Back to Basics

by Ryan Krzykowski

So the boys I’m coaching this fall got to play their first game last week.  They did quite a few things well, and there’s also quite a bit to work on.  As we worked to prep 26 boys, 22 of whom have never played football before, for their first game, I remembered all of the logistics that go into getting a group ready for game day.

Probably more than most other sports, football is made up of 4-6 teams within the team.  Offense and defense are entirely different, as is each aspect of the kicking game.  And for the group we’re working with, it’s all new and everything needs to be put together before they can step on the field to play.  What I realized is that in getting them ready to know where to go and what to do, we spent the bulk of the last three practices teaching and reviewing all those logistics.  I don’t know that I regret doing it, because the kids do need to know what teams they’re on and where to line up, but I’m grateful because now they have a game under their belts and we can get back to basics.

What I saw in the first game is a bunch of boys who need a whole lot of reps with fundamentals.  Our linemen need to practice firing out of their stance.  Our backs need to run low and hard through contact.  Our wideouts need to block, block and block some more.  Everyone needs a whole lot of reps with tackling technique.  And so this week, that’s what we did.  We practiced all those basics, and I presume we’ll continue in that mode for the rest of the season.

The primary goals for this season are to get everyone out on the field as much as possible, and give the kids an experience that will motivate them to want to play in the future.  Coming up soon, in addition to another game and more practice, is a night of team building fun at the bowling alley.  We want these kids to continue to come together as a group.  So far they’re doing a pretty good job with that, as at the end of each practice we ask them to name a teammate who did something great that day.  We want to help these boys become men who see outside of themselves, who notice and affirm the good work of those around them.

Coaching this group is a challenge and a privilege, and I look forward to seeing what the next couple weeks hold.  Until next time, let’s Coach With Purpose…