Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coaching Knowledge Project #10 John Madden & Joe Gibbs

Over the last few summers, I have started taking notes on some of the coaching biographies and books that I have read. One problem that I have had over the years is that I read so much and look at so much different info that I don't ever retain the knowledge for future use. I will read about a drill or a philosophy and I will think "Hey, that fits pretty good with my guys. I wanna use that this year." Then I will lay the book or the info to the side and forget all about it.
Earlier this year, I began to compile & organize these notes & axioms into a single document. Ideally I would like to eventually have a notebook that I could add to each offseason and look at again each pre-season as I reevaluate my program. I thought that as part of this blog and my compilation efforts, I would share some of the things that I've found.
These are quotes about coaches, quotes from coaches about their influences, and outside observations on coaches and their programs. Some of these are Hall of Fame coaches, some have losing records, and some are career assistants; all have good things to offer.
How about some nuggets from Joe Gibbs & John Madden:


·         From Don Coryell: Successful coaches are able to take everything they must teach and grind it down to a common denominator where it is understood by the most intelligent and the least intelligent.

·         In preparing for a class, a teacher has to be organized. Once in the classroom, a teacher has to get the students to settle down, to pay attention, to understand. After you teach, you discuss and then you test. Coaching football is basically the same thing. You teach in the meetings. You discuss on the practice field. You test in the game.

·         I learned that one of the most important tenets of teaching is repetition. Tell the class over and over what you want it to learn. As a coach, I applied that same principle. Show the players the play on paper. Show it to them on film. And show it to them on the field.

·         No matter how quick a cornerback was, I never wanted him to line up more than 7 yards off the wide receiver. In training camp, I never let them line up more than 5 yards off their man. That way, it forced them to cover tight & short. When a corner was more than 7 yards off his man, I always felt that he tended to sit back and wait for something to happen, rather than reacting to something that was happening.

·         If it’s something that they don’t know, they can’t teach it. If it’s something that’s been stuffed down their throats, they really can’t teach it either.

·         If you throw on the break or before the break, you get interceptions. We throw after the break, two steps after the receiver has made his cut. That receiver usually has an option between 12 and 18 yards on the cut and we want to make sure he has somebody beat before our quarterbacks release that ball.

·         You’ve got to start by being able to do things the hard way. That means being able to cover man to man, to take on blocks and defeat them. Then you move on to the more sophisticated movements – the stunts, zones, multiplicity of pass coverage, situation substitution and so on. But all of those are no good unless you can whip someone one on one.


·         I believe that picking the right people is the single most important thing a coach can do. If you pick sharp, highly motivated people, you’re going to be successful.

·         We run the same play from 30 different formations, because I believe that repetition is the key to success, and because I am convinced that defense is based on recognition of formations.

·         A winning effort begins with preparation. The game may be played on Sunday, but it’s won on the practice field during the week, in the meeting rooms (where the coaches and players prepare the game plan) and in the weight room, where the best players do a few extra repetitions.

·         To be a good coach, you must be a good teacher. You not only have to possess the knowledge, but you must also be able to get it across. You give it to the players visually, on film, written on the board, and on the field.

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