Introduction to Oline coaching in Europe
This is series 1 of Sam’s Oline coaching in Europe. Yeah, you can watch NFL videos, and listen to coaches from Big division I universities in the States. However, Sam knows what works for Oline coaching in Europe.
Sam Jaeger’s notoriety as a player began on the Chesterton Trojans High School Football Team. During his tenure, he was recognized by the conference and region on several occasions, but most notably by the IHSAA, where he received all-state honors his Junior and Senior seasons for both offensive and defensive line. Making all-state on both sides of the ball, earned him a spot on the Midwest Reebok all-star team, and also the state of Indiana north all-stars. All of which are recorded in the Indiana Football hall of fame. Sam was also later inducted into the Chesterton High School 50th anniversary team; commemorating the best of the best to have come through Chesterton’s top-notch program.
After receiving a couple of scholarship offers, Sam committed to play NCAA Division 1 FBS for Western Michigan University, where he made a significant impact as left guard on the starting lineup. Once Sam completed his Bachelors at Western, he moved to Europe, where he played/coached three seasons for the Tollense Sharks, played/coached three seasons for the Derby Braves (also served as their club treasurer/president), and coached one season at the Wernigerode Mountain Tigers, before ending his career playing for the Berlin Adler in the GFL in 2017.
During his time in Europe, Sam also completed a law degree and is now using his education and leadership skills from sport working in real estate in Berlin
It’s May 2013, and I’m on my first international flight. Just two weeks before, a small team located in Neubrandenburg, Germany offered me a contract to play and coach for 220 Euros a month. Some might think this was a brash decision, however to me, it was an opportunity to reignite a passion for sport which I feared I had lost.
The first training session was with the Tollense Sharks of the Regionaliga Nord/Ost. I was taken to the field by a teammate, where I used my then broken German to make simple introductions to the club committee, to the team, and to my offensive line unit. Once training began and as I attempted to implement an NCAA practice itinerary, I noticed apart from a hand full of players, these guys all come straight from work, have hit the burgers more than the weights, and/or have almost zero experience in organized athletics. Literally, within 10 minutes of my first session with my new team, I came to the realization of my coaching strategy and its application had been flipped on its head …Football overseas is a whole new animal!
Point 1: Understand the standard of stock they have on their roster.
Before you start screaming commands and making demands, you must understand the physical, mental, and financial capacity of the guys you coach. Through this understanding comes the establishment of respect and confidence internally within your unit. If you do not truly take the time to do this, asking a player to go beyond the 2-3 training sessions a week, is understandably laughable. Offensive lineman by nature, are usually among the most unfit, sensitive, and stubborn group on the field.
Therefore, it is absolutely-imperative you get to know the 160kg guy and what will motivate him to get moving; the 19-year-old rookie who is a hardcore gamer and what buttons to (not) push; the construction worker who gets barked at all day and what could make him a leader… These are the guys who will be protecting your American QB or blocking for your star national team RB. If you want to them to buy into your process, you must know the source of theirs.
You must cater to their specific needs in the limited practice time you have if you ever want them to cater to yours in the time they don’t. Offensive lineman not only deserves but need the extra attention …After all, they are the ones in the trenches!