What is your focus the first week of the season? What do you want to accomplish in this first game of the season?
This is your starting point. It is the first impression of your team to the current season of football. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and how you play this week will be used to evaluate your team for at least the next two to three weeks. Possibly more, depending on how you trade film through the season.
In order to come out of the gate strong, take these things into consideration:
Focus on what you can control. This team is still very fresh, and just coming off the completion of pre-season camp. You’re probably still working on some personnel decisions and system installation going into this game. But so is the other team. Nobody has it all figured out in week 1.
Don’t make the game bigger than what it is. Yes it’s a big game. Yes it is exciting and you want the players to be up and respond to the challenge. But it is not a make or break game. It is not a playoff game or the championship. It’s probably not even a district game. It is the first game of a 10 game regular season. Step 1 towards achieving your goals. Stay focused on what the goals of the team are for this season and how this game helps you accomplish them.
The season is long and a lot can change from game one to game 10. So much happens over the course of a season. What you thought would be your best plays may not be. Who you thought would impact your team may also change. There are so many surprises and unknowns as to how your season unfolds that game one does not provide the answers for. It does provide some answers, but it also can create more questions. And the rest of the season is for you to find more answers to your questions.
The start of each season is exciting. Enjoy the newness game 1 provides. Savor the sights, the smells, and the sounds of going out onto the field and coaching your players to perform at their best. Remember how excited you are for this season, and hold on to that feeling until when your season ends. Most importantly, have fun and put the players first.