For Derius Swinton, when it comes to his philosophy coaching special teams, communication is key.
Afterall, he jokingly said growing up, he had to learn how to communicate effectively after fighting to get a word in edgewise with his sister.
But all of that experience has translated to why he's been in the league for over a decade and his new opportunity as special teams coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers.
From memes to simplicity, here's Swinton on his keys to communication.
Speaking the "Charger Language"
Swinton, like many other coaches on head coach Brandon Staley's staff, has experience coaching or playing on different sides of the ball.
That sort of well-rounded vibe lends Swinton to work well with each coordinator to make the third phase of football as complementary as possible.
"How're we gonna speak the Charger language? How are we going to call this? If I can take something that they do on defense with (defensive coordinator) Renaldo (Hill) and how he calls it, and I call it the same thing so (the players) don't have to worry about it. Or, same with (offensive coordinator) Joe (Lombardi.) If I can do that, when you get guys who have done multiple things, they know language is the number one thing and we're just trying to get our Chargers language to be the same so it just starts free flowing conversations all the time."
A football team is full of varying ages and it's something Swinton is totally cognizant of. He knows usually special teams is the first meeting of the day and it can be hard for players to get excited.
So, how does he motivate guys?
Well, let's just say he'll fit in quite well here at the Chargers with one of his techniques…
"A lot of (guys) don't play special teams in college so you just have to be creative in how you approach them. Whether that's (showing them) clips of basketball in a meeting or memes that they know of that I have to educate myself on. Just different tools to get them to really tap into special teams and just try to make sure you keep their attention daily.
"I try to tap into them and find, what is their why? What's their motivation? Every player's different, whether it's a 10-year vet who has a family, whether it's a rookie who's just trying to provide for himself or take care of mom. Or whether it's a player who's just trying to prove something (because) he's on a one-year deal. You're just trying to find out what motivates him and within that, get him to play at his best ability on special teams and contribute on offense and defense."
Simplification is Key
Swinton is a former safety, having played college football at Hampton University.
His former playing background coupled with his coaching experience allows him to relate to guys to get the best out of them which ultimately benefits the team as a whole.
"What I try to do is say, 'I know what you're going through. I know you're getting 30 plays from Joe today. Or, Renaldo's giving you two new coverages.' So I say, 'Hey, I'm gonna simplify it for you. I want to make it so you can react and not think.' The more I can do that; I think that's going to help us be better and help the players individually be better."
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