Winning Youth Football Coaching Philosophy
As a coach it's up to you to develop your own coaching philosophy along with a roadmap for success. Are you going to spend more time recruiting better players or are you going to focus on developing the skills of the players you already have? What kind of commitment will you expect from your players and their parents? How much is winning going to be a priority. What can your players expect as far as playing time and opportunities at certain positions? These are all important issues that need to be decided before your first practice and then communicated to your players and parents at the beginning of the season. Be honest with your players and parents up front and things will go much more smoothly as the season moves along.
We hope that you will consider these statistics when developing your philosophy on playing time and winning:
The number of youth involved in organized sports in the United States is estimated to be over 50 million. The numbers involved in organized sports dramatically decreases as you go from youth to high school to college. Following are the statistics for playing at higher levels in boys basketball, baseball and football.
These stats don't even account for those players that are drafted but are cut before they ever play in a game. Doesn't it make more sense to help your players develop a love for their chosen game and to spend more time worrying about developing things, like character, compassion, teamwork, perseverance, and community involvement than about winning or losing?
Prioritize Your Practice Time
Prioritize your valuable practice time and your teaching progressions to maximize your opportunity to develop the fundamentals skills of your players. Start with defense, special teams, and then your offense. A strong cohesive defense will help you stay in any game. Strong special teams will make the difference in many games. Offense should be about ball control and possession.
Jump into basic football techniques, fundamentals and techniques on day one. Many youth coaches stress conditioning and agility drills because that's all they know. They mistakenly make practices as difficult and painful as possible. But this doesn't help your players appreciate and learn to love the game of football. Spend the majority of your practice time developing your players fundamentals, skills and knowledge of the game of football.
Keep it Simple
Perfect and core group of complementary plays, concentrate on being perfect in execution and blocking assignments with a variety of defensive fronts. Require that your players line up perfectly every time. Once you have the core group of plays down to perfection every time, then and only then should you think about adding additional plays.
Keep Things Fun
Make games out of all of your drills. For example instead of running sprints, run kick coverage drills. If you run sprints at the end of practice you will find that all your kids eventually do is conserve enough energy during practice to make it through sprints. With a little time spent you will come up with many ways to condition your players while they are learning about football.
Breaking Down The Game
Break every movement down into very small teachable steps. Teach it in a slow methodical and easily understood way. Isolate each step, talk each step through while you demonstrate it and have the player complete it with you. If a few players are struggling don't hold everyone back. Assign them a coach to keep working on the technique and keep the group on track. Confidence in technique, form and assignment breeds confidence that allows a player to play aggressively.