...aND SOMETIMES WE DON'T EVEN DO IT
A GLIMPSE INSIDE GAME PRACTICE SYSTEM (GPS)
AN INNOVATIVE RESTRUCTURING OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL PRACTICES
CHAPTER FOUR: INDY/OPPS
“Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.”
The term Indy/Ops, its concept, and where it occurs in the practice model (much like the rest of GPS) is unique.
To clarify, Indy is short for individual period, and Ops is short for opportunity.
In GPS an individual period for 1 on 1’s, or the small group teaching of fundamentals and skills is placed at the end of practice . We feel, and the data supports it, that an isolated teaching of a skill better fits when it is taught from a whole game-like scenario - as in Shells. However, there will be times where a player is not “mastering” the needed skill to operate within a full team concept. This is where Indy/Opps comes into the S2A GPS. Traditionally, football practices have placed concentrated individual time at the front of a full practice, The GPS method places it at the end of a practice.
The rationale behind an end of practice Indy/Opps
Part of the GPS method of practice comes from an educational theory, called Mastery. In part, “Mastery” contends that a student is given a concept to understand and apply, then the student is tested and evaluated for mastery of that concept. The law of averages says that a large segment of the students will indeed master the age/level appropriate concept and graduate to the next level and/or task. However, a certain portion of the group of students will not achieve mastery and thus are placed behind the others. This is where reteaching and reassessing of the concept takes place. In the GPS method of football practice, the same premise of mastery occurs.
The phases of a full GPS practice progress from the introduction to a concept, the mastery of a concept, to a possible reteaching, or Indy/Opps, of the concept.
Indy/Opps is the equivalent to re-teaching a concept in the educational classroom. From what we have already covered in our philosophy and beliefs about drills, it is our strongly held belief that not all athletes are created equal, and thus they should not be coached/taught that way either. Therefore we contend that young players, back ups, and main substitutes can more acutely be brought up to higher playing standards in this style of practice procedure.
The GPS system contends that:
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Let’s say that the X receiver (the lone isolated receiver to the left of the formation in diagram 4.1) is struggling picking up his quarterback’s signaled audibles to change the initial route. The X continues to run the called slant even after the quarterback has called for a front door change to a quick out. Throughout the rest of the practice, extending into S27, and 11-11 situations, this X receiver continues to bust assignments. Subsequently, the other receivers are picking it all up and succeeding in their called for executions. This will be the perfect situation for Indy/Ops for this particular X receiver.
The residual positives of Indy/Opps
“Opps” is short for opportunity. This period should always be deemed as a positive that will help an athlete to get better and improve his chances for success and playing time. This is an excellent time for younger and less experienced players to get more attention and feel “coached-up.”
Indy/Opps should be no longer than fifteen minutes. Again, players should never perceive this time as a punishment. It should be noted that coaches do have the option of ending practice and sending to the locker room those players that have achieved mastery during periods 1-12.
Advice on Indy/Opps
Encourage older and more experienced players to stay out on their own to either assist the players that are struggling (“old teaching the young”), or to work on things they individually feel they need to work on. An example would be a quarterback throwing a fade to his other wide receivers. This time will foster leadership and ownership into the older players.
It is important to never convey a connotation of negativity when a player is asked to stay out for Indy/Ops. The coach should always refrain from making threats that if a player doesn’t pick it up he will be staying for Indy/Ops instead of going in with the rest of the team. Ensure you have established a culture where players staying behind for Indy/Opps never feel singled out or embarrassed, by any other players, or by anyone on the coaching staff. There is a difference between effort, attitude, and skill/concept mastery. Punish a player for lack of effort or a poor attitude, but teach a struggling player mastery through providing him an opportunity.
Celebrate when a player that has struggled, and has diligently stayed out for Indy/Ops, makes a great contribution in a game. Stress to the rest of the team that through extra hard work in Indy/Ops that player has helped himself and his team become successful.
As with the athlete, the coach too must master the proper use of Indy/Ops in S2A GPS.
Indy/Ops takeaways from Coach Hargitt:
Indy/Ops is the last 15 minutes of practice. It is entirely worth noting that this individual time is situated at the end of practice and not at the beginning as is the case in many programs’ traditional practice models. Standard operating procedure has always been to have the position coaches go out and work individual fundamentals before the start of practice. In GPS, we choose to reserve this time for the end of practice. The reason for this is quite simple: we want the Indy Op to “stick” with the player. Let's say that an offensive lineman has a poor day of kick sliding in pass protection and it was something he struggled with all practice long. If that was not the offensive line coaches emphasis at the start of practice then that player struggled with a technique all practice long and then gets sent home without having that issue reviewed before he leaves. In our Indy Ops period, the offensive line coach will have identified this problem with his players throughout the practice and then will take the last 15 minutes of practice to give that player the individual opportunity to work on his kick slides and get better. The great part of Indy Ops is that it allows the players and coaches to “fix” problems and reinforce good habits before the player leaves for the day instead of waiting until the start of the next practice a full 24 hours later.
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Whole person development
The football coaching edition by sam graham
from surface to air system books and media
The publishing arm of S2A is proud to announce the release of a book sure to be on the shelves of every football coach looking to pour into the lives of their players on a deeper level. Sam Graham has taken both, the lessons he's learned from his playing days in the state of Alabama, and combined them with the lessons he's taught from coaching at the high school and collegiate levels.
Making a lasting impact
The players we coach are going to grow into fathers, husband, and hopefully community leaders. There is no more important time in a young man's life for molding character than when he is in his teens and early twenties. Grown men that played the great game of football look back and remember the positive and negative things garnered from their coaches. Whole Person Development can be a coach's guidebook to follow so that his current players will look back with gratitude, and be thankful for the character lessons his coach instilled.
Whole person development is on sale now at amazon
About WPD From Todd Bates, Defensive Line Coach at Clemson
Sam Graham is a man of God who loves his family. He has spent his life mentoring and coaching young people...which is his mission field. As a young coach, I was blessed to learn under him as he served as my Defensive Coordinator at Oxford High School from 2008-2011. I learned so much about life and what coaching is all about. In his words, not mine, ―It‘s not about how high you jump, and it‘s not how loud you yell, but how straight you walk when you hit the ground. His book Whole Person Development and the Football Coaches Charge is full of principles, morals, codes, and stories to help the next generation coach, or any coach, no matter where they are in their journey. ―It‘s not about the wins, or the friends, but He who lives within that will see us through any situation or circumstance. Watching him (Sam) battle day in and day out with MS has reminded me how to fight and control what I can and trust God to do the rest. Have a blessed day and remember, ―The rest of your life will be the best of your life, but you have to believe it.
Excerpt from Whole person Development
Whole Person Development is broken into the same segments we prepare for as we approach game time. Warmups, Coin Toss, 1st Quarter, 2nd Quarter, Halftime, 3rd Quarter, 4th quarter, and the post-game analysis. As the old coaching cliché goes, ―We‘ve got to play a full four quarter game to be successful. An organized coach provides a game day itinerary. Approach these pages in the same way. Start fast, be consistent, and close at the end. Sustain the Pace (STP) to ultimately win the game. Just like Coach Hyde taught me and our team, Visualize. Utilize these words, analyze these lessons, and Visualize the power we as coaches have to Develop the Whole Person. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21)
Football Coaches Charge
We would like to send you a free downloadable version of this poem for coaches written by Coach Sam Graham. If you leave us your name and email, we will immediately send you your free copy of Football Coaches Charge. See the Charge below.
About Coach Sam Graham
Coach Sam Graham‘s coaching career began at the University of North Alabama in Florence in 1996, where he served as a graduate student assistant under legendary Head Coach Bobby Wallace. From 1997 – 98, he served as the Head Coach at his alma mater, Sylvania High School. In 1999, Graham returned to North Alabama where he coached the defensive line and then secondary coach, under Bill Hyde.
In 2002, Graham moved to Albertville High School where he was the defensive coordinator under Head Coach John Grass. Sam then became the Head Coach (2003-04). From there Graham became the Spiritual/Defensive Coordinator at the University of West Alabama and helped lead team to their first Winning season in 14 years (2005-2007). In the spring of 2008 Graham became the Assistant Head Coach in Charge of Defense at Oxford High School (2008- 2014). There he helped lead team to the 2011 state semi-finals. SAMUEL GRAHAM 82 Sam became the defensive coordinator at Scottsboro High School (2014-2015) and then Head Football coach at Valley Head High (2015-2016). In 2016 he became Athens High‘s strength and conditioning coordinator/linebackers‘ coach until 2017.
Graham played Linebacker at North Alabama under Head Coach Bobby Wallace from 1991-95. While there, he helped the Lions achieve three straight G.S.C. titles and three Division II National Championships. He is married to the former Amy Tucker of Henagar, Alabama. They have four daughters: Meghan Leigh, Abigail Lauren, Grace Elisabeth, and Sarah Katherine. Life is never dull in the Graham house.
Previewing the National championship game's offenses
Listen in as Coach Hargitt gives some general insight into what the Alabama and Clemson offenses do well in the RPO attack
Our interview was recorded on the night of 1/6/2019 on the eve of the National Championship Game