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Predicting the future of a program... key indicator


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This may be specific to 4A and below but after closely watching area programs over the past 10 years it seems to me that what you are in middle school is what you'll be in HS.  Success breeds success.  If you're winning in middle school kids want to be a part of that ... so they stick with it and... those who aren't playing start to play.  Area kids who aren't winning want to be a part of that so when 9th grade rolls around ... and if they have a choice... they migrate.  I've seen coaching changes hurt a program.  But i can't think of situation where a coaching change has turned a bottom dweller into a solid program in less than 3 years (enough time to turn 8th graders into Juniors).  If i'm wrong please site an example.  If not, it would seem...

1. Coaches should be looking primarily at the MS level when they take over a program. 

2. if your program is solid you better be investing heavily in youth and MS or you won't be solid for long. 

3. Winning is important in MS.  I'm not saying it is the same as HS, but, you still have to play to win the game.

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5 minutes ago, Purdue Pete said:

This may be specific to 4A and below but after closely watching area programs over the past 10 years it seems to me that what you are in middle school is what you'll be in HS.  Success breeds success.  If you're winning in middle school kids want to be a part of that ... so they stick with it and... those who aren't playing start to play.  Area kids who aren't winning want to be a part of that so when 9th grade rolls around ... and if they have a choice... they migrate.  I've seen coaching changes hurt a program.  But i can't think of situation where a coaching change has turned a bottom dweller into a solid program in less than 3 years (enough time to turn 8th graders into Juniors).  If i'm wrong please site an example.  If not, it would seem...

1. Coaches should be looking primarily at the MS level when they take over a program. 

2. if your program is solid you better be investing heavily in youth and MS or you won't be solid for long. 

3. Winning is important in MS.  I'm not saying it is the same as HS, but, you still have to play to win the game.

To me there are 2 good examples in South Vermillion (2A) who turned it around in 3 years and also at Mount Vernon (Fortville) (4A) who has only needed 2-3 to become the top dog.

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2 hours ago, NPCougarNation said:

To me there are 2 good examples in South Vermillion (2A) who turned it around in 3 years and also at Mount Vernon (Fortville) (4A) who has only needed 2-3 to become the top dog.

SV is a pretty good example ... seems like they’re on solid ground as of last year.  Mount Vernon seems to have been a good program with one bad year so not as good of an example imo but I’m not real familiar with the teams or area...just going by records on JH

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There are exceptions to every rule. North Central in Indy is a good example. O'Shea is in his 4th season and is 22-15. Went 3-7 the first year, but NC only won 1 game in the previous 3. Won their first sectional championship in school history. There's been one D1 player in the first 3 years and one that has verbally committed this season. The coaching staff is exceptional.

Junior high success may be the key. This year, they have 4 defensive players that have started varsity for 3 years. That will deplete anyone's JV team.

Previous Coaches: 1-29 ; 16-38; 14-19;

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While I agree that you have to build your program from the bottom up, there are many factors that a coach has little control.

It is much easier to have consistency in a one high school town.  All the junior high feed into your program.

In South Bend...there are 5 middle schools going to 4 high schools.  With open enrollment, any kid can go to any school in the city.  There is no way to build consistency if you don't know who you are going to have.  This leads to letting the middle school coaches do what they want.

There are some programs in multi high school towns that have had consistent success...but the are the exception rather than the rule.

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I think there is something to be said about having back-to-back classes also. I have seen many examples of a group that had good middle school successes, but the group ahead of behind them did not do well, resulting in average teams. IMO, at smaller schools, you need at least two solid classes in a row to fill all the spots with players in order to really achieve highly by the time those kids are juniors or seniors. Occasionally, there will be classes that have all the pieces themselves, which are really special groups. Rare, but special.

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Some good thoughts and observations on this topic of discussion. I'd like to see more topics like this on here.  I would like to add the following:  If a school hires a new coach I would think his first order of business would be to meet with the head coaches of the junior high teams and the youth league(s) to discuss his offensive and defensive philosophies with them.  If a kid has played the same defense and offense through junior high then in high school he'll know it backwards and forwards when he gets to his freshman year.  I realize mostly in the youth leagues they are being taught techniques for blocking, tackling, etc but they do run some offense and defense.  And if a coach is hired by a program that has no youth league, then I would hope his first order of business would be to get one started.  I also realize some of the smaller schools may only have one grade school.  In that case, they could still have a team but play other schools in the area.  Maybe you'll only have a 4 or 5 game season, but at least they would be getting experience and exposure they can use at the junior high level.  That is how I see a program being built and a program being consistently successful.  You wouldn't build a house without a good foundation under it.  So that is what I see:  you MUST have a good foundation to have a successful program.   Hey, just my two cents and maybe not worth that much in some people's eyes, but there it is.

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4 hours ago, itiswhatitis said:

Some good thoughts and observations on this topic of discussion. I'd like to see more topics like this on here.  I would like to add the following:  If a school hires a new coach I would think his first order of business would be to meet with the head coaches of the junior high teams and the youth league(s) to discuss his offensive and defensive philosophies with them.  If a kid has played the same defense and offense through junior high then in high school he'll know it backwards and forwards when he gets to his freshman year.  I realize mostly in the youth leagues they are being taught techniques for blocking, tackling, etc but they do run some offense and defense.  And if a coach is hired by a program that has no youth league, then I would hope his first order of business would be to get one started.  I also realize some of the smaller schools may only have one grade school.  In that case, they could still have a team but play other schools in the area.  Maybe you'll only have a 4 or 5 game season, but at least they would be getting experience and exposure they can use at the junior high level.  That is how I see a program being built and a program being consistently successful.  You wouldn't build a house without a good foundation under it.  So that is what I see:  you MUST have a good foundation to have a successful program.   Hey, just my two cents and maybe not worth that much in some people's eyes, but there it is.

Well said.  I'm surprised by how many programs don't follow this strategy.

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Weight/strength/nutrition coaches, classes, and instructors (and the ability to fill those roles either internally or through a contractor) are also becoming big factors even at the 3A level. If you have an AD who considers such endeavors important, it can improve all sports, but is particularly important in football/track/soccer where you have the largest number of athletes competing together. Wrestling can be thrown in there too.

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5 hours ago, hhpatriot04 said:

Weight/strength/nutrition coaches, classes, and instructors (and the ability to fill those roles either internally or through a contractor) are also becoming big factors even at the 3A level. If you have an AD who considers such endeavors important, it can improve all sports, but is particularly important in football/track/soccer where you have the largest number of athletes competing together. Wrestling can be thrown in there too.

I would agree that all of that is important, Patriot 04.  I wasn't overlooking those kind of things.  I was looking at it from the initial standpoint.  Those types of things would come later.  Most of the weight stuff is High School due to the younger kids' bodies not being able to handle it especially at the youth level.  I would think it would be like that for ALL classes regardless and not 3A and up.  I think some of the smaller schools may not do those things (or some of them) because of the $$ involved.  They only have so much money for sports and football takes up about 40% of a schools athletic budget from what I have been told.

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20 hours ago, hhpatriot04 said:

Weight/strength/nutrition coaches, classes, and instructors (and the ability to fill those roles either internally or through a contractor) are also becoming big factors even at the 3A level. If you have an AD who considers such endeavors important, it can improve all sports, but is particularly important in football/track/soccer where you have the largest number of athletes competing together. Wrestling can be thrown in there too.

Who pays for such an extravagance?

 

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31 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Who pays for such an extravagance?

Health is an extravagance? Open gyms and lifting sessions are open to all students. An in-house trainer for all sports can be less expensive and better for low-income students who wouldn't get proper medical care following an injury.

Certainly, I've never said everyone is on a level playing field socioeconomically. I've proposed different ways to classify schools taking into consideration socioeconomics and population from which a school can pull -- P/Ps and Indy township schools being a classic example especially in the age of open enrollment.

Many athletic departments or sport-specific booster clubs receive donations from local companies and private donors including former athletes and other philanthropists. Is it the same at every school? No. However, even Warren Central had a deal a while ago with Underarmor for jerseys/training garb. Other programs have former collegiate or professional athletes who volunteer their expertise at the feeder level or in fundraising promotion. Indy Tech's facilities benefited when Indianapolis hosted the Superbowl last (not sure if it was the NFL or UNFPA).

Often when a long-running/successful coach retires or passes away, an academic scholarship is created from their will/trust for HS graduates to more easily attend university/college.

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Just now, hhpatriot04 said:

 

Health is an extravagance? Open gyms and lifting sessions are open to all students.

 

Who pays for the Weight/strength/nutrition coaches, classes, and instructors if they are as you stated, contractors?  The world contractor implies an individual or individuals who are not regular employees of the organization.

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14 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Who pays for the Weight/strength/nutrition coaches, classes, and instructors if they are as you stated, contractors?  The world contractor implies an individual or individuals who are not regular employees of the organization.

I assume they are contracted by the school corporation, but as I also said, schools are hiring more people with those qualifications while they also might teach a health class (any class for that matter) or be in the administration like a guidance counselor.

Even way back 17 years ago, one of my HS biology teachers volunteered his time in the weight room outside of the 180-day school year 9a-5p and also was an assistant football coach. He was a dang good teacher, who now teaches for the highly-selective program to educate the children of US servicemen/women stationed abroad. Another MS science teacher and assistant football coach, became a counselor after he was just a few years away from retirement and the principal preferred to hire another younger science teacher, so they could be supported by more experienced peers during their first years of teaching.


ETA: Some doctors volunteer their time at sporting events in exchange for their practice being promoted in game programs or field/stadium banners (they know they'll get referrals).

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For a few years, our PE teacher would have weight lifting as part of PE.  Worked out fine.  The team could still lift after school.  I believe they "contracted" with a fitness gym until a weight room was built at the school.   Also with the way things are these days, you could trade off in advertising for services rendered.   There are many businesses that have commercials during the Linton broadcasts on the radio.  They could just put up a sign on the fence at the football stadium.  No difference really.

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For a lot of mid-size or small schools in NE Indiana, the strength coach is a PE teacher in the building.

At Garrett, it is not just football. All teams follow the same S and C program year-round. Ideally, the kids train during the school day through a class we offer. If they do not have that class, it is their in season coach's responsibility to have them training in the weight room at least two days a week. They coordinate that all through the S and C coach. If they do not have the class and they are not in season, there are training groups after school.

Our S and C class is open to non-athletes, but they do and follow the same program as everyone else. 

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19 minutes ago, itiswhatitis said:

For a few years, our PE teacher would have weight lifting as part of PE.  Worked out fine.  The team could still lift after school.  I believe they "contracted" with a fitness gym until a weight room was built at the school.   Also with the way things are these days, you could trade off in advertising for services rendered.   There are many businesses that have commercials during the Linton broadcasts on the radio.  They could just put up a sign on the fence at the football stadium.  No difference really.

Yep, a Cathedral poster brought up in a recent thread that since the Irish have begun using Arlington's field (they have no football team), a local Cathedral supporter who owns a landscaping company takes care of the maintenance of the field. I'm sure his company receives something in exchange, either a banner, game program ad, or radio ad spot... I think it's quite common and is part of what makes sports (and some other activities like industrial ed/technical classes with partnerships with local businesses) a community endeavor

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Some really good thoughts.

1. Back to back classes is huge.  3-4 in a row and ur starting to talk powerhouse not just a solid program.

2. O’Shea was the first name that came to my mind as well.  LCC dropped off quite a bit immediately after his departure and he’s done a great job at N.C.  but it’s 6a so I wasn’t sure how pertinent my post was to that class.

3. Weights and nutrition are icing on the cake once u have the athletes interested and involved.  Which is a biggest hurdle for many programs across the state.  If u don’t get the athletes to play then it doesn’t matter what u feed ur team.

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1 hour ago, hhpatriot04 said:

I assume they are contracted by the school corporation, but as I also said, schools are hiring more people with those qualifications while they also might teach a health class (any class for that matter) or be in the administration like a guidance counselor.

Hmm.  I thought the IDOE and the ISTA  would have issues with a non-teaching licensed contractor having a full time teaching gig in a government school.

1 hour ago, NEIFootballGuy said:

For a lot of mid-size or small schools in NE Indiana, the strength coach is a PE teacher in the building.

At Garrett, it is not just football. All teams follow the same S and C program year-round. Ideally, the kids train during the school day through a class we offer. If they do not have that class, it is their in season coach's responsibility to have them training in the weight room at least two days a week. They coordinate that all through the S and C coach. If they do not have the class and they are not in season, there are training groups after school.

Our S and C class is open to non-athletes, but they do and follow the same program as everyone else. 

How many credit hours towards graduation does this class provide?

 

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11 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

 

How many credit hours towards graduation does this class provide?

 

During their HS career, a student is allowed to obtain 8 PE credits. 2 of those are taken up by the required PE classes (mostly for freshman). Once they run out of credits, they can still take the course, however it is no longer for a grade.

Edited by NEIFootballGuy
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14 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

Hmm.  I thought the IDOE and the ISTA  would have issues with a non-teaching licensed contractor having a full time teaching gig in a government school.

I did not mean to imply anyone is teaching without the requirements. I do believe the state passed a law around 2012 making it possible to teach courses with an accredited university degree, then I believe they have a certain amount of time to get a teaching license... I do think it's feasible for a school corporation to hire a trainer who doesn't teach classes, just as they might hire a landscaping company to mow, police for event security, or a paving company to work on the parking lot. It's up to the school boards in Indiana, elected by townships, to allocate funds as they see fit, so long as they are not breaking DOE rules/Indiana state law.

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On 9/22/2020 at 7:49 AM, itiswhatitis said:

Some good thoughts and observations on this topic of discussion. I'd like to see more topics like this on here.  I would like to add the following:  If a school hires a new coach I would think his first order of business would be to meet with the head coaches of the junior high teams and the youth league(s) to discuss his offensive and defensive philosophies with them.  If a kid has played the same defense and offense through junior high then in high school he'll know it backwards and forwards when he gets to his freshman year.  I realize mostly in the youth leagues they are being taught techniques for blocking, tackling, etc but they do run some offense and defense.  And if a coach is hired by a program that has no youth league, then I would hope his first order of business would be to get one started.  I also realize some of the smaller schools may only have one grade school.  In that case, they could still have a team but play other schools in the area.  Maybe you'll only have a 4 or 5 game season, but at least they would be getting experience and exposure they can use at the junior high level.  That is how I see a program being built and a program being consistently successful.  You wouldn't build a house without a good foundation under it.  So that is what I see:  you MUST have a good foundation to have a successful program.   Hey, just my two cents and maybe not worth that much in some people's eyes, but there it is.

I'm not sure aligning the youth program plays, etc. is a necessity for success.  I think it's much more about creating an environment that draws kids in and sustains kids playing over time.  In my 18 seasons of coaching youth ball at LCC, I officially retired this season, I have seen six head coaches and an interim coach.  Every time we'd get a new coach, we'd ask the question if there's anything they wanted us specifically to be teaching the kids in the program.  It always came down to safe procedures, understanding the proper way to do things, why we do things, and stoking their continued interest in the game; keeping them engaged until their bodies and skill caught up with their enthusiasm for the game.  Even had a couple of them specifically state that, given the nature of the game, there's no guarantee that what the high school was running when the player was in 3rd grade would be the same six years later ... or that the coach might be different too.  I think there is a move afoot now to do things like use similar nomenclature as the high school, but that still isn't the same as offensive schemes, defensive schemes, etc.  A colleague of mine that also coached in the youth league with me for many years broke down the idea of the successful feeder program ... at least based on how we did it at LCC.  All the teams, 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, junior high, and high school practice on the same stretch of land with the 3rd/4th closest to the school and moving successively out.  He told me that our main job was to keep those kids engaged/involve and learning the game so that they would move from here to there to there to there and eventually to there on Friday nights *gesturing from the 3rd/4th grade practice area to the 5th/6th grade practice area to the junior high practice area to the high school practice area to the varsity field*.  He said, however, the most important aspect of that was not the kids, but to also get their moms to move in that progression as well because we had to make sure that we were providing something that they were comfortable with regarding safety, fun, and ROI for the family time spent with the player playing.

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3 hours ago, hhpatriot04 said:

Yep, a Cathedral poster brought up in a recent thread that since the Irish have begun using Arlington's field (they have no football team), a local Cathedral supporter who owns a landscaping company takes care of the maintenance of the field. I'm sure his company receives something in exchange, either a banner, game program ad, or radio ad spot... I think it's quite common and is part of what makes sports (and some other activities like industrial ed/technical classes with partnerships with local businesses) a community endeavor

I used to be against businesses/companies getting involved with amateur sports (mostly high school) but any more with budget cuts, etc, I would think it could help in some ways especially with the smaller programs.  It's one way to get things you may need for your program without giving up a lot.  As long as there are no "shady" deals and things are transparent.  As you said, "a community endeavor".  I like the sound of that!

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10 minutes ago, itiswhatitis said:

I used to be against businesses/companies getting involved with amateur sports (mostly high school) but any more with budget cuts, etc, I would think it could help in some ways especially with the smaller programs.  It's one way to get things you may need for your program without giving up a lot.  As long as there are no "shady" deals and things are transparent.  As you said, "a community endeavor".  I like the sound of that!

Can't wait to see Terry Lee's mug plastered on the side or on the back of Avon's or Plainfield's helmets for example.

 

 

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