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Fake Punt: a Team Coach Primer Introduction As I’m closely watching a college football game with title ramifications, the team who is favored and behind lines up in a blatant 9 man spread formation across the entire field on fourth and 10. Their punter is standing normally 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. It was an obviously unusual punting formation at a key moment in the game (end of third quarter). The ball is only at the punting team’s 35 yard line. You are the head coach of the underdog defense. Your TEAM is leading. STOP! THINK! and REACT!

this team is probably onto a trick or gadget play. Rather than a punt it could be a side snap to someone in motion or who resets, a pass or run option with the punter, or an attempt to draw the other team off sides. Then THINK: are you absolutely ready for a probable fake? The return formation you had set doesn’t matter if the other team doesn’t punt the ball. The average punt return for many teams is only 5 yards. Are all 11 of your players in the mode for a fake punt? Should the return man 50 yards down the field bag the return, move up and play monster to

   Your defense appeared confused and lined up in a punt return scheme. The ball was snapped early and the punter ran for 50 yards, giving the favored team the advantage in a close game. This Fake Punt team went on to win the close game with the fake being the difference in the game. It was interesting listening to the comments when the punting team lined up as watching fans said, “Look at that unusual punt formation.” Neither conditioning, game preparation by the players, game plans, athletic skill nor luck determined that game outcome. It was COACHING. On balance, using a timeout at that point would make sense if the opponent fakes the punt and pulls off a big gain or first down. Clearly the defense was not prepared for this formation. It is well known that there are essentially two things one can do from a punting formation:

• Punt

• Fake punt–with a run or pass

upset and foil a fake punt? If not, then you as a coach don’t have your TEAM prepared for this situation and the head coach should immediately REACT: call TIME OUT! Your end-of-the-game time out is potentially meaningless if you lose the lead. This is the game right here. Coaching matters, and here the TEAM coach probably made a poor decision not to call time out. You can prepare your TEAM for most everything but there are endless football formations which may even fake out God. Use

There are innumerable assistant coaches and coordinators on the field and in the press box. The special team’s coach is watching the action and no one is without communication to the head coach, who can overrule any decision. So STOP–yes, 2

a timeout, regroup, and defensively plan for a fake because a successful fake versus the less than five percent chance of a significant return will change the game’s momentum.     Often in sports the game is so unbelievably close that a calculated coaching decision decides the game, even at the start of the contest. It’s much easier to play from a position of being ahead rather than behind in an athletic contest. As a TEAM coach you can make the difference by using your knowledge of game conditions, your players’ mental and physical abilities versus the opponent, fatigue level, preparation, momentum and other intangibles. Your feel for the game is what matters. No one wins 100% of the time, but good coaches make game decisions that immensely assist in leading their team to a win. Let’s examine what goes into actual coaching decisions, the bottom line of what makes a great TEAM coach.

Expectations of an Athletic TEAM Coach The expectations of an athletic TEAM COACH are determined first by defining what an athletic coach is, and what it is that he or she does. By definition a coach is someone with superior knowledge of the sport who, through his methodology, facilitates an athlete to fundamentally improve athletic skills within a TEAM model. Coaching facilitates the athlete to be more independent and perform with less reliance on the coach while on the field of play. A coach is specifically not a mentor (one who is superior at a skill and teaches one to perform similarly). A coach is not a trainer who teaches people to do what they cannot do. Nor is a coach a manager, one who makes certain a person does what he supposed to do. Finally a coach isn’t a counselor providing therapeutic services within the context of therapy designed to achieve a health or psychiatric goal. 3

 Parents, other coaches, administrators, players, etc., may expect the coach to be the mentor, manager, trainer, and counselor of the TEAM. However, the bottom line is–as a TEAM coach–you are not being paid to assume these roles. There may even be medical or legal implications in attempting to “branch out” and cover these other roles. Your job as TEAM coach is to assemble the best on-field-playingteam to compete with the players on your squad. Whatever behavioral, psychological or goal setting methods the coach utilizes at varying times is at his discretion. Some of these other non-coaching roles will be peripherally unavoidable, but they are not the TEAM coach’s main focus. No third party will ever say we had a miserable non-competitive athletic season, but my son or daughter really matured through the techniques, mentoring, training, managing and counseling of our TEAM coach. The TEAM coach just doesn’t have time for these other ancillary roles. The TEAM coach should be working with groups of players working repeatedly on the particular focus of the moment, whether that’s breaking a 1-3-1 press in basketball, or working on sacrifice bunting situations in baseball. The coach’s role is not that of the minister, math instructor (at least during practice), or anything else but that of

the TEAM coach contributed significantly to his or her success later in life. At the time most student athletes don’t realize this process as being ongoing, but studies reveal statistically a very positive effect on adult behavior from competitive athletics. In essence, why a person coaches is very much a personal decision. The ability through sports to impart a strong positive influence on youth in many ways for years to come is what coaching is all about. Fielding a competitive TEAM that plays to its potential is what a good TEAM coach accomplishes.

TEAM coach: fielding the most competitive TEAM possible given the talent on hand. Inform the administration, student athletes, parents and other coaches that you are a TEAM coach and these other ancillary services are not included.   

Why TEAM Coach in Athletics? Coaching involves a true love of the sport that continues to grow. If you don’t truly love the sport then you should not be the TEAM coach. One imparts their knowledge of the sport to youth so the student athlete in turn learns life’s lessons and is able to endure during difficult times later in life. The athlete also learns to love the sport through improved skill and success. There is no greater thrill in sport than competing with your TEAM. It is not per se about a won–loss record; rather it is about setting team goals and achieving them. TEAM coaching allows players to interact with players they may not even particularly like and work through conflict resolution to achieve a goal of being a successful competitive TEAM. One later learns in life that some coworkers don’t always provide for an optimal work envi-

Knowledge of the Game—the Key to Coaching Success   Experience and knowledge about the game acquired through playing, coaching, instruction, watching film and reading constitute the basis for coaching success. These investments of time strongly reflect your passion for the sport which will transfer to your TEAM literally by osmosis. On the other hand, a lack of knowledge of the game or sport will become fairly obvious to fans, parents, players, other coaches, school administrators and the coach himself. A TEAM coach needs a comprehensive knowledge of the game so that rules, plays, player advantages, opponents’ weaknesses etc., can be immediately known and used to the TEAM’s advantage. To illustrate, during their run to the NL West title in 2010, the SF Giants were playing the Dodgers in the last week of the regular season. In the 8th inning the Dodgers pitching coach went out to the mound to talk to their reliever, Jonathan Broxton. After apparently completing his conversation with Broxton, the coach turned to go back to the dugout. Only he did not go all the way back. Suddenly remembering something else he wanted to tell Broxton, he turned on his heels and

ronment, yet we are required to work with them. Through the experience of athletics one is able to endure, act positively and accomplish goals with his or her job, marriage, illness etc. Life presents barriers that make one want to quit at every stage. The student athlete who played under a great TEAM coach will honestly admit that 4

stepped back onto the mound. Immediately Bruce Boche, the Giants field manager, walked onto the field to complain that the Dodgers coach had (technically) made a second trip to the mound, which according to MLB rules, means the pitcher must come out of the game. The umpires agreed and Broxton came out of the game. In this instance, Boche’s superior knowledge of baseball rules gave his team a distinct advantage and they went on to win the game, no small thanks to Broxton having to sit down.

prior to game time is a TEAM coach requirement. Through this study the first scheme or plays can be decided. Though these initial schemes may not work, one must be able to make the initial decisions and adapt during the contest to game conditions. Without an expert knowledge of the game, a TEAM coach will not be able to guide and lead his or her team to a competitive level of play. Bottom line: if a coach doesn’t have a superior knowledge of the game itself, he or she should not seek to be a head TEAM coach. You may want to start out as an assistant, but even an assistant coach will be expected to have substantial knowledge and insight into the sport itself. Fake punts happen in all sports. Be ready by having knowledge and experience. STOP, THINK, and REACT!    TEAM

Coach’s Preparation

As TEAM coach you have players, other coaches, parents, fans, administrators and others who are spending an immense amount of time in TEAM activities. The ability to maintain motivated athletes, practice effectively, train, and compete is highly dependent upon your ability during practice and actual athletic contests to make good decisions. Players and other coaches don’t want a tentative, procrastinating coach who cannot decide what play to run, defense to establish, or what scheme will fit best for the TEAM at the moment. A TEAM coach with convictions must immediately know strategy for all game conditions. Watching a new opponent on video, during warm ups or reading as much as possible about the opponent 5

    Preparation for practice, scrimmages and competitive games must be a high priority. It is your job as the leader and guide of your TEAM to be prepared. Preparation begins in the pre-season by informing prospective TEAM players what level of skill, conditioning and mental attitude is expected, both in writing and verbally. The TEAM coach’s professionalism is the major key, since it leads to respect for yourself and the program. Sport is about TEAM fun, discipline, competing and learning. All involved–from the fans to parents, water boy, administrators, coaches, and players–must be on the same wavelength. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Vice Lombardi was highly successful in football using only six offensive plays per game. He observed that while the defense may guess correctly 18% of the time, given the hundreds of reps his team had practiced those six plays, the

odds of stopping the team were low, even if the opponent’s defense knew the exact play. Now most play books are similar to an encyclopedia. Why?

   The athletic TEAM diet should come from the TEAM coach. Preparation of the TEAM with appropriate dietary recommendations is essential and critical to TEAM success. Diet affects overall TEAM athletic performance, both on the field or court and in the classroom. Everyone has a different diet individually, variable caloric needs and food tastes that are not the same. Due to his or her high level of activity an athlete will have markedly increased caloric needs (up to 200 % of a non-athlete’s diet). Within the diet one must eat what are obviously considered nutritious foods (see below). In a nutshell most athletes constantly snack. The snack should be a very nutritious food, such as nuts, fruit, high fiber (granola) mixed with a nutritious sports or fruit drink. Meals should include all the food groups with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish or chicken as a meat source, with limited beef, fats, simple sugars and dairy products. Common sense nutrition indirectly helps an athlete avoid illness and enhances athletic performance, optimizing both the physical and mental aspects needed for competition.

    Preparation is much more than knowing the team’s plays or schemes prior to battle. It begins in pre-season and carries through until one walks away from the final buzzer at the end of the season. Off season workouts in other sports are highly encouraged to develop needed athletic skill, coordination, speed, endurance, training and confidence. Most professional athletes highly encourage multisport participation. Many sports benefit greatly through those players also being involved in crossover sports. Most players have a main sport, however many student athletes have developed skills from competing in other sports. Therefore, TEAM coaches should recommend multiple sports for their student athletes.

An athlete shouldn’t eat a large meal prior to competition. Give yourself 180 minutes before an athletic contest or scrimmage. A nutritious snack one hour prior to game time is highly beneficial. Medical studies have revealed optimal nutrition gives your body better aerobic capacity, less injury, quicker recovery rate and overall improved athletic performance. Thus your TEAM benefits.      Dress is critical to preparation. On Game Day having the TEAM dressed well gets the TEAM–from coaches to the water boy–in the proper frame of mind. It excites the fans, administration, and parents to see a TEAM properly dressed per the TEAM coach’s directives. In fact, the opposing TEAM is intimidated by clean dress and hair to the point of fear knowing that the opponent having dressed 6

and integrity by both student athletes and coaches is sacred. The TEAM needs to be on the same page and led by their coach. Statistically the diagrammed play will work if the team trusts and knows their teammates roles. While this can only come from dedicated interaction at practice and prior experience, it is the trust that has been built up over time that enables the TEAM to execute successfully. This is a fundamental aspect of TEAM play.

well, will probably play well. It is a mental advantage for your TEAM and a disadvantage for the opponent. Bottom line: dress well as a TEAM.  

Respect, Trust and Integrity by Players and Coaches   The ultimate success of the TEAM coach depends highly upon respect, trust and integrity going both ways between players and the TEAM coach. The TEAM coach is the fulcrum for the TEAM. The TEAM is a reflection of the coach in all ways on and off the court or field. The coach must always be professional. It is said that the best coaches are generally not loved by

Cutting Student Athletes     Cutting student athletes from a team is a regrettable but necessary aspect of team sports. No one is proficient at everything in athletics, and being cut may range from being surprised to inevitable disappointment. It’s not your job after the TEAM is selected to worry about cut players; or is it? As TEAM coach you run a program with a reputation. Student athletes are there to learn the game, maintain fitness, potentially develop a career in athletics (coaching, administration, teaching, etc.), enhance their grades, practice time management and perfect overall athletic skills. Bottom line is that student athletes want to play. If you have 110 players try out for a varsity basketball team that has 12 jerseys, you have a problem. What do we do? Historically the student athlete who is cut walks away from the sport forever. Most are not MJ’s* who come back in a flurry the next year. Without play and practice, the cut kids will be even less likely to make the TEAM the next year. This isn’t your responsibility as coach. As we’ve stated previously, your job is to field a competitive TEAM right now and worry about little else.

players, but highly respected. The key to all coaching is having the players and the coaching staff (and every other direct or indirect participant) on the same page regarding all aspects of the team. Policies on and off the field must be acknowledged, understood, communicated in writing and open to TEAM discussion. Respect, trust and discipline must be outlined without exception on Day One. Once a coach shows partiality, prejudicial treatment regarding playing time and discipline, or inconsistent application of the TEAM rules, he may lose his team forever. A TEAM rule is a TEAM rule period—even if it means potentially losing a key player in a crucial game. Definitive TEAM respect, trust

*As a sophomore Michael Jordan was cut by his high school basketball coach.


As TEAM coach, the athletic program in your sport will be judged by many interested and not so interested critical parties. The coach wants to be known as fair, upstanding and coach of a positive sports TEAM. Our suggestions include personally talking with every cut player and taking the time to probe their interest in the sport. School rules that disallow a student athlete from competing in another sport that season should be stricken. Encourage the cut player to maintain good grades and to keep his dobber up. Inform him that his athletic ability at this time for this team isn’t quite there. Is this enough? Should coaches set up parallel intramural programs?

competitive team this season. Lower tier development will raise the athletic program’s profile. Parents, players, other coaches, and even third parties may wish to run these ancillary programs. Again the bottom line is that kids want to play and with outlets available to play beyond the first tier, your entire program will benefit long term. Failing this, encourage cut student athletes into other sports. I have seen multiple occasions where the cut athlete is a star on another TEAM. Keep the student athletes playing.  


A great TEAM coach can encourage the cut athlete to play through other means including club sports, playing at a different tier, participating in pick up games and overall encouraging the student athlete to continue to play even by himself. Better yet, place the decent cut players on a

practice squad playing other schools and your teams. Respect, trust and integrity for your program will increase; players will want to be on this TEAM, and it’s a win— win for everyone involved. Don’t have enough money for these ancillary athletic programs? If the TEAM wants it, the TEAM can raise the money to fund these additional endeavors for uniforms, coaches, refs, etc. Call this the coach’s farm system. As coach, you support this without direct involvement. Your job is to field a 8

  Day One of practice requires both written and verbal discussion of TEAM rules. Be succinct and inform all student athletes of policies which will be enforced. Rarely should the death penalty (removing a player from a team) occur. But I would inform the TEAM that your job isn’t counselor, trainer, mentor or manager. As coach, you are to field a competitive TEAM. Playing well generally takes care of most TEAM problems, especially when the TEAM has “bought into” your coaching style, rules and policies. But remember: if a player is not paying attention while you are demonstrating a play, or has sloppy effort, it is all about the player as an individual. Your team will under perform as a whole the rest of the season dealing with the myriads of aberrant behavior. Tough decisions and policies with bite need to be stressed from the beginning. Preferential treatment of student athletes will disrupt the TEAM, and as COACH you may lose this team for the rest of the year and years beyond. Your career as a COACH will be disrupted, if not ended, by being “wishy washy” and inconsistent with discipline. The player’s punishment must fit the rule broken. The TEAM is above all else and individual disruptions will be a knife in your team’s back. Again one doesn’t need to be a psychologist with an individual athlete. All you

need to be is a TEAM coach explaining that your disciplinary actions are necessary to field a competitive TEAM and maintain the program’s integrity. An individual road block must be dealt with fairly and expeditiously while striving to bring the student athlete back on board as quickly as possible. TEAM chemistry is vitally important, with TEAM synergy a crucial matter when dealing with individuals who are non-compliant. Think of your program long term and do what is best overall for your TEAM program over the long haul. Bad situations tend to repeat, so setting a fair example upfront in addressing individual behavioral issues will save you and your TEAM a ton of trouble over the long term. Instead of worrying about benched players, you’ll be worrying about developing your team’s short game or drop shots.

mate experience for many young people because it facilitates socialization, athletic performance, long term health benefits and an appreciation of sports and athletics in general.     An example I witnessed involved a close wrestling match between bitter rivals where one student athlete lost his composure and illegally caused his opponent to suffer a concussion after he was far out of bounds. The official did little to stop the brawl, and the benches emptied, including the coaches. While there was fault all

Sportsmanship      It naturally falls to the COACH to inculcate his players with a true sense of sportsmanship and fairness on and off the playing field. Setting an example by treating parents, players, officials, fans and administrators with respect is critical. Your good example flows downhill to the TEAM and will reflect highly on your program. In all sports there will be bad calls, losses that shouldn’t occur, behavioral issues, under performance and opponents that display poor sportsmanship. If the opposing team or officials make mistakes, accept it, as difficult as it is, and move on. As TEAM coach you are the leader and representative of your TEAM. You need to be above unsportsmanlike behavior. Your failure to comply with team rules will cause you to lose respect, players, attendance, and your career as a coach. Remember why we are here: it is not about a won-loss record. It’s about imparting through sport your love and knowledge to the youth you coach: reflecting and instilling the discipline they will need later on in life. Competing on a TEAM is the ulti-

around, essentially all players and coaches displayed poor sportsmanship. Restraint and under reacting is always a good option. This is a severe example of unsportsmanlike conduct and substantial sanctions should be imposed. None of us are perfect, but as a coach your level of decorum and ability to defuse situations is critical. Common sense should always prevail. A coach should never embarrass, berate, injure or go over the line regarding an athlete’s play through excessive use of voice, gestures or physical contact. If you can’t control your emotions and behavior in these situations, then find another avenue to enjoy the sport—but don’t coach. Sportsmanship transcends the sport itself. We are here as opponents to win the game. One will lose and the other will win. 9

rules. There is a small window where the TEAM can potentially lose its competitive play. Failure to act promptly can invite disaster for the TEAM.

Therefore a salutatory athletic creed is to applaud the opponent for good play; give him a good, hard, fair game; and walk away respected athletes shaking hands after the contest is over. If you lose the contest and gave it your all as a TEAM coach with your team, you have nothing to feel down about. Move on as you’ll probably win more than you lose and again, youth athletics isn’t about a won-loss record. Student athletic TEAMS are about being competitive. Your job as TEAM coach is to get this team competitive–period. Remember sportsmanship is part of competitive athletics and should be imparted to your TEAM at all times. The bottom line is that the sport we are competing in is a game, not a matter of life and death.  

Dealing With Individuals Within a TEAM Concept Discipline based on infractions should be clearly decided within the TEAM rules. There can be no gray areas. Coaches have many disciplinary tools to set an individual right. But again, your job as a TEAM coach is not that of a psychologist or policeman. You are a competitive TEAM coach intending to field the best possible TEAM. TEAM disruptions at practice, off the field or during a game cannot be tolerated. We need swift punishment with eventual “death penalty” (TEAM dismissal)  if the player is unable to conform. The more time a TEAM coach spends enabling the problem individual to work against TEAM goals, the worse the situation will become and discipline will be less effective for the entire TEAM.

This may be the most difficult area of athletic coaching. The standard is such that if your TEAM’s star performer acts inconsistently with regard to TEAM rules; gives less than 100 percent to practice; or even slightly disparages the TEAM in any manner, the TEAM as a whole will under perform. Many TEAMS have multiple exceptional players and the under performance holds true for many players in this setting. The TEAM gets thrown aside and the sport is all of a sudden about me as a player. Sorry: TEAM sports are about the collective talent, ability and chemistry on the field of play. This absolute truth must be communicated to the problem player. The problematic star athlete can be a pain in the rump, ensuring that not only does the TEAM under perform, but his behavior will generally serve to make everyone connected to the TEAM miserable. If there is an untoward actor on the TEAM, the TEAM coach needs to impress upon the problem player the need to immediately correct his or her behavior in conformity with TEAM

TEAM PRACTICE A TEAM plays like it practices. In mathematical terms any TEAM will play on game day at a mean level of play statistically. So in practice if your TEAM lands 40% of their first serves in bounds, probably statisti10

situations, playing with fatigue and TEAM synergy physically and mentally. A starter that cannot get her side spin volleyball serve in repeatedly should perfect that skill to a large extent outside of TEAM practice. Proper instruction and training can occur during TEAM practice, but the reps needed for perfection should take place outside the organized TEAM practice.

cally they will do similarly in the next tennis match. Thus as TEAM coach you need to be in STOP, THINK and REACT mode. The first serve in tennis is such a critical shot that our TEAM (at 40% success rate) needs to step up to the 70% range. Realizing this, one should develop techniques and serving numbers (100 serves/practice, etc.) to change the team’s success at service. Many more matches will be statistically competitive if your TEAM is landing tennis serves at 80% and having kick, spins, etc. Organization is the key to practice. Have an outline along with a schedule and abide by your plans. Obviously you will encounter problems that may alter the schedule, but anticipate these. If your TEAM is setting up a basketball press break, this will take some time to get 10 players on board with the same scheme. As TEAM coach you are constantly instructing where needed in an upbeat mode. Remember: if you are breaking the press 50% of the time versus the second string, it will be 25% come game day. A player’s “it’s all about me” attitude in the context of a TEAM is so negative that it constantly needs to be stressed that we win and lose as a TEAM. While in the context of basketball one needs to drain that 17 footer if he is open and in rhythm, a player should be laps outside if he cannot see–refuses–or doesn’t trust his teammate with an open pass on a break. TEAM coaches that fail to realize this lose in the long run. Non–TEAM play learned in practice will come to haunt a TEAM down the stretch. The open player with an advantage should be prepared and expect the pass. Failure to pass the ball in practice will lead to a botched play come game day.

The mental aspect of sports competition should always be stressed. Should you shoot free throws at the start of practice? Probably not. Free throws in a game come when one is fatigued, so we recommend they be practiced after the TEAM is extremely fatigued–simulating game conditions. Remember your job as TEAM coach is to instruct, motivate, and challenge your players to achieve to the best of their ability come game day.

While organization of practice can be written out in your mind, the best place for your practice plan is on your clipboard (or iPad). TEAM practice is for developing chemistry, plays, schemes, working

The object again as the TEAM coach is to field the most competitive TEAM you can within the context of the players pres11

ent. Nothing more, nothing less. The actual playing of the contest on game day isn’t about grades, psychological treatments, parents or outside influences. Your job as TEAM coach is to win this game and if you fail at that, then to give the opponent the biggest struggle they’ll ever face. Coaches can get fired because of a lack of competitive fire. A coach can have a record of 2-6, yet be the best TEAM in the league having lost 4 close games. Fans, administrators, parents and the other TEAM coaches expect nothing less than a competitive team. This all begins in practice because we really do play at the median level of practice. Spirited organized practices lead to spirited organized competitive games. Your job on game day is 90% done by the way your TEAM practices together.

the TEAM concept. They share your values and reflect it in their play. The definition of a sports TEAM is a group of competing athletes organizing, strategizing and playing to defeat the opponent. The TEAM sports coach is the true leader in all ways: expecting communication from players and coaches with a goal to compete effectively and win. Your knowledge as TEAM coach includes the ability to STOP, THINK, and REACT. You needn’t worry about your free throw percentage because that is done in practice. Your job now, since you know the rules of the game and have the ultimate experience, is to field a competitive TEAM with

TEAM GAME DAY I’m totally baffled watching college and professional sports teams gouge out meaningless stats. My favorite is a TEAM leading by 5 TDs leaving a starting QB in for fantasy points, contract incentives and Hall of Fame numbers. The TEAM coach anticipates injury and thinking ahead that if my starter goes down with illness, injury, or some other factor, then my backup is prepared. Not only reps in practice, but actual game situations are a must for skill development, confidence and TEAM unity. Leaving a starter in for glory relates back to the selfishness of many TEAMs today as evidenced by their coaches and players. This is such a common practice that it has become customary in many amateur and pro contests, even when the outcome is beyond doubt, that we’ll see players who have spent just as many hours of practice sitting on a bench content to just sit. However, as a great TEAM coach, you know better. You will already have had those bench players in the game: trusted in specific situations with good legs, competing and contributing. Your starters, stars and bench players alike on your superior competitive TEAM have collectively bought into 12

the players God has entrusted to you. Your TEAM’s training is critical: having the stamina for the end of the game or overtime. The mental aspect of competing with confidence has been instilled by the TEAM coach from the first day of practice. Game situations demand your utmost concentration. If your number one golfer has a severe cold, move him or her down to a lower spot that day, giving your TEAM a better shot at winning the match. If your third baseman hasn’t hit all week, chances are he will not hit in the game. Field your best TEAM with a replacement and use the former starter as a sub-utility player. If your third string goalie is hot, he belongs in the box. Finally, if the opponent lines up in a 9 man spread on fourth down that you’ve never seen before, and you

know your defensive players are confused, STOP, THINK, and REACT. Call time out!             


Fake Punt: a TEAM Coach Primer  

In Fake Punt, Dr. Charles H. Ripp, an experienced coach of youth athletics teams, presents the key things every coach needs to know in order...