Select Page
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.

flag-football-coach

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

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

Base

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.

Feet

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!

biopic

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.

Communicate.

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!

biopic

Coach Steve

New Year’s Resolutions… Will You Persevere?

New Year’s Resolutions… Will You Persevere?

Perseverance was the word of the day we used this past week in our trench training session.

This was a powerful word that I had not thought of for a while and I found that it has everything to do with our tradition of starting New Year’s resolutions.

We need to learn to persevere through the tough times and raise our standards to achieve success.

95% of people will not follow through and complete their resolutions and will quit trying by the 15th of January.

This is only 15 days after setting these goals.

Why is this?

A video I watched recently from Tony Robbins answered this question. Here’s what I go from that video.

Statistics show that 95% of people who make a resolution have already stopped their resolution by January 15th.

I think this is very important because I know I have made probably 35 resolutions and I do not actually believe I have ever kept to one.

This really ticks me off to be honest.

I look at it as wasted goals and wasted time.

However what Tony says makes absolute sense to me!!

We have to raise our standards.

We have to change our Shoulds to Musts!

He tells us we cannot change who we are if we do not raise these standards that were given us and that we accepted many years ago.

“We live who we believe we are!”

If we truly believe we are an athlete then we will work, walk and talk like an athlete.

If we truly believe we are a singer then we will sing at the top of our lungs every chance we get.

If we believe we are no good then every opportunity for us to make an excuse or put ourself down we will take advantage of this.

To truly make a resolution to change we need to raise our standards so that Shoulds become Musts.

How in the heck do we do this?

Is it simple?

The answer is YES.

Is it easy?

That answer is… it depends.

It depends on how committed you are to changing a should into a must.

Lasting change is different than a goal.

You don’t always get your goals but you will always get your musts.

When you decide something is a must you will make a real resolution to raise your standard.

Whats a must?

Maybe you should stop eating sugar.

You would reduce it for a while and then you would go back.

But for some reason something clicked and we stopped doing it.

Maybe it was a life change (sickness, saw a video, watched a friend die etc.)

Then it became a must.

Once we get this must, then we change our life.

There are 3 things to do to raise your standard.

4 Steps for Changing a Should to a Must

Step #1: Have a vision.

Make a vision that is compelling for instance something like this…

You can’t just tell yourself, “I want to lose 10 lb.”

Be specific

What do you look like when you reach your goal weight?

How do you feel?

How do other people see you?

See it like it has already happened.

Step #2: Make it compelling.

Your Must has to be compelling.

Your reason for this change has to be strong enough to get you through the toughest of days.

This is critical.

Let’s take our example of losing weight.

Losing weight is many times not compelling enough for us to consider it a Must.

You still make it through your days being heavy,

You may not feel as good as you like be you find ways to adapt to it.

You buy bigger clothes to cover it up, you avoid going out, you poke fun at yourself to seem okay with it around friends.

So how do you make this a compelling reason?

You have to raise your standard to not be as heavy as you are.

You raise your standard to be healthy, to get strong, to live longer, and to feel better.

You have to change the way you think.

Stop wishing and start doing.

Step #3: Review it every day.

This is as critical as the first two steps.

It has to be something that you visit every single day.

Write it down, put it somewhere you will see it every day.

You need to keep your focus on the vision of who or what you are going to be!

By doing this daily you are changing those standards that you were given or accepted when you were younger.

Step 4: Monitor your progress.

You need to know you feel you are making progress.

What is progress?

Progress is competing with yourself and yourself alone.

This is really important because when you compare yourself to others you put the focus on the wrong person.

Focus on you and your progress.

We need to feel we are making daily progress.

Sometimes it will be very small progress.

As long as we continue to move in the right direction your Must will become reality.

Here is an example I have had to deal with recently.

While lifting weights or trying to lose weight I would get very frustrated.

When I would watch others gain more than me in strength and lose more weight quicker than I was, it drove me nuts.

So I would go very strong for a few weeks or even a couple months but then I would ultimately quit.

I was trying for the should.

I should be in better shape.

I should lose some weight.

But a couple years ago I decided I must change my health so that I can live longer to enjoy my two daughters.

I decided it was a must for me to keep with an exercise program.

If I was to focus on the progress I am making I will feel happier about where I am at.

I am not where I want to be but when I look at where I was even 6 months ago and see the progress, I feel better right away.

My must is being accomplished one day at a time!

We need to change the standard we have learned to accept from our past.

Here is a good example of a standard or a learned behavior set in youth.

An elephant is tied to a large pole in the ground with a very heavy rope.

The elephant fights the rope and pole over and over but cannot set itself free.

This happens when the elephant is young.

After a while the elephant no longer fights to get free.

When they are going around to shows and they use very small stake and rope.

The elephant’s standard was set as a young elephant so they don’t fight the rope or stake.

Obviously the full grown elephant could very easily yank the stake out of the ground and run be it does not because of the standard that he or she has accepted as reality.

Some of the learned behaviors we have from our youth are good.

But if you have a learned behavior that keeps you from reaching your goals then make the change.

If you are going to have lasting change you will raise your standards.

Make today the day you raise your standards.

Be the person that you truly want to be by raising the standards to that of a successful you in exactly what it is you want to be!

Have a great day and remember to always Play Big.

 

Coach Glenn

Coach Glenn

5 Questions To Ask When Setting Goals

5 Questions To Ask When Setting Goals

This time of year we all think about what our goals are for the new year.

We also reflect on the previous year.

Unfortunately we often dwell too long on our failures instead of building on our successes.

While it’s good t reflect on the previous year, you have to keep your focus forward.

As we look at our goals for the new year I want you to ask yourself these 5 questions.

 

5 Questions for Goal Setting Success

 

1. Are your goals really yours?

You might be asking yourself, “Who the heck’s goals would they be?”

Well… we often do what we think we are expected to do and not always what’s important to us.

Don’t let others dictate your goals.

Search your feelings, Luke. (The new Star Wars movie was awesome.)

But seriously, be sure that you are going after the things YOU are passionate about.

2. Are your goals meaningful?

This question goes hand-in-hand with the question above.

Your goals have to excite you.

If you aren’t excited about achieving your goals then you won’t achieve them.

Goals need to mean something to you.

Something powerful that’s going to keep you working when you don’t feel like working.

They also have to be relevant to your success.

What are the things you need to improve?

What goals can you set to make sure you make those improvements?

Not sure?

Talk to your coach.

Have them help you figure out where you need to improve your game and the goals you can set for this year.

3. Are your goals realistic?

If you are currently running a 5.8 second 40 yard dash, setting a goal to run a 4.6 second 40 in 3 months is probably not realistic.

I don’t want to tell anyone what they can and can’t accomplish.

However, having unrealistic and unattainable goals will not help you succeed.

Set your goals high but allow yourself realistic time to achieve them.

Look at the successful players that came before you.

How do you stack up to the standard that they set.

Let that be a guide for your goal setting.

Again, your coach can help you set realistic and attainable goals.

4. Do your goals challenge you?

On the other end of the spectrum you need to make sure that you are challenged by the goals you set.

It does you no good to set goals that you can easily achieve.

You need to find that balance.

Set goals that require you to stretch to your limits.

Set goals that are just beyond your grasp.

When you achieve them, set new ones that are again just beyond your reach.

This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes.

To get something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. Click To Tweet

What are you willing to do to achieve your goals?

Are you willing to learn new things and work harder than you ever have before?

You’ll have to if you want to reach challenging goals.

5. Are your goals specific and measurable?

You need to be very specific about what your goals.

What exactly do you want to achieve and by what date?

Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight this year”, or  “I want to get stronger this year.”

Write down an exact weight and the exact date you will get to that weight.

“I will weight 245 pounds on September 1st, 2017.”

Write down what your 1 rep squat max will be on a specific date.

“I will squat 300 pounds on August 31st, 2017.”

The more detailed you are the more you will envision yourself achieving that goal.

That vision will drive you to succeed and any goal will become attainable.

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

Play Big!

biopic

Coach Steve

Always Touch the Line!

Always Touch the Line!

It was a typical 7th-grade basketball practice at Stephen Mack Middle School in the winter of 1986.

At the end of practice, Coach Evans lined us up on the end line to run ladder sprints. (Ladders were the bane of our existence in 7th-grade basketball.)

I was a big kid and a little overweight so I really didn’t like sprints.

We were on the last leg of the sprint and Coach Evans blew the whistle for us to stop.

The team looked over to him as he was on the end line that we just touched.

Coach says, “We have to start over. Stark didn’t touch the line.”

Ughhhhh!!!

I had a tendency to go just short of the line in my sprints.

I just made the entire team start over with the one thing we all hated more than anything in the world.

What a lesson to learn!

From that day forward I was never “the guy” who made the rest of the team run because I didn’t touch the line.

What does it mean to “always touch the line”?

Why is that important?

What does it mean to “Always Touch the Line”?

1. You hold yourself accountable.

You can’t be a leader and you can’t hold others accountable if you aren’t first accountable to yourself.

Being part of a team is all about accountability but it starts with you.

You will only be as good as you decide to be.

Never cheat yourself.

Never cheat your team.

Decide to be great!

2. Others can depend on you.

No one person is ever greater than the team.

In football, like any other team sport, you need to depend on the person next to you.

You may think your teammates don’t see you stopping short of the line but they do.

You won’t ever reach your potential.

You won’t ever be as successful as you want to be.

You will never be a leader.

If you aren’t willing to give maximum effort in practice then your teammates and coaches won’t trust you when it counts.

3. You understand what it takes to succeed.

All of these things speak to what you are made of.

This is what decides whether or not you have integrity.

What is your integrity worth?

Everything!

This isn’t something kids are thinking about.

It’s a lesson we need to teach early on.

The earlier that our athletes learn about what it means to Always Touch the Line, the better their chance of success.

Not only in sports but in life.

Why is this lesson still important to me today?

Because it reminds me to always give everything I have to that which I am passionate about.

It reminds me that I can do anything with enough hard work.

It reminds me what it takes to be successful in everything that I do.

What will it remind you?

I hope you will always strive to “Always Touch the Line” in everything you do.

If you found value with this post please like, comment and share.

Also, if you have questions about training your athlete or your coaches please contact us at steve@trenchtraining.com or glenn@trenchtraining.com.

Let’s Play,

biopic

Coach Steve

PS: Stay up-to-date with TrenchTraining.com and joining our mailing list by clicking here.