Note: If some of this sounds like a rant, I don’t really intend it to be. Just thinking out loud…sort of like real bloggers do. :-)
This past weekend I attended the Glazier Clinic in Las Vegas. As always, I really enjoy the chance to sit down and absorb new ideas, or to reinforce the things that I already do. Some of my players have been with me so long (up to 10 years) that they’ve GOT to be bored with some of the drills that I do! So I’m always looking for new ways to teach the same fundamentals, which really haven’t changed.
The thing that struck me this year was how insular we as semi-pro and women's coaches are. You just don't see non-high school or youth coaches there. Why is that? We can't possibly think we know everything, can we? Is it he cost? You can get a staff pass for $300, to go to as many clinics as you want. So a staff of 6 could go to both the Las Vegas and Los Angeles clinics for only $50 a coach. Plus you get access to online clinics as well. We as a group have got to invest in bettering our own skills. I think the difference is that high school guys realize they have to get better in order to survive and I don't think that realization has come to the other levels yet. But if you go up against teams like the Chicago Force or Boston Militia and get beat, don't think it was only due to them having better players than you!
There is more technology out there than you can imagine. Coaches can look up almost anything they need. I would like to definitely recommend X’s and O’s Labs (www.xandolabs.com). Those guys do a great job of getting information and research out to coaches. For only $35 a year (a steal, believe me!) you get the Insider’s access. Although it isn’t a complete system like some sites offer, you get much more variety (although there is an in-depth five part study of Nevada’s Pistol offense) and in all phases of the game. Plus, they seem to be really nice guys.
Almost every coach at the clinic I listened to had a CD or DVD for sale, ranging between $10 and $20. I normally pick up some books from Coaches’ Choice, and this trip was no exception. I also picked up Bill Cubit’s (OC at Illinois) DVD of his Triangle Passing Game because he went over so much information there was no way I could take all the notes necessary.
Coach Dewayne Alexander from Tennessee Tech also had some great stuff. His Rocket Sweep based offense really piqued my interest. I can get you his contact info if you want it.
I also heard Coach Robbie Owens speak, from Grand Junction, CO. He’s got an entire system, called the No Huddle Power Pistol. He’s an outstanding speaker and has things well organized. I really enjoyed listening to him and have followed him on Twitter. He’s got his own website now, www.nohuddlepowerpistol.com.
Here’s the thing, speaking strictly from a women’s team coach perspective: Membership to the website (which does include a lot of info) costs $499.00 for a single coach. If I was still coaching at Fountain Valley High in Orange County, I’d probably be hitting up the head coach and booster club right about now for a membership and not think twice about the cost. Heck, back in the 90’s, their booster club had a $70,000 a year budget, over and above what the school district provided. Women’s and men's teams now are extremely lucky if they have a TOTAL team budget of $70,000.
Coach Owens markets to high school and small college teams. There is a demand for what he does, and he does it well. I wish him much success in his endeavors. But as women’s coaches, that’s not for us. It’s almost completely out of the budget unless it is out of our own pocket.
Now, I’m not against coaches making money – heck, I try and do it too (please see my “What I Do” post from September). But because I realize the finances involved with men's and women’s teams, I try to keep the costs down however possible.
I dunno, maybe I’m just jealous. Enough of the capitalistic rant though – these coaches are outstanding, and their material is good.
Another realization I had this weekend, and maybe some of you have had it too over the years, is that my playbook is getting out of hand. I use Fast Draw (www.fastmodelsports.com) to do my playbooks. It costs $75 per year and I think it is well worth it. It allows multiple teams and seasons, so you can see what you’ve run over the years and how you’ve changed things up. I think you get a two week free trial, so check it out.
Right now, my playbooks span three different teams (two men’s, one women’s) and six different seasons. I started out with a set of terminology that I picked up from Dan Tovar in 2007. That got mixed in with a lot of Surge terminology, and then further modified by the men’s teams, so going back and forth from men’s teams to women’s teams kept me on my mental toes. It is time to do an off-season cleanse!
I think that my use of one word play names (with possible tags) is too limiting, and it may be too telling to the defense when using tempo. I’m going to go back almost full circle and re-incorporate Fountain Valley High’s terminology that came from Homer Smith when he was at UCLA. Still utterly brilliant. So it’ll be a mix of numbers and words and the next time I’m in charge of an offense, especially with multiple teams, it’ll be one unified set of terms. I imagine that this will be the biggest, most complete playbook I’ve ever done. I’m looking forward to the project, which will start August 10th!
Coach Owens also talked about cadence and tempo and how to meld the terms into each other, so I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’ll sound like, I just have to write it all down. Maybe at some point I can customize it for other teams and get my own little capitalistic enterprise going!
This weekend, the Surge will be in El Centro for our annual weekend mini-camp. I’ll have some thoughts on that for next week. Gotta remember not to tell too many secrets though – the season is drawing near!