Many people who love the game of football are watching the draft today. Some are hoping their favorite teams will draft a certain player, others just enjoy the spectacle, still others are kids that hope to see themselves up on that big stage one day.
As youth coaches, we shouldn’t squelch those dreams, but in all reality, less than 1/10 of 1% of High School football players end up going on to play in the NFL. At the youth level, far less than half of our players will end up making it to play football in High School through their senior year. So for the youth level the odds of making it to the NFL are even less, at more like 1/30 of 1% , or one in 3,000 players.
Once in the NFL, the average players career lasts just 3.3 years. While they are paid well, very few of those players end up making enough money to set them for life. Some youth coaches look at their job as all about preparing their players to play DI College football or even the NFL. Playing in the NFL is a longshot at best, some lottery games odds are better than 3,000-1. Kids who make the NFL are literal freaks of nature, off the charts.
So what does that mean for us as youth football coaches? Obviously we want to encourage them to compete in the classroom and do their absolute best. They have a far better chance of getting an academic scholarship than an athletic scholarship.
For the 2,999 out of 3,000 kids who end up playing for you that won’t be playing in the NFL, make football a great experience for them. Make it something that is fun and will help mold them for their future. A future that for most of them means being a husband, father, member of the community and work force.
Our job shouldn’t be about preparing those players for the NFL by trying to simulate NFL teams, it is to develop a love and appreciation in the game so the player is inspired enough to keep on playing. Teach your kids how to be coachable, work hard, be a good team mate, be selfless, be committed, be consistent, be on time and be compassionate. These are all skills he can take to High School which will help him be successful in High School football and beyond the game, in life.
Don’t look at your team as future NFL players. If a player is meant to play in the NFL, he will separate himself from the pack in High School and College. Teach your players the basic skills they need to safely and competently play the game and more importantly those skills that help them succeed in the game of life.