Handling the HS Football Transition

“What would a college coach do if half of their team

didn’t show up until a month or more into the season?”

Online Athens Article- Coach Hal Wilson

As a high school coach I often asked myself that question, but it is not a fair question.

  • A college coach is not in that position because the game is completely different- multiple sport athletes (especially in this combination) are rare in college. College coaches get to recruit their players, and most high school coaches are not allowed to recruit (by rule, if not in practice).
  • Also, this situation may vary wildly depending on…
    • your state’s season start and end dates (usually large overlap in the American South due to the later start date of football due to safety reasons from the humid heat and the lengthening season with added “off” weeks in the schedule)
    • whether your football team makes and advances in the playoffs (mine almost always did)
    • the makeup of your team (whether they play football or not), but in my 10 years as a varsity head coach it was always an issue.
  • In my opinion, a good coach should have a well thought out plan to handle the situation before you are in the situation, and it needs to be a plan that balances the needs of the team with the needs of the individual player. I am firmly against the my-way-or-the-highway, pick-one-sport-or-else-mentality that is so prevalent in today’s society, but that is a discussion for another day!

6 Pro’s of Having Football Players on Your Basketball Team:

  1. Toughness (how many of us complain about a lack of it)
  2. Physicality (most positions require it)
  3. Attitude (if they come from a winning program, the winning attitude can be contagious)
  4. Roles (having a different role on each team can make them a better teammate)
  5. Leadership (being a leader on one team can help with leadership on the other)
  6. Burnout prevention (playing multiple sports can help prevent burnout in basketball)

6 Con’s of Having Football Players on Your Basketball Team:

  1. Potential chemistry issues of “adding” player(s) late
  2. Conditioning issues
  3. Scheme issues
  4. Parent issues (see #1)
  5. Attitude (if they come from a poorly run program, the negative attitude can be contagious)
  6. Injuries (both major injuries that cause missed time and lingering injuries that hamper basketball performance)

Here is a link to an article that was written about how we handled it at one school. (Please ignore the incorrect explanation of the difference in conditioning between football and basketball. I apparently did not do a good job of explaining it to the reporter!)

Let me know if you’d like to share your thoughts via hal@coachingbasketballwisely.com or @coachhalwilson on Twitter.

Until next time, Coach ’em up!

Hal Wilson

About the author: After coaching and working with basketball teams at the college, high school, and youth level in a variety of roles for 18 years, I have returned to finish my Ph.D. in Kinesiology & Sport Studies.  This www.CoachingBasketballWisely.com website is a way to share the coaching tips, strategies, and techniques gathered in a career in coaching.  See more info on me here.

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