Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Improving Your Youth Football Team in the Off-Season

More Lessons Learned From Coaching Greats

One of the simplest ways to improve your youth football coaching abilities is to copy what other great coaches have done. One of the things Hall of Fame Basketball Coach John Wooden did in every off-season was to pick a narrow part of the game of basketball, analyze it, study it and develop a core competency in it. Wooden took things like beating the Zone Press and made it his off-season project for the year. He would seek out the experts in that field, buy every book he could on the subject, go to clinics, go visit zone press teams, study it and seek out coaches advice in the off-season. Coach Wooden did this every year he coached, he chose just one narrow area of the game and made a commitment to excel in that area of the game. Just imagine the wealth of knowledge you would have if you did this for 5-10 years in a row.

Unfortunately many youth football coaches just don’t have the base coaching knowledge  like Coach Wooden would have. But they all know their teams were less than perfect the previous season. Each one of us has to prioritize what the problems were last season and imagine that if corrected which area would have the biggest impact on your team reaching its goals. Is it the Offensive Line? Offensive System? Defensive Line Play? Game Day Management? Practice Organization, Kicking Game?

An area I spent a considerable amount of time and money on last year was athletic development. I spent hundred of hours studying, experimenting and determining what was the best and most efficient use of our time in developing our players “football speed” while incorporating the teaching of football skills and movements. I went to every clinic I could, bought hundreds of dollars in books and tapes and even took a course that cost about $300. This off-season my study has focused on the kicking game, not only on perfecting the mechanics of our kickers and punters, but also improving our PAT, Kick-off, Punt and Return Teams. Again I bought several books, bought all of Coach Kohls kicking DVDs, attended every clinic session I could on kicking and special teams and am now working with an ex-college kicking great.  I’m asking lots of questions of special teams coaches and experts I met at all the clinics I attended the last 3 months as well. Coaches don’t hand out your e-mail at these clinics if you don’t want to answer the questions LOL.

What does your team need to be much better at next season and what are you doing about that deficiency right now this instant? I know many guys just hope and pray for better players every year, but what if the “Football Fairies” don’t drop John Elway or Ray Guy on your doorstep for the 15th year in a row?  August isn’t the time to develop coaching expertise, it’s now. I’m done praying for good kickers and I quit actively recruiting specific players many moons ago. We are going to build our own kickers this year and with our extra point being worth 2 points instead of 1, it is going to be a huge weapon for us.

 

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