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Steve Jobs’ Presenting Lessons For Football Coaches

What Steve Jobs’ Tips for Presenting for Football Coaches Would Probably Be

Steve Jobs was a terrific presenter. If you don’t know this, go watch a youtube video on the iPad, iPhone, or Youtube launch. Steve Jobs is a terrific presenter and understands that you don’t need to present “What” to the audience, but “why”, which is something us football coaches talk about often but never seem to have the time for. Steve Job’s presentation skills, as mentioned at a great marketing blog called Kissmetrics, were unique because he followed best practices that we as coaches and teachers should be using. I will discuss I think he would tell us as a keynote speaker at a clinic speaking about presenting.

Inform the Players on the Structure

When you walk into the meeting room, or if you only work on the practice field, tell your kids up front what you’re going to be working on. For instance, for a defensive meeting, if it’s in the class room, tell them you’re going to discuss opponents offensive 3 best plays, their 3 best players, and how you’re going to attack them. By letting the football players know right away that you’re going to cover three specific subjects, it can get them in the right frame of mind and build anticipation.

As you navigate your talk, never spend more then 10 minutes on a specific subject. Also, never cover more than 3 or 4 items in a given meeting. In our example, we have only 3. Building more than that makes the meeting complex and it will likely be difficult for you to even stay on subject.

Build in Breaks

As you navigate your meeting, build in your breaks (the space between one of those 3-4 parts). Even a one minute break can help the audience. Maybe you give away a “Player of the Week” award. Maybe it’s a funny highlight from the previous week that magically snuck its way into your film.

Another note on film real quick, if you edit it right, you can probably fit a lot of solid clips, aka show the formation before the play for only 1 and a half seconds before the play (unless there is motion or something). This wasted time would be something Steve Jobs would hate, along with the players. But back to the breaks, Steve Jobs always has something to help the audience re-energize. These unique breaks do that.

Football Coaches need to Create the “Why”

Steve Jobs never ever says that the ipod has 16 gigabytes. He ignores the technomumbo jumbo. Instead he says, we’re going to give you 1,000 songs … in your pocket. That’s the difference we as football coaches need to make. I’m very guilty of this, but we tend to get caught up in the technomumbo jumbo, things as simple to us as “3 technique”, “EMOLOS”, or even “line of scrimmage” can be difficult for new people to football! Instead, keep it simple. Then build in the why. “This play is great because they get to the outside quickly”, or “This Play-Action Pass works because the QB really sells the fake hand-off”.

Avoid things like “The way the tight end attacks the defensive end is by using a hand placement on the outside number”. A kid in a meeting room doesn’t need to know that right now, cover that in practice when you work on defeating that block. Also, Steve Jobs wouldn’t say, “They Run Outside Zone 48% of the time to the field”. He would say “They’re favorite play is outside zone because they can get they’re best player in space” That 48% doesn’t matter to the kids. To the field may not matter either. Instead, what matters is they run outside, and to the open area (the space).

Our kids are not doing statistical analysis on the field. However, helping them understand WHY they run a certain football play will help in the game. This why is imporant so often in coaching, and when we use it we make it too difficult. It can and should be rather simple to process.

Tell A Story

You’ve shown your kids their top 3 plays and why they work. You’ve shown them who their best athletes are and why they are successful. Now tell them how you will defeat all those things. Build the story of how they will be successful on Friday or Saturday (or… Sunday Mr. NFL assistant coach who I hope reads this blog!). Don’t just talk about the schemes. Tell them about how you matchup.

For instance, “When they run outside, Smith, our defensive end, is going to get that tight end in the backfield and our Turner, our safety, is going to wipe out the tailback!” … now the scheme behind that is for the practice field as well. Smith maybe the defensive end who stretches the play out for the cover 4 safety who is the force player to make a tackle in space. But the kids, in the meeting, don’t need that detail as much. Maybe you draw it up, but saying it won’t always stick. Maybe for one or two examples, but not all of your opponent’s plays. Also, your kids may be able to figure out that part on their own as you go because (hopefully!) you run a similar scheme from week to week and the kids understand what you try to do. Back to our story. By using the kids names, now we have some HEREOS! Notice how I discussed the person who makes the tackle happen, aka the role player. He knows he is just as important than the tackler, or maybe even more so because I mentioned him first.

Steve Jobs On the Football Practice Field

These lessons can be applied on the practice field as well. Maybe you start by explaing the plan for your individual practice, and tell them why they need to get better and how it will be useful in the game. That way the kid knows what the point of that drill is and when to use that technique you just spent 15 minutes of individual time insisting for.

Steve Jobs’ best practices still apply, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun between sessions. Take the chance to get to know the players, ask them questions, make fun of them a little bit, or do a quick competition or something. Don’t always just use a “water break”. You need to be human, but at the same time, you need to be the human that leads the conversation and the direction.

Conclusion on Steve Job’s Tips for Football Coaches

Don’t be scared to be a human being when presenting. Don’t be a robot spewing technical crap. The meetings need to have direction and it’s important for the athletes to know that direction is and WHY (most important aspect) we are doing it.