Tag Archives: Youth Coaching

Coaching Youth Parents

I am not trying to be funny with the title of this post.  In today’s environment, a youth coach must pay as much attention to the players’ parents as much he does to the players on the field.  Unlike my parents 30 years ago, today’s parents are much more involved in their children’s lives.  And as coaches, we must recognize this fact and adjust our coaching styles to meet the demands.

A few years ago in the responses from our end of season parent player questionnaire, our parents requested more team parties and parent only socials during the season and one or two during the off-season.  They wanted to get to know the players and parents, instead of just sitting quite in the stands during the games and at practices and not knowing anyone.  So in Denver after our mandatory parent meeting were we discussed team rules etc, we ended the first practice with a BBQ and a player / parent introduction. Each player introduced themselves and their parents and told a few facts about their parents.  The parents also introduced themselves and other siblings.  We also held a fund raiser and or party every month during the football season to get everyone together and socialize.

This Spring 2010 season in Keller, we decided to have team parties and parent mixers.  I was surprised that many of the parents on our new Keller 2nd / 3rd grade team have never had team socials nor have any of their friends from other teams.  I think it is key to get to know the parents off the field and develop those off field relationships.  These relationships will help when you discuss little Johnny’s play time and development as a player.  They will understand you as a person not just as a coach.

Look, most of us love the sport we coach and love coaching kids, otherwise we would not be youth coach volunteers.  If we are not having fun on and off the field and building life long relationships, both personal and professional, then we are doing ourselves a disservice.  The riches we gain from volunteering coaching youth sports are the lives we impact in a positive way.  I still remember many of my youth coaches like I was still on the field.  And today, your positive impact can also affect the parents, especially since many of these players are single parent families.  We all need help.  Don’t look at parents as the enemy, they can be a huge help, you only need to ask.  And if you think the parents are the enemy, do like Sun Tsu said, know your enemy like yourself.

Have fun and winning is funner!

Coach Parker

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Favoritism in Youth Sports

Since my last favoritism post is the most read and the post I get the most email about,  I thought I would try and answer some of the emails in this post.  I agree that there is favoritism at all levels of youth sports.  I also think that each coach has a different set of qualities and attributes that they look for in a player and parents see their children through rose colored glasses which always makes them seem the best, and there is nothing wrong with that because you love them and want the best for them. 

Last year my youngest son played for a youth football team and played back-up quarterback behind the head coach’s son.  I admit I was not happy about this situation but honestly the head coach’s son was a better QB than my son last season.   I am not happy my son did not start QB, but was that the coach’s fault?

Also since different coaches see different qualities and skills in a player, one coach may find your child a starter and another coach may not see your son as a starter.  Since I am not coaching this year, I am watching my two son’s teams and see players that I would use in different positions than they are currently being used.  Plus coaches run different offenses and defenses which may require different skill sets.  My oldest son, who has started as QB the last three years is a back up QB on his new team because the Keller Kanes run an option offense.  Berndt is not an option style QB, so he is the starting Tight End this year and loves it.  He loves blocking and catching passes which is has not done in the past.  He’s also starting on defense at defensive tackle and loves defense, especially since I did not let him play defense as a starting QB.  He actually asked to be moved from MLB to D-tackle because he loves the hitting.  I never knew.  Am I happy Berndt is not starting at QB?  No, but when I step back, Bear is not the best option QB on the team. 

Yes, many coaches feel it is a right to play their son or relative in a certain position.  This happened on a baseball team I helped coach last summer.  The head coach told me that since he was coach, his son would play first base and that was final.  Well, we had words and I lost.  His son wound up playing first and he did not do a bad job, as a matter of fact the best first baseman played third and made a great 3rd baseman.  So it worked out in the end.   What’s the moral of this story?  If you want to guarantee your son or relative to play a certain youth sports position then you should commit the time to coach.  (I strongly disagree with coaching just so your child can play a certain position.)  Yes, its unfair to some kids but most of the coaches are unpaid volunteers so I guess this is the price you pay by not coaching.  I started coaching to insure my sons were coached properly and if I do not coach them, I do my research on the team and coach.  Before we moved to Keller I researched the DFW football leagues and we moved to an area with a good youth sports program, Keller Sports Association.

Yes, you should talk to the coach if you feel your child is not getting the play time.  Do not be confrontational or argue with the coach.  Don’t become a pest.  One of my closest friends in Denver became a pest and was confrontational to a head coach and his son was benched.  There is a fine line, but you should have at least one conversation and if you can’t control your emotions call them or email them. 

Like I said in my last post, if your child is better than the coach’s son or favorite, based on the coach’s evaluation, I am sure your child will play.  If your child is equal or just a touch better than thier son, well you might be out of luck.  Coaches want to win.  I do believe the better coaches will play the best players and they do not have nefarious schemes not to play your child. 

Play for Fun and Winning is Funner.

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2008 Summary

Our football season ended one game too early.  We lost in the semi final playoffs to our rival, Highlands Ranch Mustangs, which eventually won our league’s Super Bowl, the Carnation Bowl.  Overall we had a great season, #1 offense and #3 defense in our Division, and Conference Champs with a 7-1 regular season record.  We also had significant improvements in our offensive line and passing game.  I am very proud of the young men of the Arvada Pirates.

On offense we ran a combination of the Spin offense and the Single Wing.  This combo of Spread and Power worked well for us.  On defense we ran a 6-2 defense with 20+ stunt blitz calls which kept the offenses wondering what exactly we were doing.  The boys loved the stunts and I was amazed they learned all the calls and when to call certain packages.  We still need to improve on Special Teams especially our kick return blocking. 

I hope everyone had a great season.  I am bummed because Dallas and Denver did not make the NFL playoffs.  My football season is officially over.  😦  I am happy to see Miami in the hunt, so maybe I will stay tuned.  Since the season is over and I have some more free time, I will be writing more on the blog as I analyze last year’s season and consider implementing new variations to our youth football play. 

As a 6th grade team next season, we move to the 100 yard field and passing becomes a much much important part of the game.   I will be evaluating the 5-2 defense and 6-1 defenses this year along with variations of the Spread offense.  We have a pretty good passing QB and want to open up the field.  Plus, we have run the Spin for two years and want to throw something new at our opponents.  We might be able to use the Spin in a Spread format and add new wrinkles.  Stay tuned as I evaluate possible new offenses. 

Thanks
Coach Parker

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Colorado Youth Football Coaching Clinic

I just got back from the Colorado Youth Football Coaching Clinic hosted by our league.  I was very impressed with the clinic.  We spent two hours outside learning position drills and 2 hours of classroom.  Here are a few tidbits I picked at the youth football coaches clinic:

Defensive Line

  1. When you call slant, line the d-line up on the O-lineman not in the gap, that way you take up two blockers when you slant.
  2. For the D-End or tackle to defend against a trap block meet the block with the inside forearm and then punch the chest bone with the other hand then reset back into the gap or area.
  3. If your Defensive lineman is losing a double team, have him grab the jerseys of the two blockers and pull them down on top of him, this way they can’t attack the Linebackers. (I don’t like grabbing / holding the defensiveman but he should try to bring them both down in some fashion)
  4. When the defensive linemen swim through a double team have them elbow the blockers in the back as he pushes past.  (I don’t like the elbow but he should push the player as he pushes past.)

Linebackers

  1. Always warm-up your Linebackers with sprints, shuffles, cones etc. 
  2. Eyes should always be up looking for ball
  3. Always finish drills with a form tackle in thud mode.  Do not let them walk to end of line.  Have a strong finish.
  4. Middle Linebacker should key tailback (key back) and mirror steps.
  5. If counter play, LB should track back steps and not run down the line otherwise he will get caught inside traffic.
  6. 99% of time, play will run toward the pulling guards pull route.

Offensive Linemen

  1. Offensive lineman are the smartest players on the field.
  2. Offensive Linemen should be the baddest and most determined players on the field.
  3. Play GEL – Get Off, Engage, and use leverage.
  4. Use the mirror drill for pass blocking, two line shuffle right and left.
  5. Use the same mirror drill set up but do punches.
  6. QB must also make someone miss on a pass, not every player can be blocked all the time.
  7. O-Lineman pass blocking should pretend a camera is on their butts and the camera should always be pointing at QB

Hope these help.

Play for FUN and Winning is FUNNER!

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