Selecting a Youth Football Coach
Youth football coaches are always looking to recruit new players. Whether it is in Pop Warner (multiple teams in one town) or an open recruiting league. For parents, if your kid is a good player you will most likely be contacted by multiple youth football coaches. Asking the questions below will allow you to weed through the inferior coaches.
Before selecting a youth football coach, make sure you ask the coaches these questions:
1. Do you coach your children? Do you have any relatives on the team?
Many times coaches will be coaching their relatives. There is nothing wrong with that, but just make sure you don’t get the vibe that they will play favorites.
2. How many years have you been coaching?
It is always a good idea to ask how experienced a coach is. Ideally, you want an experienced coach. But! Keep in mind that just because a coach has experience, doesn’t mean he is a good coach.
3. How are you going to utilize my son on offense and defense?
The recruiting coach should tell you a little bit about what he is going to try and do on offense and defense. If the coach doesn’t know what position or how many years experience your player has he should ask. In most cases, the recruiting coach will know what position your player has played. The ideal answer is- I know your player played this position, but I want to see him on the practice field and put him in the right position that will maximize his skill set.
4. What is your offensive philosophy?
Ask what offense he runs. Ask what his philosophy is. Have the coach talk to you about what he envisions his offense to be. Ask if he has any film on his offense on YouTube or Hudl.
(See Also) Offense Philosophy
5. What is your defensive philosophy?
Ask what defense he runs. Ask what his philosophy is. Have the coach talk to you about what he envisions his defense to be about.
(See Also) Defense Philosophy
6. How much emphasis do you put on safety?
When the coach says “safety is the #1 priority”, ask him to give an example. Ask him what drills he is going to execute. Ask the recruiting coach how often he hits during the practice week. Ask the coach what his concussion and injury protocol is. I would ask the coach to tell me how he is going to teach his tackling technique.
7. How will my son benefit from playing for you on and off the football field?
It is important that the coach talks about creating a “team first environment”. The coach should talk about the many benefits that come with playing youth football. The coach should talk about how he is going to encourage and set high standards for his team and his players.
8. Ask him how he conducts his practices.
Ask about the coach’s practice philosophy. Ask him about his assistant coaches. Have him explain what he wants to accomplish at practice. What you want to hear from the recruiting coach is- enthusiasm, organization, clear and fluent communication, and a focus on squeezing the most out of every second of practice.
(See Also) Youth Football Practice Planning
9. What do you like best about coaching?
You should get a passionate answer and not just an answer about winning. Listen, the goal is always to win. You do not want to play for a coach that isn’t in it to win it. However, there is more to the game of youth football than just winning.
10. What about your assistant coaches?
The coach should tell you about how much experience they have. He should talk about how many years they have been coaching together. He should be able to tell you what position each coach is coaching and what general responsibilities his assistants have.
4 Characteristics to look for when selecting a youth football coach:
1. Is the coach professional when you talk to him?
2. Is he well respected around the league?
3. Does he look and sound organized?
4. Is he enthusiastic?
I suggest asking all these questions because it will get the coach talking. Talk to him a few different times and try to see if he is consistent with his answers. The coach wants your player to play for him so he will try to tell you what you want to hear. Making him get into detail will separate the weaker coaches, from the great coaches.
(See Also) Ultimate Youth Football Parents Guide