Indians working for state title
New Hayti High School head football coach Dominique Robinson is a man on a mission, a mission he began intensely planning in the spring. As is the case with any good high school coach, Robinson's efforts are primarily focused on the goal of bringing home a state championship. "My whole goal, even back in the spring, was to help get our kids ready to win a state title," he said in an interview last week at the Indians' field house. "In order for us to reach this goal, we have to train like champions." Robinson says that during this past school year on school days, many of his players showed up at the weight room at 6 a.m. ready to work. Lifting weights, conditioning and developing skills were the focus of those early-morning sessions. "We provided them with breakfast, and we would often have up to 40 kids out each morning," he added.
After the school year concluded and Robinson was officially named head football coach, he kicked his efforts into high gear. "We lifted weights every day, Monday through Friday," he said. "We also practiced on our allotted 20 days, and so we would practice once or twice a week. I will say that our guys are responding very well - so far."
Being the new Indian head coach has brought additional responsibilities to Robinson's work at the Hayti field house, but it has also provided him with the freedom to up the ante in preparing his team for the 2017 season. "We've started a lot of new things over the course of the spring and summer," he said. "I also have a new defensive coordinator, Gerald Pickering. We have a new JV coach as well, Joey Webb. And of course we have outstanding assistants in Aaron Bidewell and KC Gilmer. "All these guys are just such a tremendous help and encouragement to me and the guys," he further commented.
As the season opener against Thayer Aug. 18 draws ever closer, Robinson says it is important for his team to find its identity very quickly. "For us, this year, we need to try and find our identity early on," he explained. "We have a new offense and a new defense this year, so on our allotted days we've been installing formations, putting in our base plays and working on technique and skill work, even with our offensive linemen."
On non-pads days, Robinson says running the basics and developing skills and technique are always the focus. "We do seven-on-seven, route running, firing off the ball and defensive skills including backpedaling," he said. "We're just trying to get our guys to focus mentally and learn to give attention to detail. Football is very much a mental game, and you can never do too much to prepare your team for the mental aspect of a very physical sport."