Some of my info for beginning coaches-for what it is worth
I have been a head varsity football coach in the state of IN for eight years. I achieved some success and am quite happy with what I accomplished. Now that I have children of little league age I have hung up coaching at the high school level to coach them. I have a brother who is now a head varsity football coach.. We spend our Fridays watching his team now. What he and I really wish little league coaches would judge their success by is how many kids return to play the next season. Football may not be for everyone, but far too many kids give it up because it is work, and their parents let them quit. Point this out to the parents at the beginning of the season. Tell them to make their kids come to practice. I tell my parents that some of their kids will cry, want to quit, play sick or anything else they can think of to avoid practice. Emphasize to the parents the importance of making it to practice. Most football practices are not fun. They are hot and it is hard work. My son is nine years old and weighs 138 pounds. I know first hand how hard practice can be on these young boys. My son would be the happiest boy in the world (NOW) if I told him he did not have to play anymore. He NEEDS football. People think I am cruel because I have made him play two years now. If he was not playing, he would be eating and video gaming himself to death. He would be so obese by his freshman year he would have a heart condition. He needs football. People say, "He needs to make his own choices." My reply to that is, "I am the boy's father. I believe I know what is in his best interest. If he came home from school and said that he wanted to quit school, should I let him? No, because I think school is in his best interest just as football is. I explain all of this to my parents so that they remember that they are the adult, and they do know what is in their child's best interest better than their child does. People think I am a little nutty because I encourage all of my parents to help at practice. We had our fourth practice tonight and I had six dads on the field. I explain to the parents that I will teach and demonstrate what I want done and their job is to help with the technique that I taught. I tell them that they can't break the flow of practice but they better be helping a kid with a technique they are struggling with if I do not see it. One of these days I will have to run a Dad off, but so far the last two years have been wonderful. Moms are more than welcome to help too, and I had one that did all last year. Just keep reminding them you have a job to do and their job is to help with technique and keep the practice rolling (not to slow it down). When you get to a point in practice when you do not think you need as many eyeballs, say thanks parents and they will walk away. Tell parents you would really appreciate it even if they would stay at practice and observe even if they do not want to help. I tell the parents that I expect to see them on the field (whether they are helping with practice or not) if their child needs an attitude adjustment. Eight, Nine and Ten year-olds really struggle at paying attention and keeping their hands to themselves. A quick visit from a parent can fix a probably that a coach might have to deal with for an entire practice. I make all of this clear to the parents at the first practice. I start the first practice a little late. I holler at all of the parents to come over to me and I tell them all of this face to face. I tell them they can come help at any practice they want or need to. This makes them all very happy. Most think I am crazy and do not come over. Then we go through our flexibility to start. Since I have them all lined up, we work on stances second. Here is where the parent help usually comes. I explain to the kids how I want the stance to look. We try it and I holler at the parents that my assistant and I cannot see all of these kids stances at once so come help us. I demonstrate the stance again with the parents there and now I have all the help I need. Teach the parents though. Here is how one of my practices might go:
5:30 Flex and Stances
5:40 Form Running (we teach how to run)
5:50 Ambush (hitting drill-great for new and old players) (no one ever gets hurt) (simple and eliminates fear)
6:00 Board drills (agility drills done over five or six boards) 1. hit two feet between each board 2. Hit one 3. Laterals two feet in each between each board moving laterally 4. Hand shivers Just like laterals only players are on the end of the boards, move laterally, squat and touch the end of each board with their heads up. 5. Shuffle all the way through (stay low and keep feet apart at least six inches. Do not let them bring their heels together. Go slow and get it right. 6. Sprint in and out of the rows forwards and backwards. 7. Hand circle at the end of each board 8. Bear crawl
6:10 Juice (make them jog to juice and jog back-take a longer break if all hustle and tell them why the longer break)
6:15 We usually break into two groups here but for the first few practices I teach form tackling here. I really want the parents out there for this so that they learn the proper technique and can offer help after they know the concept. I have a team of sixteen and we all do this at once. The extra eyes really help. Our form tackling is all done on my commands of dip-cock-wrap-tuck-speed your feet. This can be done with or without pads. No one takes anyone to the ground.
3 line drill/ stances and starts
hand off drill/ first steps
gauntlet/ perfect fit
blast/ boards-players drive coaches and pads down boards/
play timing/ knee drill
/ blocking review
7:05 Half line or 3 to make 10 or full team against parents
7:20 3-2-1 Sprints or whatever you want to do to end practice. If practice is run correctly, and all kids hustle during drills and to and from drills conditioning is not that important because it will be occuring any everything you do.
I hate practicing for two hours with little kids, but we almost have to with so little time before we have to perform. Once school starts we will never practice for more than an hour and a half. After our first practice in pads I hold another parent meeting (call them over at the end of practice while the assistant coach is still talking to the players) and express to them that their child worked hard. It was not fun and they may not want to come back. Encourage them to encourage their child to keep coming. I tell them to treat their kid with a little respect after practice because for some of their children it was the hardest thing they ever did.
This is very typical of one of our practices. We work hard. Stroke every kid's ego in some way during practice. Make them feel important. Don't forget they are little kids.
Two last big points-the first one is not quite as important as the second.
1) Have a plan written out
2) Come with a smile and leave with a smile
itsusinindMember Since 06 Jul 2004
Offline Last Active Oct 10 2004 09:48 PM
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