From a practical standpoint, Rick Jones and his coaching staff try to serve every aspect of their players’ development in several different ways. They have made it a priority to get their players involved in much more than just football, and the impact on both the team and the local community has been tremendous.It’s part of the reason the head coach of Greenwood (Ark.) High School’s football program received the 2018 AFCA Power Of Influence Award, presented by TeamSnap.
Here are a few of the ways the Bulldogs have sunk their teeth into character development:
- Father-Son Retreat – Greenwood holds a father-son retreat where the seniors and their fathers take a trip up to the Illinois River together for some quality, father-son bonding.
- Squad Lock-In – The team holds a lock-in where they meet in small groups of around a dozen players that they call squads. Each squad is led by an assistant coach and one player/squad leader.
- Boot Camp – Each year, the team partners with local Marine recruiters to hold a short “boot camp” in the summer, where their squads do leadership-fostering activities like log drills, ammo-can lifts and drags, and an obstacle course. This partnership has led to several former Bulldogs going on to earn the title of Marine after graduation.
- Leadership Council – Greenwood has a player leadership council. They hold a weekly leadership class from January through May.
- Mom’s 101 – Coaches take time every year to educate players’ mothers on what it’s like to be a football player, and the moms get to see first-hand what their sons go through.
- Dog Pal Program – Greenwood players visit the local elementary schools to answer questions and read with younger students, encouraging them to make good life decisions.
- FASDOGS – The Bulldogs hold a summer program that’s open to the local community. For four weeks in the summer, boys and girls as young as 3rd grade join varsity players and local community members in training and learning about the game together. Last year, FASDOGS had over 500 participants.
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This article was written by Adam Reed, associate editor of AFCA Magazine and AFCA Insider.
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