What Football Coaches Do When They're Not Yelling on the Sidelines - dummies

What Football Coaches Do When They’re Not Yelling on the Sidelines

By Howie Long, John Czarnecki

Coaching a football team is a full-time job. While players rest during the offseason, coaches are busy planning for the season ahead. Following is a quick look at what coaches do during the season and in the offseason.

During the season

Coaches at all levels prepare playbooks that every player receives — and many of these playbooks include more than 200 plays for the offense alone. They meet with the general manager and other college and pro scouts regarding personnel — whom to trade for, whom to acquire, and whom to release.

With the head coach leading the way, the coaches meet during the players’ day off. During this meeting, they prepare the game plan for the next week and review hours of film of their own players and the opposition, looking for tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.

During training camp, the coaching staff dissects what it wants to accomplish during the season in all phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. At the same time, the coaches test to see how the players are adapting to specific plays and strategies. From there, they refine their plan, tinkering with minute details in order to guarantee success.

In the NFL, every play is analyzed and dissected until the coaching staff knows exactly how it wants to instruct the players on the practice field. A coach can break down a single play on videotape to show a player taking the wrong first step, backing up too much, angling his shoulders improperly, or failing to read the other team’s intentions.

College and high school coaches meet regularly with their school’s athletic director and administrators regarding financial budgets and player eligibility status. They oversee travel schedules and are involved in picking hotels and meals for road trips. College and high school coaches usually work all day on Sunday, examining film of the weekend’s game and preparing for the next week. They have staff meetings in preparation for meeting the players on Monday. And, of course, they devote a lot of time to motivating their players.

Coaches also deal with the media. In the NFL, coaches may have press briefings with newspaper, radio, and television reporters every day except Tuesday and Saturday. However, on Saturday, they must meet with network television producers and commentators to discuss their opinions of what may occur in Sunday’s or Monday’s game. College and high school coaches may also deal with local reporters, although on a smaller scale.

During the off-season

Although high school and college football teams are restricted to a certain number of off-season practice days, NFL coaching staffs work virtually year-round making free-agency decisions, scouting potential draft choices, monitoring selective mini-camps (three or four days of on-field practice), and attending countless organizational meetings. Most NFL coaches take their vacations in late June and early July, right before the opening of ­training camp.

An NFL head coach spends his days in the off-season preparing practice schedules for training camp and the regular season. The college coach devotes much of his off-season to recruiting high school players and hosting clinics for high school coaches. Recruiting means visiting a potential player in his hometown — which necessitates a lot of traveling — and meeting with his parents, guardians, and high school coaches.