February 12, 2016
Drop the mic- Pre-game,Halftime,Post-game Talks – Being a great gameday coach Part 6 of 8
We’ve all seen movies with powerful emotional pre-game, halftime, or post-game speeches given by the coach that inspired their team to play over their head and beat a Goliath-type opponent. So it’s easy to think this is what we should emulate to get our team fired up. Is this what the best coaches do? In my experience and observations, it is not. In fact, having done some of this early in my coaching days, it accomplishes just the opposite- it tightens the players up. Dave Cisar from Winning Youth Football discusses this in his book, stating:
‘I don’t go for much of the rah-rah stuff, and most of the very successful coaches I studied didn’t either’
Alan Stein from the Hardwood Hustle podcast had a recent episode where he discussed the 3 things to focus on in any pre-game, halftime, or post-game talk:
- Be concise, no fluff
- Be intentional and purposeful with your words
- Be honest
Check out this podcast episode, really good info:
A practical application that works well:
- State your 2 or 3 goals for the game
- Remind specific players/groups of a particular focus for having success in that game. ‘Offensive line remember to communicate as this coach loves to move around his defensive linemen to try to confuse you’
- Have the players fist-bump their teammates and tell each other they believe in them and are playing for them, not themselves
- Be extremely brief. Remember post-game is typically not a good time to teach. Kids minds are tired and they usually know what they did wrong or right. And usually when you go back and watch film you’re not as bad as you think in a loss, and you’re not as good as you think in a win. Use gamefilm to truly analyze your performance and then make improvements in the next practice.
- Let 1 or 2 teammates recognize each other and acknowledge someone who they saw give extraordinary effort or teamwork
- Then… drop the mic. Let the kids go be kids.
I’ve heard differing opinions on whether to review how you did accomplishing your goals during your post-game talk. I do not. I do this at the start of my next practice. It is a great way to set the tone for your practice after you have had a chance to review the game on film. Then you can begin the practice by celebrating successes and talking about how you are going to fix shortcomings.