The Turnaround: Day 5

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

Friday’s theme was physicality. You cannot play football without being physical. I feel it’s been one our Achilles heels. Don’t get me wrong. We have made progress (playoffs etc.). But I still feel we need to get over this hump.

How do you make a team physical when they haven’t been that way since 1975? You need to get creative and think outside the box. Luckily, we are good at thinking outside the box.

Practice started Friday with the OL and DL heading to the sand pit. We did one-on-one’s in the sand. Nothing better than kicking some sand up. We wanted them to feel uncomfortable. Football can be uncomfortable at times. I wanted to simulate that. Toughing it out in a full practice covered in sand? You need to be tough to do that. If you are tough you can be physical.

Back to the sand pit. Once one on one’s were done, we did army crawls through the sand. We sprayed water on them to get the sand to stick. Then we crab crawled, bear crawled and barrel rolled through the sand. It was something way outside the box. But it needed to be done. We need to toughen up, especially up front. This was one way of working on that.

During my sudden change period I had the whole team in the sand. Now the QB’s, RB’s etc. were covered in sand like their big boy brethren. Team bonding 101 right there. The great thing about all this? It started to rain. We created a tough environment and the weather helped us out. Wet and sandy! Does that sound comfortable?

At the end of practice I conditioned them in the sprinklers. Army crawl through the mud puddles. Faces in the mud. Sand, water, rain and now mud. Once the army crawls were over they ran sprints, covered head to toe in mud.

Why do all this? Tough people can play in the elements. If you are tough, you will play physical. This team did not complain. They wanted more. They want to destroy everything I throw at them. It’s the mentality and attitude I have been looking for. So far this team is finding a way to get the job done. It is awesome.

Oh, by the way. Practice was good in between all of this! Physicality is in place. Check.

SMART IDEA
We had some high winds last night so our Special Teams Coordinator, Jinks White, altered his practice plan. We worked KOR into the wind. This simulates game conditions we have seen and have struggled in. Doing KOR in the wind last night was a great move by Coach White. It’s hard to simulate unless you have the wind. Veteran coach doing a veteran thing.

GETTING DIRTY (SANDY) WITH THE BIG GUYS
Coach Jake Willingham works the skill guys all day long. Yesterday he came over and got in the sand with the big boys. It was great to see. Those kids need to see that. Coaches and players need that bond when things are getting tough.

A BIG THANK YOU
This goes to Coach Neal Tull. I cannot run this program without this guy. He is the rock. He is the guy that gets it all right. He is the guy all of you other coaches need on your staff. If it needs to get done, he gets it done. He also doubles as my best friend. What a great guy to have. Sometimes you just need to say thanks.

RANDOMNESS
– Allergies are brutal; I sneezed 117 times yesterday. Tull counted.
– PAT/FG unit operating around 1.28 seconds. That is D1 good!
– Coach Brandt Martin wants to guest blog on here.
– Coaches Nate Gensler & Tyler Trout have awful mustaches.
– Coach Nate Jephcott looks like the guy in the movie “Over The Top”. Stallone arm wrestling movie.
– Jeff Fisher is the man! Don’t ever doubt it!

Editor’s note from Jeff Fisher – I have no idea what Strunky is talking about in that last line.

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.