What’s your favorite time of the year, Christmas or clinic season?
Well, maybe not for all of us coaches, and it widely depends on the clinic and what you are looking for in your own growth as a coach. Personally, I find clinic’s very interesting no matter what, unless you’re listening to a guy speak completely about his career for 30 minutes (like a certain Tennessee Titans offensive assistant).
Overall though, you can learn something from almost any coach. It could be something you are very excited to try out … or something you will store away and make sure you never ever use because it’s not so good. Either way, clinic’s can be valuable resources.
Stay Sober Enough to Wake Up the Next Morning
As my first header indicates, many coaches treat clinic season as a time to get hammered for free, get some wings at Hooters, and wake up at noon. I’m guilty, I’ve done that. However, I won’t make the mistake again. Some coaches tell me that it’s not worth getting up for the unknown coaches. I, on the other hand, love listening to the lesser known coaches . They provide me with valuable information and a level of detail I usually need. This isn’t to say big name coaches are not good. Coach Vanderlinden, Penn State’s linebacker coach, is a great example of a big time coach who is very detail oriented. Regardless of what happens, make sure you are coherent enough in the morning to the clinic talks. You can have a good time the night before, but you also need to focus. Remember, this is a learning opportunity that you can use to not only grow as a coach, but how you can help your fellow coaches and players grow.
How to take notes
I highly suggest creating a detailed outline and diagrams. This is useful for presenting your notes to your staff and also obviously for you own record keeping purposes. However, every coach is different. One of the best tips I can suggest is printing out some sheets with a predrawn offensive line on them. Unless you are going to a football coaching clinic where they have speakers talking about unbalanced offensive line’s, I recommend this stragey. By doing this, you will not only save yourself time buy you will be able to listen more to the details as the coach diagrams the plays or shows video.
Pre-Football Coaching Clinic Research
Make sure you research the speakers before hand. Look at their background. When I coached in Indiana, our head coach had me watch a “spread running game” clinic. Of coarse, it wasn’t the spread you think of today. It was a variation of the wing-t and flexbone. By doing your research on the coach’s background before arriving, you will save youself some trouble.
Review Your Football Coaching Clinic Notes
Probably the best tip I can give you is to review your clinic notes from last year. Make sure you go to new subject areas and also visit places that can provide you with new information. Don’t always listen to speakers on the same topic.
Also, reviewing your notes obviously can bring around good ideas you may have forgotten about. Trust me, I have forgotten some amazing drills when I go back and look at my notes.
Network With Other Football Coaches
Bring several business cards and a resume. Talk with nearby coaches as you wait for a clinic speaker to talk. Ask for his card. Often, he will ask for yours in return. You never know what can happen in the future. If you have a personal blog, make sure you put it on there. This is a good opportunity to showcase your talent to other coaches. It’s not being cocky, it’s marketing yourself.
Yes, I said do not party too hard. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Make sure you have some wings and throw back a few beers with your coaching staff. If you get a headache in the middle of a coaching session, go get some fresh air. Try to have fuun and stay refreshed throughout the process.