Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Youth Football- The Hay is in the Barn

The Hay is in the Barn- In Youth Football Terms

Here in the Midwest there is a term we use quite often to describe when we have finished up a task and there isn’t a whole lot more to do or worry about. The phrase is “The Hay is in the Barn”. It means just that, the hay has been cut, been baled and has been put up in a nice dry barn for later use. There isn’t much that can be done to improve the hay at this point, what’s done is done, the only thing left to do is bring it out of the barn when it’s needed for feed.

Youth football is a lot like that. Come game day, what’s done is done. Your preparation to this point in time determines how well your team is going to do. Very few games come down to adjustments and great playcalling, they are won in the weeks prior to each game, not through some lame Gipper speech or brilliant blitz call. In the now 89 games I’ve coached using this system just a handful of games have come down to specific adjustments and playcalling, probably less than 10%,  Where we won these games was in the weeks prior, in practice, through teaching good techniques, great schemes and prioritizing our valuable practice time to yield the most efficient results.

So now we get to the real reason I wrote this article, first game coaching jitters. While it is natural to have a bit of apprehension about your games, heck I’ve passed my exit many a time on my way home because I was deep in thought about strategizing the upcoming game. But many coaches get too worked up, lose sleep or even get overly emotional to the point they aren’t coaching as well as they could or worse yet, they aren’t having any fun. I even know of a youth football coach that frequents a forum where he admitted he goes to a park alone in his car and CRIES before his games to let off steam, I kid you not. Guys if you are so wrapped up in this that you are going to this kind of extreme or are having these types of emotions, maybe it’s time to do something else or even get some mental health help. If you aren’t having fun, the kids can sense it and won’t be having fun either.

Remember come game time, the hay is already in the barn, all you are doing is bringing it out for use. What’s done is done, now it’s time to go out and show what you can do and have some fun.

Is it normal to have a few butterflies? Of course, you want the kids to do well and have a good time. You may want to prove your decisions were the right ones, the priorities you set were appropriate etc. But we all know the end goal centers around the long term development of the kids, Your worrying isn’t going to make the situation any better. I’ve rarely gone into a Youth Football game where I didn’t have some degree of apprehension, but I always had confidence in the system and confidence we had made the best decisions and utilized our time in the most efficient way possible.

For me, come game day, I know the hay is in the barn and it is time to enjoy the game with the kids with a big old smile on my face.

All the drills, offense and defense can be found in the book “Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan”.

Copyright 2008 Cisar Management, all rights reserved

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