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Seventy-two ways to improve your program this spring

We've previously touched on 15 ways to improve your life and your career this spring, and now coaching blogger Chris Fore has offered 72 more ways to make your program better this spring. We've posted his work before - 99 questions to ask before taking your next head coaching position and 10 things to consider before taking a new job - and this is another good reference point for all coaches.

This list is geared toward high school coaches, but there's plenty here for coaches of any level. 

  • Self-scouting last year’s offense
  • Self-scouting last year’s defense
  • Self-scouting last year’s special teams
  • Surveying your players about last season
  • Surveying your coaching staff about last season
  • Surveying the parents and boosters about last season
  • Reviewing the results of the surveys to help you make effective changes in the program
  • Organizing your spring and summer calendars
  • Meeting with college recruiters to promote your kids and your programs
  • Attending clinics
  • Reading 1 book per month to make you a better coach (Building Championship-Caliber Football Programs would be a great place to start!)
  • Going to observe a college practice or three in your area
  • Meeting with a college staff to learn more about a system you want to learn more about
  • Meeting with another staff or three in your area to learn about a system you want to learn more about
  • Sending in your helmets and shoulder pads for reconditioning
  • Ordering new uniforms or at least making upgrades to your current ones
  • Get up to date with the new NFHS Football Rules for the upcoming season
  • Creating your Spring Install calendar
  • Creating your Summer Install calendar
  • Meeting with every player one on one to go over a SWOT analysis with them for next season (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Meeting with every coach one on one to go over a SWOT analysis with them for next season (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Having a golf tournament to raise money for your program
  • Having bi weekly Booster Club meetings, installing new officers, etc.
  • Planning your fundraisers for the calendar year
  • Creating your scouting calendar for the upcoming season
  • Making bus arrangements with your Athletic Director for the upcoming season’s away games
  • Working on using your home games for community events (Teacher Appreciation Night, Youth Football Night, etc)
  • Writing a letter to the incoming 8th grade students already registered for your school
  • Writing a letter to the 8th grade students who are in your feeder system (if rules permit)
  • Having a Football Open House for the 8th graders in your community (if rules permit)
  • Hosting a Coaches Clinic for the youth football coaches in your area
  • Redesigning/updating your handout about the football program with your admissions counselor (if applicable)
  • Hiring new assistant coaches
  • Having a coach retreat 
  • Solidifying your stat girl crew, and training or retraining them
  • Solidifying your equipment management crew, and training or retraining them
  • Solidifying your water boy/girl crew, and training or retraining them
  • Solidifying your video operations crew, and training or retraining them
  • Planning for and executing a Spring game
  • Spending time with your players off the field to develop strong relationships
  • Having a few off the field team bonding activities
  • Ordering new footballs, mouth pieces, etc, etc. (See list of things here)
  • Speaking at the local rotary meeting to help with community involvement
  • Cleaning up your Hudl account (or DVDs if you’re old school)
  • Sending in your headsets for annual cleaning, fixing, etc.
  • Meeting with your athletic trainer to evaluate the injury reports from last year
  • Discussing any new protocols for injuries this upcoming season with your athletic trainer
  • Get any new state or federal coaching requirements up to date (example: concussion management)
  • Renew your CPR/First Aid (if applicable)
  • Stay on top of the GPAs of your players
  • Finalize your Thursday night pregame meal home visit schedule
  • Finalize your Friday pregame restaurant/school cafeteria reservations
  • Develop and meet regularly with your Player Committee
  • Have some lunches with your Athletic Director
  • Have some lunches with your Booster Club President
  • Have some lunches with your Player Committee
  • Have some 1 on 1 lunches with your coaching staff
  • Make and finalize plans for Senior Night
  • Make plans for Bye week – how much practice, etc?
  • Get your charts for the weight room and any speed testing organized, make copies, etc.
  • Develop your spring practice plans – day by day and minute by minute
  • Develop your Training Camp practice plans – day by day and minute by minute
  • Recruit the hallways
  • Go cheer on the baseball team one day!
  • Finalize any contracts for the upcoming season or two seasons
  • Create and finalize your schedule poster for the community
  • Hold an NCAA Clearinghouse meeting for any potential college-bound athletes
  • Hold your kids accountable to being in the weight room
  • Get your kids faster on the field
  • Update your school’s stat record book from last year’s statistics
  • Reserve any field space that you need to for spring and summer
  • Finalize your budget for the fiscal year, or next season, whichever way you do it
  •  Check out Fore's blog here.

    FootballScoop reports record 1st quarter viewership

    Calendar 2013 was an absolute record year for FootballScoop with 30% growth in unique visitors over what had been a record year in 2012. Well, today I'm happy to share that the site is growing even faster in 2014...

    I'm very proud to report that FootballScoop saw unique visitors to the site grow 36% in the month of March (over March 2013) and 56% for the 1st quarter (over 1Q 2013). Further, since last March, we have added over 20,000 followers on Twitter and now have over 56,000 followers on that platform.  

    Over these past three months we have had just under 1 million total unique visitors come to the site and have averaged about 120,000 average weekly unique visitors. Those 120,000 unique visitors visited the site nearly 500,000 times each week. 

    Over the next few months we will continue to introduce new features and will introduce you to new products that we believe in and think you will benefit from. Stay tuned for a number of announcements...

    We attribute our success to focusing entirely on helping the coaching profession. While we don't always take the immediate opportunity to thank everyone who sends information in to The Scoop, we certainly do appreciate it and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every coach out there who sends us information. We simply could not do this without all of you and we sincerely thank you.

    Below is a screenshot of our twitter analytics profile.

    Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.21.02 PM 


    The players will love this high school video

    If you're a high school football coach, you know how the story goes. Some programs have more advantages than others. And Reagan High School, like many in Austin (Texas) ISD, falls firmly in the "others" category. The Raiders went 1-8 last season, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. Head coach Keith Carey and his staff wouldn't have gone to the trouble of producing the video below if they didn't care.

    That's why the Reagan players will absolutely love this video. At first glance, I actually thought Reagan kicked tail up and down the field last season. That's how the players will feel, too. It's not the truth, as they know, but it's not how the video makes you feel, and that's all that matters.

    Put it this way, ESPN isn't beating down the door to show a Reagan game any time soon. This is the closest to the big time these players will ever get, which is why the work of Carey and his staff is so important. 

    Those baby blue and red uniforms look pretty darn good as well.

    'When you make yourself better individually, this team gets better'

    Texas Tech is a growing program under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and all growing things tend to take two steps forward before they take one step backward. Like how the Red Raiders started last season with seven straight wins, followed by five straight losses, and then another step forward with an emphatic 37-23 upset of then-No. 14 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. 

    With an entire off-season ahead of them, the Red Raiders hope to take three steps forward before entering Season 2 under the new regime. 

    Here's a nice look at how Texas Tech has worked in off-season workouts. 

    Dude Perfect - Final Four Trick Shots

    Because...off-season. Enjoy!

    Photo: Akron has some new shiny, gold helmets

    There's a new trend going around college football and, in the right light, it could blind you. A whole host of teams have introduced chrome helmets, which I have dubbed as oversized Christmas ornaments. We've seen them pop up at Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Washington and Baylor, to name a few. Astute readers will not that gold seems to be the most popular choice for chrome helmets, and now gold-lid wearing Akron has entered the mix.

    This photo below showcases two separate gold helmets, one with a gold facemask, one with blue, as well as a new jersey. The Zips wore Adidas last season, but will apparently move to the updated jersey template with hash marks across the chest (which appear prominently in Tennessee and Texas A&M's gray jerseys).

    One final note: Can you name another college football team with using the lead initial from its nickname "Z" instead of school name "A" as a helmet decal?

    Akron helmet

    (via @PhilHecken)

    More programs should borrow this idea from Texas Tech

    How do you get your players to treat a scrimmage like a game? By getting your fan base to treat a scrimmage like a game. And how do you do that? By moving it 120 miles off campus.

    On Saturday, Texas Tech's football program packed up and left Lubbock for the roughly two-hour drive south to Midland, where more than 10,000 red-and-black supporters showed up to fill the local high school stadium. More than just a practice, this was an event, complete with the appearance of the Masked Rider and tailgaters. If you didn't know any better, you'd think it was a fall Saturday.

    Saturday's scrimmage was a break of the spring ball monotony, a gesture of goodwill for Tech's Midland fan base and, most importantly, a wonderful day of brand management. 

    “Tech could do this all day in Lubbock,” said Texas Tech graduate Tim Culp told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “But it’s a huge benefit to the Permian Basin and not just Midland and Odessa, but to Monahans, Andrews and Big Spring, and it draws a lot from the rest of the Permian Basin.”

    For a school looking to establish itself as the state school of West Texas, the Red Raiders would be wise to hold similar days in important West Texas cities like Amarillo, Abilene and San Angelo. 

    And why shouldn't more programs do this? College football is a wonderful sport with a strange schedule. Thirteen games (if you're lucky) and nine months of off-season means passionate fan bases spend more than 90 percent of the calendar separated from the teams they love. 

    If Texas Tech can get 10,000 fans to watch practice in Midland, how many would show up to watch, say, Ole Miss in Memphis? Or Wisconsin in Milwaukee? Miami does a swell job of barnstorming its spring practices around south Florida but, outside of that, college football is missing a chance to sell itself to a willing audience. 

    Let the other teams on campus make your football program better

    As iron sharpens iron, let your best programs on campus make your football program better. 

    That's what Michigan State does and, as we've previously documented, they're doing it better than anyone in college athletics. One of the last people Spartans basketball coach Tom Izzo spoke to on the bus to Madison Square Garden on Sunday? That would be none other than Spartans football coach Mark Dantonio.

    Had Michigan State defeated Connecticut and advanced to the Final Four, Dantonio would have altered his spring practice plans to see the Spartans' basketball team play. Izzo took the basketball team to Indianapolis to see Dantonio's club beat Ohio State for the Big Ten championship in December. Four months later, Michigan State won the Big Ten basketball tournament four blocks away at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

    When Michigan State outlasted Virginia in the Sweet 16 on Friday night, Izzo had this to say: "As my football coach says, you just stay the course, and we just kind of stayed the course."

    When Dantonio opened spring practice with the obligatory pre-spring press conference, one of the first words out of his mouth was praise for Izzo and the Michigan State basketball team.

    "When something happens in a game and they lose, like the Notre Dame situation, they'll get together,'' Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis told MLive.com, "and one of them will have experienced something that the other hasn't. It's good to have that ability to go back and forth.''