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Best HS Football Traditions

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by bakahump, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. bakahump

    bakahump Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I am part of a youth program. Recently the Czar of our youth (and MS) program was (finally) hired as the head coach of our HS team.
    Despite a lot of success at the youth/MS level our HS team has always struggled. 0 for seasons were common with total points around the 20s for the season (while allowing 100s+). Alot of reasons but some of the main reasons is lack of stability (5 or so Head coaches over the last 10-15 years), little coordination with youth and MS programs, A plethora of sports within the HS and poor performance and history, so football often didnt get the "best athletes".

    All that said we are really excited about the "new Start" with this "new" Coach. He knows the kids, the program 2-12 and the Community. One of the things he wants to do (as he has done in Youth) is implement some new "Traditions"at the HS level. Intro music. Pregame. Halftime. Etc etc.
    Right now we have none of consequence.

    Obviously some youth traditions don't translate well which is why he is asking.
    He has asked us for suggestions.
    What are some of the Best "Traditions" you have seen? If you were "building a program from the bottom up" what would you institute? Theme song suggestions?

    Ironically enough we are "the Patriots".
  2. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

    I wouldn't institute anything. The better traditions develop organically. Focus on developing players and winning. The traditions will come after winning.
  3. Was (Not Wasdin)

    Was (Not Wasdin) family crest has godzilla SoSH Member

    Get the parents involved. At my son's HS, the parents of the captains have a lot of responsibility-communicating info to the parents about schedules, fund raising, pre-season get togethers, weekly team dinners in season (all teams, not just varsity), year end event...it is important to get parent buy in to build support for the team on a year over year basis.
  4. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

    -Come up with a set of core values you want your team to play and live by. High school football saved a lot of my teammates from their lives going the opposite direction because of the discipline and commitment that the sport organically requires to be successful. Use those values and make a slogan out of it. Use it in every lift, every meeting, every drill in practice, and every play in a game.

    -Theme songs don't resonate as much as having core values to use as the foundation and building blocks of a program.

    -Come up with a set of rules or standards that kids have to live up to. That could be academically, character standards off the field, and of course the standards you expect from them on the field.

    -If you want continuity, start running the offense and defenses you want to implement at the middle school level. That way everyone starts to learn the calls and the nuances of what you expect at the high school level.

    -Don't take any bullshit from the parents. You want their support of course, but don't let them get away with complaints about playing time, etc. Let them know up front that the coaching staff is in the position to dictate the best options for the football team. Obviously open up a line of communication that is healthy but parents bitching is the worst thing that can happen. This is the ultimate team sport and individualism should not be tolerated.

    -One tradition at my high school that I loved was that we had a bonfire the night before our rivalry game. We had team dinners every week at our assistant coach's restaurant, but this bonfire was in the woods at a teammate's house. Each senior was given the floor to describe what the program meant to them. It usually got pretty emotional especially with the kids who came from tough family situations and that football turned them around.
  5. grsharky7

    grsharky7 Member SoSH Member

    I always like the Thursday night team dinner before home games. It was a held at lodge that a prominent community member let the team use free of charge. The team parents provided the food and drink and it was a great team building event. The players and coaches loved it as it provided a relaxing atmosphere before the next night's game.

    I was an assistant for 6 years and one of my favorite things was hanging out in the coach's office after the game. All of us would sit in there and talk about the game in relaxed fashion. It was a bonding experience with each other and was a great way to unwind with each other. Obviously this is not a "tradition" but it was something we all loved and looked forward to.

    As was stated above, don't create a "tradition" just to make one up, it needs to happen organically. I hate when teams do something just to do it.

    As far as building a program you need to start from the ground floor. It sounds like you have a good feeder program, now that needs to translate to the high school level.

    -Consistency is key. Try to keep the staff together as long as possible. When you have high turnover among assistants it can stunt the program. Also have define roles for each assistant. If everyone knows their role it cuts down on wasted time and energy.

    -Well run offseason program. You need to get the kids in the weight room during the offseason. We created teams and came up with a scoring system for workouts. This kept kids accountable and sparked a lot of competition. 7 on 7 tournaments are another great way to keep kids involved in the summer. If your kids are already in shape at the start of camp, you spend less time conditioning and more time working on the actual game.

    -You don't have to run the same offenses and defenses at the lower levels, but certain things you can mainline through the program. Formation names, defensive calls, pregame routines, huddle formations, numbering systems, etc. In high school you don't draft or recruit so you have to change to accommodate the type of players you have. We never had a base defense or offense as a program. We won running a spread, power, and being a pass heavy team depending on the year. You have to be flexible and run what will give you the best chance of success. I saw a lot of teams who would run schemes that didn't fit their personal and it rarely worked. Our big rival had a massive line and big backs but they tried to run everything outside and off tackle. Well it didn't work, but if they had run downhill with power and iso they would've been unstoppable.

    -Easier said then done but winning will create a culture. Once you start to have success it will bring out more and more kids who might not have played if the team was losing. We went from 35-40 kids on the varsity roster too close to 65-70.
    #5 grsharky7, Jul 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  6. bakahump

    bakahump Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Agree with everything you guys say. And its one of the reasons I was/am a supporter of the New Coach as a Candidate.

    And yea we are really looking forward to some winning. 2 years ago we went 3-4 our best season ever (losing in the opening round of the playoffs) and you would have thought that the team was in the undefeated and in the SB. Problem was the old regime was short sighted and using us as a stepping stone. (which he told them when he was hired). Unfortunately 3 years ago we had little choice and had to take a candidate we knew was only gaining exp. He of course was looking to maximize the resume. So he played 11 Srs either up by 10 or down by 20. No development of the "2nd team". That led to kids quitting which led to having low numbers in the subsequent years where he was forced to use soph and freshman as starters. With underclassman on the Varsity team we didnt have a jv/frosh team which intimidated even more upcoming underclassmen into quitting which perpetuated the cycle.

    New coach is tied into youth (coached all these kids) so the 8th graders coming up (and 9th graders who quit) are playing/coming back. Many 10th and 11th played for him as younger kids and even some of them are coming back after a 1 or 2 year hiatus.
    He also lives in town (as opposed to the previous 5 or so coaches), goes to almost every youth/MS game etc etc. He is leaning on many of the more experienced youth coaches to help round out his staff so there may be a learning curve but We are excited.
  7. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

    If I were building a program - I'd start with positive coaching.
    Focus on the things here and winning will take care of itself.
  8. canderson

    canderson Fomenting voting confusion and angst since 2016 Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Winning will create them.

    But until that happens after each week perhaps pick out the kid that worked the hardest in practice had reward them with jersey #1. No one else gets it but that kid, regardless if he is a good player or not. It's got to based on max effort. We did this in my Texas footbal-obsessed town and it still goes on 25 (Jesus Christ I'm old) years after pee-wee football.

    In HS always held hands through out tunnel, started sprinting at the goal line and met up in the opposite end zone in a giant mass of noise. Those runs and huddles still bring back memories.
  9. grsharky7

    grsharky7 Member SoSH Member

    One thing I forgot to add above is don't worry about wins and losses before the varsity level. It is always great to win, no doubt. The successful programs use the lower levels to develop fundamentals and experience. I have seen a lot of great junior high teams that didn't do anything at the varsity level. One of the biggest reasons is the coaches would put kids at positions they shouldn't have been at, think a future varsity lineman playing running back in junior high because he was a big kid. They do that so they can win games, but that kid will never play there as he gets older.

    Get as many kids game experience as possible, this keeps kids in the system and lets gain playing time.

    Our seniors during the 2013 season didn't win a game their 8th grade year (0-8-1). When they finished their senior year they were the winningest class in school history at that time (38 wins).

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