Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Building Chemistry In Youth Football Teams

Building Chemistry When Coaching Youth Footballhalftime-wide1

The best youth football coaches are not only very good X and O guys and great teachers, they are outstanding at bringing their teams together. One of the best I’ve seen at doing that is my friend Tony Holland from Baltimore.  Tony has been using our system for the last 3 years and has had some amazing results. He has some very unique techniques he uses to bring his teams together. Tony is a voracious learner and has taken some concepts he has used so successfully in his business and applied it to his youth football team to make it better and improve the experience for his kids.

Laying the Foundation of Your Youth Football Team

Like us, Tony divides his team into multiple groups of 5-6 players. We do the same and assign a coach to each group and allow the group to name their little “team”. By organizing your team in this way the kids feel more connected. When you are running circuit type drills and take a break, it is much easier calling out each group by name and sending that group to the next station. The kids often take pride in their little group. We’ve found when doing competitive drills or the fun team building drills from the group, the kids have more fun and effort greater when there is competition between groups. By keeping kids in those smaller groups, the kids connect quicker and deeper which in turn improves their fun and commitment levels.

Laying The Solid Rock Foundation

Tony takes this a step further. Before the season, Tony goes to Walmart and buys a bunch of small smooth round rocks. His team is the Ravens, so Tony spray paints each rock purple and puts Ravens stickers on each rock. After each practice the coach of each of the groups awards a rock to one player in his group who has listened the best and efforted the hardest. Each coach hands out the rock to his group winner before the entire team at the end of each practice. Tony said his kids go nuts over getting these little rocks. He calls the effort the kids put during practice as the foundation (rock) of success for his team. The foundation is built with the help of these strong little rocks that cost Tony less than .25 each.

Lifetime Lessons From Youth Football

These simple and inexpensive rocks are treasured  by Tony’s players. One player in fact was moving and mentioned to Tony he had put his treasured rocks in a box and made sure he got them to his new house. It was as if these rocks were his most treasured possession. He told Tony “I’m keeping my rocks forever”m which brought a huge and knowing smile to the lips of my buddy Tony. The teams parents even bought in after some initial skepticism and now are all for it after seeing the results. 

Just think about this kid, 40 years from now in 2048, this same kid is moving again.  He is now 49 years old and loading his belongings into the moving truck. he takes a look at that last small box from the attic. In that box are a few old scrapbooks, some old kids trophies and his little box of treasured rocks from Tony Holland, he got back in 2008. 40 years from now that player will still remember Tony and his lessons on effort, commitment and team work. How many other people are going to remember you 40 years from now? Think about that.

If you are coaching youth football, my good friend Tony is definitely one of the guys you want to emulate if you want those kind of permanent lessons ingrained into your players.

 Copyright 2009 Cisar Management, all rights reserved. Republishing allowed if links are kept intact. For 400 Free Youth Football Coaching Tips or to Subscribe to Dave’s free Youth Football Coaching Tips Newsletter go to : //winningyouthfootball.com

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  1. Stephanie Burns

    Tony is my son’s coach. Wesley has been so blessed to have had Coach Tony teach him. We have a sacred box of rocks to represent the life long lessons and love of football he has imparted. Tons of praise for Tony Holland!!

  2. Lisa Mehring

    Coach Tony is also My son Zac’s coach. Tony has great enthusiasm on and off the field. My son respects him and enjoys going to practices and games. We have are rocks on a Ravens display shelf and talk about them often. The rocks were larger and had more purple, black and white and gold as the team was in the playoffs. Such a small gesture (handing out rocks) goes a long way! We cant wait for this season to start!

  3. Coach Fudge

    First of all, yes that is my real last name. Great article. But I would like to hear a little more about how you divide the team into groups. Do you divide them somewhat randomly, or are they divided by ability?

    Also, I have recently purchased the WYF book on DVD. I am looking forward to putting the concepts into practice this season. This system looks like its going to be exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

    1. davecisar

      There are several options. Divide them up by position, or divide them up based on maturity. When you divide by position this gives the younger kids models they can learn and copy ( older kids). When you divide by ability you give the stronger kids a chance to really mature quciker by challenging them every practice. I prefer by position.


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