With the fall football season now behind us, you've probably spent some time analyzing your team's successes as well as the areas that need improvement. Whether it's how your players developed, how your playbook fared in competition, or how your coaching philosophy impacted your team, it's always useful to reflect on past experiences and look for ways to improve. But where do you go from there?
You could scour the internet and find plenty of resources that might be useful to you, but it's easy to get overwhelmed and can often become counterproductive. So, many coaches look to learn from other coaches, particularly those who have had continued success and are viewed as leaders in the coaching world. And the best way to gain access to these coaches is to attend one of the many Coach Clinics that are held in the off-season.
You may be a clinic veteran and already have a game plan going into this year's clinics, but for those who are unsure what they'll gain from these events, let's take a look at four key benefits you can expect.
SCHEMES AND CONCEPTS
Established coaches with successful careers often gravitate to specific schemes and concepts that have withstood the test of time. They may have experimented with various approaches, but talk to one of these coaches and you'll likely hear a good argument for why they implement the schemes they use.
Oftentimes, decisions are made based on the team's personnel or the schemes they run up against in their region, so understanding when and where these concepts work can be extremely valuable. You may find that just one element within a scheme could apply to your situation, or you may stumble upon the golden ticket to stopping that powerhouse team you encounter each year.
To give you a taste of the types of schemes and concepts discussed at these events, here are a few samples from upcoming clinics: Flexbone Off: Play-Action Pass Within the Option Series, 4-2-5 Defensive Scheme: Coverage, Gap Run Schemes Within a Multiple Spread Offense.
So whether you're looking for tips to add to your current scheme or want to consider changing schemes altogether, these clinics offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise from proven coaches.
PLAYER TRAINING TECHNIQUES
Running an efficient practice can make the difference between building a championship program and simply keeping the program afloat. The coaches who have refined their process, from pre-practice planning to communication and execution of their plan, are able to get the most out of their players over the course of a season. Field time is a premium so making the most of it is critical to developing your athletes.
Training involves a variety of activities and the topics covered at most Coach Clinics will touch on all aspects of player training. From the weight room, to the media room, to the practice field, there are numerous opportunities to develop your players' physical and mental abilities.
Some coach sessions cover plans to be used for an entire team while some get into the specific details of how to develop players by position. So whether you're a head coach or a position coach, you'll likely find some new ideas that could enhance your player development next season.
EXPAND YOUR TOOLKIT
The resources available to today's coaches is nothing like we've ever seen before. Each year, new tools and technology are introduced giving coaches the information they need to manage their program effectively.
The programs that adopt these tools and implement them into their process often see their player development accelerate while also making the lives of their coaches easier. The types of tools available range from basic team communication to deep-dive data analysis that provide invaluable insight to coaches and players.
Anyone can do a quick search of what tools are out there, but wouldn't it be great if you could hear real-life examples of how to use them and what you'll gain? Coaches love to talk about how they're leveraging technology to get an advantage on their opponents so don't miss the opportunity to learn from their experiences.
GROW THE GAME
If you spend enough time around today's football community, you'll hear one consistent message: We need to continue to grow the game. Football provides so much to so many people in various ways that it's become an important part of many communities. Ask a veteran player what they've gained from playing football and their answer often focuses on life lessons.
Bringing coaches together at these clinics allows for tremendous opportunity to discuss how others are growing their programs. You'll hear what challenges they've faced and what they're doing to address them, and more than likely you'll find it relates to your world as well.
Additionally, the time spent outside of the clinic sessions where coaches can network and connect with old friends builds the energy around football and creates more momentum leading up to next season.
So if you're still considering whether it's worth attending any Coach Clinics this offseason, take a moment to think about what you'd hope to gain from it. These events provide more than just a breakdown of X's and O's, and are valuable to sustaining and growing the game of football.
If you are planning to attend any clinics, give some love to the vendors and walk through the exhibitor hall. And be on the lookout for the SMASH Routes tent - we love to talk to coaches and may just have what you need to expand your toolkit.
To learn more about SMASH Routes and how teams are using our game to develop their players and coaches, while connecting team parents, check out our website and download the game today for FREE to try it out!