Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Friday Night Tykes Season Two Episode Five

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Every week I critique the Friday Night Tykes show to help youth coaches learn from what we saw. This week’s show validated what I predicted was going to happen when I critiqued the first episode.

The Spartans team is totally disintegrating just like I said it would. That was an easy call and I stuck with it even after they started out at 2-0. This coach would be a good drill instructor, but he’s a terrible youth football coach. His team lost its fifth straight game in blowout fashion. Mr Discipline lost his cool in the blowout and even talked trash to one of the other teams showboating players. In this 36-0 game one of his players played just a SINGLE snap. C’mon dude, after the player showed some improvement that week, with just 19 kids in a 36-0 game? After starting with over 30 kids he now has 13-14 kids showing up to practice. He goes on and on about “quitters”, he obsesses over it. Yet his practices prior to game seven still consist of lots of pushups, planks, sit ups and squat thrusts, a TOTAL waste of time.

Scrimmaging and conditioning, the mantra of someone who has no clue, makes up the bulk of his practices. There are no smiles, no fun and very little positive enforcement. He takes no personal responsibility for the meltdown, his answer is to recruit an entirely new “committed” team. Yep, blame the kids, like most guys with those coaching skills do. This is a well intentioned but clueless coach who turns a lot of kids away from the game. It’s guys like him that lead me to write a book, author DVDs and do coaching clinics. //winningyouthfootball.com/youthfootballcoachingbook.php

The Broncos are playing out as expected as well. Their head coach does a very nice job of encouraging his players. While they have won just a single game, the practice turnout still seems good and while they lost again, they put up a good fight. His kids are still engaged and still coming to practice. While I see better use of time in his practices, their scheme doesn’t fit the kids and their game management is awful. How can you have just ten kids on the field for defense and not see you are short players? The ultimate youth football coaching sin. They are attempting to run spread and they simply don’t have the athletes to do it. While their skinny little Quarterback throws a nice ball on air in practice with no defenders around, they don’t have the athletes to threaten the entire field.

This coach cares about his players, their safety and the game in general. However he hides under the excuse that he doesn’t care about wins, he just wants to make sure the kids continue to play. That is the excuse of guys who consistently lose, you can win AND retain players, he isn’t doing that. I have no problem with this coach, lots to like about him. It’s got to be difficult coaching in an organization that was on such a downward spiral and had all the bad publicity due to the antics of last years head coach Charles Chavarria. It will be hard to climb out of this deep hole. Several parents commented that they were done with youth football, they weren’t going to stand for the losing and were blaming the coach. That’s a very common problem if you are coaching youth football, losing programs often times lose players.

As much as I like the Broncos coach I dislike the actions of the Ducks coach. This was a classic how NOT to act on the sidelines lesson if you are coaching youth football. There is no need to loudly toot your own horn and talk smack on your sidelines. To come out onto the field and loudly do it is classless, he is a clown. One of his players even mimics the coach’s approach by mouthing off to the Spartans coach. Yes guys, kids take their cues from you and this guy is building a bunch of classless clowns to walk in his footsteps. I don’t get how anyone can get amped up about beating a two win team that has lost about half of their players? No way this team is a championship team, that isn’t how champions behave.

The Colts as I mentioned in previous posts just aren’t the Colts, there is something off. I wasn’t able to put my finger on it, but there was something amiss. Now their trusted assistant, Coach Paul has quit coaching. His son got hurt, so he’s done coaching youth football. Did he quit because like he said he felt bad about his attitude about coaching his son, or because now that his son isn’t playing he doesn’t want to coach the other kids? This happens when you are coaching youth football. The team suffered two injuries this year after being injury free for several years in a row.

In Reno this year shooting the “Worst to First” show, my best assistant coach’s son injured the arch of his foot. The player was sidelined for the season after game five. I gave the coach the option of gracefully resigning, lessening his load to part time or sticking it out. He stuck it out because he loved all the kids and didn’t want to let the kids down. His son and our entire team learned a valuable lesson from Coach Jamie’s example. While the Colts did win their game against the Bronco’s, this season seems to be wearing on head coach Mareques Goodloe’s mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stepped down after this year and just went to work as an assistant in another program. He loves the kids and loves coaching, but I don’t think he’s cut out for managing the parents and being a head coach.

The Outlaws are the Outlaws, they continue to win. Their ultra-physical practices with all the in space tackling may have some coaches drooling, due to the game results. But we see injuries in practice and a team that started the season with 42 players, finished with just 34. How many youth football teams have 42 hand selected recruits from all over a city of over 1,000,000 people on it? Full scale hitting is good, but it needs to be in limited space, done correctly and in very short time periods.

Hopefully the show was able to give you help you reflect on how you coached this last season. Looking in the mirror can be a tough exercise.

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  1. davecisar

    That’s a tough one. Maybe they could have just tried to score baskets for the other team- and had that team try to stop them. Playing the game in reverse LOL.

  2. J Chrest

    I’ve always hated the drill instructor approach. Albeit I use it at times when needed, but that is only when necessary – which is seldom, unless you have kids that decide it’s time to fight their team mates (that’s a good time to run hand in hand around the field a few good times).

    I haven’t been able to watch the show this season, our cable provider doesn’t carry it. Thanks for the discussions.

    Oh and the not knowing your talent from year to year to figure out what system to run your kids in is why I’m pushing to get our org to purchase your system for me to run. I had it last season where I was in a similar boat to the Broncos – had a good set of plays, but didn’t have the kids to run them the way it was envisioned – so after going 0-2 at the start of the season we scrapped that offense, swapped to something friendlier to the players themselves and finished out in the playoffs. Digging through your system – with the players we had in the backfield – I think we’d have been unstoppable… I just didn’t have the knowledge to give the players what they deserved. Mistake will be corrected this year 🙂


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