Youth Football Coaching Fundamentals
Youth football coaches need to focus on the fundamentals of football, as well as the fundamentals of life. There is more to youth football than just X’s and O’s -wins and losses. Youth football needs to teach values that can be used outside of football. A winning season is always great and always should be the goal to start the year, but there is more to youth football than that.
Five Key Points of Focus
1. Focus should be on fundamentals and less on winning.
I am not saying coaches should go into a season not caring if they win or lose. You should never do anything to lose; the goal is always to work hard towards victory. If the proper fundamental drills are practiced, winning will take care of itself. Focus should be on proper tackling, block shedding, blocking, confidence building, physical education, catching, throwing and teamwork. The basics are vital; it will only help the children as they move up in older age competition. Winning at all costs should never be the philosophy. Do not win at the expense of the kids.
2. Motivate the Players to do Their Best
All great coaches are great motivators. Getting your players to play for you is critical. Great motivates get their players to practice and play hard. Great motivators push their players to become better in practice-ultimately it will pay off come game day. Reward hard work, because when you work hard in life good things happen. So let’s teach that at the youth level, so these children know hard work pays off.
3. The Parents
Be friendly with the parents. Write a letter to the parents about what they can expect from coaches and what the coaches expect from the parents and players. I have an old saying “Real Recognizes Real”, if you are there for the right reasons and care about the kids the parents will know. Just be fair with the players, no favoritism. I very rarely ever have a problem with a parent.
4. Promote Good Academics and Good behavior in School
Education is vital to overall success in life. You can only play football for so long; education is the most important ingredient to a successful life. You cannot get a good job without an education. Remember, youth football is about promoting positive traits that can be used as these children progress into teen and adulthood. Ask yourself these questions coaches-have I promoted the importance of school to my players? Do I push them to do their best in school, like I push them in football practice? Are my players understanding the importance of proper nutrition and physical education?
Remember, Education above All!
Youth football coaches need to be professional at all times. Being a youth football coach comes with a lot of responsibilities. Leading by positive example is probably the most important. How coaches react to a win/loss or even a bad call will determine how your players react. The kids are looking up to the coaches, so be positive at all times. You’re a coach, lead by positive example.
Hard work-no excuses!
A Winning Youth Football Season
What is a winning youth football season? Is it going 12-0 and winning a league championship? Or is there more to a winning youth football season than just how many wins your team accumulated? Yes, there is more to a winning season then just your team’s overall record. Winning youth football is all about the children. What have you done as a youth coach to help improve every child on your team as football players? What positive life lessons have your children learned from playing the sport? Improvement as a youth football player and the positive development of valuable life habits should be the priority of all youth football coaches.
A winning youth football season is not the win-loss record your team achieves, but how each child on your team grew as football players. Any coach can put together some wins with a lot of “stud athletes”. How a winning youth football season should be measured is by how much every player on the team got better; it’s all about improvement. How much did a child that began the year shying from contact build up confidence and started hitting? Did all the first year players on your team learn the basics of the game? Did the children learn how to play youth football safely, fundamentally, as well as learning about overall physical education? Have your players developed self-confidence and the belief if they work hard they can accomplish anything? If so, then you have accomplished a winning youth football season, regardless of your overall win-lose record.
If a coaching staff educates their players about the importance of teamwork, commitment, hard-work, physical education and social skills then the coaching staff has accomplished a winning youth football season. These are many important traits that will be needed for children to progress successfully into teen and adulthood. Since more than half of your team will not continue their football careers into high school, it is imperative that these children learn valuable lessons and develop constructive habits. Football is like life in several aspects. It requires resilience, hard work, discipline, communication, confidence, working under stress and physical fitness. These are all characteristics the children will need to develop into teen and adult hood. Football is a magnificent game that has so much life lessons.
Coaches remember- a winning youth football season should be based on how much each child developed as football players and as young men. Youth football is not about winning or losing it’s about developing positive and productive habits that the children can use in life. The children are the future of our incredible country; it is imperative that we create these positive habits since there is life beyond football.
The youth mind is gullible, teach and lead by positive example. The children are the future of our country; let’s keep our country strong for years to come.