The Internet of Coaching

As I watch Coach Joey Jackson talk about blocking the inside zone on his first YouTube lecture, my mind starts thinking about all the amazing work that coaches are doing online to promote the profession and the game of football. There are coaches who are blogging, making videos, and using social networks like Twitter and Facebook to reach football coaches all over the world to educate and connect with each other.

I began my own journey into this a year ago as I started the Twitter chat #txhsfbchat for football coaches to talk football and share their knowledge with each other. I started it because of my own participation in teacher led chats. I gained so much useful knowledge that I applied in my classroom that I knew coaches could do the same thing. I have always believed that coaches are teachers and benefit from sharing the techniques and methods that have been successful for them in practice and the game. The chat has been running weekly for over a year now and has been the most rewarding thing I have done in my professional career.

Not only have I learned more about football during this time, but I have been exposed to and built relationships with coaches who are doing amazing things online. Coaches like James Vint using his blog to talk football and character issues of working with athletes. One of his most recent blogs addresses how coaches can improve their craft and has a great list of advice for coaches of all experience to follow. James Light and his blog provide terrific insight into the game through the breakdown of game film. He also shares a lot of clips on Twitter and live tweets games. Another resource that I have learned from is Alex Kirby and his blog and his new site Alex Kirby is a former high school and college coach that has become a full time football writer. He has a terrific mind for the game and shares his passion via Twitter, his blog, and he has also written some amazing breakdown manuals of the Super Bowl and National Championship games.

Possibly my favorite Twitter account to follow is Coach Matt Jones and his hashtag, #LinemanLunch. Using Twitter he highlights offensive line play, technique, and on the field nastiness that as an OL coach I preach to my athletes every day. The video clips coupled with brief description are extremely informative and instructional. I find myself constantly watching the clips, taking notes, and then retweeting it to my own linemen.

Coaches are teachers. Just as a teacher looks for ways to improve classroom performance and their own teaching methods, coaches do the same. Classroom Twitter chat participants always say the best teachers are on Twitter sharing and learning from each other. Through my participation with football chats and other coaches online, I believe the same can be said about football coaches.

There are many more coaches doing amazing work online. These are just the highlights of coaches I enjoy and constantly learn from. I would be remiss to leave out the outstanding work Coach Dingus and Coach Shiffman do with #hogfbchat. Nor can I leave out the people who love football and support coaches like Rick Butler of Coaches Choice and his work with Coaching Between the Lines.

No matter how you prefer to learn, the important thing is you continue to learn. Whether its attending clinics, reading books, Twitter chats, or just calling up coaches and asking questions we must continue to improve on our craft. Commit yourself to lifelong learning and you, plus everybody who learns from you will be better for it.

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