“A good coach really helps you in football, but a great coach helps you in football and in life. – YFO All-Star Brett Gerlach. An astute observation made by a talented youth football athlete. The quote encapsulates what coaching great is all about.
This is not to say a coach should assume the role of a parent, but instead be a solid all-around mentor.
Coaching great is about the proper translation of the abundance of life lessons that occur in kids football.
Often times, life lessons are not verbalized or highlighted by coaches because they are not always apparent. As an example, we recognize that discipline is consistently enforced in football- a kid must get to practice on time, can not move until the ball is snapped, must stay in his lane, and on and on. Highlighting the importance of how discipline guides a kid on the path to success in life helps to create that ‘ah-ha!’ moment for a child, further reinforcing the life lesson.
Verbalize it, help a child understand that there are numerous life lessons coming from the sport.
Top Life Lessons Learned From Youth Football
- Discipline. Arguably the most important life lesson learned, as discipline is the foundation for hard work ethic which inevitably leads to great successes.
- Teamwork. In a typical workplace, you can more often than not identify those individuals who have played team sports and those that have not. Footballer’s know how to work as a unit.
- Toughness. As kids grow into adults, one of the most stark characteristics they will need is how to be tough in the face of adversity. A lesson of resiliency, and how to respond when all is against you is a pertinent life lesson.
- Importance of physical fitness. As the nation’s obesity rate continues to rise, football kids learn that fitness leads to better quality of life. A great coach also points out the importance of putting high quality foods (fruits and vegetables) into an athlete’s body.
- Importance of learning. Comprehension of football plays and how learning plays helps to train the mind to learn. Discipline + training to learn will carry forward to into schoolwork.
Simultaneously, it is important to look in the mirror and do a character double check. Ask yourself these key questions-
Coach’s Character Check:
- Am I able to create a fun, safe environment for kids to learn football?
- Will I play favorites?
- If a kid makes a mistake in a game, how will I react? What will be my temperament?
- Is it all about me winning as a coach or is it about player development?
Coaching great starts with an all encompassing approach to training young men. It’s always about the kids.