Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

"It's Not About the X's and the O's It's All About the Jimmy's and the Joe's"



Youth Football Coaching Facts


When coaching youth football we have all heard the adage “It’s not about the X’s and the O’s it’s about the Jimmys and the Joes. In essence what that saying is trying to tell you is; Youth Football is all about talent levels, it has nothing to do with coaching or schemes. The next time you hear that saying, please consider the source. Is he a youth football coach that consistently has poor performing teams? How convenient to put the onus solely on the players for the teams success. By doing this the coach can avoid any personal responsibility for his teams failure or success. He might as well be playing lotto, because what he is saying is the success or failure of his team rests solely on who is living in his area, is of age and has signed up for the team.

Lack of Consistency In the “Talent” Crowd

Let’s take a few steps back and start at the base of this irresponsible premise:

According to these guys ALL youth football players are created uniquely different, some are very good, some are average and some are poor. The premise states that because of these wide variations in player talent levels, the productivity of the teams they play on varies in direct proportions to these players unique abilities.

Now how about the coaches? Since it is 100% about the Jimmies and the Joes, coaching and schemes don’t matter much at all, I guess all coaches and schemes MUST be equal.


So God created all these football players uniquely different with various amounts of athletic ability, intelligence, drive, determination and decision making ability BUT when it comes to football coaches God decided nope, I’m going to make all these guys EXACTLY alike. If that is correct, what happens when a football player who the “Jimmys and Joes” crowd says is so uniquely different than anyone else becomes a coach? Does this unique person all of a sudden changed into a clone of all other coaches? Does God say “You are different when you have that helmet on, but once I see you with the helmet off and a whistle around your neck, I’m going to change you into a clone of all the other coaches out there?”

Of course not, this is some silly premise made up by coaches whose teams don’t do well to make themselves feel better about themselves.


Does talent matter? Sure it does, but so does coaching and so do schemes. We have all seen very athletic and physically imposing teams lose to less talented teams, it happens every week in youth football. There are coaches in our league both mine and with our opponents whose teams win no matter the level, age group or talent levels of the teams they have. In my youth football organization I knew that any team I gave to Stacy B to or Jay S would do very well and they always did. The talent levels varied greatly on these guys teams every year, but their results varied only slightly. The same can be said of coaches like Monte O, Bill, Rich D and Scott P who coach against us. They win year in and year out, no matter the age group, division or talent levels.


Just like players, coaches can get better and all’s it takes is a commitment and some time to educate and prepare yourself to be a better coach. Obviously you are on right path if you are taking the time to be on this site and read this article.

What to Do

When your youth football team plays well, give the players all the credit, when they play poorly accept the blame yourself and learn from the experience.


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  1. randy trover

    nothing upsets me more than this type of argument. Two years ago I coached a group of 11 year olds with a lot of talent, we went to our championship game but lost. The next season they were coached as 12 year olds by a group of coaches that were totally incompetent, didn’t score a TD for first five game and finished the season 2-8. Many of those kids are talking about quitting football. I’ll have this same group again this season as 13 year olds and really look forward to the challenge of turning them around.

  2. admin


    Coaching is like anything else, there are good ones, average ones and poor ones. The great thing about coaching youth football is with a reasonably manageable amount of effort you can get better at it and even excell.

    The guys that consistently do poorly don’t like to admit it. Are there “perfect storm” years where eveything that can go wrong does and you have the worst talent in the league? Sure. But those seasons are legitimately very few and far between and rarely happen more than 1 in every 8-10 seasons. If someone is making a habit of it, it’s a you problem.


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