Welcome

Welcome to our Blog: It’s Trickey, Let’s Get It Wright. The staff at Trickey-Wright QBR understands the path to success in football can be very TRICKY, so we’re working to provide you with as many tools as we can to help you get it RIGHT. Our blog is designed to give you an insider’s perspective for the edge you need on and off the field. Join our newest contributor, camp alum and coach, Joel Nellis, as he taps into his sports knowledge and diverse football experiences which includes playing D-1 college football (UW Badgers), high school coaching and teaching at the elementary and high school levels.

Posted in Uncategorized

Navigating The Season

It is finally here! Every high school player in the country has been waiting for this moment since their season came to an end in 2015.That being the case,  I’d like to give you some thoughts on how to navigate the season to help you have the best results.

Ready…

Hopefully, your level of training this off-season has you ready for your best year of football. Because you are a leader, I have no doubt that you have put in countless hours in the weight room with your teammates. That should not only give you confidence to start the season but also to finish the season. You’ve done the work to be in better physical shape to give yourself an advantage over the competition. Additionally, you’ve leveraged our camps to improve your physical skill and knowledge of the game. You’ve been challenged by our coaches to be your best and proven that you are capable of taking coaching and applying it to see results. Your preparation should give you confidence that this football season will be a successful one on many fronts.

Aim…

Many of your teammates are just excited to be playing football. They hope to “do well” and “win games.” But in order to have a more productive and purposeful season, your team needs to work towards a goal. Goals provide direction and motivation for everyone involved. It also can be used to improve decision making. If people realize what is at stake, they are less inclined to make decisions that could put the goal in jeopardy. It is important to note that while winning a state championship should be a goal to strive towards, that might not be realistic for your team. If a goal does not appear attainable, no one will buy into it. Try having an honest conversation with your coach to see where he thinks the team can go. From there you and he may be able to reach a common mission that will motivate and inspire your teammates.

Fire…

Each day you get the opportunity to play football, you need to give it everything you have. It can be easy to say, but much harder to live, especially as the days of camp drag on. What are you going to do every day to ensure that it is your best day of football? It may mean challenging your teammates to a competition. It may be stepping up as a vocal leader and calling out the person who isn’t holding up to the standards that your program has set. Each day will require something different. But your commitment to improvement and excellence cannot be different. You must be the model of consistency. That doesn’t mean being perfect. It means that you never settle for a poor performance. You expect to make the right read or catch every time. When you make a mistake, you don’t flinch. If things are going great, you don’t get complacent. You give every day your best shot and hope that your example inspires your teammates to do the same.

Reload…

For any season to be successful, the team must tackle each week with proper preparation and focus, regardless of the outcome of the previous week and your compounding record. Clear up any issues from the previous week so that they do not hang over the team in a negative way. Ignore the record of the team you’re facing. The only resume you should care about is what they show on film, because the film never lies. Additionally, be someone who has a pulse of the team. Communicate with your head coach about how the team is handling the season and what they might need to make this next week successful. Your preparation should give you confidence that each week can end with a victory on Friday night.

I purposefully left out talking about your personal success. You play the most team driven sport there is. The team will always come first. If you are the guy who values the team the most, the personal success will follow. Remember, “A rising tide raises all ships.”

Posted in Goals, Practice

The Recruiting Process: Staying on the List (Part II of III)

In our May Blog, we discussed suggestions to get onto a coach’s list: play on the field, highlight tapes, measurables and taking visits / attending camp. While the time, effort and related costs may seem like the hard part, surprisingly, staying on the list in today’s world of football recruitment, can prove to be even more challenging.

Part Two: Staying on the List

  1. Show understanding & appreciation for the coach recruiting you

I feel it is critical for every player who has dreams of playing college football to truly understand the other person(s) involved in the recruiting process, the coach(es). The coach who is recruiting you earns a living based on your on and off the field performance that is reflective of an entire university or college’s athletic program. Again, their livelihood is dependent upon the decisions and play of 18-24 year old men. They are going to gather every piece of information they can find to determine if you will not only be an excellent football player, but also a great teammate, student and positive representative of the team and school.

  1.  Maintain good/improved academic standing

The schools that you are hoping to attend may have a wide variety of academic requirements. When a school identifies you as someone they want to pursue, the first thing they do is get an academic transcript on you. They want to see your GPA, ACT/SAT, class rank, performance over time and attendance. From that one document, coaches can make very quick decisions on whether you will stay on their list.

If you’re not a high-flyer academically, when coaches see your transcript they will look to see improvement over the years. That shows a willingness to improve. Additionally, if you are someone who has a lot of tardies or absences in high school, do you think a coach will be able to count on you going to class when you don’t have mom or dad there to help you out??? Keep in mind you are STUDENT-athletes, not the other way around.

  1. Show high character & integrity in relationships

A college coach looks to use multiple references to measure your character and how you interact with others. When he comes to visit you, he will look to speak with your principal, classroom teachers, guidance counselors and others to gauge just what kind of person you really are. They want to know how you treat your fellow classmates, your respect for authority in the school and your work habits in the classroom. While coaches want to be fair, sometimes even one questionable review can get you off the list. That may be as simple as a teacher saying that you don’t work to your potential in the classroom. You may think that your teachers would give you the benefit of the doubt, but keep in mind, they take their job very seriously. They have a mutual respect for other professionals. They’re not going to lie for you or cover up stories. They will share their honest evaluations about you.

When it comes to speaking with your coach, the recruiter is looking for details about how you prepare for games, the relationships you have with your teammates, your attitude in practice and how you react when the game isn’t going the way you’d hoped. All those factors are critical measures of what kind of teammate and player they can count on you to be. Most of the time, what you demonstrated in high school is exactly who they perceive you to be at the college level.

  1.  Social Media Awareness

There have been countless posts from college coaches over the last year about how they dropped a player they were recruiting because of the content on their social media. For a coach, there is no easier access into your character than scrolling through your social media profiles. We got into social media in March, but one thing that is important to bring up again: ANY favorite, retweet/repost is treated exactly the same as if you produced it yourself. To a coach, that is your “voice” and values coming through.

TWQBR staffer, Eric Treske (Receiver and Strength & Conditioning Coach (D-3, Lakeland University, WI)) had a great visual reference for how you can filter what you post, favorite or retweet on social media. “Take the biggest Division 1 college you’d dream of going to. Now imagine that the stadium is sold out and you are on the 50 yard line with a microphone. The post that you made, favorited or retweeted comes up on the jumbotron and you must read it aloud in front of the entire stadium.” If you don’t think you’d want to do that based on the content of the post, don’t put your stamp on it.

Conclusion: It’s an ongoing process
The points discussed above, as well as your play on the field, are always under evaluation. Who’s recruiting list you make it onto and who begins to evaluate you on this deeper level can change at any time. If you know that there are some things discussed in this blog that need to be improved, make those changes now. It is never too late to repair relationships, turn your grades around and clean up your social media. Lastly, regardless of what school begins communicating with you, treat them all as viable options and continually work to stay on everyone’s list. You want as many options as you can when decision time comes around.

Posted in Academic, Leadership, Recruiting

Working Effectively with Your Coach

Regardless of the current relationship you have with your head coach and/or position coach, if you hope to have a successful season, your ability to work well together is critical.  Based on my experience and perspective as a current HS coach and former  Big 10 athlete, the following  tips on how you can improve your relationship with your coach and leverage him to help you and your team have greater success  are worth considering and putting into action.

RESPECT:

First and foremost, respect your coach. Respect that he has taken on the daunting task of being a coach. He has chosen to spend time away from his family to work with you and your teammates. That in itself makes him admirable. Respect his knowledge. Coaches are always improving. They’re watching film all year round, visiting with college coaches, attending clinics and meeting as a staff to hone the best plan for the upcoming season. He has not made any decision lightly. If he is going to invest an abundant amount time and energy into you and your team, he’s done more work than you probably know or understand.

LEARN TO COMMUNICATE:

The first step in effectively communicating with your coach is to LISTEN. Your coach can tell how well you listen by how well you attempt or perform the concept he is teaching. Once you’ve earned the trust of your coach by listening, then you can work on approaching him towards a successful discussion. I see many players who are afraid to talk to their coach about what they see on the field or describing their rationale for what they did on a play. That information is critical to helping your coach make adjustments and call the right plays. Being silent doesn’t help. You need to cultivate your communication in practice and in the film room before you can hope to be confident about it in the heat of the game, under the lights.

WORK ON THE RELATIONSHIP:

Develop a strong player-coach relationship. Notice I didn’t say “friendship.” Your coach wants you to know that he cares about you, but also wants to be able to correct and teach you without you taking it personally. There are a lot of players who think their coach is like a friend. Then, when he gets on them for a mistake, they take it as a personal attack and they shut down. Your coach is attempting to raise your level of play to a level you may not think is possible. In fact, you might fight the corrections he is suggesting. But give him permission to tell you the truth. Then trust him enough to do what he’s coaching you to do. The quote I love to tell kids is, “What incentive does your coach have to teach you the wrong thing?” The answer is of course, “NONE!”  When you put your ego aside and allow yourself to be coached, great things are going to happen.

OFFER SUPPORT:

Support your coach publicly, disagree with him privately. This last step will only happen if you’ve figured out the previous three steps. If you learn to respect him, know how to communicate with him and have a solid relationship, you’ll appreciate even more how important he is to the team. Your coach can have as much impact on the team as you, the leader, allows him to have. People will look to you and how you interact with and talk about the coach when he is not around. If you’re a guy who bashes your coach or worse yet, doesn’t defend him when others criticize him, your coach’s ability to influence and impact the team will diminish because trust is eroded. If there are criticisms or complaints, and the relationship is right, you can speak directly to him face to face. The potential for others’  intervention may complicate the situation or cause more harm.  Minimizing the conflict so you and your team can move forward is the wise choice that leaders take advantage of.

While hard work, proper training, a good attitude and performance are vital to a successful season, remember to include the key elements needed in working effectively with your coach.  Adding and applying it to your life and in your future workplace will serve you and others well.

 

Posted in Coaching, Leadership

The Recruiting Process: Making the List (Part I of III)

I had the opportunity to listen to a college coach speak to a group of aspiring high school football players about the recruiting process. He answered some basic questions and then said something quite profound that I wish more high school players could hear, “If I’m recruiting a position, I may begin with 100 names on my list. But because time and resources are limited, I’m looking for ways to cross you off that list, not keep you on it.”

This month’s blog will be part one of a three part series that focuses on the recruiting process of a high school football player and includes insights from coaches at the NFL level, D1, 2 & 3 colleges and our Trickey-Wright QBR staff.

Part One: Making the List

  1. Your play on the field:

Making the recruiting list of any college football program will be dictated first and foremost by your play on the field. Coaches are looking for players who they feel can benefit their program to help them win games. Stats and end of season recognition (All-Conference, All-Area, etc…) will help you catch the attention of certain schools. However, when it comes down to evaluation, the film never lies! The coaches I spoke to listed a couple specific things they need to see from QB’s and Receivers.

QBs

  • (#1 by far) Being able to make all the throws on the field (Short, Medium, Long)
  • Pocket Presence / Mobility
  • Athleticism
  • Play Making Ability
  • Accuracy
  • Toughness / Leadership

Receivers (could include TEs/RBs and how they look catching the ball):

  • (#1) Catching the ball away from your body (Hands)
  • Making plays with the ball when you get it
  • Change of direction
  • Route running
  • Speed
  • Explosiveness
  • Versatility (Returning kicks, making tackles on special teams etc.)
  1. Create a highlight Video

As you look at those things that coaches say they are looking for, it is important that you set-up your highlight film with those in mind. Making touchdowns against bad teams are definitely ok to show, but that doesn’t demonstrate much to a college coach. With all of the film a coach has to watch, the first 3-5 plays should “jump out” to a coach. From there, you build a collection of clips that solidify what the coach saw from those first clips.

  1.  Your measurables:

Whose list you make it on after they view your film, or sometimes even before the film, will come down to your measurables. Height, weight, 40 yard dash or official track time. Typically for these position’s weight room numbers don’t need to be included at first, but will become important down the road. If you do not have official numbers on those, you can download the Hudl Combine App and record yourself running your 40 and other tests. They will be verified and you can share them with coaches.

While the tendency on high school rosters can be to add an inch or two, plus 10 pounds, this is an area that will go along way towards earning the trust of a coach: REPORT ACCURATE NUMBERS! The coach is going to find out eventually when they stop at your school or see you in camp. Don’t waste their time and get your hopes up by embellishing your numbers. Believe it or not, even an inch can make a difference.

  1.  Preparing for recruiting visits:

One really important thing to keep in mind is the timing of recruiting for different divisions. As a general process, coaches will come through the high schools in the spring once spring ball is done and “bump” into a player and communicate with your high school coach. However, their interest at that time does not mean you’re getting a scholarship or that you are high on their list. They want to get eyes on you and hopefully shake your hand and see how you can communicate. Remember, coaches don’t coach you over text messages. They use that first meeting to make a judgement about what kind of man you are. If you can’t look them in the eye and hold a conversation, there is little chance you’re making any list.

  1.  Be realistic in your expectations and stay positive:

I’ve seen many high school players get really let down or anxious when they don’t have any offers coming into their senior year. If you’re an elite player with a chance to go to an FBS school, there is a chance you already have some offers entering your senior season; if you’re off the charts, maybe as a sophomore or junior. However, everything trickles down from there. Not all FCS scholarships are given before senior seasons. Division 2 schools may have been communicating with you, but if you’re not super high on their list, you may not get any offer until after the season when they can see your senior film and get you on campus. Finally, D3 and NAIA schools come around after your season AND their season is done. They’re looking to see who fell through the cracks and who would love an opportunity to continue their playing career.

While there is a lot of hype and money surrounding recruiting, the coaches we talked to suggested the importance of slowing down and understanding that very few players are early offer athletes. That doesn’t make you a bad player or someone who is not qualified to play college football. It just means the coaches need more time to evaluate and get to know you before they make a decision.

In the next blog I’ll discuss “How to  stay on this list”, including how to select the right college camps to attend.

Posted in Goals, Recruiting

Will You Accept The Risk???

The phrase “Accept the Risk of Leadership” was adopted by Coach Trickey in 1988 after he read an article about responsibility and risks of putting yourself in front as a leader. He told me that he connected so deeply with the message that he felt compelled to share it at every camp he did.  

That message has resonated with me ever since I attended the Trickey-Wright camp back in 1999 as a high school junior. I wanted so desperately to be a leader, and even though I was named a captain by my teammates in high school, there were some “risks” that I was unwilling to take. All of those risks simply would have involved speaking up to my teammates about making better choices in multiple facets of life.

But why didn’t I do it? Why didn’t I say anything? I didn’t want to “risk” the social criticism from my teammates. I didn’t want to “risk” being laughed at. I didn’t want to “risk” being called a “suck-up” “snitch” or any other derogatory phrase. I didn’t want to “risk” making anyone feel uncomfortable or hurt their feelings in any way. Instead I choose the “lead by example” route. While I consider my senior season a success, I feel like I failed myself and my teammates by not saying more.

Dealing with high school students every day, I can confidently say that risk of leadership for today’s teenagers is purely a social risk.  No one wants to be vocal or extend themselves for fear of being criticized by their teammates. What can make matters worse is how quickly information can travel through text and social media channels. There becomes a perpetuating fear that if you say or do something different it may get around to “everyone you know” and suddenly your image will be ruined.

According to the author of the Team Captain’s Leadership Manual and student-athlete leadership expert, Jeff Janssen, there are five reasons why student-athletes don’t want to take on vocal leadership roles:

  1.       Lack of confidence in their status and legitimacy
  2.       They don’t understand the importance of being vocal
  3.       It’s not in their nature
  4.       They don’t know what to say
  5.       It’s not a habit

But what athletes fail to understand is the risk they pose to themselves and their team by not being a leader. According to Jeff, “Personally, they are missing the chance to become the best version of themselves. They not only shortchange themselves, but the entire team as well. Their team likely won’t achieve its potential because they withheld their leadership.”

Which leads me to ask; if you don’t accept the risk of leadership and speak up, are you willing accept the risk of your team not reaching its full potential? For those of you who invest so much time and money coming to our camps to improve your skills, why would you throw it away by not saying what needs to be said so that everyone can thrive?

I’m not naive to believe that confronting a teammate, group of teammates or entire team will be easy on you. Leadership is never about doing what is easy. It is about doing what is right so that everyone can be better. While I cannot accurately predict how those people will react in the short term, in the long run, I don’t know of a great leader who regrets a decision to say what needed to be said.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Team Captain’s Leadership Manual, or other leadership training resources from Jeff Janssen, please visit http://www.janssensportsleadership.com/.

Posted in Leadership, Uncategorized

Social Media – Expert Advice

Although most athletes today have used social media for years, many (their parents included) still don’t understand it’s immediate effect and potential repercussions well into the future.  According to Karen North, a communications professor and director of digital social media at the University of Southern California, “What I say when I talk to athletes (student and professional) is, if you think it’s temporary, it’s permanent; and if you think it’s private, it’s public.  It doesn’t matter if you delete it.”

For this month’s blog we wanted to enlist the help of an expert. PL Hade is a Social Media and Digital Safety expert who is also the moderator of @HSSocialMedia. We connected with him on twitter last month and he agreed to answer some questions to help write this blog in an effort to help our athletes to understand the gravity of what they’re doing on social media and to avoid snaps/posts/pics/retweets/gifs/favorites/likes that could jeopardize their goals and dreams.

 

Question 1: What are some general thoughts on the rise of social media and its impact on high school age students? Athletes?

Answer: Social Media has opened a world of possibilities for High School athletes to connect with specialists, with others playing their position and with college coaches. It also gives them access to academic experts, college admissions experts and a host of fans. Used well Social Media can become a program driver. Used poorly it can derail an athletic career.

Question 2: What are 2-3 of the common mistakes that players make?

Answer: The first mistake that players make is thinking that only their friends are going to see what they put out on social. Social media is a multiplier and one RT in Twitter or share in Instagram can add thousands of strangers who are looking at what you say.  We’ll invite you to try that out. Tweet something out and tag @HSSocialMedia, we’ll RT. That adds about 70K potential people who will see what you sent out.

The second mistake is believing that what they send privately will stay private. Friendships fall apart, people get jealous and what the athlete privately sent to someone 4 years ago can suddenly reappear, even if they deleted the original. (People take screen shots.)  Especially with sexting which has potentially huge legal consequences in most states athletes are vulnerable to ramifications years later.

For Football Players a huge mistake is to DM just Hudl links to a coach, recruiter or influencer with no introduction and no reason for the recipient to click on the link. It’s considered a sign of laziness; not something any college coach wants on their team or the impression you want to leave with people who can potentially help you.

Question 3: You recommend having the same name on all of your accounts? How does that go into building your brand?

Answer: The idea of a brand is that you can identify it and then you associate specific traits with the brand.  That’s the reason that companies don’t change their logo. All you need is to see the swoosh and you know the brand is Nike.  When you have the same name and profile picture on all your accounts that psychologically reinforces your presence and makes it easier for people to recognize you.

Question 4: Why should high school students care about “their brand”? What does that mean to them long term?   

Answer: Long term whether you get accepted into a college, get offered a roster spot, are allowed to rent an apartment or get hired by an employer partially depends on who they think you are from your social background check. If you build a brand that implies that you:  1) Plan 2) Are organized 3) Are disciplined 4) Care about your image in the world.  Those are all traits that will help you at each level of your athletic and academic career.

Question 5: What are some dangers with snapchat? recommendations?

Answer: The real danger with Snapchat is that people believe the Snaps actually disappear; they don’t.  First they are stored in Snapchat’s server until all the recipients have opened the snap – that can be eternity. Each Snap is archived for a minimum of 24 hours and people can pay to look at them again. (Say you sent something that was questionable and someone who wanted your roster spot happened to know that, they can ask a recipient to send it to them and then take a screen shot. That screen shot may find its way into your Coaches DM.)  Lastly, although Snapchat does not allow third party storage apps, those apps are out there and they are viable until Snapchat gets them taken down, which can take a while. And everyone can take screen shots before a Snap disappears.

Question 6: How can you harness social media for good? With your team? Within your school?

Answer: Social Media is one of the few ways that different groups in a school can actively support each other which enriches the entire school community. For a team social can be everything from a motivator to a way to quickly communicate changes in schedules.

Question 7:  Just how permanent are your posts? What impact could that have?

Answer: The minute anything is out online, including in chat rooms, you have no control over what happens with that particular post, tweet, pic or vid. We have archives of tweets and posts that were deleted within 10 minutes of being put up.  This year a sports announcer was fired a day after being hired because of a post that he put up more than 12 months prior to his getting the job. Recently a professional soccer player also had one day on the job before fans found tweets a friend had put on his account 3 years earlier; his very lucrative contract was cancelled. If you put it out there it has its own life and you have no idea when it will show up again.

 

While social media have possible pitfalls, athletes can also use them as vehicles to control their message, build brands and directly engage with fans.  North said she believes the rewards of building a powerful social media presence outweigh the risks, if athletes treat each tweet as if it were being shared with a group of reporters at a press conference.

 

Posted in Goals, Leadership Tagged with:

Rest your BEST!

While the latest sports supplement or protein drink can make outlandish claims about improving performance, the real powerhouse to improving performance and reducing injury is sleep. In 2012, a study was done with teenage athletes and it was concluded that athletes who slept less than 8 hours a night were significantly more likely to be injured. The fascinating part was that many other factors were taken into consideration – gender, hours played per week, strength training among others – and only sleep was a variable that actually was proven to have a significant outcome.

Other sleep studies have been done to show how pro athletes are more successful with more sleep and how college basketball players can improve on court performance by getting 10 hours of sleep. The NFL has taken notice and in 2013, the Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll began using sleep training to help his players reach their highest athletic potential. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl that season!

Through all the articles I’ve read (check the hyperlinks!) and consulting with a sleep expert, there are a couple key factors for athletes to consider.

  1. Same time EVERY day:  In order to get into a sleep rhythm, getting up at the same time each day is important. It creates a schedule for your body. So if you’re searching for more sleep, you don’t want to sleep in, but rather go to bed earlier and maintain that same wake time.
  2. 10-6 > 12-8 (not all “8 hours” are the same):  Your body is more ready to shut down between 10-11pm and is better prepared to enter into the REM sleep cycle.
  3. Big Sleep – Big Gains: The majority of your body’s recovery chemicals are released at night. However, if you don’t reach the deeper levels of sleep (REM sleep), the amount of chemicals released will be reduced.
  4. No screens: The blue light emitted from cell phones, TVs, laptops and tablets tricks the brain into staying awake. When used immediately before bed, it delays the person’s ability to fall asleep and again, affects the quality of sleep that you get.

The sticking point with today’s athletes is not understanding that sleep is critical to performance. The other sticking point is whether they believe the benefits of good sleep outweigh the benefits of interacting on social media or watching Netflix to cap off their night.  Much like diet and exercise, seeing the benefits of sleep can only be seen by a long-term commitment. One night simply will not do.

In this phase of your life,  “accepting the risk of leadership” will demand purposeful planning and commitment. Fortunately, the choice will require minimal sacrifice in exchange for what you’ll gain in return. True leaders, after all, don’t think twice about sacrificing what is desired in the moment (sleeping in, the next “big” update on social media), to accomplish what they’ve dreamed about and worked so hard for (conference championship, playoff birth, state title, college scholarship).

Posted in Goals, Training Tagged with:

Why – How – What

          I’m honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the Trickey-Wright QBR camps. I attended my first Trickey-Wright camp going into my junior year of high school at Madison Memorial (Madison, WI). I was impressed by the amount of reps I had to throw the ball and was even more excited about the leadership aspect emphasized at camp.  As I moved on into adulthood, I would continue to see the camp t-shirts stamped with “Accept the Risk of Leadership” and it would always take me back to camp memories where I learned how important that phrase is for young men. Since most readers are current Trickey-Wright QBR athletes and parents, I thought it fitting to share some insights about why choosing these camps is a great idea, what you can do to maximize your camp experiences.

Why Trickey-Wright?

          Much like our athletes are competing for a  spot on their team, we are competing in a growing market of off-season player development. There are now a growing number of opportunities to improve as a football player on a year round basis.  Having worked and seen many camps in the past 10 years, as a coach, what I find most compelling about Trickey-Wright QBR is the commitment to helping every player improve, regardless of their grade-level, ability or position on the depth chart. Sure, we take great pride in the college and NFL alumni who have continued their careers. Fortunately though, we realize that 90-95% of high school players do not move on to that level, and their final game as a high school player will be their last time playing competitive football.

          Knowing that their youth and high school football career can be short lived, our limited camp size allows us to focus and work with every athlete to ensure they get the most out of our camps both in repetitions and instruction. Other camps may position themselves to help improve a player’s opportunity to get recruited. We’ve made a conscious effort to stay out of the recruiting aspect and instead focus on skill and character development. If you apply what you learn at our camps and you have the desire and talent to play at the college level, the recruiting side will take care of itself. Part of “accepting the risk of leadership” on our end is to stay away from the hype of recruiting and/or meet and greet autograph sessions and not waver in our commitment to help every athlete who steps on the field become a better player and person.

How can YOU leverage our camps?

          Each camp that we offer is created to meet a different need in the process of off-season development.

          Our oneday youth camps (4th-6th) are an excellent place to get basic instruction. These camps provide passionate, informed and fundamentals-based instruction that will give an extra layer of experience to any aspiring quarterback.

          Igniter Workouts (7th-12th) are offered to knock off some of the rust that can build up in the off-season, and to focus on simple, staple concepts necessary to succeed at the QB and Receiver positions. These are small group sessions where kids get plenty of one on one instruction and TONS of reps in a two and half hour session and serve as a precursor to our summer camps.  These workouts are also great opportunities for QBs and Receivers from the same high school to get off-season work together in a controlled environment.  The more reps you have throwing and catching, the better you can be on game day.

          Our two-day Developmental Camps (7th-12th) are the heart of what we do at Trickey-Wright QBR. These camps provide a large-group, high energy environment creating the feeling of a pre-season summer camp at a high school. Our high coach to player ratio allows for the athletes to be actively coached through all 8 hours of camp. To get the most out of camp, come with a plan or goal, such as “What do I need to get better at to help my team win?” Athletes receive high amounts of position-specific knowledge both on the field and in the classroom.  We want nothing more than to help each player get another step closer to achieving their goals.

          The three-day Advanced Camp (10th-12th) is for those athletes who really want to take it to the next level. Coach Trickey, Coach Wright and staff take their extensive knowledge of offensive football and pour as much information and coaching into the players as they possibly can. Although most camps are held towards the end of the summer with the intention of players to continue the momentum of that instruction right into their high school season, an earlier option is available for those wanting to prepare for summer college camps.  The only thing needed to excel at this camp is to be open to receiving and implementing coaching. There are more than enough reps to go around, but whether you can get better with each rep is really the challenge.

What you need to do to be ready for camp

          In addition to having an improvement plan for camp and mobilizing your teammates to join you, the most important thing that you want to do is to be physically prepared for the number of repetitions you’ll get at camp. Depending on your commitment to other sports or off-season conditioning, athletes may not be throwing many passes or running routes at full-speed during the off-season. A solid warm-up on the day of camp may not adequately prepare your body for the demands of camp. Quarterbacks should be working on their footwork and throwing regularly. Receivers should be running routes or doing sprints and change of directions drills. We want to ensure that we limit the potential for injury to maximize the effectiveness of camp. Next month I’ll be continuing on the topic of training and how to maximize your performance through proper sleep, hydration and nutrition.

Posted in Training

Emulate the Greats

One of my very favorite questions to ask players during warm-ups of the Trickey-Wright QB-R Camps is “Who is the player you model your game after?” It’s fun to hear and see the various responses. A large majority of the players give a blank stare as if they’ve never really thought of the question before and then the wheels start to turn. You can see they want to respond but have not given the question much thought. They typically throw out a famous player who likely plays for their favorite team. But then I’ll get the rare player who with the snap of a finger answers the question confidently. You can tell they’ve not only thought about the question, they’ve taken action. They have strategically chosen a player that is similar in some way to them and have actively studied what makes them great.

My son Ben is almost two and loves to throw a ball. His favorite thing is to see how far and high he can throw it. Like most little kids, he stood with both feet on the ground and just used his arm to throw. But just recently he saw baseball on TV for the first time. He got super excited when the pitcher was throwing the ball because he recognized the pitcher was doing something he loved to do: throw a ball. I was so surprised to see Ben the next time he threw a ball. He lifted his left leg up in the air, twisted his body and then threw the ball. He had modeled his throwing motion after what he had seen the pitcher on TV do.

Although a simple little example, this is a great insight into how powerful watching, studying and imitating can be for an athlete. Great athletes have spent years practicing and perfecting their mechanics. What an incredible resource for an aspiring athlete. There is much to be gained emulating great players.

So here is the challenge. Think about the question: “Who is the player you model your game after?” Don’t answer it quickly. Take your time. Think about your body type, your natural skills on the field, how you play the game. Write them down. Then do some research. Who are the players in the NFL or college or even at your high school who have similar characteristics and have been successful? Identification may come right away or it may take some time. Be patient but persistent in finding the right player to model your game after.

So now that you have your guy(s), the fun and real value begins. You now have a model to study and emulate. Spend time watching him play. Watch him live. Look up highlight tapes on YouTube. Study his mechanics. Watch how he reacts to different circumstances in a game. Imitate and practice the movements he makes. If your player is an NFL player, there is an incredible resource online called NFL Game Pass. For $100 you get access to game film for every game since 2009, including the “all 22” coaches film. This is an awesome resource to dive deep into a study of your player and all the players at your position in the NFL.

One last related tip. Spend your Saturdays and Sundays watching football. Don’t just watch the game like the average fan. Spend your time learning and studying the game. Watch the strategy of the players and coaches. Begin to put yourself in their shoes and think through what they should do. The more time you spend role playing in this way, the more you will learn the ins and outs of the game. Then on gameday you’ll find yourself better equipped to handle the situations that come your way.

Posted in Film study, Goals, Practice

In-Season Advantage: Film Study

The season is now in full swing. You’ve grinded through off-season workouts, two-a-days, scrimmages and the first half of the season. Maybe your season is going well, but you know you have some tough games coming up with playoff implications. Or your season is not quite off to the start you wanted and you need something to jump start your season. Wherever you’re at right now, the number one way to gain an advantage during the season: film study.

The rise of the video editing company Hudl and others like it give a huge resource and opportunity for separation for today’s high school athletes. Advanced film study and analytics at the college and pro level are standard. The level of film study and preparation at the high school level is highly variable with incredible advantage to be gained.

Self-Scout

Most people think of film study is exclusively watching your opponent.  Preparation for the next opponent actually starts with evaluation of yourself. The first item of business in any game week should be to dissect last week’s game. Many coaching staffs will sit down with their players and review areas of improvement. A common pitfall many players fall into is watching film for entertainment. Self-scout should not be watching to see the highlight plays or just watching the ball carrier. The great players I’ve been around become great because they not only pay attention to the details their coach’s point out but are their own worst critics. They identify self-tendencies their coaches don’t even notice.

Take this template for evaluating each play of your own film. Write down items you need to improve this coming week in practice.

  1. 1. Assignment: Did I correctly attempt to do what the coach assigned me to do?
  2. 2. Execution: Did I successfully fulfill the assignment?
  3. 3. Technique: Was I technically sound? (Think about the things you were taught at Trickey-Wright Camp.)
  4. 4. Tendency: Am I doing anything that my opponents will key in on to gain an advantage?

Opponent Scout

The advantage of opponent film study can be almost as drastic as stepping into the opponents meeting rooms during the week or their huddle every play. Watching opponent film is not like watching football on TV. When you watch football on TV you casually observe, spending most of your time with your eyes on where the ball is. Effective film study is purposeful and focused on the details that are most meaningful.

Every player is in a different stage of their career with varying experience watching opponent film. I’ve provided guidelines for those who are: beginner, intermediate, and advanced in film study. Find the level that is appropriate for you and take your game to the next level by advancing your film room preparation.

Beginner: (You may have watched some film with your coach but have never studied opponent film on your own)

  1. 1. Ask your coach how you can get access to opponent film. Most coaches, especially at the high school level, will have access to opponent film and have the ability to grant you access. It will likely be a password that your coach gives you for an online film software like Hudl. Ask your coach to show you how to login and the basics of how to watch.
  2. 2. Watch the opponent’s most recent game.
  3. 3. Take out a piece of paper and write down:
    • a. The positions and uniform numbers of the players you will going up against
    • b. Write down those players strengths and weaknesses
    • c. For each play write down the number of deep players and if you can, identify the coverage. Tally each coverage type.
  4. 4. If you have time, study additional games

Intermediate: (You’ve spent a little time watching film on your own but are looking for more guidance on exactly what to look for)

  1. 1. Watch 2-3 of your opponent’s recent games.
  2. 2. Take out a piece of paper and write down:
    • a. The positions and uniform numbers of the players you will going up against
    • b. Write down those players strengths and weaknesses
    • c. For each play identify the coverage the defense is playing and any blitzes you see. Tally each coverage type. Write out any tendencies you see.
  3. 3. Watch each game again.
    • a. For each play, identify the offenses formation. Think of the offensive plays your team has in that formation. Imagine those plays verses that defensive structure. QB’s: think through your progression. Wide receivers: Imagine your route verses that coverage. Take notes on anything you notice in that process.

Advanced: (You’ve spent substantial time watching film on your own and are wanting to prepare like a college or pro player)

Note: This section requires game data to be inserted into your video software. Some coaching staffs may input this information for you. If not, consider inputting manually this information yourself into the corresponding columns. (Columns needed: Down, Distance, and Offensive Formation)  This is a very advanced way to look at film but the ability to sort film by these factors will drastically improve your ability to find tendencies and give you an advantage over your opponents.

  1. 1. Follow step 2 of intermediate for 3-4 of your opponent’s games in which their defense played a similar offense to your own.
  2. 2. Open all 3-4 games in the same cutup. Sort the down and distance columns from low to high. Tally the defensive coverages in each situation.
    • a. Normal Down and Distance (1st-10, 2nd and 6 or less)
    • b. 2nd Long
    • c. 3rd and short
    • d. 3rd and long
    • e. 3rd and medium
    • f. 4th down
  3. 3. Sort and watch plays by formation of the offense.
    • a. Write down the coverages you see verses that formation. Tally the number of times you see each.
    • b. Look for any tendencies you see that give away specific coverages.
    • c. Look at that week’s game plan and imagine each offensive play you have in that formation against the opponents defensive set.
  4. 4. Go back and watch through each game from start to finish.
    • a. At the beginning of the play look at the down and distance. Quiz yourself on the coverages that team tends to run in each situation.
    • b. See the offensive formation. Go through your read or visualize how various routes will take shape for each play you have in that formation.

The separation is found in the preparation. Take your preparation to another level with effective film study.

Posted in Film study, Practice