Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Losing the Game Because of the Coin Flip?

Lose a game because you didn�t properly coach your kids on the coin flip? I’ve seen it happen twice.

How does this happen? Team A wins the toss and defers, team B since they lost the toss tells the referee they want to defend the south goal since their coach told them to defend the south goal if they lost the coin toss. Team A receives the ball the first half and since team A deferred their choice to the second half, when the second half starts, team A will choose to receive the ball again. Team A will have gained an additional possession due to poor coaching on the part of the head coach of Team B. I have seen this happen in a handful of games because team B’s coach didn�t take the time to practice the coin flip, ther team did not respond properly to the “defer” choice.

How do you make sure this does not happen to your youth football team?


First start by making sure the group of captains you send out to call the flip includes one player that is pretty sharp. Designate that sharp player as the one that calls the coin flip and speaks for the team at the flip and practice the coin flip with him. Some youth football players freeze up at the coin flip because it is something new to them, the flip has to be practiced just like you practice your football plays.

Ask the player to call the flip, he has to know if he is going to call heads or tails before he walks out on the field. Once he calls the flip, flip the coin and assume the flip is good. The player then instructs the referee if he either wants to receive, defend a goal or defer his choice to the second half. If deferring, the player needs to know which endzone you want to defend to start the game with. Then you go through the process if he loses the flip and the other team chooses first. Again, they will have the choice to receive, defend a goal or defer.

The simplest way to cover all the bases is to instruct your designated speaker to tell the referee that you want the ball, no matter how the flip turns out, have the player tell the referee “we want the ball”. We instruct our players that they must tell the referee “we want the ball” in response to any referee question during the flip. Only after the referee has asked and been answered three times that “we want the ball” can we answer with which goal we want to defend.

We always receive if we win the coin toss. Youth football is a game where the team that scores first has quite a bit of an advantage in momentum, we also want to control the clock and set the tempo for the entire game on offense. With just 10 minute quarters in most youth football games, each possession and each tick of the clock are that more meaningful. If we lose the coin toss, we don’t wait for the wind in the fourth quarter, we want to put the game out of reach early so we take the wind right off the bat to put the other teams offense at an immediate disadvantage.

Good youth football coaching includes managing your game day well and nothing is worse than blowing the opening coin toss. Practice it like you do your football plays and you won’t be embarrassed by giving up two possessions on the opening flip. Remember, like most mistakes at this level, it’s all on the coach and preparation.

For more youth football coaching tips please go to : Football Plays

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