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Teach ‘Em The Skills and Strategies

Listen To The Podcast!     Coach L. Albaugh      DBLITY

When it comes to player development the 1st thing on the agenda is to teach em the skills and strategies necessary to be successful. That can look much different for each sport. When I was 6 years old we moved to a new neighborhood. In fact, it was a very new subdivision called Sunnyland. Heckuva name, huh? Typical 1950s. My parents had a new house built just for us. Little yellow 3 bedroom ranch, unfinished basement and no garage. Really basic and just like most of the other houses in that subdivision. But they were excited and I was too. We had been living with my grandparents the last year. Tons of kids in the neighborhood cause it was a bunch of young families just like us. We moved into our new house in July or August, can’t remember which, but in time for the new school year so I could start 1st grade. One day, right after moving in I noticed a group of about 10 boys playing baseball in the backyard of a neighbor 2 doors down. Now mind you, I had never played a sport in my life. I was 6! As I shared last week, the most I had done with my dad as far as playing sports was put on boxing gloves. Dad would get on his knees to get to my level. We would then slug it out. Dad’s punches were so soft that there was no effect of course. I was hammering away with everything I had. After about a minute of that dad would let me catch him flush with 2 or 3 of my best right hands and left hooks. He would then collapse to the floor and I counted him out. Yes, I really thought I had KO’d him. That was the extent of my playing sports with my dad. But back to those boys playing baseball. I watched from the kitchen window and was drawn to it. I wanted to join in. It fascinated me. I put on my black and white PF Flyer sneakers and went outside.  I moved closer little by little, as I watched the boys play. Some were my age, some a little older, and some were “big” kids – had to be 11 or 12 years old. Finally one of the big kids looked my way and asked, “wanna play?” Oh boy! Yeah! I had no clue what I was doing but they put me on a team and told me what to do. I don’t remember much but when I got my turn to bat I whiffed at the 1st few pitches – couldn’t hit it. So a kid named Bernie, one of the leaders said, Roll it to him. The pitcher rolled it to me, I hit it, and ran to 1st. Heck, I can’t remember if I was safe or out but I was learning to play baseball and that was the beginning of my player development in the sport of baseball. That’s what my new friends were doing with me. Teaching me the skills and strategies of baseball. We played every night after school and all day on weekends. After about 6 weeks or so, the guys left their gloves at home and got out a new ball. It was football season. Time to learn a new sport and we played that every day til it got too cold and there was too much snow on the ground. Thus began my player development in my 2 favorite sports – and they’re still my favorites to this day.

Let’s see how that looks in HS. They’ve joined your program, come out for the team, so to speak. Now it’s time to teach em the skills and strategies and help em get better. Depending on the sport, maybe they know this stuff pretty good and maybe they’re beginners. When I coached wrestling, half of my freshmen had never wrestled. I had to start from scratch. But if I were a freshman basketball coach, I would think they know how to dribble and make a chest pass. But at some level skilss and stategy is where you start. AND, THATS MY TAKE!

Now that there are no sports to watch, the sports stations are showing old replays, stories, interviews, stuff like that. Mock tournaments can be fun but one of em ESPN is doing is a College Basketball’s greatest of all time bracket. It pits individual players from all eras against each other, then the fans vote and the winner advances.  Okay, sounds kinda fun, we’ve gotta do something, right? Well…allow me to vent. In the 2nd round the greatest college player of all time, bar none goes down. Shaq took out Lew Alcindor, the greatest ever. I like Shaq, and he was heckuva player, probably in the top 30-40 all time in college. But he had no titles, no final 4s.and 1 POY. Alcindor had 3 POY, 3 Outstanding Player of NCAA tourney and 3 Natl championships. He had 4 but freshmen werent allowed to play back then. His freshman team beat UCLAs varsity in the annual Varsity vs freshmen game that all colleges did back then. Oh, how good was their varsity? They were Natl champs that year, but couldnt beat the Alcindor led frosh. The NCAA outlawed the dunk after Alcindors soph year because of him. He wasnt allowed to dunk it his Jr and Sr year. They still couldnt stop him. And the vote was 68-32% in favor of Shaq. Wasnt even close. Do the fans realize that this Alcindor guy was Kareem as a pro? Kareem Abdul Jabbar? Maybe the fans didnt know that. Maybe they were wondering – whos this Alcindor guy. I can’t figure it.

WE DO need to get our sports back when it’s safe to do so. Because as Nelson Mandela said – Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.  Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair. 

I had fun with my top 10 sport movies countdown. Really, the top 4 are tied for #1. I need to come up with another countdown.

There are 3 new releases on the Online Clinic. Coaches Nate Albaugh and Tim Turner sat down and talked about their views for Player Retention on the 4 Quarters Show. You’ll get their perspective and ideas. Another release is Connecting Your Program to the Community by Kyle McElvany, HC out of Dundee HS in Dundee, MI. Tons of more great ideas on how to promote your program in your community. I think it’s really fun to listen to what others are doing to make their program special. Finally, a presentation of last Friday Night’s Live Clinic that covers Defending 2 TEs from an Odd Front. You get 3 dynamite presentations from 3 different coaches on how they defend 2 TE offenses. Jake Palmer from Fisher HS and Nathaniel Albaugh from Unity HS talk about their philosophies from the 3-5-3. Al Craig from Oakwood HS gives his views from the Comet 3-4 defense. If you like Xs and Os, you’ll love these presentations. 

One more thing…want a quick, easy to make, cheap meal in these trying times? Try what my wife calls Migas. This is her version and they’re really good. Get out the fryin pan and put some oil in the bottom and put on the heat. Rip up 3-4 corn tortillas into small pieces and brown the tortillas. Now add 2-3 eggs and scramble them in with the tortillas in the pan. Stir em and cook til the eggs are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste and have a meal.

Wanna make a comment on anything I’ve discussed? Drop me a line at

Hey, join us next week for another CP coaches podcast and we’ll see you then!

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.  Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.    Nelson Mandela

Sweet 16 Countdown: 51. Alaska -9.2   50. Vermont -1.7   49. North Dakota 3.3   48. Wyoming 5.2  47. Rhode Island 8.4   46. District of Columbia 8.4   45. Delaware 14.7   44. South Dakota 15.3   43. New Hampshire 16.7   42. Montana 19.2  41. Maine 19.5   40. New Mexico 20.5  39. Oregon 24.2  38. West Virginia 26.3  37. Nevada 31.2  36. Idaho 32.2  35. Nebraska 32.6  34. New York 33.0  33. Iowa 34.4  32. Minnesota 35.9   31. Kentucky 36.3   30. Hawaii 36.5  29. Connecticut 37.3  28. Massachusetts 38.3 27. Wisconsin 39.9  26. Virginia 40.8  25. Oklahoma 41.5  24. Michigan 41.53 23. Kansas 41.8 22. Tennessee 41.9  21. Washington 42.6 20. Indiana 43.9 19. Colorado 44.4  18. South Carolina 44.61  17. New Jersey 44.63  16. Arkansa 45.0 15. Arizona 45.2 14. Mississippi 45.6 13. Alabama 45.8  12. Utah 46.0  11. North Carolina 46.7  10. Missouri 49.0  9. Pennsylvania 49.9  8. Illinois 50.3  7. Louisiana 51.9  6. Maryland 52.8  5. Georgia 57.2  4. Texas 60.8 3. Ohio 61.0  2. Florida 62.5  1. California 69.4

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Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.