Football is undoubtedly the greatest team sport on the planet! As we always preach to new coaches and to our players, it takes every single individual involved in the program to make it successful. From the equipment managers, parents, boosters to the starting QB and the Head Coach. It takes everybody working together. It is part of makes this such a great job. The community that is built around a good football program is something that cannot be replicated in other sports or even other professions. It is part of the reason we get into this profession. Along with the love of game and the desire to make a difference in the lives of young men. However, if we want to have longevity in this profession, there several things that you need to be able to do, and traits that you should have. This article will focus on two of them that I think are vitally important to a long career in this great field of work. First, is the ability and desire to acquire new knowledge. Second, is adaptability.
The Ability and Desire to Acquire New Knowledge
This is something that is a good quality to have with any venture in life. You must have the ability to go out and learn as much as possible, as often as possible. But having the ability is not enough by itself. You need to have the desire to as well. Professional development is an ongoing thing. It never ceases. It would be highly beneficial for you to go out and learn as much as you can, about as many different systems as you can, both offensively and defensively. Become proficient in many different philosophies. This can help you understand your opponents as well as give you something to use when the time comes.
Remember, nobody has all the answers. As soon as you get complacent. As soon as you think you know it all. As soon as you think you’ve learned everything there is to know… that’s when you get beat. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEBODY SMARTER. In one regard or another, there is going to be somebody that knows more than you about something eventually. Don’t get beat because you got lazy in your own continued education of the sport. Do your best to mitigate and minimize all chances of not having an answer by always striving to acquire and apply new information, which leads us right into our next trait.
You must have the ability to adapt. What I mean by that is, you must be able to adapt the program to fit your talent levels. If you have a bunch of tall, lanky and thin bodies for your skill players, lining up and running the isolation 20 times a game might not be the best idea you’ve ever had… but if that’s all you know, or worse, all you’ve cared to know, you won’t be able to adapt and experience success. On the other side of that, if you have a bunch of undersized lineman, asking them to zone block and man block in a spread set where they have no edge help… that can be a disaster too. So, you need to understand a wide range of systems so you can always put your kids in a situation to experience success and build confidence. Same goes for the defensive side of the ball. If you have a bunch of DB and LB type bodies on the field, forcing them into a 4 man front isn’t going to help you much. Play to the strengths of your players.
Now, it is important that you understand that I AM NOT saying that you shouldn’t have a core set of principles that you believe in. EVERYBODY should and in fact, needs to have that. You need to have that one system that you believe in. Having the ability to adapt within the system is even better. But whatever the system, be it single wing or air raid or triple option, you need to have your “bread and butter” I’ll use myself as an example. It is my philosophy that I will always start off with basing out of the wingT. My number one reason for this, the wingT’s naturally ability to adapt to all different talent levels. From youth leagues to big leagues. It uses angles and numbers to make blocking easier. It gets your backs to the edge effectively regardless of talent level. It uses 3 backs so you can use smoke and mirrors, ball fakes, and spread the ball around. It provides success for teams that have little talent, but is great for teams that have a plethora of talent. You see it in the NFL still, and clearly there is no lack of talent there. So that is why I base my offense from those principles… but that doesn’t mean I will refuse to get into single back or shot gun to run zone and throw the ball if that’s what it will take to win. I make it a point to understand as many systems as possible as many of you do as well.
Learning and Adaptability. Is it the only two things you need? Of course not, but they can dang sure help you be a more successful coach! Let me know in the comments or on twitter what are some things that you think are mandatory for long term success??? Give me a follow on twitter here @thecoachvogt and please subscribe with your email so you can be notified anytime a new article drops! Speaking of learning new things, here are some opportunities to do just that with some informational material written by yours truly.
Till next time,