Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

My 2015 Season- Youth Football Coaches Vetting

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My 2015 Season

One of the biggest problems with youth football coaching staffs is they don’t have an understanding of roles or set expectations prior to the season. I’m going to spell out what I did, so hopefully you can gain some insight or ideas on how you might approach your own season.

The coaching staff included two holdovers from the previous staff. Both were first year coaches from last years 5-3 team, one coached O-line and Linebackers, the other coached Offensive Backs and Defensive Backs. I got good feedback from last years head coach about their abilities. Then I got on the phone to visit with each. The third coach had coached the year before for the first time at the 5-6 grade level. He had a younger son and wanted to step down and coach him. He was a play tracker for the most part. There were no additional volunteers. With 23 kids I would have liked to have one more assistant coach.

Each coach was asked:

What was their coaching style

What things did they think they did well

What they thought they did poorly

What unique skills did they have that might be helpful to our team

What role would they like to have

What type of flexibility did they have in their role

What roles would be deal breakers

What they were looking to get out of the football experience for their son

What they felt the teams strengths and weaknesses were and what they thought needed to be done to get the kids to play to full potential

Next, I spent time with them on the phone with them setting expectations. That meant explaining my youth football coaching style, what my strengths and weaknesses were and what the challenges of coaching with me might be. Once we had our staff set, we would get together to discuss everyones role and get them the needed coaching materials to help them be successful coaches.

When having these types of discussions it helps to have notes prepared and to be totally upfront. If you are a micro manager, detail oriented aggressive guy who expects a lot out of his coaches, best for them to know that up front. If you are delegator and your guys are going to have to come to the table with their own schemes, drills and processes, they need to know that too. People respond MUCH better if you set reasonable expectations far in advance. Even if they don’t agree with your approach to things, knowing up front just seems to set them more at ease, especially when conflicts do arise.

Again we will post weekly coaching tips along with sharing my own real world successful coaching experiences in attempt to pass along tidbits of knowledge that may help you in with how you coach your own teams next season.


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  1. Yosi


    You mentioned that a head coach should be “totally upfront.” As I read your blog, you seem to fit into the first category…”micro-manager.” This is sometimes used as a bad word, but in this case, you explain it as a “detail-oriented guy.” Do you agree that you fall into the first category? What options do you give your assistants? How do assistants usually respond to this discussion?

  2. davecisar


    Great question. Coaches are given more responsibilities, the more they demonstrate their wiliness to buy in. The amount of freedom depends on their ability to coach and their knowledge of the subject matter. The first 2 weeks, the practice plans are written to the minute. After that point, if they want to input on how we invest our time, they are welcome to.

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to accept their input, just that they are encouraged to input. If a coach “gets” it and is a solid teacher, as time goes on, I might add something like this to the practice plan.

    Tim- Defensive Ends
    6:20 Depth Sweep Drill
    6:30 Depth Off Tackle/Depth Choice
    6:40 Depth Choice with Lead Blocker Drill
    6:50 Tims Choice
    7:10 Defensive Team

    As to how they respond, someone has to lead. Most youth football teams just wing it and that’s why so many of them underperform and do so poorly. If you are well prepared and lay out a well organized plan and set true realistic expectations, it usually works out very well.

    If they can’t buy in, at the end of the day, they will be more trouble than they are worth. It’s better to have dad bag holders than someone that is going to be a pain in the rear.


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