Tag Archives: youth football

My Son is a Good Football Player, but He’s Small

I was reading through my comments last night and came across this statement, “my son is a good football player, but hes small.” So is my youngest son, Zane.  Zane is a Freshman in High school this year.  He was on “B” team and started on defense at SS and on Offense at Slot Receiver.  Zane was born premature and he started school a year early, so he’s about a year younger than many of his peers and small.  But what he lacks in size he makes up for his size handicap in football IQ.  He is a very smart football player and wants to coach football as a career.  He is also football mean.

There are many small football players but their desire and hearts are as big as Texas.  I played with many. One of the best hitters on my Freshman HS football team was our small corner back.  Charlie would light you up if you were not paying attention. So size matters, but desire and football smarts plays a big factor in playing football!

Am I worried that Zane is getting too small to play JV football next season.  Yes.  We have discussed his size and goals.  He is dedicating himself to an intense off-season program to get stronger for next Fall.  He is not afraid of the bigger players.  As long as Zane believes he’s capable of playing with the bigger players then I am comfortable with him playing.  But, once I see that he’s questioning his abilities on the field, we will readdress his size issue for playing football.

Who am I to mess with his dreams of playing football.  Yes, football is a dangerous sport, but so is driving a car for teenage boys.

Play for Fun and Winning is Funner….

 

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Youth Football Coaching Clinic Presentation Part 1

This is the first post of a multi part Youth Football Coaching Clinic presentation that I developed for KYA Football in Keller, TX.  I’ve been giving this presentation for the last several years and its helped our rookie coaches get a jump start to their first few seasons at KYA Football.  Much of the presentation is tailored for KYA Football but many youth football leagues run similar to KYA Football. Find Part 2 here. Part Three

KYA Football is a recreational youth football league in Keller, Texas, just North of Ft Worth in the DFW metroplex. We are just South of Denton, TX.  KYA Football age Divisions are Mite (5-6), Bantam (7-8), Sophomore (9-10), Juniors (11-12), and Seniors (11-13).  Players already in 7th grade are not allowed to play in KYA Football.   KYA Football has a 3 event rule in place so normally, 2 practices and a game each week. Each season, veteran Coaches in their age division can bring back 4 to 6 returning players (freezes) to their team and then must draft the remaining players to achieve a 15 to 20 player roster depending upon the size of the age group registrations.  New Coaches to the age division can freeze 2 to 3 players and then draft a team.  The registered players that are not “frozen” to a team must go through a grass drills similar to a non-padded try out / field day and enter the draft. Coaches evaluate the players then draft them to their team in a draft process.  KYA Football has a Spring and a Fall youth football season.

 

KYA Football Coach's ClinicKYA Football is a recreational football league but it is very competitive.  KYA Football is just below the talent pool in a Select Youth Football League.  Do not think coaching at KYA Football will be easy.  Nothing is ever easy, especially in Texas Football.  Yes, we are all out here to have fun but the coaching and competition is very competitive at KYA. If you are not ready to dedicate 100% to coaching a youth football team, you might want to consider being an assistant coach before starting off as a HEAD Coach at KYA Football.

Slide2

Coach Grant is right.  Make sure your wife is on board with you coaching a youth football team.  The time required to coach a team far exceeds your current expectations.  Practices normally start around 5:30 pm and last about 2 hours twice a week and three times a week prior to the game schedule starting. Make sure your schedule is flexible enough to accommodate practice times and make up dates.  Also if you travel more than a few days a month a head coaches spot may not be the right fit for your work travel schedule. Your family will give up a ton of time to your new hobby coaching youth football.  Make sure everyone including the dog is ready for the time upheaval.

Do you really need a great quarterback in youth football.  No, but it certainly helps to have a stud in the backfieldSlide3.

This is the normal intro section.  I’ve coached 20+ seasons and I know how to win.  My way is not the only way to a successful season, but this is what has worked for me over the last 20 years. Use or lose it.  Your choice.

The Name Game is a name game were the coaches introduce themselves and we go around the room a few times trying to learn  everyone’s names.  I start my first practice with the name game but at practice we introduce the player and repeat each players name after each introduction so we repeat everyone’s name 20 times or more.  At the end of the introductions, I ask for volunteers who remembers everyone’s names.  About 2 to 4 players will usually be able to remember everyone. The Name Game tells me who my smartest players are on the roster and helps me learn everyone’s name the first day.  Parents love the name game because anyone listening learns about 75% of the player names.  We also do the name game at the second practice too.

Slide4

Coach Bear Bryant is right on the money with his 3 rules for coaching.  When you choose your assistant coaches make sure they are just as enthused and committed to coaching as you.  If you are wanting to really geek out then do not choose a lukewarm assistant head coach.

Make sure your coaches are also on board with your brand of winning in youth football.  If you focus on coaching vs winning games then make sure your assistants are also focused on that too.  If you like to win every game then make sure you choose your coaches and team parent accordingly.  You must be 110% dedicated to coaching if you expect to win at KYA Football.  There are many experienced youth football coaches at KYA.

Also, when you are drafting players identify who the competitive players are in the draft.  I like to interview players and talk to them. If you have a rookie football player but has played Select baseball or soccer they usually know how to play competitive sports and what the expectations are to win.  I know many people get mad about talking about winning at the youth sports level, but if you are not winning the parents are not happy.  Your goal must be to reach the playoffs and win a few games.  A big goose egg doesn’t hunt.  Look Play for Fun but Winning is Funner!

And probably Coach Bryant’s most important rule, Have a Plan!  You must have a plan and be organized to win in KYA Football.  KYA Football is not a YMCA type recreational league.  KYA Football has many very experienced football coaches with detailed playbooks, practices plans, game plans, draft databases, player highlight film etc.  When you decide to become a Head Coach at KYA Football you must have a plan for everything.  Your team mom or parent can certainly help out, but if you are not an organized person then you might want to try your hand at becoming an assistant coach.  Make sure you have a plan.

Slide5After that last paragraph about planning, why do you want to coach?  Coaching youth football is very hard. If your team is undefeated then everyone is singing and drinking your kool aid, but as soon as a few losses come around the boo birds sing a sad song.  Even when you are winning parents are complaining about something and don’t get me started on missing practices because of band or baseball.  Plus, there is always that one parent that is late to every game.  Not to mention your assistant head coach thinks his son should be the QB even though he’s 5 lbs over the weight limit to play in the back field.  Your boss will most likely ask you about all the copies your making and why your leaving every Tuesday and Thursday at  4pm when you arrived at 9:30 am because you were on a conference call with your coaches about the upcoming game. Then the two most important ladies in your life, your team mom and you wife are now mad at you. Your wife is upset that you canceled her birthday dinner because you rescheduled practice for Friday to prepare for the big game on Saturday against your rival and your team mom has decided her son should now be a two way starter since she is volunteering so much time.

Your answer to why you want to coach, must be more than just I want to coach my son.  Coaching youth football must be a passion if you want to be successful.  It must be a passion because its hard and 20 players are counting on you every practice and game to teach them just like they were your son.  If you are just focused on coaching your son, then please reconsider becoming a head football coach.  Parents see “daddy ball” coaches all the time and it never works out.  Head Coaches must think about the team before their son.  Your son is only part of a bigger team not the focus. I coach because I love the game that was taught to me by my pee wee football coach, John Lewis of Spring Branch Dad’s Club YMCA.  I wanted to coach youth football like Coach Lewis.  Yes, I coached my two son’s but I started coaching youth football before I had kids and now I still coach without them on my teams.

By this time your hair is gray or falling out, mine started to do both.  But after all this, I love coaching youth football.  If you decide to become a head coach, I hope you find the fulfillment that I’ve found in coaching.

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Part Two

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The Statue of Liberty Reverse Youth Football Play

This past Spring we were working on several reverse plays out of our Jumbo Trips formation.  One our Tight Ends had shown some speed and skill at carrying the football in a few drills, so I wanted to get him more involved in the running game. So as we played around with the TE reverse, I said, “Why don’t we just run the Statue of Liberty like in my Flag football days?” Since our TE was very tall and we had a short Quarterback, the Statue of Liberty exchange really worked well.  Wow, it looked great in practice that afternoon and the next practice.  Our players loved it too.  So we unleashed our Statue of Liberty Reverse or Code Name: “New York, New York.” Take a look at the video below.  The video has a few highlights of the trick play

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Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks,
Coach Parker
Keller, TX

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Too important to Share the Practice Field

If your team is like ours, it’s tough to find practice fields.  And, once you find a good field it’s tough to share it with anyone.  Trust me, I’ve been on both sides of this dilemma.  I am pretty good about sharing practice fields if we have enough space to accommodate the players and insure their safety. I am also open to adjusting practice start times to help out the other team. I guess some would call me a nice guy most of the time when it comes to sharing practice fields.  But, I think some coaches forgot how to share.

A few days ago, my son’s baseball team had their normal Tuesday night practice at a public park where our team has practiced for the last 6 Tuesday nights straight without any hiccup.   This baseball field is located in a huge park and there is plenty of room to set up two maybe three practice baseball fields, but there is only one backstop.  Unfortunately last Tuesday another team was practicing on the baseball field with the backstop when my son and I arrived for our pre-practice warm-ups.  It looked like the other team had been there since 5:30pm since my son and I arrived about 5:50 to warm-up.  Most of our team arrived about 6:25pm and sat around until 6:35 hoping the other team would finish and let us take the field with the backstop at 6:30 pm our normal practice time.   Their coaches would not acknowledge us or talk to our coach when they took a 6:30 pm water break right next to our team waiting to practice.

I decided to ask their head coach what time they expected to finish practice and if we could take the backstop at 7:15pm so we could take our normal batting / pitching practice. I told him we had been practicing here for about 6 weeks and ask if they were going to start using this field on Tuesday nights just in case we needed to move fields.  He started out by saying they had been practicing here all Spring but their normal practice baseball field was vandalized this week and they were playing in the World Series tourney this week so they needed this field to practice tonight but would not need the field anymore.  He said they were practicing until 8pm but might let us have the field at 7:30pm.  I ask him to share the backstop if they were not going to take batting practice and they could switch with us for infield practice on the other side of the park.  He said he needed the backstop his whole practice.  They never used the backstop and just took infield practice working on several plays.  I walked over about 7:30pm to the backstop and he acted like he was going to leave the field when I asked his assistant if we could have the backstop.  He said they were just going to finish up.  They finished up about 7:45pm and never allowed us to use the field or apologized.

Maybe I am old school in my sense of right and wrong.  I’ve tried asking myself if I would have done the same as this baseball coach.  Is it really about first come first serve if you know it’s not your normal practice field and another youth team who has been practicing on that field for weeks must scramble to hold practice elsewhere?  Does he really care about kids or just his kids or maybe just winning?  This is not the first time I’ve run across coaches taking advantage of field situations.  When I was coaching in Denver a girl’s Select soccer team took our assigned field and I had to ask them to leave since they were using the whole field and did not have a permit to be on our contracted league permit field.  I thought the coach was going to attack me when I asked to see his permit while showing him my use permit.  I told him he could use one of the ends of the field but he could not use the whole field.  The cussing began and a parent called 911.  We’ve been on football fields with 4 or 5 team practicing and one of the teams will decide to disregard our field boundry markers and just start practicing in our area without asking or a 6th team will just start practicing in our area and cut our area in half without asking.

Please do me a favor, if you see me on a football field or any field and you want to use part of the field, please ask me to share.  I will be glad to share the field if there is room to insure player safety.  If I ask you to share, please give me the courtesy and or a civil honest answer.  Heck, we are out here to have fun not see who has the most testosterone in a battle royal over practice field use.

Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks
Coach Parker
Keller, TX / DFW / Dallas Fort Worth Texas

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