Dan Carrel Shares How to Develop Your Position Group [Virtual Clinic Series]

Dan Carrel Shares How to Develop Your Position Group [Virtual Clinic Series]

In this AFCA Virtual Clinic, Coach Carrel shares his insights on how to better develop your position group. Football is a team sport and everyone on the field must rely on the each other to do their assignments. The same goes for coaches of different position groups, as they must be sure their players are understanding what they must do to be successful and make plays. In this clinic, Coach Carrel shows how he personally gets his linebackers developed before the season. This information could be implemented at any position.

General Expectations

Just like with any basic principles or culture, the general expectation of your position players is the foundation of what is asked of any player. A position coach should tailor their demands for the following mindset:

  • Be a Heartbeat – Be leaders by example starting with practice. Outwork everyone and be a flame either on that one side of the ball or the entire team, then it will reciprocate at other position groups.
  • Be a Pro – Stay focused and eliminate all distractions while also staying committed. This is a constant struggle. You must stress the importance of sticking to a routine.
  • Deliberate Practice – This is essential. It deals with you and your players knowing exactly what should be worked on in practice.
  • Relationships – How do your players view you as a coach? Do they believe that they are just coached by you or do they feel like you make them partners in achieving a common goal?

Player Development

In this section of the virtual clinic, Coach Carrel explains components to develop and prepare players for the season. The overall emphasis is to have a linear plan that includes the necessary skills of what you want from your players both mentally and physically.


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This plan must also be descriptive and simple enough for the players to learn and get better on their own. For younger players, this helps them get mental reps, which gets them on the field quicker. As a coach it also allows you to assess the ability of that younger player and see where they can make an immediate impact, like on special teams. The components to Coach Carrel’s player development are:

  • Meetings – Coaches do the most to be organized during meeting times. This keeps the players prepared for the topic of discussion. Emphasize taking notes while making it a comfortable space, so they feel they can talk and ask questions. Remember, good meetings consist of guys trying to get information and fully understand the concepts.
  • Walk-Thru – This may be the number one way that prepares players for what they must do on the field. This may be the best time for your players to ask any questions they may have, so they can visually and physically work on their understanding, as well as their skills.
  • Indy Sessions – This is where you have your E.D.D’s (Everyday Developer Drills). The point is to always do drills with context, so the players know why they are doing what they are doing.
  • Group Work – Just like individual sessions, everyone must know and understand what is being asked. To further player understanding, coaches can create different situations and request answers back from players, such as calls and alignments in certain formations.
  • Team Sessions – During these sessions, coaches must re-iterate all the steps taken to prepare your position group, so they can fully execute them on the field during live game-like scenarios.

Teaching Tools

Preparing your position group week in and week out takes a great deal of preparation from the coaches. Teaching tools are additives that help athletes retain the information that is given to them. These tools allow players to learn independently, as well. They are as follows:

  • Position Manuel – All basic tactics of a position include keys, alignments, calls, and more essential information.
  • Teach Tapes – Descriptive clips that show assignments and calls to give a visual perspective of what to look for.
  • Homework – Formation tests, cut-ups, and scouting assignments that players can do on their own.
  • Video Scripts – Plays that the coordinator wants to work on in practice.
  • Game-Book – Notes and installs from that week, plus any last day thoughts. This is usually given the day before a game.

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These coaching tactics help everyone involved in the game and can help bring the best out of your football team. You can never be too prepared, and given the current situation we are facing, these tools could help fill in the gap of time missed when next season begins. If you are interested in learning more about these tactics or how to deal with different learners, check out this virtual clinic!

Don’t forget to tune into other content in the AFCA Educational Library. This content includes anything from drills and coaching tactics to convention sessions and podcasts that can better help you and your football program.


For more information about the AFCA, visit www.AFCA.com. For more interesting articles, check out AFCAInsider.com and subscribe to our weekly email.

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