What makes a great football program?

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What makes a great football program?

Postby Rivershark » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:26 am

Other than talented athletes, what are some of the key factors that make a great football program? You see many of the same programs year after year having competative teams. Here are some factors:
Youth programs
Facilities - weight rooms
Coaching staff
School Administration
Athletic Boosters
Off season programs
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Re: What makes a great football program?

Postby madseason » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:59 am

Participation is the #1 factor IMO. I think the youth programs have done a great job at getting kids into football, teaching them how to hit safely. Winning also tends to get more kids playing football. It also seems like towns with Wrestling programs also have very good football programs. Hockey players (when they go out for football) are usually very good football players. Coaching also plays a huge part.
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Re: What makes a great football program?

Postby RattlerWebWonk » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:29 pm

Simply stated, it's the culture of the program. You can spot the programs that understand the culture of winning, not by their yearly wins and losses, but by the teams that compete at or near their maximum potential each year.

Let's face it, the talent of the kids and the competency of the coach goes a long way. A recent example of this might be the Cavalier 9-man team. The past few years they have had a plethora of high-talent athletes which enabled them to completely dominate everyone in the 9-man ranks. But, what happens over the course of the next 2 to 3 years will determine the greatness of their program. Can they sustain their above-average play/results? Will the community continue to ardently support them, even if they have one losing season? Will the kids continue to work hard in the off-season if they have a losing season or two? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it would be safe to assume they have a great program.

The culture starts in the community; in the homes of the athletes. Too often I see programs being ripped apart because of backbiting and second-guessing by the parents. The team suffers a loss or two and all of a sudden you've got parents in the background griping because "they should be passing more" or "so-and-so should get the ball more" or "kids shouldn't have to work out so much in the off-season" or a million other reasons to complain. This negativity that is fostered at home...and heard by the athletes...will do more to tear down a potentially great program than anything.

An example of how a positive/supportive community environment can create a great program is with the Carrington wrestling program. I've been attending youth wrestling events for over a decade. Go to one and chances are you'll see a crap-ton of Carrington kids competing. What you will ALSO see is the parents of these kids, who understand that sometimes you need to get your @$$ handed to you on the mat in order to improve. They have faith in their coaches to teach their kids what they need to know so when they get to the high school level they are ready to win. Sure, Carrington went 20 years between state championships, but every year in between they had been competitive. To me, that's what makes a great program; not a snapshot of wins and losses or state titles.

This is more than 2 cents worth, but this question is bandied about so frequently that I wanted to try to state my opinion clearly.
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Re: What makes a great football program?

Postby The Schwab » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:37 pm

One of the better posts I've read on this site, Good Work!
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Re: What makes a great football program?

Postby Hinsa » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:06 pm

Great post RattlerWW. What you write could be applied to any sport, any program, especially about youth participation and learning. If you don't teach them skills early, they fall behind, get their butts handed to them, and they lose interest. All of a sudden you don't have the numbers you need at the varsity level nor the skills and a losing culture sets in and kids quit.

You could make a case that the most important coaches in a program are the elementary coaches.
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Re: What makes a great football program?

Postby RattlerWebWonk » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:02 pm

You could make a case that the most important coaches in a program are the elementary coaches.

Couldn't agree more, Hinsa. Having quality instruction at the elementary level not only builds a foundation for the kids to develop, it also sets a standard of expectation for the parents.

As my kids have grown, I have coached a variety of their elementary/rec teams (baseball, basketball, football and soccer). I'm not saying it never happens, but I have never understood why the high school coaches do not make a point of speaking with the coaches of the youth teams. At the very least, let the elementary coaches know what fundamentals...proper blocking and tackling techniques, etc...you would like the kids to learn and how to teach it so they are prepared for the next level of development, i.e. middle school. For the record, I do NOT believe the double and triple reverse is a platform from which to develop a successful offense. But go to some of these rec football games and that's what you'll see. Why would the high school coaches not take a vested interest in what the kids are learning at these early stages of their development? After all, their livelihood may depend on how these kids perform when they get to high school.
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Re: What makes a great football program?

Postby ndfbfan70 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:32 pm

I agree with Ratter in everything he says but I think he is missing just one thing,

The kids taking ownership in the program they are in be it football basketball etc...When you give kids ownership in a program the game becomes less about wins and losses and more about culture. You take young boys and teach them to be men. Not the set clear consistent boundries create an attitude of respect and accountability, winning becomes a by product of your culture.

I have been coaching various sports for close to 20 years, my philosophy used to be the game and the win were the most important thing in the world, but what i have learned over the years is to kids it is not. The most important thing is the bond between teammates and the lifelong friendships you create by playing sports. If you can get the kids to to truly love one another they will fight with their last ounce of strength for their team. This in turn will create a by product of winning.

Love this topic by the way, could talk about it all day.
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