The Glazier clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan had quite the lineup of speakers this past weekend dropping knowledge about everything from developing your strength and conditioning program, to the inside zone, to proper press man technique.
The speakers included names like Michigan State's Pat Narduzzi, Tulsa's Greg Peterson, and renowned strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis.
I've compiled a few key ideas and concepts that other coaches, and myself, took away from the featured clinic speakers below:
Mike Barwis - Former D-I strength coach and owner of Barwis Methods: Every coach that left Barwis' speech was amped and ready to workout, and if they hadn't worked out earlier that day, chances are they did before the end of the night or early the next morning. That's just the kind of infectious energy that Barwis brings to the table when he talks about strength and conditioning. If you haven't had the chance to listen to him talk about developing an all around football player, and his views on year round strength and agility training you're missing out and your staff would benefit greatly from a session listening to him in the near future.
Pat Narduzzi - Michigan State: One of the things that Narduzzi talked about during his session was giving players the freedom to come up with their defensive identity to help provide a sense of ownership. Any coach can go into each year with and tell their unit what kind of team he wants them to be, but to really create accountability and ownership the staff at Michigan State has their players come up with things that they want to be known for. For example, "relentless pursuit of the ball", was one thing that players had agreed on. Flipping on the film and saying that they aren't meeting their own expectations can be much more powerful than stating that they aren't meeting the expectations that you pre-defined as the coordinator before the season started.
George Barnett - Illinois State: While Barnett spent most of his time talking about the finer details behind the inside zone and pass protection techniques, one thing he brought up was applicable to coaches at every level. Barnett brought up practice clips of his guys going through drills and would tell coaches the exact instructions that he would give if his players were in the room. Barnett's instructions centered on brief phrases, often one word, that were immediately recognized during the drill. For example, Barnett would shout "drive" or "near knee" while the players went through the drill. This was extremely effective, and immediately recognize those buzzwords and make adjustments on the fly. That would in turn translate to the field. Barnett's ultimate goal is that his players will be able to use those buzzwords to coach themselves up during crunch time when he's not able to be there.
Greg Peterson - Tulsa: Coach Peterson took some time to break down their four vertical concept for the coaches in attendance (which was a big hit with the coaches who were in the session), and also shared some great drills and practice footage that they use for their receivers. One thing that Peterson pointed out during one of his sessions that surprised a lot of coaches is that Tulsa is the smallest university that plays FBS football with just 4,000 students enrolled, and they've been able to build a consistent winner. To put the enrollment numbers in perspective, D-III Wisconsin-Whitewater has around 12,000 students enrolled.
James Ward - Former corners coach at Nevada: Coaches that had the opportunity to sit in coach Ward's session got a real treat. Not only did he talk about man press techniques and tackling progression, but he also handed out the same packet that he hands to head coaches when he goes into an interview. Coaches that I talked to over the weekend really valued that packet and talked about how that packet alone will help them prepare for their next interview opportunity.
Marine Corps: The Glazier clinics have partnered with the Marine Corps over the past few years to bring a unique perspective on ways to develop your team and get the most out of everyone. While I personally did not attend the talks, the coaches that I talked to that were in attendance raved about the new ideas that they got during the sessions aimed at developing leaders, and getting your team to perform in any situation. Many D-I staffs, including Toledo and NC State, have taken their teams to military bases to learn leadership lessons and gain a mental edge over the past few seasons, and the military angle is a route that a lot of coaches are exploring to gain an edge. If there's a military speaker at your next clinic, I highly recommend grabbing yourself a seat and taking plenty of notes from what I've heard from the coaches in attendance.
Funny anecdote of the weekend: The funniest note of the weekend came via Coach Ward who almost didn't even make it to to Grand Rapids. After his flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids was delayed for two hours due to mechanical problems, Ward met a coach that was also on his way to the clinic who decided to throw in the towel and just rent a car to make the three and a half hour drive, and asked if Ward wanted to ride with him. Frustrated with the airline, Ward hopped in the car and him and his new friend rolled into town around 4am EST, and four hours later Ward was ready to go for his 8:30am morning session. It may sound like something right out of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, but it's the honest truth, and coaches were very appreciative that he was able to make the trip and share some wisdom on secondary play.
Clinic season is now in its tail end, so be sure to get out and share ideas, learn a thing or two, and grab a cold one and network with different coaches while you still have an opportunity. If you've got some unique program development or leadership ideas that you feel other coaches would benefit from, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.