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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

PLP Gallops into Louisville

Coaches from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio turned out Friday for Practice Like Pros' presentation to the NIKE Coach of the Year/Louisville Clinic at the Galt House Hotel, Louisville, KY.

It was the 58th edition of the event, every one of them directed by the remarkable Earl Browning, a former two-way center/linebacker at Marshall University in the late '50s who founded his Louisville clinic in 1962.

Illinois Coach Asks for Video

This message was received from an Ilinois coach who attended PLP's appearance at the Chicago/Glazier Clinic last week:

Your presentation was great last week in Chicago.  I have been trying to figure out how to get better in practice with limited contact and still keep the speed up.  Can you share with me and my staff the video clips you showed at the clinic?  My players need to see how to replicate game speed in practice.   Also, I agree that 15 minutes of full contact per week is plenty in regular season.  We rarely used that many minutes last year. Thanks,  Wayne Walker, Head Coach, Momence (IL) High School

In reply:

Thanks for your message, Coach.  Video is on the way.  You might explain to your squad:  NFL teams practice full speed in shorts and in thud format because only with full-speed reps do players assimilate the timing, spacing and choreography of a play.  In the words of 49ers Coach Bill Walsh, spoken in the early 1980s:  "How is Joe Montana going to get timed up with his receivers unless we run a dozen or two dozen plays full speed during the week?" Jon Gruden's first NFL job was in San Francisco in 1990.  Speaking last summer during Raiders training camp, he said, "You have to practice in shorts, and you have to practice with speed in shorts.  And if you know how to do it, and you practice how to do it, and you enforce how you do it, you have a chance to be pretty good at it.  That's the one thing I took from the 49ers when I was there many years ago.  They had all these great Hall of Fame players, and they practiced fast!  And they practiced in baseball hats.  Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott.  There were never any collisions.  There was a lot of respect and cooperation.  And there was a lot of intelligence about how they wanted to get things done." Stay with it, Coach Walker.  As Buddy Teevens has said about his revolutionary practice regimen at Dartmouth:  "It's a culture we've created.  It didn't happen overnight."

New Research Argues for Thud

New scientific research published last week showed a loss of verbal memory recall among high school football players who suffered significant head blows during a season. Investigators were scientists from two Brooklyn, NY, medical centers.  They collected data via sensors in the helmets of 24 players on the 2018 Mater Dei Prep squad of Middletown, NJ.  Head contact was recorded from every practice and every game. Players were tested for verbal memory in both pre-season and post-season.  None suffered a concussion during the season.  But those whose helmets registered at least three hits of 60 g-force or more showed 30% less recall than average in post-season testing.  A hit of 60g is associated with live tackling and is often sufficient to cause a concussion. "This is just another reminder," said PLP founder Terry O'Neil, "that we must reduce full contact in practice.  Contact in thud tempo is much less than 60g.  As we travel the country, in state after state, we see a trend toward unlimited thud in exchange for drastic limits on live tackling." To read about the new research, click here.

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