Be Fearless

Be fearless.
Make mistakes.
Fail, fail, and fail.
Get up and try again, only better.

Be fearless.
Like when you were a kid.
And had the tiger by the tail.
Take the chance.

Be fearless
Have dreams.
Throw them out there.
Chase them down.

Be fearless
Create your best.
Imagine your finest.
Make your world a better place.

Be fearless.
Live to your dream.
Give until empty.
The world needs it.

Young Super Hero Standing on Laundry Machines

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Coach Hays Rant: Not A Fan

“I’m not going to play this spring (or winter)(or summer) because I’m gonna lift.”

This phrase, when spoken from a high school athlete makes me cringe. I know what it means, I’ve been there. I used this excuse myself as a senior in high school and didn’t go out for wrestling. Here is the interpretation that enters my brain through the coach translation area of my cerebral cortex when I hear that phrase from a high school kid.

I don’t want to play __________ because I really don’t want to work that hard.

95% of the kids I’ve heard the “I’m going to lift” mantra from fail at this goal miserably. Sure, they show up in the weight room, but very little work gets done.

Rings

I admit I’m not a fan of the recent rise in the high school sport of powerlifting. Sure, it’s all pretty cool, but is it doing justice to our athletes? Are we pushing kids into powerlifting participation (even though it’s not a sanctioned competitive sport by the state athletic association) at the expense of other sports they could, and should, be participating in? Is powerlifting becoming the focus over the actual sports a high school offers?

Truth is you get better at sports by playing sports. The training component is vital, but it is still just a component. Playing multiple sports gives one an edge in physicality, in conditioning, and in competitiveness, which is such an important component, yet so overlooked. Give me eleven young, high school men who know how to compete and I will knock the mother-loving socks off your 300 lb. bench pressers who spend 8 months of their year lifting.

Plate

Explosive power development requires speed, agility, quickness, and strength. That strength is a certain type of strength—an explosive strength derived from a specific technical approach. Like I’ve said many times before, I want to develop bullets rather than bowling balls. Powerlifting as the primary focus does not build athletes. Period.

Moral of the story…play a sport whenever you can. It is the best “big picture” thing you can do. Don’t get stuck on the one particular tree and forget all about the forest.

  • The first step is to compete.
  • The second step is to practice with an approach to improve.
  • The third step is to attack a well-rounded physical training program to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • The fourth step…enjoy the ride.
  • The fifth step is to repeat steps one through four as often as possible.

Time is precious. Make the most of every tick of the clock and work to be the best you that you can be.

Hard work is the magic.

Rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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Pitchers and Catchers

“Put me in coach. I’m ready to play.” – Centerfield by John Fogerty

Pitchers and catchers.

This is a magic phrase for an old baseball soul. The phrase “pitchers and catchers” uttered through weather-chapped lips tosses fuel on our ever-shrinking flicker of summer hope, which has struggled to survive the cold, dark times of winter, to become a flame once again. Baseball season has officially begun.

I can feel it. Spring is on the horizon. Baseball is coming. The past month, the weather has been rough. I know it’s winter. I know it’s Kansas. But, seriously, single digit temperatures? With below zero windchills? And an obnoxiously mediocre amount of snow which does nothing positive except make life more miserable.

But, we had a a few highly uncommon, 50-degree January days recently and the grip of Winter on our hearts and our souls is loosed. The local baseball folks have emerged on perfect cue from forced hibernation with a series of text messages, phone calls, and meetings being scheduled on the upcoming baseball season.

It’s almost time. The official Town Crier of Spring, dressed in his regal best, stands tall and proud and proclaims the battle cry throughout the land, “Pitchers and catchers!”

Put me in coach. I AM ready to play.

HomePlate0115

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Hurry-Up Defense

I think I heard the on the radio the other morning, that in the College Football Playoff Semifinal game between Oregon and Florida State, the high-speed offense of Oregon averaged around 11 seconds between plays when the game was still competitive. That’s fast. The sports radio talk show hosts then reported when the Ducks built a big lead and went into a slow-down, time-killing mode, they averaged about 20 seconds between plays. That’s faster than most team’s normal speed!

This high-speed mode killed Florida State. They couldn’t keep up with the speed of the game. The Seminole defense looked confused, tired, and made one mistake after another. That is what these uber-speed offenses attempt to do in this age of modern defensive football predicated on match-ups and substitution packages. The high-speed offense does not allow the defense to adjust; it finds a weakness in a certain defense, either schematic or personnel, it pushes the limits.

I had a conversation with one of my coaching offensive mastermind friends, Coach Larry Wallace, about the offensive performance of Oregon. Both of us were impressed with the speed at which the Ducks ran their offense. Being a defensive minded, former football coach, I was intrigued about how a defense can counteract the up-tempo offense.

Me: “It has me thinking about how to develop a hurry-up defense that is proactive instead of reactive.”

Coach Wallace: “Yeah, good luck.”

Me: “Amen, brother!”

Seriously, is there a solid defensive scheme you can think of to consistently shift the power to dictate the game from the hurry-up offense back to where it belongs–in the hands of the defense? If you have any ideas, please share.

I think the key is to play an aggressive, ball-attack defense through a fairly set package of personnel, not one which relies on massive substitutions. We would need to develop athletes physically to play at this speed (See how Oregon approaches this in my Bullets Over Bowling Balls post from 2012.). A very important point to consider with any scheme in any sport is this—one cannot expect to play the game at a certain speed if they do not train and practice to play the game at that certain speed.

Following in the footsteps of Coach Paul Lane, I would first attempt to dictate the flow of the game from the defensive end. The defensive scheme would involve multiple fronts and alignments with a minimal of responsibilities for each position. Basically, each player would have one job on a run play and one job on a pass play, and that job would be the same no matter what the defensive alignment, or front, looked like. I would try to punch the offense in the mouth by hitting harder, hitting more often, and wearing them down one man at a time all game. Every man wins their job on every play.

The spread and speed offenses usually have a run/pass option depending on the number defenders in the box. It’s a numbers game. If they read they have more blockers than defensive linemen and linebackers in the box, they can call a run play. If defense has a numbers advantage in the box, the pass play is chosen. A good defensive scheme could align in such a way to force the offense into one option or the other. The defenders would need to understand this concept to allow for the advantage of what plays to expect.

Oregon Duck Zone Read

Pressure the offense, particularly the QB, from multiple angles and with the goal of corralling the offense into a small space. Face it, if you’ve watch much hurry-up offense, they are designed to get athletes in space and into one-on-one match-ups they think they can win. I think I would try to minimize this offensive advantage by forcing them to beat me by doing things outside their comfort zone.

For secondary coverage schemes, I would develop physical man coverage techniques first and foremost in all our training with these athletes. In game planning, use man coverage schemes and match-up zone schemes as a general rule. The important thing is to realize how an offense with attack each coverage scheme and convey these tendencies to your secondary personnel.

One of the great enjoyments of the game of football is this mental and strategic side of the game. Even though I don’t actively coach football any more, I still love to think about the game. When I watch a game on television or in person, I am constantly watching for blocking schemes, formation tendencies, blitz packages, etc. Watching the Oregon Ducks this past week triggered the defensive coach in me to figure out how I’d develop a hurry-up defense to try and stop this potent offense.

If you have any ideas, feel free to comment below.  There are definitely more than one way to skin a cat. I am pretty sure there will be a Part 2 to this Hurry-Up Defense post, maybe even a :Part 3, 4, or 5.

The “What if we tried this?” is one of my favorite parts of coaching and training athletes.

And in my humble opinion, that is the fun of football!

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,800 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A 2014 Happy Holidays to You

I am a festive kind of a guy. A real holiday spirit.

Here is my holiday decorating dream plan.

Tree Trimming 2014

Seriously, I am festive.

I put up a string or two of bright lights on the porch, even when it’s witch-ass cold outside.

Two Christmas trees. Yes, two. (The Mrs. Hays would like to have more, but I’d agree only if we can arrange them around the house in a natural, forest configuration. That didn’t fly.)

My favorite Christmas TV special is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Linus’s account of the true meaning of Christmas is perhaps one of the best things ever presented on the small screen.

My favorite Christmas music is A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

My favorite song from that soundtrack? Linus and Lucy. This song is such an awesome song. For years, I kindly suggested to  Mrs. B that our high school marching band play a rousing rendition of Linus and Lucy before home football games. Alas, it never happened. Apparently high school band directors don’t take music request from assistant football coaches. (Yes, kids. That is the kind of world we live in…)

Here is my Christmas 2014 gift to you, the dedicated reader of The Coach Hays blog. A totally kick-ass version of Linus and Lucy performed by the supremely talented indie rock band, Built to Spill. THIS is the version of the song that is meant to be played before taking the field. Feel free to do your favorite Snoopy-inspired holiday dance.

Happy Holidays! Thanks for reading and supporting the stupidity of The Coach Hays blog for yet another year.

Live long and prosper!

Keep striving to attain your goals and dreams. Don’t give up without a fight.

Hard Work is the Magic.

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Purpose

“The problem with plans created by committees is that they are built on vague. That’s because vague is safe, and no one ever got in trouble for failing to meet a vague plan. But vague is singularly unhelpful when it’s time to make a hard decision.”     -Seth Godin

When you make a plan, have a purpose. Formulate a specific goal in mind, a purpose worth striving for, and set out a plan to obtain it. Avoid a general and vague goal by being laser-focused. Whether it’s writing, athletics, academics, careers, community projects, gardening…whatever, put your dreams into a solid, tangible goal.

Set the plan and do the work.

The sky is the limit.

Take the risk. Failure is possible (probable), but keep trying.

Sounds simple, huh?

Hard work is the magic.

CC@Abilene2009

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