Coach Anthony Stone shares ideas to get your mind right for the offseason and start building for next year.

Regardless of how your season ended, that campaign is now in the past. The stress and pressure from the season has subsided, so you can take a step back and assess all the moving parts. This is the best time to reflect on the whole team, your staff and yourself. At the end of every season, you should raise the bar just a little bit more for next season. A leader leads by example and always strives to improve.

As you tie a bow on the season, I have some recommendations for starting the offseason on the right foot.

Conduct Exit Interviews

Make sure you give your coaching staff and outgoing seniors a questionnaire to complete. The finest input comes from those that know you best. Encourage everyone to speak their minds—some opinions might come across harsh, but the only way to grow and improve is to face your strengths and weaknesses. You should always encourage an open and honest dialogue.

Ask for Advice

Contact coaches you don’t play against to seek their advice. Sometimes you just have a bad season no matter how prepared you are. This is the time to show what a true leader looks like. Don’t blame others—use this time to reflect on what you need to improve, whether it’s being more efficient with Hudl, improving your communication or more delegation. There is always room to improve.

Attend Coaching Clinics

Sign up now for coaching clinics in the spring. Be sure to learn at least two new things while networking with other coaches. Always stop by the Hudl booth to find out how they can help you and your staff be more efficient.

Get Up-to-Date with Technology

  • Hudl: I highly recommend taking time to invest in yourself by expanding how you use Hudl and all the reports they have to offer. The time you invest now will greatly benefit you during the season. Hudl does an excellent job helping both new and veteran coaches save time with the many features they offer. Hudl Sideline is one thing every single high school coach should invest in—especially for their coaches in the box. I would also recommend becoming familiar with Hudl Assist, Hudl Playbook, and Hudl Technique. And make sure your players have their highlight videos and profiles updated for college coaches.
  • Playbook: Take time to review what fronts and formations you use after watching your film. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel—know what plays work with the upcoming personnel. This is when I recommend adding key plays to your drill manual.
  • Set up team groups: Make sure your players have the support they need to stay motivated in the classroom and the weight room. We all know what happens when an athlete lets their grades drop and stops being active. Advise players on key areas they can work on and show them how to use Hudl Technique to improve during the offseason.

Schedule Camps

Sometimes teaching a new skill set is received better from an outsider. It’s nothing personal, but bringing in a new face removes the stress of expectations associated with teaching our own children or athletes. Consider bringing a special camp to your organization in 2018.

Always remember you have the power to make a difference in each player’s life. You set the bar for which they strive to excel. Lead by example and they will follow. Please share what you do during the postseason through my website, or via Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #HUDLPOSTSEASON.

Anthony Stone is a physical education teacher at Gregory Elementary School and quarterbacks coach at Boylan High School in Rockford, Ill.  He is also the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Women’s Australian National Outback 2017 Team & writes blogs for Firstdown Playbook.

In July 2016, he was named to the Hudl 100 list. He has presented at IAPHERD, the top physical education convention in Illinois, on how to get students moving with his Games Galore presentations. He has also presented at the Chicago Glazier Clinics on quarterbacks & special teams. He was the defensive coordinator for the 2010 U.S. Women’s National Tackle Football Team, winners of the IFAF Women’s World Championship in which Team USA did not allow a point in three games with an overall score of 201-0. Stone has coached in the CIFL and the IWFL Leagues as well as Beloit College (linebackers/special teams coordinator) and Rockford University (quarterbacks/wide receivers).

Stone has also coached football at the youth, middle school and high school level. He will be putting on fundamental youth football camps around the world in 2017. Please contact him to bring his “Back to the Basics Youth Football Camp” to a city near you.

Follow him on Twitter @Coach_Stone_MT.