21-Hour Football: Using “Pride Points” in the Off-Season Program

Nov 17, 2019 | Team Building / Competition, Program Development

By Jeremy Plaa
Thomas Downey High School
Modesto (CA)


Editor’s Note: X&O Labs is continuing its study into how coaches are advancing their programs to achieve higher levels of success in an ever-changing culture, society and world. We’re calling our study The 21-Hour Football Program because these concepts focus on the 21 hours before and after practice that build a winning culture. In this report, Coach Plaa outlines his Pride Points system. To access our brand-new study, The 21-Hour Football Program, please go here.


As I finalize the previous season and start to look ahead to next year’s team, one of the first thing I look at is our Pride Point system. Our Pride Point system is an important part of our program for the following reasons:

  • Rewards the kids that deserve to be rewarded
  • Creates a system of merit to receive first pick of football equipment & jersey numbers
  • Encourages kids to be active in other sports
  • Helps to motivate kids towards perfect attendance in the spring & summer
  • Creates kids that value giving back to their teammates and others
  • Allows coaches to identify kids struggling with staying motivated

On top of all the positives, it also lets me identify which kids aren’t as committed to our team. It never fails, the kids that are the lowest Pride Point achievers are the first ones to quit when things go bad, and often are the same kids that miss practice and/or games because they aren’t completely invested in our team.

The first step to implement this program is to come up with your system. I always recommend to start simple. Find the things you find are really important to you, and emphasize it with pride points. You can always add to it or take away from it during the off-season, or between seasons. It is a better approach to start simple and add a little at a time, than to try to have too much and not be able to keep track of everything. Our pride point sheet is the result of 15 years of tinkering and I still tune it up every year to emphasize what’s important. This year, I increased our points for being on the wrestling team because football-wrestling participation numbers at our school have been dwindling. I also added in a bonus for each individual’s pride point max lift because I am trying to emphasize weight training more than ever. I will still possibly adjust it again because I’m researching leadership curriculum that I want to integrate into our program.

Point Opportunities

Here is a look at what we award points for in our system. This is what goes out to the players in the player letter. I will talk about many of these items more specifically below.

Winter & Spring

75 points - Bonus points for starting and finishing Basketball or Soccer (1 pt. per off-season workout, must be pre-approved)

125 points - Bonus points for starting and finishing Wrestling

150 points - Starting & finishing a Spring Sport.  (60 points if starting late/ending early, due to ineligibility)

25 points - Turn in COMPLETED AAU Form & AAU Money ($40) by Tuesday, February 20th

25 points - Bonus points for turning in ALL fundraising, by the Root Beer Social in May

15 points - Parent/Guardian joining the Booster Club at the Root Beer Social

5 points - For every “A” grade and every “O” citizenship, at the end of the 2nd semester.

1 point - For every canned food item turned in during our NEW Canned Food Drive.  Date TBA

1 point - Bonus point for every $5 raised above $200 (Varsity); or $150 (JV/Frosh) 

Varies  - Off-Season Workouts


5-25 points - Points given weekly based on weekly effort grade (1-5 rubric), multiplied by days present. 5 grade x 5 days attendance= 25 points  (See weight room for rubric)