Don’t Let Inclement Weather Affect Your Youth Football Team
What do you do to lessen the effects of bad weather on your youth football team?
Why do some youth football teams play well in bad weather, while others don’t?
First of all know that you as a youth football coach, no matter how important or smart you are, you have no influence on the weather. All you can control is how you respond to it and how YOU respond to it will influence how your team responds to it greatly.
Two weeks ago we got a blast of very early freakishly cold weather, including several inches of snow. While this is not entirely out of the ordinary, this did set several records for earliest snow. During practice it was in the 30s but not windy, so it was bearable. Players showed up in a variety of dress, some were bundled up heavily, some were in short sleeves. Some kids were hovering near the building; others were running around having fun.
One coach of mine showed up very overdressed in a super heavy winter parka, boots, gloves and some type of survival hat. While he had to be burning up inside that jacket, he was still complaining of cold. Once the kids saw him, you could see the mood of several of the kids change immediately, now we had most of the kids hovering near the building, most of them complaining about fairly mild weather.
The key in this situation as a youth football coach: be warm but do NOT over dress. Do NOT complain about the cold. Embrace it, revel in it, make it into your advantage. I was prepared, I had a thermo shirt under my sweat shirt and very thin longjohns on under my jeans. I wore a summer baseball cap and very light spring jacket, nothing over my ears and no gloves.
As I approached the kids I was all smiles outside ( I despise cold weather) joking with them and my coaches. I let everyone within earshot of me hear me say I loved this weather and that I hoped it would hold up for our game the coming weekend, since it would be a HUGE advantage for us. In our team meeting at the end of practice, I asked anyone if they knew what the forecast was going to be for the weekend. When one coach said, “Same as today”, my response was “Fantastic. Let’s hope so, this is such an advantage for the offense we run”. I firmly believe that the weather rarely favors anyone. I just wanted our kids to know, it wasn’t that big a deal, heck I was barely dressed for it and secondly it was a HUGE advantage for us.
If the kids believe it, it is real to them. Come game day it was very cold for this time of year, about an inch of snow on the ground and temps in the 30’s. It didn’t affect our kids one little bit, they were all smiles while many of our opponents were bundled up and looking defeated before the games even started. Needless to say all 3 of my teams rolled to victories.
Always remember, when coaching youth football, the kids take their cues from you. Embrace and make any obstacle an advantage.
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