Something for Everyone at Martz's Clinic
Monday, May 23, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
The Mike Martz Coaching Clinic is geared toward high school coaches, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that others can’t come away with valuable knowledge or information.
Much in the same way that high school coaches converse and discuss football, college and professional coaches also make their presence felt at the clinic.
Illinois’ Ron Zook and Arkansas State’s Steve Roberts played prominent roles on the final day of the clinic at Rams Park.
In front of hundreds of area high school coaches Saturday, Roberts talked about the importance of special teams and Zook discussed his ideal way to build a championship football team.
Martz’s clinic provides high school coaches the opportunity to learn more about their craft and it does the same for college coaches, but even more important for the likes of Zook and Roberts is the ability to network and build relationships with the coaches of many of the players they will recruit.
Rams’ offensive line coach John Matsko, who serves as one of the organizers of the clinic said getting college coaches involved is important for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s good for the high school coaches to get a different variation of how to do things and communicate things to their players,” Matsko said. “That’s what these different coaches give…a different variation of thoughts and ideas.”
Zook closed the clinic by speaking to the assembly about his ideas for building a championship program with a presentation entitled “The 3 C’s of a championship team.” In his speech, Zook discussed competence, confidence and commitment as the three keys to building a winning team. He stressed the importance of seeing the big picture and creating an unselfish atmosphere for his team.
In the process, Zook, who is in his first year as the head coach of the Illini, was able to begin building relationships with high school coaches in an area that is vital to Illinois recruiting.
In his many years of football experience, Zook said he has not seen a clinic like Martz’s made available by a professional team.
“I have been to and spoke at a lot of clinics, but this one is so well done and organized,” Zook said. “Having a professional team do this makes it even better…even I saw Marshall Faulk’s locker and it brought back memories of how he almost put me out of coaching…it’s a great opportunity.”
Zook, of course, is referring to his time spent as defensive coordinator of the Saints. Those nightmares provided by Faulk are long gone now, though, as Zook attempts to build the Illinois football program back to a winning one.
The networking done at the clinic is probably just as important as the lessons learned. Zook, Roberts and other college coaches from the area, including Missouri recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach David Yost, have the opportunity to spend time with high school coaches and begin relationships.
“The biggest part is building trust and that trust isn’t built overnight,” Zook said.
While all of the time spent in St. Louis is valuable for the coaches to learn what to apply on the field, the high school and college coaches aren’t the only ones learning.
Matsko said he learns something new every year, citing Roberts’ lesson about punt coverage as a prime example.
“(He) explained the technique then he showed it on the tape so he verified what he was teaching not only to me, but to all of the coaches that are here,” Matsko said. “That learning and understanding is what this weekend is all about.”
Re: Something for Everyone at Martz's Clinic
For all the talk about his foibles as a Head Coach, I think people forget to notice that Martz is a pretty good guy. Last Summer, he took time out of his schedule to lobby Congress about the need for Alzheimers disease research. This year, he takes the time to give what I suspect is an invaluable opportunity to High School coaches.
Things like this make me proud to call Mike Martz a Ram.