“I’ll take the stripe, but don’t pass it to me.”
I hear this a lot at mixed scrimmages. People willing to take one hat, but not the other.
“You won’t need me, but I GOT you.”
That’s what I want to hear. That’s what I tell the jammer every time I take the stripe.
The stripe isn’t for the “line leader” or “pack momma” any more. It also shouldn’t be reserved for your best blocker. If you still have that mindset, throw it away. It’s garbage. You’re not garbage. You deserve better than garbage!
Anyone on the track can communicate, and you’re probably a better team if you all do some sort of talking or mind reading with each other. The stripe is a jammer. Yes, they are a back up jammer, but they should still be a willing and capable jammer! If your initial star is struggling, it’s time for the stripe to take over.
It kills me inside to watch a jammer who did not get lead keep the star on and struggle, fight, and slowly die for two minutes. It kills me more when I know it’s because their pivot is not conditioned to do as good of a job as their jammer.
One of the biggest downfalls a team can have is not being versatile.
If you’re looking to make your team better as a whole, there are a few ways you can do this.
The Basic Plan:
Make a list of your jammers. Make a list of your pivots. Each week have 2 jammers and pivots switch roles for drills at practice and for scrimmage. Your pivots need to be able to jam. I don’t mean just practice jamming twice on scrimmage night. I mean put them in the rotation and force them to jam consistently that night. Also, your jammers need to be able to block! If and when they pass the star, you will want them to be able to immediately switch to blocking and be an equal partner in the line, rather than a weak spot.
The Advanced Plan:
Everyone jams! Everyone blocks! Train everyone to do EVERY. THING. The most terrifying and powerful teams can count on their roster to go where they are needed. This means you are able to pull out all the stops and keep your opponents guessing. Maybe they know how your main rotation jams and they can adjust, but can they keep up the momentum when you swap that rotation out?
Resolve to be versatile next season. If you aren’t passing the star when you aren’t lead, or at the very least taking it off to divide the blockers’ attention… start there. Build on that– train your pivots in the art of truly jamming. Train your jammers to be aware and ready to swap roles if need be. Be prepared.