Coach's Corner: Stinson Dean 1/20
By Stinson Dean Mid America Nazarene Assistant Coach
One of the best times to improve your team is during the spring season. In college, we have a huge advantage of being able to compete in “spring ball.”
Spring ball normally consists of 15 practices with the 15th practice being the spring game. The spring game is a finale to about a month’s worth of work and is promoted to the student body, recruits and boosters as a preview going into the upcoming fall season.
Spring ball gives coaches time to actually teach. We can slow down and really coach fundamentals and bring our young guys up to speed. Unlike fall camp where the first game is right around the corner, spring practice allows for the backups to take a lot of reps and position battles to form going into the summer.
Because there isn’t a real game to be played the pressure and pace are lowered. Most college teams take a full month to complete the 15 practices. I’ve been a part of programs that go Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; leaving Saturday for special teams.
Other programs work Monday/Tuesday & Thursday/Friday. The breaks between practices give players and coaches time to watch the film and learn in meetings. The opportunity to practice, make the mistakes, watch it on film and get taught is a huge advantage. Spring ball pays huge dividends in the fall.
In Missouri and Kansas high schools aren’t allowed to compete in spring ball. But in other states like Texas, Florida and California, spring ball is practiced. This gives these high schools a great advantage to evaluate position battles, implement changes in scheme and get the young players ready to go for the fall.
Now, I know it’s easy to say that, but spring ball presents a whole set of issues. Most players will be in spring sports. Discouraging high school athletes from being multi-sport is the last thing we want to do. Also, the time and pressure we add to an already pressed athlete could turn out to be detrimental in the long run.
I know MSHSAA has implemented 20 or so days in the summer where teams can put together organized team activities. These OTAs seemed to be pretty flexible with use of pads and coaches being able to teach while working through plays. I think this is a good compromise to keep high school athletes’ from getting overwhelmed in the spring and still getting quality time before the rush of fall camp.
If Kansas and Missouri continue to progress giving high schools more opportunities to improve in the off-season, Missouri and Kansas will produce better players and the quality of play will increase overall.
Stinson Dean is an assistant coach at Mid America Nazarene University and a former state championship quarterback from Blue Springs High School.
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