The first requisite to the development of a football team is a study of the entire season's campaign. The successful working plan of former elevens is not a safe rule in the preparation of a new team. Although the games may be played against the same old opponents, an entirely new set of problems will be presented for the coach to solve. These problems may spring up in the gradation of games on the schedule or in changes in the class or coaches of the rival elevens, but the main problem is one of men. The coach must not only know the physical abilities of his players, but he must divine early in the season the character and traits of the men whom he will have to trust with important positions when the strain of late-season games taxes strength and training to their limits and calls out the reserve forces of grit, original head work and moral stamina.

Even in the mere mechanical drills, both the amount and kind of work depend upon the individual player. It is unimportant whether any such thing as a team appears on the football field during the early practice. In fact, too much attention to team work too early in the season may ruin the opportunities to develop a good team later. If the coach or trainer will spend his entire time preparing each man, as a mechanic finishes up the separate parts of his creation before putting it together, the various positions can be fitted into each other in a short time, to make a smoothly running, accurate and strong football machine.

In preparing these cogs of the football mechanism it is proper to have ideals, yet the materials offered for the construction of a football team are never all that are desired and, as for ideals, seldom does even a single candidate on an entire team come up to the mark set in the coach's mind. There is constant danger that the existence in the mind of the coach of an ideal team may actually injure the eleven in actual process of development. To escape this difficulty the coach must continually remind himself of conditions, not fancies, and make the best possible out of the material at hand. One means to attain this end is the constant habit of taking an inventory of the men. A study of abilities and weaknesses that develop from day to day, and the observation of peculiarities in build and temperament will quickly show how players can be better fitted into the team where their muscles and brains will count most in making it stronger. Very likely the final assignment of positions may not be the ones which the coach would best like to see the men playing, yet it makes a stronger machine.

It is not the amount of football knowledge a player may have, but rather how much of the theory he possesses that can be put into practice, that wins games.

If the practice is not interesting enough to burn an indelible impression of every rudiment of football into the player's working knowledge, it is wasted. The coach can best instruct his men by putting on his football suit and illustrating exactly what he wants done, not only in fundamentals, but in team play. Confidence of the members of the team, one in the other, and constant interest in how each comrade is developing will in time form a team spirit, a factor quite as potent in carrying a pig-skin as an extra hundred pounds of muscle. The main requirement all the time is work - hard work - not the bruising kind, either, but such as develops and quickens the men. Along with this ambition to work, the player must have a goal, some such aim, for example, as to repeat each play a thousand times in patient, daily practice, and never to repeat it, - no matter how old a story the play may become to him, - without doing better than before. Half-hearted repetitions are useless in football.