Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

My Youth Football Coaching Experience for 2013

People ask me all the time if I still coach, the answer is yes. How can someone providing advice on youth football not actually coach it? And like every year I’m going to share with you the good and the bad of this season. I’m in the same exact boat as many of you. I can relate to what you’re going through.

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We deal with most of the same parent, player and league issues you deal with. I’ve coached 18 consecutive seasons now, with time off in-between to build a program prior to another 7 years of coaching. The last 18 seasons have been in 4 different leagues with my current stint in an area we moved to about 10 years ago. My teams play in the largest youth football league in the state. You may think your situation is unique, but I hear the very same problems from teams in Alaska as I do from teams in Key West, Florida.

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This year I’m coaching an age 8-9 team that even has a 7 year old on it, who is the younger brother of a player on the team. I’m coaching this team, because it needs the most help. We added 3 new coaches to this staff and this team lost every starting player on offense and defense. The 7 veterans we have coming back have never started a game. They did however get to play quite a bit as last years team went 10-1.

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Last years team was one of the bigger and more athletic teams I’ve coached at that age level. This league had 41 teams at that age group last year and we were easily in the 70th percentile for size and speed. This year we have 25 kids on the squad with just 1 player over 90 lbs in an unlimited weight league. Lack of size and experience isn’t the main concern, the biggest problem is we are probably in the 20th- 30th percentile in athleticism. I can’t say exactly where we are until I see the rest of the 32 teams in this age bracket.

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To be quite frank, I would have preferred to move up with the kids I had last year, but when you run a program sometimes you have to take one for the team. I’ve done a lot of that over the years. I’ve coached ages 6-14, but I prefer coaching age 10-11. Like you, I don’t always get to coach the team I want. Like you, I don’t always have the type of mix in players that I would like. But that is what invariably happens in non-select youth football. Keep checking back, some of what happens with my team may very well apply to yours.

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