One fact often lost on coaches in professional sports is that every generation of athletes is different from the previous ones. That is why older coaches often struggle to connect with younger players. Their methods that may have worked a decade prior have either no effect or a negative one. The best coaches are the ones able to reinvent how they teach and motivate their players constantly. Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus made this clear when he arrived in January. He wants his coaching staff to thrive as teachers above anything else.
That is an admirable goal. Putting it into practice is a different challenge. Education is one of the biggest problems facing the modern world. Teachers find it difficult to engage their students more than ever before. To help combat this problem, some innovators decided to approach the problem with a simple mantra: make it fun. Khalil Herbert explained how the coaches did this when they arrived months ago. Rather than the usual film study and instructional courses, Eberflus and his staff got creative.
Kahoot might be unfamiliar to some.
It is a gaming app that allows people to craft quizzes for any subject, creating a scoring system depending on whether questions are answered correctly and how quickly. It is a great way to create competition while also helping the players enjoy the monotonous task of learning a playbook.
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From the way Herbert talks, it is clear the players have taken to this approach. They’re surprised and often delighted at how competent the coaches are in instructing them on how to get better. It is one thing to tell somewhat what is right or wrong. It is another to show them. Matt Nagy always talked about the “whys” of doing things. This is what he meant. Unfortunately, he never mastered the ability to teach them.
The Chicago Bears have the right plan. Executing it is the next step.
Half the battle is ensuring players know what they’re doing on Sundays. They need to feel prepared. If that is achieved, then the coaching staff did their jobs. Then it becomes a matter of applying what was achieved in practice to the games. It sounds like both sides of the ball are getting their victories in camp thus far. The defense has moments, but the offense hasn’t backed down either. That was never the case during Nagy’s run. It always felt like the offense was the defense’s whipping post.
Eberflus deserves credit for taking on the responsibility of the entire team. It would be easy for him to lean on what he knows best. He’s been a defensive coach for 30 years. He could focus on that and let Luke Getsy do his thing with the offense. That hasn’t been the case. Eberflus sits in on meetings for every offensive position, offering advice and instruction whenever possible.
Players are encouraged to ask questions all the time.
It would be so fun if Kahoot! ended up being a big reason the team overachieved this season. Either way, one must credit the Chicago Bears coaches for their willingness to think outside the box. The methods used don’t matter as long as they achieve the desired results.