Psychology of Youth Football: Motivating Young Players
- Updated: February 6, 2017
In youth football it is imperative that you learn the basic skills of the game such as catching, blocking, throwing, kicking, and tackling. It is also important for a child to learn the rules in order to understand the game better, as well as different plays and various formations. That is all well and good, those are all very important aspects to the game of football. However, I will be shedding light upon another crucial part of football and that is the psychological aspect. My goal as a coach was always to not only teach the children football to the best of my ability, but also to make young men out of them. As a former player myself I learned valuable life skills such as leadership, confidence, discipline, and respect. That is exactly the qualities I hope to instill within all the players I coach because football can be so much more than a game if you do things the right way.
I coach with YFO co- founder Coach Jeff and we, along with the rest of our amazing coaching staff, have taken children who knew nothing about football and made them into good players and more importantly even better people. We emphasize education at our practices and speak upon how important that is in life and how school always comes first. Football is about getting the most out of your players no matter what skill level they are at. Life is not measured by wins and losses it is measured by being a respectful human being, and a leader within your own life and the lives of others. We try to teach our players about resiliency. To quote Coach Jeff, “It’s not how you start, it is how you finish.” Meaning that life can knock you down a few times but it’s how fast you get back up after getting knocked down that truly matters.
I personally as a coach enjoy focusing on the psychological process of all my players, it is something I find important to their development. For example, when we have had a tough week of practice, some players just aren’t getting the plays, or we have suffered a tough loss during the season. I often will notice a lot of the players hanging their heads and this I don’t like to see. I have taken kids individually to the side and told them to calm down and encourage them that we are all in this together and that they can do this if they focus and put their mind to it. Encouragement is very important to the player gaining their confidence back because then they know that they have a support system of coaches and a family of players behind them to pick themselves back up.
In conclusion, as a coach of these young players I just try to get the most out of them all and I want them to want to push themselves to the max for not only themselves but for the team, the coaches, and their parents. I have talked to the whole team when things have been tough and I have told them that they do not come out here and work this hard to settle for anything less than greatness. I seek for my players to be great at everything they do, not just football but at life as well. When people ask me if I coach football I tell them no, I coach life because that’s what we do. We coach life lessons and bring children to levels that everyone should expect of themselves, football is family and that’s exactly what we make it.
(See Also) Coaching Beyond the X’s and O’s