Whatever the Weather is It’s GOOD for Your Youth Football Team- Gaining the Uppper Hand
Youth football players are amazing creatures. They will usually be in lockstep with the head coaches attitude and demeanor, especially on game days.
This past weekend my 3-4 grade team played a game in a nice High School stadium with field turf. The ambient temperature was in the high 90s which meant it had to be over 100 on the field turf. It was humid as well, something that is par for the course here in Nebraska. As the players slowly trickled into our staging area prior to our warm ups, you could tell some of them were being bothered by the heat. They were already sweating and some even breathing a little heavy, they were obviously uncomfortable.
As they piled in, I greeted every one of them with a big smile and a “This is great for us, ready to play?” greeting. I was donned in all black, long black underarmour pants and black underarmour golf shirt. Black and gold is our team color and black is usually what people try NOT to wear when it’s hot. The heat was bothering me too, but no one could tell.
Once we got the kids together, I let them know that this was the best possible weather we could have hoped for. I told them that no team had worked harder than us and certainly not the team we were facing. I thanked them for working so hard in practice and let them know that this was the time that their hard work was going to pay off. The kids were told that while the game might be kind of close at the beginning that slowly but surely the other team would tire, if we kept up the pressure.
The truth is I have no clue if we practiced harder than the team we faced. What I do know is that our practice pace is much faster, logarithmically faster than almost all of the youth football teams I’ve ever watched practice. We finish off our drills with a full sprint to the back of the line, the kids never walk and we always have the kids engaged. BUT we never do set aside conditioning or sprints and our helmets are off for about half of every practice. Even with that, I felt confident that our practice methodology gets us in better football shape than our competitors without wasting all that precious time. That difference in practice pace is what I sold our kids on. Now had it been raining, snowing or extremely windy, I would have had to come up with something else.
The net is it wouldn’t have mattered WHAT the weather was, I was going to tell my team it was an advantage for them. Kids need that assurance, they want it, they crave it and they will eat it up. Just make sure your attitude, actions and attire match whatever words you choose to speak. Those words have power far more powerful than you could imagine. In the game, we were up just 26-12, but pulled away to win 50-12. Of course we stayed hydrated, kept our helmets off until right before kickoff and I subbed early and often, BUT the difference was that those kids thought that the hot weather was their friend, not their enemy.
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