Friday, July 30, 2010

Leadership Development Part 1

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“Attitude reflects leadership, Captain” – Julius Campbell in Remember the Titans

As the summer winds down, and we are all anticipating the start of the football season, I was thinking what would be an appropriate topic before the beginning of the 2010 season. In previous seasons, we have been busy teaching and coaching our players to give all of their effort on every play. Although, there are times in the steaming hot dog days of August that these words fall on deaf ears. I have learned that coaches can be blocked out, but a strong leader’s message is always heard. Along with blocking and tackling, leadership is one of the most important aspects in the game of football.

I am currently implementing a leadership program based off of Pat Fitzgerald’s Leadership Council that he uses at Northwestern. I personally, feel that not many college coaches get more out of their players than Coach Fitzgerald, and I have the utmost respect for him. He credits his success to his leadership council, and I also credit our team’s success to our leaders.

Our leadership program is known as “Huddle Groups” and each huddle group has a designated leader. The program is based on teaching our young men to become leaders on and off the football field.. As a coach, I meet with our huddle group leaders on a bi-weekly basis during the off-season and a weekly basis during the season. Below are the objectives and reasons why I use huddle groups.

Huddle groups objectives

• To earn an education
• To prepare for life after football
• To set goals
• To develop lifelong friendships and bonds as teammates
• To be a Champion

Huddle groups are used for the following

• Building our TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More)
• Creating Leadership opportunities
• Create lifelong friendships
• Foster competitive nature
• Attitude development
• Accountability
• Inclusion of all athletes no matter their ability or skills
• Attendance
• Off Season Strength and Agility
• Improve Effort
• Reach Goals and Objectives

Through my experience with huddle groups, and its’ leaders, the greatest asset is the sense of ownership in their team. As the leaders take ownership and pride in their team, there is a trickle down effect, and each member of the huddle group increases their ownership and pride in their team as well. Additionally, huddle group members look to their leaders for leadership on the field during practice, games, and when a player is having personal hardships.

This is a basic overview of the leadership development program that I am currently using at the high school level. In the upcoming blog posts, I plan to go into further detail on how the leadership development meetings are run and among many other topics.

Also, there is a lot of great literature written about leadership and football specifically. The following two are great reads on leadership and football:

The Winners Manual by Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel

Tressel, Jim, and Chris Fabry. The Winners Manual: for the Game of Life. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2008. Print.


How Good Do You Want To Be? By Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban

Saban, Nick, and Brian Curtis. How Good Do You Want to Be?: a Champion's Tips on How to Lead and Succeed at Work and in Life. New York: Ballantine, 2007. Print.

NFL Training camps are starting up, football season is upon us, work with your players to develop them into leaders and it will turn into success on and off the field. And remember….. Attitude reflects leadership!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1st Blog

I have started this blog to contribute to high school football, and specifically, which I recommend that everyone visit for great football information.

I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the best coaches throughout my playing and coaching career. These hall of fame head coaches and assistant coaches have impacted my life, and 1,000s of student athletes. These coaches’ taught me many lessons on life and the game of football have helped shape the man I have become today. Their teachings are embedded into coaching style on a daily basis. For this, I am forever grateful.

On a personal note, I am currently a varsity defensive coordinator at the high school level in the state of Illinois. I was lucky enough to marry a wonderful football wife, who is as supportive and caring as any woman can be. I also welcomed my first son into the world in March.

As you read this blog, I hope to simplify select series of playbooks, philosophies, and teachings of the greatest team sport.

See you soon,

Coach Silent H