One of the best things you can do for yourself as a Coach, at any point in your career, is making a commitment to learning and improving every day. After all, is that not exactly what we ask for from our players? Focus on the process rather than the outcome.
When it comes to learning in the age of social media, information is there for the taking and connections are waiting to be made.
As some may already know, Twitter Chats have become a large part of both sharing and gaining coaching expertise and making connections with fellow football coaches across the country. Whether it’s drills, schemes, fundamentals, techniques, practice plans, fundraising strategies, nutrition or weight lifting and off season training - there is a Twitter chat for any topic you or your fellow coaches may be interested in discussing. We at GameStrat feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be involved with such an incredible community over the past few years.
DATE & TIME
Sunday 7pm CST
Florida High School Football Chat
Monday 8pm CST
Hog Football Chat
Tuesday 8:30pm CST
No Fly Zone Football Chat
Wednesday 8pm CST
Texas High School Football Chat
Thursday 8pm CST
Alabama High School Football Chat
**We know that new chats could emerge without us realizing, so feel free to notify us about any new to add to the list of Twitter chats!
Wondering which chat would benefit you the most? Why not hear about each of the chats from the Coaches who host them?
We took the time to sit down with the founders of the Twitter chats that we've partnered with to learn more about each of their stories and background.
Coach Mac has served as a Head Coach in Florida for over 20 years. Starting out in New York and coaching his way through a Masters in Education, Coach Mac mixes his background in education with his experience in Football to promote the game on many platforms.
You may already know Coach Mac from his Youtube channel full of educational videos on techniques, fundamentals, and schematics involved in High School Football. In a similar fashion, he brings his passion for teaching and football to the Florida High School Football Chat every Sunday on Twitter.
When Coach Mac was asked to take over a chat from its original host, he was happy to take advantage of yet another way in which new technology is changing the world of coaching.
“In the old days you had to drive to a college just to try and pick somebody’s brain and take notes or go to live clinics and hope for good speakers - now you can just search things on YouTube or join any of these chats and there is such a wealth of knowledge to learn from.”
The chat runs every Sunday, year round, and covers just about any topic coaches would be interested in talking about.
“The chat covers everything. It’s not position specific, we talk about offense, defense, schemes, techniques, fundamentals, practice plans - you name it. And the neat thing about doing chats is that they never go away - if you miss it you can come back to the hash tag and read or respond to the conversation days later.”
Coach Mac explains that his Youtube channel and Twitter Chat are a way in which he can give back to not only the game, but the coaching profession.
When you’re a coach, you’re obviously and hopefully going to have an impact on so many young peoples’ lives which is a big way of giving back - but I wanted to find a way to give back to the profession too. I wanted to see if I could help coaches, especially young coaches, by developing teaching videos, creating relationships and providing things that help people to be better coaches - Coach Mac
After starting off his coaching career at his former high school back in 2007 and an impressive 3 seasons coaching at Lake Forest College, Coach Shiffman has taken on a new position of Offensive Line Coach at Elmhurst University in Illinois. Shiffman shared with us a bit of insight into the creation of the HOG football chat, the chat that is geared towards Offence and, at times, specifically the OLine.
“It evolved when Coach Jack Dingus, who I had become friends with through Twitter and talking about OLine things, reached out to me and we said ‘Hey, let’s see if we can’t try this lineman specific chat’ - that was spring 2015 and it took off from there.”
If you have the joy of following Coach Shiffman on Twitter, you will know that his presence there is both insightful and comedic.
“I try not to take things too seriously on Twitter. We try to have fun with some topics every now and again where we do some things that are a bit outside of the box, but at the end of the day it’s geared towards offence and offensive line in regards to drill work, schemes, protections and things like that.”
In regards to what Coach Shiffman hopes coaches can get out of participating in the #HOGfbchat, the answer is simple.
It’s the same thing I always talk to younger coaches about when they go to clinics for the first time, and that is: If you can take one piece of information with you from the clinic, then it was a great clinic. If coaches can take one thing form each Monday night - that they can either use for themselves, recommend to someone else, or tuck away in their back pocket for later - then we’ve had a successful chat - Coach Shiffman
“Through Twitter chats and networking on Twitter - getting in touch with coaches all over the country at all sorts of levels has only made me better. It's been a really good ride and I'm looking forward to what is to come. I'm 43 years old, but I definitely have a ton more to learn about myself, about the game and about how to reach kids and do it the right way.”
The inspiration to start #NFZchat, was from Texas High School Football Chat creator, Chris Fisher.
“Chris does such a great job so I reached out to him asking some basic questions. I knew there was a need, particularly in the passing game given how it has evolved down here in Texas.”
As Coach Harvey explains, the chat became a great way to facilitate conversation around combatting these evolutions.
“Initially it was almost exclusively DB coaches but it's really creeped into a lot of nickel and outside linebacker play too which is really neat because obviously they're involved a whole lot in the passing game - especially with those 3/4 schemes we are seeing now to combat RPOs.”
For Coach Harvey, the chat is all about combining learning with giving back to the beautiful game of football.
“I think coaches do an absolutely phenomenal job of networking. That really what I want our chat to be - open communication where no one is better than anyone else, and coaches may do things a little different from one another, but you can learn from them. You can always give back to the game at the same time that you're learning."
It's two fold: If we're giving back and learning - that's what makes the world of football and coaching go round - Coach Harvey
Starting out at his Alma Mater, Opelika High School, Coach Atkins has climbed his way up the ladder over the last 11 years - currently serving as the Co-Offensive Coordinator as well as Special Teams Coordinator at Hartselle High School in Alabama.
The co-host of the Alabama football chat, explained the humble beginnings of the chat - which emerged from a friendship with co-host David Lundberg and a “desire to do something for the game in the great state of Alabama.”
Coach Lundberg, a proud University of North Alabama Football alumni, is heading into his 8th season of coaching and his 2nd as OL/Run Game Coordinator at Vestavia Hills High School.
“We didn't really know what we were going to do but we figured we'd give it a shot and see if we could create another space for coaches to bring their ideas, share, communicate, network and things like that. We just started it and week by week it grew… here we are months later and it’s still going strong!”
Coach Lundberg explained how the chat, originally aimed at garnering insights from Alabama coaches, quickly became a safe space for all coaches to network and talk ball.
“We wanted to create a place where people are comfortable sharing their ideas. I'll admit, a lot of what I teach is stolen - I learned it from somewhere else. Everybody is doing different variations of the same things, but we can all continue to get better from that. And in the process, we're building relationships over days and weeks that might have normally taken years.”
There is no doubt that the chat provides all that and more. For Coach Atkins, the focus is on providing and taking advantage of every opportunity to improve, big or small.
That's my goal - for people to be able to say ‘Hey, I may not learn something life changing every time, but maybe theres that one little piece of information that will help me to reach my player a little bit better’ - any one little thing that will impact how I do something or make me a better coach - Coach Atkins
In our final words with Coach Lundberg, he emphasized the gratitude him and Coach Atkins have for the support of the ALFB chat participants, as well as the football community as a whole.
I can't believe what this has grown into. I feel very fortunate and really it has nothing to do with me. It's all about the people in our state that have participated in our chat and the generosity of people like you guys and coaches in the community. The success of the chat is really a statement to the people that believe in in high school football and believe in what we're doing. - Coach Lundberg
We would love to congratulate Coach Lundberg and Coach Atkins on their recent success hosting the first ever ALFBChat 35 Under 35 Summit. This event was designed to take 35 “head coaches of the future” and give them an opportunity to learn from established head coaches in an open breakout session format. The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to continuing to watch the growth of the ALFB Chat community.
Back in 2008, Coach Basden agreed to take over a program that, for the last 40 years, had not seen back to back winning seasons. Under his leadership, Muscle Shoals has gone 115-42 with 4 region titles and 12 playoff spots. We were lucky enough to chat for a few minutes with Coach Basden about his experience utilizing GameStrat sideline instant replay and the difference it has made for the Muscle Shoals Football Program.