“How Do I Become An NFL Coach?”
By FirstDown PlayBook on Jan 19, 2020

Here at FirstDown PlayBook we spent the early part of this last week over in Nashville at the AFCA convention. We devote our time a little differently these days than how we did back in the old days when we were coaching.

We visit a lot more with the folks who are in our industry in addition to visiting with coaches. However, there is still the inevitable beer with a buddy or lunch with someone you coached with during your career.

You also end up meeting young coaches who are just starting in the coaching profession. Many of these young coaches have the same question. “How can I get better at coaching and how can I climb the ladder to get into major college football or the NFL?”

There are no silver bullet, full proof answers for those questions but there are things a young coach can do to increase the chances. Keep in mind that this advice is coming from a thirty year coach, who never played college football. Here are some things that helped us and may help you.

1. On the job training: It is beyond a shadow of a doubt the number one way most coaches learn. Most of the time this happens as a graduate assistant or intern. At this point you are actually learning the game of football as you help help the full time coaches. Hopefully, you will find an older coach on the staff who will take you under his wing to teach you.

Keep in mind that your duties may have nothing to do with football. They may be clerical, they may involve discipline, it could really be about anything. The important thing to remember is you are making yourself indispensable by doing these jobs and doing them well. Along the way learn as much ball as you possibly can.

2. Video and yes…the internet: If a young coach is willing to spend time actually watching the game, especially cutups they can learn a tremendous amount of football. Technology has made it much easier to organize and sort video by formations, down and distance and personnel groupings.

I never thought I would say this but in today’s world you can also google a lot of football and you instantly have information and video at your disposal. I would caution you to be careful about the source when using this route.

Here at FirstDown PlayBook we offer a young coach a ton of information that can be very helpful as they learn the game. In the last five years or so though, we have learned that there is a lot of garbage out there too. Always look for the source and background of the contributor when you learn off of the internet.

3. Clinics: Personally I think this one is changing with each passing year. Clinics can still have value but it’s a different world out there these days when it comes to how we share information. (See #2 Above)

When I look back on my clinic experiences, I benefited from relationships I made as much as I did information that I learned. Clinics can be expensive for a young coach but if you find yourself at one then make the most of it by taking great notes.

Also try to meet two or three coaches you do not already know and get to know them. I always tell young coaches it is better to have four or five friends in the business who really know you as opposed to forty or fifty who know who you are but really don’t know you.

To wrap this up we just want to say that it is extremely hard to become a major college football coach or an NFL coach. There is almost always a personal sacrifice involving your family. That is not for everyone. However, if you have your sights set on this then, by all means, go for it. FirstDown Playbook is cheering for you.

FirstDown PlayBook is the only Digital Football PlayBook that gives you access to over thirty five thousand football plays, schemes and technique help all designed by coaches and players with NFL experience. FirstDown PlayBook is also the official PlayBook resource of USA Football and Football Canada..