Impact Of Special Teams

Hello Coaches, let’s talk about special teams and how they impact every game and every season in a unique way. How much time do you spend on a yearly, monthly, weekly or daily basis? It can be crucial to your team’s success to spend some time on all the specialties to ensure that you have a successful season. I was very fortunate to have spent this past season at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia Arkansas. I had the opportunity to work with Head Coach Scott Maxfield who put a strong emphasis on special teams this season. I am looking forward to bringing that same intensity and attention to detail to my new home in Ft. Myers Florida. I will be taking a teaching and coaching job for the Riverdale Raiders alongside Head Coach James Delgado.

Here is how I approach coordinating special teams. First order is to review your statistics from last season and determine where you can improve the most. Hopefully you have someone who keeps accurate stats for all the special teams this can be a great tool to look for areas of improvement. This is an excellent opportunity as a coach to mentor a student who may want to be a part of the team and learn about coaching. Have you ever considered this approach? Ask yourself, is there a player who may have gotten injured, a manager who shows interest in coaching, a volunteer whom you trust and respect, ( would advise against it being a parent of a current player) these can all be options to help you improve your special teams play and give you the advantage you may need to get to the next level. Now that you have examined what areas to explore, I would like to share with you a few of the things that I look at after each season. First, I examine my goal board, what is on my goal board you ask? It is set up the same as the offense and defensive goal boards in the same location it contains the following items. Punt average, KO average, KO return goal 10 plus yards, and catch all punts and several others. It is important that you create an atmosphere that allows special teams players to feel important. I have always had starters on special teams to create an atmosphere that no one is above them. I feel as though this allows younger players and ones that are on the edge of starting the ability to show you maximum effort and a willingness to be part of the team success. Creating the opportunities for players to show what they can do will make everyone else want to do their part. My current motto for special teams this season in “You don’t win We don’t win!” Creating a competitive environment during practice is another way to promote the importance of everyone pulling their weight. During practice I like to use KO and KO cover as a conditioning drill. By creating 3 rows deep or how ever many you need, have the return men deep and allow the kickers to kick it deep and have everyone sprint down the field and tap the returner. The returner needs to sprint the full 100 and jog back. The kickers should be able to reload by the time the returner passes the 40. The KO team sprints to the end zone and waits there. After each line has gone flip the field and repeat. This can be done with the punt teams also. It allows special teams work and conditioning at the same time. This is also a game like situation, so the players do not think of it as conditioning but just a part of practice. If you do this at the start of practice it will also get maximum effort as everyone is fresh. I include the linemen as well in their own group. I hope that this was helpful. Please feel free to e mail, text, tweet or call me anytime with any questions of just to talk football. Have a great season!

Howard Cheresnick Twitter @HowardCheresni1 Special Teams Coordinator

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