WATCH: Woodlawn football coaches create ‘drive-by’ coaching sessions to motivate team during pandemic


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The first week of May is always a special time in the high school football world because that’s when teams start spring practice.

However, since coronavirus has shut everything down, coaches at Woodlawn High School are ‘thinking outside of the field.’

On Wednesday, Woodlawn High School Head Football Coach Gentrell Eatmon and his Assistant Football Coach Dedrick Carr went around the neighborhoods in their truck visiting with their players on the street for a different kind of coaching session.

The Drive-by coaching sessions involved the coaches motivating and encouraging the kids during these hard and uncertain times. The creative drive-by coaching sessions allowed the coaches to reach their players another way other than through video or text messaging. This allowed them to think ‘outside of the field,’ be close to their team but still practice social distancing.

To new Woodlawn Head Football Coach Gentrell Eatmon, the main goal of this was to keep the kids motivated, active, and ready, no matter what the COVID-19 pandemic brought their way.

“I always tell them when we’re on Zoom that they show their true character when no one is watching, so what you do behind closed doors when no one is looking at you, that’s who you really are,” Eatmon said. “Everybody can do what’s right when someone is watching them, but when you take the initiative on your own to do things that you want to do to get better, that just shows you who you are.”

The drive-by coaching sessions include not only running drills with the team and motivating them, but the coaches also check on their health and make sure that their team is eating well and taking care of themselves.

Coach Eatmon is the fifth Woodlawn coach in five years and seventh in the past eight years. He says that he understands the challenge but he and his team are ready for whatever may come their way. And that is why even through the COVID-19 pandemic he and his Assistant Coach Carr are still out working to keep the kids interested in playing, and playing with togetherness, all while being safe.


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