Neeley and I have both gotten a lot of questions about how to develop a team since we started IB. I finally have some productive thoughts on college coaching that I thought I’d share (I guess I could have posted this earlier, but I didn’t want to distract for the coverage of Club Nats). Remember, these are all from the perspective of a coach, but it can also apply to a team captain.
- At the beginning of the season, identify what O and D structures your team is going to implement. After doing so, you can develop a road map for how to implement these structures.
- It is important for the coach to keep explanations simple. When you’re building towards your eventual structure, don’t get bogged down in explaining exceptions to the group. If a question is asked about an exception, I find it best to say that we we will get to that point in time and talk to the individual after the huddle
- Make sure you continually identify what the focus is for each practice/drill/scrimmage/game.
- When playing in the fall, make sure your team has an O and D focus for each half of each game. After the half talk in the huddle about how your team did with the particular focus. Build on it in the next half. Make sure you limit talk in the huddle to talk about what your team’s focus was and will be.
- Put young players in a position where they will have success doing little things. Once they’ve done something correctly (pivoting for a swing even if it isn’t there, facing the mark, turing their hips and shoulders to the dump when looking at the dump), tell them they did it right, and tell them to keep doing it.
- Allow players to play different rolls so you can see what you potentially have, and so you can see how they will respond to being asked to do more.
- Make sure your returners demonstrate good ultimate to the new guys. Don’t let people get away with bad habits like throwing hucks after receiving a dump (unless it was a bounce (dish?) or an up-line cut) or not looking swing. Don’t celebrate guys making decisions that are outside of the O, and don’t celebrate poach Ds if it’s not within the focus of your D.
Not exactly revolutionary stuff, but it’s important to think small and simple. You can’t teach everything at once, and you want your team to be constantly improving and to not burn out early. There is lots of simple stuff that I left out, any other suggestions for team building in the fall?