Hey, mom?

Last night at practice I arrived early enough to see it from the beginning, and for the most part, I thought we got a lot done. We spent some good time on fundamentals - including some blocking, fit blocking, and competition 1v1 over a board. I thought the boys wanted to compete and they worked hard. We do need to work on moving our feet, especially and specifically those bigger linemen who are used to getting by using the strategy of putting their weight on people. It doesn't always work.

I want to write for a few minutes on how I see my role as a coach. I believe as a player that if you can understand your job with your mind, it's easier to translate on the field when you must make a split-second, and violent decision with your body. Football is a simple game, but made more complicated when we don't know what we're doing. Also, as a learner who responds best to writing and seeing something before it is applied, I feel for the boys who do not have a playbook and are struggling to remember plays. Learning styles are important - and I think we don't have time to address this as we need to. Maybe they wouldn't get as much out of it as a group.

So, I've taken it upon myself to be the great Quizmaster. I think I asked 17 boys yesterday this question "If we are running 21 buck sweep, which way are we going?" I think three knew without thinking or guessing. We need to get better. Coach H laughs at me, but I think we will make a good team with time. He's a little old school but is very good at teaching points, demonstrating and coming up with drills to address problems. He just doesn't fall along the same learning style I do. He and Coach F believe the boys just need reps, but there are some who have played on the first team, and gotten nearly all the reps and still don't know their jobs. There is a better way.

Last it hits you in strange ways what it means to be someone's coach or mentor. Last night, the varsity had a team dinner and the boys were able to eat also. During the dinner, I was giving quizzes to N, J, T and O - and when T came up to me he said, "Hey Mom." I gave him a dirty look and said, "I'm not your mom, and I'm sure your mom would not be happy to hear you saying that." He looked at me and said, "Well, my mom died, but my stepmom... well...I don't know." I fired back at him "maybe she's just adjusting" as the movie line goes, hoping he would catch on, and he said "For three years?" It hit me today that I need to listen a little better. Maybe he needed to talk. He was upset at practice yesterday because he got bumped from the first offense (he didn't practice one day), and immediately he responded right: "I'm going to work to get back on that!" Later, though, he was struggling and letting the anger of the situation make him mess up with plays and alignment. I know he'll get it back together, and we talked about it yesterday, but focusing yourself to get something done is a truly translatable life skill.

I was happy that Coach W asked all the boys to make sure they lined up orderly, thanked all the moms, used their silverware, threw away their trash, etc., etc. They don't know it yet, but all of these are important life skills that will endure longer than football.


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