Video: 356-pound anchor in 4x100 relay
If one of your massive offensive linemen is running a sprint race, have his football teammates there to cheer him on - like in this example.
Your culture is important and will determine your success and failure. See part 1 about improving your work ethic culture here
, and see part 2 about improving your practice culture here
Researchers have determined that the single most important influence on a child's life is family. Children depend on their family to protect and provide for them. When that family unit breaks down, as is the case for many student-athletes, children look for other places to belong and fulfill their needs.
Football programs should be a family for players. After all, coaches spend as much time with their players as they do with their own families. Strong family units lead to positive experiences, and those positive experiences within a team lead to success on the scoreboard.
Teams with great chemistry find success. Another way to define chemistry is family. There is no doubt that the best teams at every level of sport have tremendous team chemistry.
Here are three ways to improve the family culture of your program.1. Look for ways to spend time away from the football field together
For eight straight years, my program celebrated the end of training camp in August the same way: with a pool party! It was always one of the highlights of the entire football season with our teams. We would post the starting lineups, act out skits, eat, act silly, we would have stupid contests, and more. This was a culmination of an entire offseason together, and a great way to spend time as family.
Many teams have pregame meals on Thursday nights. If you don't, this is the first place I would start with an off campus activity. Getting together on Thursday nights with your guys to have a meal, and just be together away from the field. Telling stories and laughing helps to build the family atmosphere.2. Celebrate non-football successes together
Families celebrate together. Make sure to do that with your football program. For example, we've had a few Boy Scouts earn their Eagle Scout awards. When that has happened, we've taken as many players from our team as possible. One year, we had a dynamite piano player who was having a major recital, so we took about a dozen players with us to that.
It is important to find times away from the field to celebrate each other. This will help your players to realize that you care about them as people, not just players, which is vital. And it will help spread awareness among the whole team that there are lives outside of football. This care and concern with one another will help to build team chemistry and a family culture.3. Start a player committee
Teams that are led from the top down, meaning the head coach rules the program as a dictator, have a difficult time building a family culture. It becomes all about that overbearing dad, and nobody likes being around that guy.
Start a player committee, or as some guys call it a leadership council, tgo combat this mentality in your program.
The player committee should be made up of the leaders in your program. You invest in their lives as leaders, teach them what it means to be a leader and let them lead the program. Give your player committee choices to make, like what the spirit pack will look like, or where the pre-game meal will be, or what the summer practice schedule will look like. Allowing your players to have this kind of investment in the program will not only help to train up leaders in your program, but it will also create a family culture.
Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.