Our Off Seasons flat out SUCK.
Since I have been at my current school (3 years) our off season's have never been what I have wanted them to be. Every year I feel I get more organized and improve my knowledge in S&C yet none of it matters if I can't get the kids to buy in to it.
Every game we lost this past season I 100% contribute to our lack of dedication to the weight room.
I tried to get the kids here, tried to beg them here, but so many were content with just starting that it didn't matter. Couldn't really hold a kid out for not showing up because his back up didn't show up either. Through January we were having the same terrible results for our off season workouts... 10-12 kids a day after school is not getting it cut when you have a school of 2,000 and you know you will end up with at least 30 kids on both varsity and JV when the season starts. What the heck are those other 50-60 kids doing who aren't showing up??!!!
I got tired of it, I was fed up, frustrated, and ready to just give up.
I finally did something I should have done long ago. I held a meeting, advertised it to the kids for over a week, told them it was mandatory and the most important meeting in school history.
I laid out a point/reward system for them and told them what was required to play football for me in 2013.
First I laid out the fact that attendance was taken daily and I would post it at the end of each week. To play football, at any level in 2013 a player would have to attend 75% of workouts between now and spring ball.
Each player would be given 1 point a day for showing up to our workouts. Any one involved in a spring sport would get 1 point per day as long as they were in that sport. I stay in the weight room until 6:00 every night. So if a baseball or volleyball player gets out at 5:30, they can run down to the weight room and get at least their core lifts in with me. If they do this they get 2 points for the day.
I also declared that every football player who wasn't doing a spring sport was now on the track team. No negotiations, no excuses if you want to play football you are on the track team.
I sat down with the track coach to coordinate our practice structure but basically every OL/DL was now a thrower, every skill player now a runner.
Runners would do track then lift after with me. Throwers would life with me first then go throw or run. He handles all the speed work, I handle all the lifting. You can do all the SAQ work you want, I have never seen kids improve their raw speed and conditioning more than after a full season of running track.
Now that we had a point system, and a minimum percentage of points needed we just needed to really add a level of competition to it.
Our current Junior (going to be senior) class is in my mind selfish and lazy. There has been a lack of leadership in their grade level. To help I picked 6 of these future seniors to be "Captains" of mini teams, and I divided every kid interested in football in to one of these 6 teams. I'm hoping that be forcing these kids into a leadership role they will start to become the leaders we need them to be for the 2013 season. Each of them started a year ago, and talent wise should be our best guys in 2013 they just need the right discipline.
Intrinsic motivation or doing the right thing are not good enough motivators for today's kids, and the kids on my football team. I needed a carrot to dangle to spark their interest in this new football program I am trying to establish so along with the points and small teams I came up with an award system
For the team with the most combined points: Captain gets their home jersey, any cleats they can dream up, spirit pack. The entire team will get a special t shirt that no other person can buy or win.
The captains have a lot of incentive to push their team members to be at practice so they can win their prizes.
I also want the other players to have something to shoot for (other than hitting 75% so they can make the team) so I am buying cleats for the top 2 point scorers in our program.
Our attendance has blossomed, we now have over 60 kids a day at track and workouts, as well as another 5-10 per day who come lift after baseball or volleyball. We are 2 full weeks in to the program right now and the kids have really bought in. The captains are on their teammates for missing (because they want to win) and players really want to show up and earn their points. I have kids asking me 3x a day if they made sure I checked them off for lifting that day because they want to get every point.
Each week I have posted the individual and team point results in our weight room and on my classroom door and they have really gotten in to the competition aspect of it.
I have made it a big point to not only not record excuses of any kind, I do not even listen to them. A few players have given me this excuse or that excuse and I say you gotta do what you gotta do, if you don't hit 75% you are not playing football. Our biggest Rival is Pittsburg HS. So when a kid gives any excuse for something whether at school or at practice I pull my cell phone out, pretend to dial up Pittsburg HS... and repeat the excuse... so I might say something like...
"Hey pitt, Johnny wants to see his GF after school today... can you take it easy on him in November? Please? oh wait... you don't care??? You're still gonna tee off on him? Ok I'll let him know" The no excuses attitude is a major point of emphasis I am trying to push across.
The only thing I am not sure on is when I am going to have the "cut off date" or deadline for when players have to reach a certain point total.
I wasn't sure how this was going to work, and trust me I never really bought in to a point system. I thought it was something for the rich schools and that our kids would go on the same as before but I can't express how big our turn around has been and I feel good about our future as long as we can keep this up.