but it was a lot of fun. My number one goal was to make sure that every kid on the team had the chance to play every position in an actual game.

Every kid played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, defensive back, linebacker and of course positions on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Did we win every game? Not so much. But all the kids had fun.

Jacob got to play quarterback and it was probably the most fun he’s had playing a sport. Jacob threw for a 2-point conversion and his buddy (2nd biggest kid on our team) ran for a touchdown. With no speed between the two big boys, we actually won that game. Go figure.

We played teams that had the same kids in the same positions for the entire season. Their best players of course were at the quarterback and running back positions. They won a lot of games. I wonder though, how many kids did they lose from the game? How many of those kids that never touched the ball will want to come back and play next season?

Is winning worth losing kids from our game? It isn’t. It NEVER is.

Who Cares About Winning?

Who cares about winning 3rd & 4th grade flag football championships? Do the kids really care that much?

I can tell you, without a doubt, they don’t. They care about being with their friends. They care about going for ice cream after the game. They care about having fun.

Parents care about 3rd & 4th grade championships. It’s difficult. We, as parents, want the best for our kids. We want them to win at everything. There’s nothing wrong with that. But we need to realize that there are consequences when all we care about is winning.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am as competitive as any person you will ever meet. I want to win. I want my kids to win.

My goal is to keep my kids active in team sports and to learn the fundamentals of the game. I will always encourage my kids to play team sports.

All the encouragement in the world won’t matter if they don’t enjoy playing.

We need to make sure we put fun and learning first at the youth level and winning second.

Who Do Kids Want To Be?

Do 9-year-olds dream of being an offensive lineman? No.

Kids are not sitting around on Sundays watching offensive linemen make plays. Kids watch the NFL and see players like Odell Beckham and Tom Brady and they want to be those players. They dream about making the same plays that those players make every Sunday.

When they play pick-up games at recess or in the backyard, they want to score touchdowns. We need them to keep dreaming like that. Just because they’re big doesn’t mean we should discourage those dreams.

Kids develop very differently and today’s big lineman may be tomorrow’s all-star quarterback or tight end.

Let them PLAY and DREAM.

For Jacob, next year the pads go on. I know he’s excited. He’ll have to play on the line because of his size and I hope his coaches will work to make it a fun experience.

Football is a game. It has to be fun. And we have to do everything we can to make it fun for our kids.

Have you had a similar experience with your youth football player? Let us know. Be sure to comment and share this article.

Let’s spread the word about making youth football about fun and not just winning.

Play BIG!

Coach Steve

Make a Commitment to Your Game

Make a Commitment to Your Game


1. the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc
2. an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action:

Personally I am a fan of quotes from great men and women that relate to what I am going through.

Here are a few I like on commitment.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

– John Wooden

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.”

– Peter Drucker

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, it is a habit.”

– Aristotle, Philosopher

“I have failed over and over in my life. And that is why I succeed. “

– Michael Jordan, Hall of Fame basketball player

So what is commitment to me? What does it mean for you?

We are an organization that desires to help others stay in the great game of football and become the person that they desire to be.


Our mission is to help players do this through sharing the experiences and expertise of those that have played the game at the highest level.

John Wooden

John Wooden (one of the most successful coaches ever in College basketball) talks a lot about how his mission was to use the game to help players become great men first.

They could not be on his team just as great players only.

As he says in the image here, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation”

If your character is right then your game will be right because your off season will be right.

Peter Drucker states that the commitment has to precede the effort.

You must commit to the plan for the off season to be ready for the season.

I knew players that were able to just show up and play well during the season.

Ultimately these players were letting themselves and their teammates down because they were not living up to who they really could be as a player, teammate and member of society.

We have all known those that are talented enough to get by and we are “jealous” or “disgusted” by it because most of us have to out work others to come even close to their talents.

But in the long run, as you will learn with us, going with character far outweighs coasting through life.

Commitment is a mindset and we need make a habit of pushing ourselves to find excellence.

We will only be fully satisfied with ourselves when we have left everything we have on the field, in the weight room, and in life.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan (in my opinion the greatest basketball player ever) talks a lot to young people about how many times he has failed.

When Michael Jordan was young, I think maybe his freshman year of high school, his coach said that he would not play on his team if he didn’t start working hard.

That motivated Michael to pick up his work ethic and prove to his coach that he could play.

During the time when Michael was winning 3 straight world championships, he was the only player on both teams that was getting up at 5 am to do his daily workouts.

So even at the highest level of his game, the little things which take commitment, are essential to success.

At our camp we heard Kevin Zeitler tell us that he still does the same hour long long foot drills above and beyond what everyone else is doing.Kevin Zeitler

Evan as the highest paid offensive guard in the NFL, Kevin is still committed to improving his fundamentals.

Commitment is the key to becoming the player that you want to be.

Without commitment you will be just like a boat without a rudder and drift in many different directions.

Find some mentors that have your best interest at heart and truly listen to them.

Find what makes you tick and COMMIT to becoming exactly that. BIG Players!

Have a great off season.

Coach Glenn

#PlayBIG #LiveBIG #TrainBIG

Why Is Hydration For Athletes So Important?

Why Is Hydration For Athletes So Important?

The importance of hydration for athletes is too often overlooked.

In a time when everyone is looking for an edge with performance, we forget that water is the original performance enhancer.

Good hydration means getting the right amount of water before, during and after practice and competition.

Without the proper hydration your performance will not be at it’s best.

You can suffer from fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps and other, more serious, symptoms.

Let’s look at what water does for you.

What does water do for your body?

Our bodies are made up of 70% water.

The only thing considered more critical to life is oxygen and water is a very close second.

Perhaps when you realize how important water is to your body you’ll be sure to make hydration a priority in your life.

  • Maintaining the health and integrity of every cell in the body
  • Aiding in blood circulation
  • Carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Helping to eliminate the byproducts of the body’s metabolism
  • Regulating body temperature through sweating
  • Moisturizing the skin
  • Moistening mucous membranes
  • Lubricating and cushioning joints
  • Aiding in digestion
  • Helping convert food to energy
  • Helping the body absorb nutrients
  • Protecting and cushioning vital organs
  • Removing waste

Think about that list for a moment.

Not only are all of these points critical to performance in sports, their critical to your everyday health.

A reduction of just 2% of fluid can result in degraded performance by as much as 10-20%.

Consider how hard you need to train to improve your game by 10%.

Can you imagine losing that and more because you don’t want to drink the proper amount of fluids?

What are the effects of dehydration?

Dehydration is very serious and can lead to a life threatening emergency.

If you experience any of the symptoms below you need to be evaluated immediately.

Symptoms of Dehydration:

  • Dry lips and tongue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of sweating
  • Bright colored or dark urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Sunken eyes
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Sudden decline in performance

Most of these symptoms by themselves don’t seem serious.

However, dehydration can lead to organ failure and brain damage in severe cases.

Take this seriously.

It’s not just your performance at stake, it’s your health.

How much water do you need?

It depends.

I know, not what you want to hear.

The following graphics from ACMC.com give us a good idea of how to calculate hydration needs.



One thing to watch closely is your urine.

Now you might say, “My pee? Really?”


Generally the darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are.

Here’s a nice chart that is also from ACMC.com.

Now you know why water and hydration are so important to your success.

Are you ready to make a commitment to stay hydrated?

To be at your best, you have to.

Play BIG!

Coach Stark

Steve Stark

It Start’s With a Great Offensive Line Stance

It Start’s With a Great Offensive Line Stance

In the o-line everything we do starts with our offensive line stance.

Coach Derby always says, “Playing offensive line is not a natural thing.”

Running, throwing, catching and kicking are all natural actions for our bodies.

Great offensive linemen start with a great offensive line stance.

Getting in a good three point stance is not a natural action.

Firing off the ball, staying low, and blocking are not natural actions.

All of these actions must start with a great stance that we are comfortable getting in and out of.

So how do we make an unnatural action feel natural?

Repetition. repetition, repetition.

Just like anything else we learn to do athletically, we learn it through repetition and muscle memory.

5 Key Elements of a Great Offensive Line Stance


Every good football stance, regardless of position, requires a solid base.

For offensive lineman finding a comfortable, powerful and effective base can be challenging.

Many young players, especially bigger kids, often have a really wide base in their stance.

They do this because it’s easier and more comfortable.

The problem when players get much wider than their shoulders is that they lose mobility.

We want our offensive linemen to be able to move in all directions out of the same stance.


Another common issue for young offensive linemen is getting them off their toes in their stance.

This is also difficult because it’s easier and more comfortable to be on your toes than to keep your whole foot in the ground.

One of things we talk to our players about is keeping the whole foot in the ground in our stance and when we block.

Doing this helps us to take full advantage of our power base activating muscles up through our quads, hips and glutes.

Having our whole foot in the ground in our stance also helps us to maintain our balance and allows us quick take-off in any direction.

Light Hand

How many times, as a defensive player, have you seen offensive linemen with white knuckles.

Dead giveaway telling which direction that player is headed, right?

We want to be just as explosive, in any direction, without tipping off where we are going.

We can do this if we rely on our power base and feet to provide balance and keep minimal weight on our down hand.

Don’t give away what you’re doing with your offensive line stance.

Flat Back & Head Up

If you are looking at ground as a blocker then that’s where you end up.

And you can’t block anyone lying on the ground.

You also need to see where you are going from your offensive line stance.

Keep your head up and keep your back flat.

Young players have one of two problems.

They either squat like frogs or have no knee bend with their butt up in the air.

Offensive linemen need to find that happy medium, get that flat back and be coiled to strike.

Power producing position

One of my college coaches favorite lines, “You need a “Z” in the knee!”

Linemen need to be knee-benders not waist-benders.

The easiest way that I’ve been able to explain this to kids is to tell them to get their thighs parallel to the ground.

Offensive linemen need to be able to generate force off the line in any direction.

To do that you need to have good knee bend.

The thing you have to be careful of is not to get frog squatters.

You know… that guy who’s butt is a foot below his knees.

Balance is the key to an all-way go from your stance and you need that knee bend to have balance.

Stance has to be one of the pillars of building a great offensive lineman.

Too many coaches overlook the importance of spending time on a players stance.

Without the proper offensive line stance players will not reach their potential.

Spend time on your stance.

Get comfortable in it and make it second nature.

If you you found value with today’s post please like, comment and share.

Play Big!


Coach Steve

How to Handle Coaching Changes

How to Handle Coaching Changes

This time of year we see a lot of coaching changes in football.

Losing a coach can be devastating and learning to live with a new coach can be even more difficult.

One of the most difficult coaching changes for me came right before my senior year in college.

My position coach left the University of Wisconsin to coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

At the time… I was crushed.

And honestly, a little scared.

In college, your position coach is often your most trusted mentor.

They know you better than anyone.

For me, Coach Callahan was the reason I got a chance to play.

He was a tough coach.

However, his attention to detail and demand for technical excellence fit me and my personality.

I needed someone to be the demanding perfectionist.

It’s what allowed me to grow and thrive in college football.

It all turned out okay with the new offensive line coach.

However, I always wonder what I missed out on without him there my senior year.

I also remember the things I learned having to adjust to a new coach.

He was also a great coach too, he  just had a different style.

What I had to do was get over the loss and move on.

I realized that experiencing a new point of view can be very beneficial.

In the end it made me a better player and a far better coach.

Let’s look at some tips to handling coaching changes.

Tips to Handling Coaching Changes

When a Coach Leaves…

Understand their reason for leaving.

It’s not just players that dream of being successful.

Coaches, especially position coaches, may have aspirations to be coordinators or head coaches.

When opportunities for advancement come along, coaches have to look out for themselves and their families.

This is their career and their livelihood.

Most coaches will let their players know why they are leaving and try to explain their situation.

Be sure to look at it from their perspective and not just your own.

Wish them well.

When you have a coach for several years (in my case it was 4 years), you create a relationship.

Just like the guys you play with become family, often a coach does as well.

It’s not just hard on the player.

Coaches struggle with this change as well.

Their players become very special to them and it’s a difficult decision to leave.

Wish them well and let them know what they have meant to you.

Try to stay in touch.

It’s crazy how the world works sometimes.

NEVER burn a bridge.

The relationships you create in football can last a lifetime.

You never know when your paths will cross again.

Maybe on another team in the future.

Maybe in business.

Maybe just in the craziness of our lives.

However it happens try to stay in touch.

Your coach will appreciate it and you can continue to learn from your mentor for years to come.

When a New Coach Arrives…

Be open to their coaching.

Every coach is different.

The style in which they run practice, call plays and talk to players will vary.

You need to have an open mind to these changes.

Coaches do things a certain way for a reason.

Often times it’s because they’ve had success that way.

Embrace the change and get behind it.


You have to have good communication to have a good relationship.

Talk to your coach.

If you don’t understand something ask.

However, don’t preach about how things used to be.

Move on and figure out what your new coach is looking for.

Be a leader.

This is your chance to step forward and lead.

Show you new coach that you wan to be a leader.

You do that by setting an example.

Be positive and rally your teammates to get behind the new coach.

Nothing destroys a team quicker than a divided locker room.

Step up and be a leader.

If you you found value with today’s post please like, comment and share.

Play Big!


Coach Steve