6 Keys to Finishing Well

By Glen McNew, Retired Head Coach, Morgantown (W.Va.) High School

What is finishing? It’s a mantra of many coaches across every sport, inspiring their athletes to reach the end (of a game, a practice, a single play or round) on top. But what does it consist of?

We believe finishing is a culmination of six key factors.

1. Weight Room – You are not going to be successful if your players are not dedicated to the weight room in the off-season.

2. Meeting Room – Be sure your players are cognizant of what we are trying to accomplish. A player should never leave the meeting room without his questions being answered.

3. Practice Field – Pay attention to the smallest detail. Make sure your players are giving maximum effort during each drill. Do not switch to another drill until your players are stepping with the right foot and their hand or shoulder placement is correct. I’ve observed teams that run a play and if there is a mistake, the coaches just call another play without making corrections. To me, this is a recipe for disaster.

4. Red Zone – How you score in the red zone determines the outcome of most games. Are you kicking field goals or scoring touchdowns? We start every team session, both offensively and defensively, with the ball in the red zone. We have two drills we call “going in” and “coming out” that start our team session.

5. Game Field –
A. Turnovers – We put a tremendous amount of emphasis on not turning the ball over and creating turnovers on defense.
B. Penalties – Penalties are usually a result of mental mistakes or lack of discipline on the team, both of which can be corrected.
C. Special Teams – Special teams determines the outcome of a lot of games. Field goal and extra point efficiency, kickoff and punt distance, kickoff return, and punt return efficiency.

6. Off-Season – The off-season doesn’t start in the weight room. It starts long before that, with your coaching staff. Get your staff to a coaching clinic that will refocus and refresh their skills and strategies before training even begins. My staff and I always try to get to as many Glazier Clinics as we can because they cover the most topics, they have the best speakers, and I can bring unlimited coaches from my program. Not to mention, I have access to thousands of coaching videos and clinic notes in the Glazier Vault. It’s a no-brainer for our staff every year.

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