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Why Paint the House, When the Foundation is Broke- Misplaced Priorities When Coaching Youth Football

Misplaced Priorities When Coaching Youth Football

The biggest mistake poor performing youth football coaches make are misplacing priorities. I communicated with a youth coach last month who had struggled the last 2 years. He was not using our system and was looking to change schemes. He was putting hundreds of hours of research in coming up with new schemes for both his offense and defense.

After spending some time communicating with him I found out his teams had won just a handful of games and suffered a number of blow-out losses. In one season they started with 18 players and ended the season with just 13. In another season, they started with over 30 players and ended up with about 17, with lots of missed practices and players holding the team hostage. He felt the problem was the kids and parents “didn’t like the scheme.”

So he had kids that didn’t want to come to practice, kids that didn’t love the game and kids and parents that didn’t respect the coaches or each other. He had very few people that had “bought in.” I’m not sure how a change in scheme solves those problems. The problem his teams had were team management issues, chemistry issues, character issues and trust issues, not scheme issues. I asked him what he was going to do differently to address these issues- crickets. I asked him what was on his reading list to help him address these issues better- crickets.

My prediction- this team fails miserably once again. You don’t solve the problem of a cracking foundation by changing the color of the paint or adding some trees to the landscape. You don’t solve a team management, chemistry and character problem by changing schemes, it makes no sense. You can impact all of these issues by being proactive and putting processes and using techniques like those in our Developing Chemistry, Character and Confidence program as well as using the Team Management processes in our book. Or you do research to pick up other ideas to address the problem, there are lots of things you can do to address these team killers.

By not addressing the problem and doing the same things over and over again only insures the same problems will rear their ugly heads the next year and grow like weeds on steroid fertilizer, another disaster season down the drain. When you have a problem find out what the heck the problem is and address THAT problem. Too many guys think it’s an X and O problem when it goes much deeper than that or they blame the kids.

If it’s not your job as a youth football coach to bring a team together, whose job is it? If it’s not your job to develop trust in your players in you and each other, whose job is it? If it’s not your job to develop a love for the game in your players, whose job is that? If it’s not your job to get your players to “buy in” to you and your methods and scheme, whose job is it? If it’s not your job to manage the team and parents, whose job is it? If it’s not your job to teach a player to self motivate, whose job is it? In the end ALL of those issues are key to your team being a success or a train wreck. You as coach can choose to address these issues and make them a priority or ignore them and have an awful season.

Copyright 2010 Cisar Management, all rights reserved. This article may be republished but only if this paragraph and link are included. //winningyouthfootball.com

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  1. Karen Catangay

    Hi Coach Dave,

    Great article! Do you think these issues (character, trust and chemistry issues) are the biggest challenges teen team coaches face today? Is there a significant difference coaching teen or high school teams vs. older teams?

    Thanks in advance!

    Karen Catangay

    1. davecisar


      Without question it is the number one factor in youth teams. I’ve never coached High School football, but my coaching friends there say it is by far their most difficult challenge as well.


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