Urban Meyer: Teaching & Coaching

Urban MeyerExcerpts from the article: Ever since he arrived in Columbus three years ago, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has set about finding the most efficient ways to educate his players about the intricacies of his high-powered offense.

What he hit upon is an approach that is increasingly popular in academic circles, but still mostly unheard of in the hidebound world of football coaching: flipping the classroom.

In academia, flipped learning turns the traditional classroom-teaching model on its head, delivering lessons online outside of class and moving homework into the classroom via individual tutoring or activities. A football team might seem to be an inapplicable environment for this, but Meyer employed a similar approach after taking over the Buckeyes, who went 6-7 the previous season.

In an effort to speed up the installation of his spread-option playbook—an offense that devastated defenses while Meyer was at Utah and Florida—Meyer decided to abandon old-school chalkboard sessions. Instead, he devoted team meetings to hands-on exercises, such as walking through plays and doing situational drills.

“That team is as well-prepared and well-coached as anyone in the country,” said Russ Lande, a former NFL scout who is now an analyst for the Big Ten Network. “They’ve really opened up the playbook, but his players are in complete command of what they’re being asked to do.”

The theory behind it is that introducing students to new material through short video lectures, screencasts or online slideshows outside of class time allows for the lower levels of cognitive work—gaining knowledge and comprehension—to be performed outside the classroom on their own schedule and at their own pace. Class time can then be repurposed into workshops where students can inquire about the material and interact with hands-on activities. These help accomplish the harder task of assimilating knowledge.

“The whole idea is that if you can get players thinking about it and doing the mental work prior to being in the football facility, your time in the classroom will be that much more productive” Grabowski said.

Now, instead of lecturing players on X’s and O’s, Ohio State coaches send them schemes and game plans via videos and interactive graphics that can be accessed on phones and iPads. Time at the facility is then devoted to walk-throughs and other interactive exercises. Kirk Barton, a graduate assistant at Ohio State, says meetings are used for situation-specific drilling.

Urban Meyer: WSJ – Teaching & Coaching Article

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