Becoming a Defensive Coordinator – Part 1

In 1989, year 6 of my high school head coaching career, I began coaching 2 teams every year – high school in the fall, 18-22 yr AAU-style post-secondary in the summer. 1989 was my first year as Defensive Coordinator at the post secondary level. My Defensive Coordinator career was responsible for opening my mind to the evolution of the SWAT NO-Huddle Offense. I learned more about offense by coordinating defense than I did from coordinating offense.

Additionally, I learned that building a powerhouse Championship Defense starts with forming an #Ideology that builds the heart, soul, and mindset, far beyond an ordinary playbook. I have taught the following 20 Basic Principles for 4 decades to our staff and any coaching applicant who wants to be a defensive coordinator in our program:

  1. Defensive Coordinator sounds like fun until it has to be done. When you haven’t won, it won’t be fun. Then it’s time to get more done. Never run when its not fun. Get it done especially when there is no fun.
  2. The job of DC puts you in charge of crime-prevention – prevent the crime of getting killed. Quadruple meaning: 1st: prevent players from ending up in the morgue. 2nd: prevent players from getting killed psychologically. 3rd: prevent players from ending up in DNA rehab – Drug’s ’N Alcohol. 4th: Prevent getting killed on the scoreboard. 
  3. Preventing getting killed makes you a defensive coordinator of lives. 
  4. You are in charge of defending lives. 
  5. You are in charge of teaching self-defence in order to play team defense.
  6. Preventing getting killed starts with teaching #FieldSurvival, not just Xs and Os.
  7. #FieldSurvival is a life-and-death ideology – dual meaning: 1st: it teaches how to stay alive in mind-body-soul. 2nd: it teaches how to learn, how to workout, and how to practice like your life depends on it.
  8. Learning, working out, and practicing like your life depends on it requires 5th Degree Training, a special high-performance mindset that exceeds conventional practice, the type where #NotShowingUp and #JustShowingUp are rewarded and celebrated.
  9. 5th Degree Training starts with concretely defining expectations.
  10. Next, teach the game before you teach Xs and Os.
  11. Never leave anything up in the air.
  12. Teach what happens when the ball is in the air.
  13. Stay off the ground.
  14. Keep the other team ON the ground.
  15. Keep the other team OFF the ground.
  16. Get the ball on the ground.
  17. Teach what actually happens when the ball is on the ground – dual meaning
  18. Raise each player’s Football IQ. Not playbook IQ. Football IQ.
  19. Teach every player how to lift – dual meaning: 1st how to build 5th Degree S&M – strength & muscle. 2nd: how to lift every soul on your team, on the other team, and off the field
  20. Be offensive.

Part 2 will explain the meaning of these principles.

 #MUCHLOVE #soulofalifter

Blessings and all good things


Gino Arcaro

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