I think those who are interested in coaching youth football are admirable. Not only do you get to teach kids football fundamentals; but you teach them well-documented life lessons and become an example and mentor. A youth football coach’s responsibility is to instill quality values such as confidence, discipline, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Applying these values to the game of football will help you to produce winners on and off the field. Here are a couple simple tips to focus on as you approach your first time coaching youth football.
Youth Football Coaching Strategies
- Rules – Set the ground rules for the players and their parents at the start of the season. Be clear on the rules for practices, attendance, player participation, fundraising, effort, and sportsmanship. That way everyone knows what to expect and there are no surprises during the season.
- Time Management – You have the football field for a limited amount of time. Don’t waste it performing extensive conditioning drills. Use the time wisely and teach “real” football during these sessions. You want kids to have fun and learn the game. That’s what they signed up for…they can run conditioning and agility drills any time.
- Drills – Yes, you need to run conditioning drills but limit them in your practice. You should be teaching your kids life skills such as developing the discipline to work out and perform interval training on their own. Develop the child’s love of the game first, but keep them accountable.Moreover, there are many elaborate football drill libraries on the Internet such as those at Weplay. While a coach should select a variety of age-appropriate drills for coaching his team, focusing on these basics and making them fun for the team will often lead to greater success.
- Morale – End your practices on a high note. Too many coaches run sprints or laps at the end of the practice and the players dislike them. Instead, run special team drills such as kickoff returns or punt coverage for your end-of-practice conditioning drills. You’ll get them in top shape while making it fun and teaching valuable football skills at the same time.
- Playbook – In youth football, its better to run a few plays really well than run many plays poorly. Pick four or five plays as the core of your offensive strategy and practice the execution until the players can run them in their sleep. Only then, should you start introducing new plays.
With a focus on some simple basics, youth football coaches can successfully start down their path. By teaching youth football and the life lessons of discipline, self-motivation, sportsmanship and fair play, a coach’s experience can be both enjoyable and meaningful. The integrity that you insist they use on the field will follow them off the field.