One of my 'holy grail' quest as a head coach over the years is to find a post-season review system. I don't have any statistics to back this up, but I would put down money that most programs simply move into the off-season and don't know much other than basic stats from the season that just ended.
This season was bitter-sweet for us at North Forney. We finished 7-3, won the last four games but didn't qualify for the playoffs. We couldn't just move on; we had to find out what happened. We rolled our sleeves up and broke down the season with a 'Well - Better - System to Fix' method of review. Each coordinator and unit coach will present what we did well, what we need to do better next year, and systems we need to add to make it happen. I did not give the coaches a 'hard, fast' rule of how to do their presentations other than they must include data! No one gets better by saying, "we were pretty good at inside zone, or our pass protection this year was solid." As much as possible, all findings had to be based on data.
Here is how the system works: Each coach presents a general overall review of the season to the entire staff. Once these presentations are complete, each coach on staff (doesn't matter what he coaches) will not only have a turn to give input and ideas for improvement but is encouraged to do so. If we are going to be a unified staff, all of us must help fix what needs to get better. We have had tremendous, thoughtful discussion from coaches from both sides of the ball.
I started us off on day 1 with a breakdown of our culture (used as much data as I could). Not only because it is our #1 pillar of what base everything on, but I wanted to show our coaches what I was looking for when they presented.
Statistics on culture was not the simplest task, but here is how I tackled it:
· discipline issues in the classroom
· discipline issues in the program
· are there any players we didn't enjoy coaching?
· 'spin the wheel' discipline system
· summer workouts,
· locker room cleanliness
· fund-raiser (card sales)
· 'dawg of the day' practice award system
· uniform issues during practice/games
· lost three in a row midseason / won our last four games
· team survey following the season
My biggest fear is we will talk the talk on culture but not back it up. We cannot be a fraud in any way when it comes to our daily fist-fight of 'everything matters' in our program. As you can see from the list above, getting data on each of these areas was not possible. But, there was some data available (attendance, penalty yards, etc.), and we had an excellent discussion for two days on our overall culture.
Next, our special teams coordinator, Eric Luster, broke down each phase in the kicking game. With the 'well - better - system to fix' method, we not only heard how many yards we gave up on a specific phrase, but why some of it was good, what wasn't, and how we are going to fix it.
For example: kick-off coverage. We allowed 22 yards per deep kick-off but gave up two 'big' returns. Coach Luster presented his ideas to fix, but each coach also gave input. The entire time I am taking notes, so we will have them go over before spring ball and again next fall.
The last thing we do after each presentation is to make a list of 'take-homes.' Take homes are the 'system to fix' ideas from the coordinator/unit coach and any other thought or idea we will want to go over again in the future.
Some of our 'take homes' from our kicking game discussion were:
-more meetings on kicking game for entire staff-all should know each phase
-get back up reps in practice
-make it as important as 'ball down' (team setting)
-identify special teams "guys"
-Sunday special team talk as a staff
-Friday nights - freshman staff each have a unit
You can learn more about our 'Well - Better - System to Fix' method of post-season review in our bank of coaching resources. It will include each criteria each coach broke down in his presentation.
There are winners and learners, so don't waste the lesson once the season is over.
Elite programs connect the dots by looking backward!