Video: The Roller Coaster
Getting fans to the game is tough. Getting them to beat this display of spirit? Even tougher.
This is the fourth and last of a series on Improving the Culture of your Program. Part 1
was about the work ethic culture in your program. Part 2
was about the practice culture of your program. Part 3
covered the family culture of your program. Part 4 is about the school environment.
How can you change the culture of the school environment to better support the football program?
On some campuses, football is very important. And on other campuses, it is simply just another sport. You know where football is on this scale on your campus. Unless you just started yesterday, you know what your campus thinks about football.
Here are 3 steps on improving the school environment part of the culture in your football program.1. Football players must be great ambassadors of your program
The way that your students and teachers on campus feel about your football program is usually directly related to the way your players carry themselves on campus on a daily basis. How are your kids treating others? How are they talking to the teachers? Is your program attractive to the bystanders on your campus because of the way your players act?
Your program is either attracting others to it, or detracting others from it. This all starts with your players and their attitudes on campus. Players who are opening doors for others on campus, players who leave their lunch area clean and players who respect their teachers will help your program be embraced on campus.2. Give your campus reasons to come to the game
When most of us coaches were playing football, kids on campus came to the games no matter what. And in some parts of the country, it is still like that. However, many of us have to fight for the attention of our student body. This is where some creative thinking and programming by the coaching staff, in association with student council, can help to make your games attractive.
Winning is going to attract your student body to the games. But what if your program isn't winning right now? Then you need to think of programming to get the kids out to the game. Maybe bringing out a live DJ, perhaps a taco truck to feed the first 100 students, or a halftime punt, pass and kick competition for the student body with a great cash prize will do the trick.
If there isn't a unified place for the students to sit together, then try to organize this with your administration. Rope off a student section so that your student fans have their own place. They will take ownership of this area, and hopefully they have fun, and more kids will start coming out to participate. But you've got to work at ways to make the game fun, especially if the product isn't winning on the field.3. Start an Athlete of the Week program on your campus
One way to help spread the football cheer is by recognizing other student-athletes on your campus. Many times, the football team is resented on campus because "they get everything." One way to break through this idea, which is often not the case, is by having the football team reach out to other student-athletes. If there isn't an Athlete of the Week program already in place, have the football team select an athlete each week to recognize. Buy 30 shirts for the year, and you have a great and inexpensive way for the football program to salute the efforts of the other student-athletes on campus.
You could even find a sponsor to put their logo on the shirt, and then it's a free program! This will help to build a positive culture not only around athletics but also around your football program. 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.