Set the Table

Although we need to “thank the passer” (reference to our Thank The Passer exercise) any time a teammate tries to lead us up, not all advice and leadership is positive.

Whether a teammate is intentionally leading us in the wrong direction or doing so because they don’t know better, part of our maturity as a leader to be able to sort through the noise to find the good while getting rid of the bad.

This isn’t an easy task.

In many ways, we have to become detectives; listening closely, looking for clues, identifying motives and sort through the noises and messages we’re consuming, to find the truth.

As a healthy follower, we can’t follow everything, we have to be selective and follow the leadership that is beneficial to our growth.

Our Detective exercise will teach players how to follow well and how to discern what is worthy to be followed.

"“Stepping into the role of a “Detective” has helped me think more critically to the influences around me. If you’re not careful and selective, you’ll follow down a path you won’t want to go.”"
Senior Varsity Football Defensive End – Maryland

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Lesson Plan

Player Growth Areas

Exercise Length

Language Guide


An individual’s processing of information to determine its positive or negative intent

Example Videos

See Detective in action below to get a better understanding of how to teach the the Exercise.

Shareable Graphics

Share these in the locker room, coaches office or on social media.

Exercise Reminder Card

To emphasize and reinforce the lessons learned in this exercise with your players, download and share this graphic with them 24 hours after completing the exercise.

Quiz Questions

Quiz Questions

Use these questions below to engage after you have taught the exercise.

  • What is the main goal of the role of the Detective?
  • What does it mean to decipher a message?
  • What does it mean to discern a message?
Quiz Questions

At Home

Coaches, use the below question, reflection, and action to engage parents, guardians, and other family members in the lessons learned in this exercise.

Suggestions on how to use: Email to parents the day you have taught this lesson, add it to the materials you send home, or text it to text message threads with your players.

  • Question: What are the 3 D’s of being a detective?
  • Reflection: When was the last time you didn’t take the time to discern a message and it ended up being a mistake?
  • Action: Go through and audit your social media. Who do you follow that is not beneficial for your growth as a person? Who do you follow that is beneficial for your growth as a person? Audit your network by deciphering and discerning who and what is best for you.
Quiz Questions

Coach’s Reflection

Coach, take a moment to reflect on the lesson and how you can lead by example to your players. 

Coach, who are the voices you know and trust? If you haven’t done so in a while, take some time this week to audit the voices you're listening to. Practice deciphering what is being said and discerning whether or not it is best for you to continue engaging with them.