Did you see the story last week about James Franklin, the head coach at Penn St. who called out his players for sitting in the back row of class? Now you might think, “What’s the big deal?” but I thought it was great and it reminded me of two things. First, how I got through college and secondly, what I used to tell some of my guys when I was coaching. Personally speaking, I wasn’t exactly one of those 30 ACT guys. In fact, If I took the ACT twice and totaled the score, I think I could break 30. So, while I might not have been the smartest guy in school, I WAS a good student. What’s the difference? Plenty. We might not all be gifted with that great natural intelligence, but we can all be good students. So, what does being a good student look like? This is what I taught my high school guys.
- Be there everyday. To me, this is a no brainer and so fundamental. But over the years I was surprised at how many parents would allow their children to stay home because they were under the weather. Not sick, just “didn’t feel well.” “I’m tired”, “my tummy hurts”, that kind of stuff. I wasn’t brought up that way. Unless I was dog sick and couldn’t get out of bed, my mom sent me to school. I brought my kids up the same way. Ask ‘em, they’ll tell you. I usually missed two or three days of school on average per school year. I knew a woman who’s mom would keep her home to do the wash. What? Unheard of in my home. Good attendance is number one in my book.
- Be on time. Yeah, good old fashioned punctuality. I’m not talking about the occasional emergency – that happens. Some people are always late. They think it’s OK. But it does not endear you to the instructor. You’ve become a distraction and maybe viewed as lazy or not responsible. I’ve heard lately that we need to be sensitive to people from other cultures who are more lax in this area. Well, last I checked, this is the USA and this is where we live. If I’m supposed to be on time, I’m gonna be on time. When I go to another country, I’ll do things their way. Guess I’m not much of a politically correct guy. So, GET TO CLASS ON TIME!
- Sit in front. This is one of my favorites and I agree with Coach Franklin. When you sit in back it’s easier to daydream, sleep, or talk to your buddy. I told my guys sit in the front row, make eye contact with the instructor, smile, and nod in agreement (when you really agree). Make the instructor think you’re really paying attention. It can’t do anything but help your grade.
- Turn in all work. On time, every time. Need I say more?
- Get extra help when needed. I wish I would have done this in high school instead of waiting until I got to college. When I was in high school I was intimidated by some of the teachers and was afraid to approach them. I could’ve used extra help at times but I never asked for it. Let your players know that almost all teachers, if not all, will gladly give extra help when asked. A student who shows genuine initiative and willingness to get extra help will rarely be given a failing grade. That brings me to my final key in being a good student.
- Extra credit. Since you have taken the time to go in after school to get that help, don’t forget to ask if there is any school work that can be done for extra credit. Many times an instructor will come up with a project they think you can handle and this can only help your grade.
All of these tips are good for high school or college students. To me, there really is no excuse for failing a class other than laziness and not using some of the tips listed above. This is part of the culture you would like to establish in your program. Let me know what you think – I love hearing from you. Speaking of culture, check out Jason Aubry’s “Building a Culture” video on our store. You’ll find it under Program Development.
Coach L. Albaugh DBLITY
Coach Jason Aubry has been coaching high school football since 1997, and since 1999 he has been the head coach in three respective programs. Coach Aubry has coached at many different levels in his coaching tenure with his last stop in the Joliet Township School district being his longest. Coach Aubry has been in the Joliet Township District as the head football coach for the past 11 years. Four years as the head coach for the combined Joliet Township football program and this is his 7th year as the head coach of the Joliet West Football program where he has orchestrated one of the greatest program turnarounds as he has flipped a toxic, stagnant program into a program with a championship culture. During the 2014 season Coach Aubry led the Joliet West Tigers to their first playoff berth in the history of the school and to top that incredible feat he led the 2016 Tigers, not only to the playoffs again, but also to the best record in school history since 1969.