With high-quality coaching, youth football can have a positive influence on every player that participates in the sport. When people hear or see the phrase “winning youth football” they automatically think about the win-loss record or the final score of a game. There is so much more to the phrase “winning youth football” than just the score at the end of the game. If you implement the following philosophies you will not only win football games, but you will be a winning youth football coach to the fullest meaning of the phrase.
Have Integrity. Be honest with all parents, coaches, and players. Youth football coaches need to handle themselves with professionalism at all times, win- lose, or draw. Always play and coach within the rules of the game, cheating is just pathetic. I have a saying, real recognizes real. When you are not honest, people will recognize it. Also, running up the score has no place in youth football. Coaches must ALWAYS lead by positive example. I have another saying, and this goes for all players, coaches, and parents, if you have nothing positive to say, then keep your mouth closed.
Be Organized. Practices must be organized and upbeat. All assistant coaches must understand their job/plans and must be able to implement it. In youth football practice time is limited, being organized is crucial for getting the most out of each practice. Have a plan for every practice and game.
Reward hard work. Like many other youth football coaches my staff and I put in a ton of time. My staff and I do scouting, spend hours watching film and planning practices. So when a player is committed and works hard, we will reward them with additional playing time. We reward our hardworking players with playing time, hard worker of the week awards, and weakly captain honors. Preach to your players that in football and in life, when you work hard, good things will happen. Now that is winning youth football.
Resilience and Sudden Change. When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or fall apart? True character will revile itself when things are at their worst. Pride yourself on coaching your best when things are not going well. Always keep a positive attitude and never panic. When the game or practice is not going well winning youth football coaches will keep their cool and keep their players focused. If you cannot handle the pressure, it will rub off on the kids. Winning youth football teams are able to handle adversity and always stay together as a team. Also, when faced with adversity your true leaders will reveal themselves. Resilience is needed to flourish in football and in life. Resilience is a trait needed to succeed in our social society, work places, sports, and all levels of education. Anytime something goes wrong we use the word “reload”, which means we physically and mentally move onto the next play.
Fundamentals. You must be fundamentally sound in every aspect football. It is vital that children play with proper fundamentals when blocking and tackling. This is not just needed for successful football play, but for player safety as well. It is extremely important to rep the basic fundamentals at every practice. A winning youth football team plays with great fundamentals on a consistent basis. Spend less time scheming and more time on fundamentals.
Discipline. Place a high value on discipline. Doing the little things right is the difference between winning and losing and safe and unsafe. Players and parents need to make sure they have a nutritional diet and they stay properly hydrated before every practice and game. Getting enough sleep the night before a practice and game is also vital for overall performance. Coaches need to implement a structured team environment and handle any disciplinary problems right off the bat. Install a team first environment, bulling and negative comments should not be tolerated. Set the tone from day one, if the players do not respect you as a coach they will lose discipline and it will influence every aspect of the game.
Compete. The goal should be to win every single game and get better after every single practice. Football is a very competitive game. Players and coaches should never quit and always coach hard no matter what situation they are in. Implement competition among players in practice and always compete with yourself as a coach to get better. Compete in practice consistently and the players will compete in the game consistently. Always strive to be the best. Always give a 100% effort. But never win at the expense of the kids.
Enthusiasm. Keeping things upbeat and fun is the receipt for success in youth football. If you lose the attention of the players, it is difficult to get it back. To avoid having the kids lose focus, coach with a positive upbeat tempo and have some fun. Kids react to emotions and energy more so than anything. Having a well planned practice will allow the kids to keep busy and focused. Be sure to script practices so that they are organized and move fluently. Have fun, be upbeat! Coach with positive emotion.
Communication. Coaches that are successful have solid communication skills. It is not easy to teach children football plays and fundamentals. When communicating with kids make sure you have a loud tone and you keep things moving fluently and be informed. When coaches are not prepare or do not fully understand what they are teaching, that is when communication becomes a problem. When you fully understand something, it is a heck of a lot easier to teach it.
Communication with parents is vital! You must be able to interact with the parents fluently. Be organization and make sure you and the parents are all on the same page. It will make life a lot easier when you are friendly and get along with the parents. Here is a suggestion, make a letter to the parents, outlining goals, contact information, and write a little about what they can except from the coaches. This will make you look professional and it will make a strong first impression on the parents.