Youth Football Coaching Tips 2014

Well the 2014 Youth Football Coaching season is upon us.  Are you ready coach?  Do you have all your equipment, plays, players, recruiting strategy, parents, league documents, defensive and special team playbooks organized and ready to go?  Hopefully you do.  I know our local youth football league has try outs in two weeks.  I am not coaching this season but have a few meetings with other coaches set up to discuss their teams for the upcoming tackle football season.  Even though I will not be coaching this season so I can spend time with my sons in Jr High and High School, I cannot wait for the youth football season to start.

Here are Bear Bryant’s Coaching Rules

  1.  Surround yourself with people who can’t live without football.
  2. Recognize winners. They come in all forms.
  3. Have a plan for everything.

Have you thought about a team website yet and how you are going to communicate.  Check out my article on Team Websites. Communication is key to a winning season.  Plus the parents love to be involved and know what s going on.  Make sure to over communicate.  If you hate to talk to parents then find a great team mom.  Here’s an article on Choosing a Team Mom.  Maybe you have not picked your assistant coaches yet.  Here’s a great article about choosing your assistant coaches.

I wrote an article a few years ago, What’s in your Youth Football Coach’s Bag which is a great place to start getting organized. I always need mouthpieces, band aids and whistles when the season starts.  Make sure you go through your first aid kit or maybe even buy a new one.  Safety First!

If you are still wondering about offense, here are my picks for the top plays in youth football.  Plus do not forget defense and especially special teams which a busted punt return cost me our last Super Bowl berth.

If you are looking for great ways to motivate your players check out ice cream Fridays and helmet award stickers.

And lastly check out my eBook on Practice Plans.

And remember “Organization is the foundation of all successful football coaching. This is just as true in the handling of high school and college teams as it is in coaching play for pay professional squads. Organization is the basis for the whole game.” George Allen – Washington Redskins  An organized coach should be able to go .500 and better.

Have a great season,
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller / Dallas

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Coaching vs. Talent in Youth Football

7on7 Youth FootballCan great coaching in youth football outperform, defeat and or equal a well recruited stacked youth football team with mediocre coaching throughout an entire football season? A recent tweet by Dave Cisar, one of my favorite youth football coaches and authors, “The youth coach who invests a LOT of time recruiting players- he thinks talent trumps coaching. He doesnt know enough to know he dont know” got me thinking about this question; coaching vs. talent. Coach Cisar is right that Talent does not beat great coaching most of the time, but great Talent does beat poor coaching.

Like me, many of you are about to start recruiting or drafting your Fall youth football team. A successful winning youth football season starts with a smart organized veteran coaching staff that considers “coaching” a priority. But, I firmly believe in recruiting and or drafting the best talent your coaching staff can field for your youth football team. Why make it harder on your coaching staff by not pre-planning and preparing for your youth football season through a successful recruiting / draft strategy? My Co-Head Coach and I spend a significant amount of time on identifying local league talent and evaluating them in our league’s grass day drills. I enjoy the pre-season coaching duties as much or even more than the actual in-season coaching. I love planning and strategizing our youth football season in the off-season.

In our youth recreational football league we cannot recruit players in the traditional way. From season to season we can carry or “freeze” up to 6 players that were on our previous Fall’s team if they agree to play for us again. We must then pick the remaining 12 to 14 players in an organized league draft. After a kick punt and pass drill day, we draft players from a pool of youth football players registered for our league. This Fall season the league allowed two wildcard pick options which let us “freeze” or recruit two players from the league’s registered player pool before the actual draft. Since our teams have been in the last 5 Super Bowls this freeze and wildcard recruiting process was not that hard for us.

In the past I coached Select tackle football teams and recently this summer a Select 7on7 football team when I needed to “recruit” players from our area. So I understand how to “recruit” players and most importantly the parents. To be honest I hate the traditional recruiting process; selling parents on your coaching talents and your team’s winning record and potential. It helps to come from a winning program like myself and a recognized website like CoachParker.org. It’s also a plus to have a coach on staff that loves to recruit and has a sales background. If you are not good at sales then make sure you have a coach that loves selling if you must recruit players for your football team. I also have my key players already on the team hand out flyers and contact potential recruits. Youth football players like playing with their friends.

When we recruit players we do not promise players play time or positions. We hold try outs for positions. One of our wildcard recruits this season only wanted to play QB. We told them there were no guarantees and we lost a great player to one of our rivals but not our respect. Once you start promising players and parents positions along with play time then you might as well hand over the coaching responsibilities to them. As a coach you cannot lose control of your team. Parents must know that you and your staff are in charge of every aspect of your team.

So, should you spend a lot of time recruiting youth football players? Well, it depends on what you consider a lot of time. I believe off-season time invested in attending coaching clinics, studying youth football, meeting with your coaches and players, developing playbooks, organizing practices, identifying potential talent, scouting / analyzing potential opponents and recruiting is all part of being a great coach. Your time investment in yourself as a coach and team will pay off during the football season. Champions are made during the off-season.

With all things being equal with great coaching, “stud” talent will beat coaching, especially in youth football. Who wouldn’t love to have the stud running back or QB along with the talented supporting cast of players in their league? Like most the things I do in life with work, home, family etc. I always want the best. Always strive for perfection.

What do you think about coaching vs. talent? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks,
Coach Parker
Keller, Texas

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