Practice: Mastering frustrations

Fall practice is underway in Tuscaloosa and one of the key elements for entering players (freshmen and upperclassmen alike) is to control frustrations.

Anyone who has set foot on a football field or watched practice knows the grind, the heat, the aches, the pains, the confusion of a new system—the frustrations of football.

And all those things will be worse under Saban.

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That is not to say other Alabama coaches haven’t been tough on players. But think of it as players who went from Mike Dubose’s chaotic practice regime into Dennis Franchione’s. It is a step up in expectations and intensity.

Saban knows this. He addressed the media about it telling the press one reason for dividing the first practice session was to help the freshmen learn faster, to ease their frustrations caused by learning where to go and what to do.

Saban is a details guy. He doesn’t want to waste a minute of time, and he doesn’t want the players fears to get in the way of a solid effort. Like he said: “Their anxiety level is probably going to dissipate a little bit if they have a chance to get their feet on the ground by getting a little more individual attention, especially in the first practice.”

Mastering emotions like anxiety, frustration, fear are part of the athletic process. Players are held back by their own fears as often as by their own athletic limitations. And with the right attitude, the right system, and the right work ethic, players can exceed expectations because a team is more than the sum of its parts.

It is the fiery-hot furnace of the August practice field which can smelt the individual parts into a team. But the metal has to be willing to be malleable. And that is what these early days are for.

Other News Items of note:

Richard Williamson talks about catching Joe Namath’s first pass at Alabama. The pass was a 52-yard touchdown. That’s not a bad way for a quaterback to begin his career, of course it was Joe Namath.

Alabama garnered only 16 total points in the USA Today Coaches Poll. That put the team about 193 points out of the Top 25. The SEC had a total of six teams in the Top 25 with two in the top 10 and four more between 11-20. Here’s the Top Ten from USA-Today’s Coaches Poll: