“The main difference in most youth football players is desire. It’s about 2/3 of the essence of football.”
The above quote is from John P McCarthy’s Coaching Youth Football book. I don’t recommend the book, unless you are a rookie coach and want the very basics of football, but the book had a very good introduction regarding Desire. I beleive you can find at least one good idea from any coaching book or coach, no matter how bad, and McCarthy nailed Desire in youth football. He goes on to say,
“Desire separates the players from the subs. It can easily equalize size and strength.”
I think most youth football coaches and ex-players know the above as fact. I played with a kid named Charlie that was one of the smallest players on our 8th and 9th grade football teams. He was a good 40-50 pounds lighter than I was at the time, but I hated to get hit by Charlie. I was a starting Linebacker. He told me that he had to do more because he was so small and wanted everyone to know he was as tough as the bigger players. Charlie was our starting Safety and later my college roommate at Texas A&M.
“The key to football lies more in the desire to overcome the individual opponent than in the development of individual skills.”
Last season, I coached six players at least 10 pounds below our average team weight and all around the same weight give or take one or two pounds. Two of these players were starters, middle linebacker and tailback. These two kids would take on even the biggest kids on the team. It was only until last month, that I realized that these two kids were 2 of the lightest kids on our team. I never thought of them as small, because they would tag anyone on the team. Two of the remaining six small players along with two or three of my bigger kids were minimum play players. The common quality of these players was desire not size.
You can motivate players, but you can’t coach desire. It’s an internal drive or voice that says no matter what happens I will do my best. I will overcome my weaknesses. I can and I will. Desire is the ultimate equalizer in life, not just youth football.