3 Ways to Keep Kids Interested in Youth Football – Structure, Fun, & Enthusiasm
Having structure, making practices fun, and coaching with enthusiasm will keep the players interested and excited to come to practice every night. Football requires time and committed from coaches, players, and parents. So why not make it fun?!?!
It all starts with structured practices and structured coaching staffs. The majority of time is spent on the practice field. When practices are slow, disorganized, and/or boring the players will lose interest. Head coaches need to script practices and have all their coaches on the same page. Every assistant coach needs to understand his/her responsibility. The coaches must be able to execute! All coaches need to be informed of the daily practice plan (provided by head coach). Being organized and having structure all starts with fluent communication. Disorganized and/or ‘lame’ practices will not only make the kids lose interest, but it will leave a bad impression on the parents.
Conclusion: Plan practices. Get coaches on the same page. Organization is key. When kids are standing around doing nothing that is when they will lose interest.
(See Also) Practice Planning Guide
2. Make it Fun
We all know kids just want to have fun. It is absolutely vital that you make practices as fun and as upbeat as possible. We will regularly work on our football plays, skills, drills, and techniques. We will have competitive practices as well. However, we will always mix in a fun & competitive game once or twice a week. On Fridays will always end practice with a game (a competitive game that conditions the players as well). It’s always fun to end the difficult practice week with some fun.
Kids respond to enthusiasm. When coaches act like they want to be there, the kids will want to be there. Whenever a player makes a big play get hyped about it. Whenever a player gives good effort let them know. Create an enthusiastic environment that is competitive, instructional, and FUN! Whenever a player makes a play encourage his teammates to get hyped about it. Football requires mental and physical commitment. When kids actually look forward to practice, the mental and physical commitment will not become an issue.
Conclusion: Make practices fun. Implement competitive/fun games that actually work on technique. Coach enthusiastically. Celebrate good plays and effort.
3. Coach with Enthusiasm
Kids respond well to enthusiasm and excitement. Whenever a player makes a good play we will get hyped about it. Whenever a player gives good effort, we get hyped about it. When coaching staffs are enthusiastic and organized, kids will look forward to practice. We pride ourselves on doing everything enthusiastically and fast! A coach’s attitude and demeanor will impact players as well. When coaches are boring or constantly negative, it will rub off negatively on the players. If a coach doesn’t seem to care, then the players will not care. It’s really that simple. Your players will not respond to ‘lame’ coaches. I tell all my coaches that once we’re on the practice field we want to be excited and look like we want to be there.
Conclusion: Coach with enthusiasm. Celebrate big plays. Celebrate and reward effort. ALL coaches need to look like they want to be there!