What does on time mean for Youth Football Games and Practices?

WarHawksAs a youth football coach with over 20 plus pee wee football tackle seasons one of my biggest frustrations is players and parents late, especially to games.  Don’t get me started on late to playoff games or Super Bowls.  A recent USA Football article, Always plan to be 15 minutes early’ is true for players and parents by Jon Buzby prompted me to write this article along with my experience from my last playoff game.

Jon is right in his article about being 15 minutes early.  Hall of Fame Coach and Football Legend, Vince Lombardi was very big on the 15 minute rule, If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late. On time is 15 minutes early so you are ready to go when the meeting or practice starts.  I am a little time sensitive anyway, so every season in my parent meetings I talk about Lombardi time and being 15 minutes early.  Almost every coach that knows me, calls it Parker time now.

Why does every coach want their players to meetings, practices and games early?  So we can take roll of our players and make sure we have time to adjust if there is a player absence or someone is sick or injured.  We also know we can start warm-ups on time and get practice started quickly without waiting for key players to show up.  It is very frustrating when your starting Center, QB and or Running Backs are late or no shows for practice.  Its very courteous in this modern age of cell phones to let the coaches know that you will not be on time, so we can move on and adjust our thoughts to prepare for the practice or game.  I cannot tell you the stress and nerves before the game when players are late.  We are already nervous about the games and the tardiness just adds to our stress.  And really its so simple to help us, be on time.  You can easily support your youth sports team by just being early to every practice and game.  The coaches will notice and greatly appreciate your support, dedication and dependability as Jason Witten recently spoke about.

The Lombardi rules also is also great to use in real life not just in sports.  In over 40 years of my professional career in IT / Internet Services, I’ve met only one manger that did not like people showing up early to meetings.  And that was because he said usually everybody was 15 minutes late and it was a wasted 15 minutes.  Wasted if you did not bring other work to work on while you waited for the selfish employees that decided to be late.  I’ve learned in my 54 years there are people that do not care about being on time unless its their meeting and then maybe its an issue.  I know that sometimes everyone is very busy but a short text to let everyone know your on your way is a simple courteous extra appreciated step.  But maybe you’re too busy already.

On a youth sports team and especially one of my teams, since I communicated that being 15 minutes early is actually on time, I expect our players to be early.  If you are one of these people that are late all the time, just know everyone is waiting on you to get started and we all talk about you behind your back.  LOL  All kidding aside, be courteous.  Be early.  Be on time.  Your coaches will love you for it.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

~ Coach Parker

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