Psychology of Youth Football: Having Resiliency
In football, much like in life, you are going to have your good times and you are going to have your tough times. It is how you respond to those tough times and adversity that can be telling for how the rest of your season will go. As a coach, it is your job to prepare your players both mentally and physically for the game throughout the week. You game plan, implement different niches to your plays, watch game film, and motivate your players. There are times however, that you are prepared and give maximal effort but do not come out victorious for one reason or another. As we all know, these are defined as tough losses and are sometimes harder to get past than others.
A players mind can sometimes be a fragile thing after a tough loss. Perhaps it was a game that was all or nothing. Meaning if you won you made the playoffs and if you lost, the season was over. Those types of losses are tough but one that everyone must be able to learn from. If the players left it all out on the field then there is nothing that they should be disappointed in and that they should be proud of themselves. Make sure you as coaches let the players know that you are proud of them and that you believe in each and every one of them.
As a coach I love when my players take on a leadership role and bring the rest of the team moral back up. That shows confidence and knowledge that will not only help them to become better football players but better people or even future fathers as well. It is a quality that is important in all aspects of life and one that we as coaches try to instill within our players every practice. It does not need to be an “all or nothing” game scenario in order to be a tough loss or situation in which a bounce back effort is important. Any loss can be a tough loss throughout the season if you feel as though you gave your best effort on the field.
Resiliency also is not always defined by wins and losses either. Resiliency can be a situation in which a player returns from injury and plays well in order to help the team. It also can be overcoming things such as bullying in their school or a poor family life at home. Coaches sometimes underestimate the things that go on in their player’s lives and it is important as a coach to make sure your players know that you are there for them. It helps them obtain the confidence in order to bounce back from tough situations both on the field and in life.
In conclusion, Resiliency is a mental attribute, something you must instill within your players from the beginning. One of Coach Jeff’s mottos, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” is the basis of the meaning of Resiliency. It shows you that sure you can get knocked down, but it is how you get back up and fight back not only for yourself, but for you teammates and family as well. Being able to overcome the odds, overcome adversity and fight for the things you love helps you in every aspect of life. As a coach I do this in order to create/instill core values in my players and make them into respectful young men. Resiliency is not just a quality necessary to the game of football, but it is a quality necessary for life as well and we here at YFO we coach beyond just football.
(See Also) Motivating Young Football Players