1. Player 1 under performing on field...old school way = bench him, mentor = find out his mom had a nervous breakdown and is no longer living with him. Once he shares that with coach and lets it out, he comes out of that weeks game with best grade amongst linebackers.
2. Player 2 has all of the physical skills but lacks the confidence and explosion to finish plays. Old school way = bench him, mentor= find out he grew up in a house where mom and dad constantly yell at each other and get divorced, to this day they continue to yell and scream in front of kids when they are together. Player says when a coach hollers at him for a mistake or constructive criticism he hears his dad screaming at him. We change our approach with coaching him up and lo and behold the kids level of play rises immediately.
3. Player 3 runs the ball like a pro but does not run or pass block. This was and still is a tough one to crack, but have found this stems from an abusive dad who has criticized him to no end since youth ball. Thus, any coaching he receives he shuts down as he does not want to hear even kind and constructive coaching. Making progress because of mentoring, but old school methods put him on bench too.
Sacrificed time tweaking my game plan to spend it more with players one on one. Ended up having a great, great practice yesterday. If you think it's about the x's and o's you are wrong.
By Tim Racki
Head Football Coach, Nazareth High School
LaGrange Park, IL