Southern sunshine warmed PLP's travels during the weekend.
First stop was a Thursday appearance at the South Carolina Football Coaches Association (SCFCA) Winter Clinic in the Crown Reef Resort, Myrtle Beach. That was followed by Friday and Saturday presentations to the NIKE Coach of the Year/Orlando Clinic at the Wyndham Resort International, Orlando, FL.
Common theme among the three appearances was the limited amount of full contact being used by South Carolina and Florida coaches. For example, Coach Matt Lawrence of Clay High School, Green Cove Springs, FL, said that his squad practices full contact only 90 minutes per week in pre-season versus the 240 minutes allowed by the Florida FHSAA, and 10 minutes per week in regular season versus the 80 minutes permitted.
"I'm hearing this kind of story all over the country," said PLP founder Terry O'Neil. "But Southern coaches in particular are misperceived because their governing bodies still maintain extreme hours of allowable contact. Coaches will not receive credit for changes they've already made until governing bodies roll back contact limits, as has been done in New Jersey and Michigan."
As O'Neil was departing the Wyndham Resort, he was approached by Bill Gierke, who will assume control of NIKE/Orlando next year with the retirement of legendary director Chuck Rohe. Gierke told O'Neil, "Practice Like Pros is changing football. I can feel it. I can see it. The game is changing."
Reaction to February Clinics
Great presentation yesterday! Can you send it to me? -- Head Coach LaFayette Stewart, Fox Creek High School, North Augusta, SC
I very much enjoyed your presentation at the NIKE Clinic in Orlando. Please send any material I can use to help educate my athletes as well as their parents. -- Head Coach Troy Rayburn, Trinity Christian Academy, Deltona, FL
I enjoyed your presentation at the South Carolina Football Coaches Clinic. Please send me the tackling videos you referred to. --Head Coach Russell Zehr, Cane Bay High School, Summerville, SC
I attended the New York State coaching clinic at Turning Stone and saw your presentation. I'm interested in receiving the Practice Like Pros tapes. --Head Coach Doug Edick, Amsterdam (NY) High School
I cannot remember the last time we tackled to the ground. It is a struggle at the high school level to achieve a full-tempo pace without tackling, with only a wrap on the ball carrier, but we're working to teach it. As a member of the Executive Committee of the New York High School Football Coaches Association, I have had the opportunity to hear the Practice Like Pros presentation on three different occasions, and I believe my program can benefit from this high-pace/reduced-contact practice style. -- Head Coach Ron Jones, Hoosick Falls (NY) Central High School
I watched your presentation last weekend at the NYSHSFCA Clinic. I totally agree with your philosophy. We've tried to implement these tempos in the past. One issue we have is the unevenness of tempos as practiced by our team. Watching your videos really hit home on that point. I'd love to get a copy of your videos so we can sell it to our kids that ALL levels (NFL, college, high school) practice like this. Please send as many clips as possible of various teams so we can show it to our kids. --Coach Matthew Coon, Webster Thomas High School, Webster, NY
I was at your presentation to the NYSHSFCA Clinic this weekend. We are all-in on the Practice Like Pros philosophy. I was wondering if you have a treasure trove of different tackling drills I can use with and without pads. I have numerous bags and tackle wheels. --Head Coach William Atlas, Wilson (NY) High School
I was really impressed this weekend with the Practice Like Pros presentation at the Glazier/Baltimore Clinic. I understand that this philosophy will reduce injuries in practice. In fact, I have been doing almost to a "T" what you advocate since I became a head coach four years ago. But is there any data to support that there aren't more injuries during games? I have no data to back up this question, but it seems there are more injuries in the NFL since they went to new practice rules outlined in the current CBA. --Head Coach Dan Hines, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Bucks, Georgetown, DE
Reply from PLP: Data reported in recent years both from the NFL to the NFLPA and by Dr. Dawn Comstock of the University of Colorado/Denver to the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) indicates no greater incidence of injuries in games due to reduced practice contact.