Coaching in a New Youth Football Organization
When you are coaching in a new youth football organization you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Be social! Introduce yourself to all the other coaches in the organization. Have conversations with people regarding football, as well as other non football related topics. Share ideas, philosophies, and other aspects. The collective goal should be the well being and development of the children in the organization (as football players and as young as men).
When you are coaching in a new youth football organization most of the time you will be welcomed in. It is important as the new guy on the block that you respect the other coaches. Meaning, do not come in thinking you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Do not come in cocky and arrogant. Coaches that win consistently do not brag about it. Just be respectful and listen. Sometimes a change of scenery is also a good thing. Use the opportunity to pick the other football minds. Many times you will learn something new or interesting from other coaches. I personally love meeting new coaches because the good ones can always teach you something new. Also, you will probably need these coaches to get insight about your players, parents, and opposing teams. Also, respect the seniority of the coaches and the coaches without children in the program.
Maintaining a youth football organization requires a lot of time and energy. Whenever you have time make sure you make yourself available to help out. Whenever there is a field clean up or a fundraising event try and get to it. There is always work that has to be done. Field work, equipment inventory, fundraising events, meetings, and registrations are all opportunities to contribute to the organization. Coaching youth football is a tough task because it requires a ton of time and commitment. Daily life and family responsibilities make life crazy, but make sure you find time to contribute to the organization. When you are coaching in a new youth football organization every little bit helps!
If you have ideas share them! If you have a good idea about fundraising speak up. If you have a good idea on how to drive additional youth football signups, share it. Coming up with ideas to better the organization is a great way to show commitment and enthusiasm towards the program. Take ideas that worked from your prior team and suggest them to your new team.
Get the coaching staff together and have meetings. This responsibility falls onto the head coach. If you are not the head coach, make sure you contact the head coach and suggest having a meeting so the entire staff can get on the same page. If you are a head coach coaching in a new youth football organization it is important that any new coaches know what the plan is. Assign responsibilities, position coaches, and coordinators. All coaches should understand and be involved with every aspect of the football team. Have a few meetings so that all the coaches can start connecting. Discuss practice plans, position drills, team rules, coaching responsibilities, position/coordinator coaches, rosters/player positions, and the plan to win over the parents.
Ask Coaches for Player and Parent Feedback
As a new coach in a organization the odds are you do not know much about the players or parents. It is vital that you talk to their prior coaches to get feedback on these kids and parents. Getting this feedback will help save practice time. If you have an idea of what position they played and how well they did will be an enormous help. Ask for any game film. Many coaches will tape their games. Borrow some of the film so you can evaluate these players. Also, ask about the parents! Which parents are helpful and which ones are difficult to deal with. The helpful ones can be used for the chains, MPR sheets (mandatory play requirement), and other sidelines duties on game day.
When coaching in a new youth football organization the football parents can be the biggest challenge. It is absolutely vital that you ask other coaches of the organization about the parents. Sometimes parents do not have a good experience and that can be a problem. If a parent is upset they will usually gossip about it on the sidelines. With that said, it is vital to win over the parents. Your life will become a lot easier when you win over the parents. I want to make it clear that I have their kid’s best interest in mind on the football field. I will make sure the parents know that I will be fair. Every player will get additional playing time based on their commitment and effort. If you are fair and you care for the kids the parents will like you. I very rarely have problems because I stick to my word and I always do the right thing. Players should earn additional playing time based on effort and commitment to the team.
As the season approaches it is vital that you get your roster and call your players and introduce yourself. Call the parents and introduce yourself, talk tell them about your experience, and what they can expect from your coaching staff. Also, take the time to get the parent’s feedback on what they liked and did not like about the previous season. After you introduce yourself to the parents ask to speak to their child that is playing for you. Again, introduce yourself to the player and ask for his feedback. Ask what positions he played in the past and what he is interested in playing. Tell the child to get his friends to sign up. Talk to him about your team’s philosophy and what is expected. Start creating a connection with the parents and make sure you keep them up to speed on what is going on. Communication is vital.
What we do every year is we have a “parents night” after the first day of practice. My coaching staff and I meet with the parents after the first day of practice and I introduce my entire coaching staff. I will talk about our team objective and team rules. We will also discuss what they can and should expect from my coaching staff and I. I will also layout what I expect from the parents and players. We will also remind the parents to make sure their children stay hydrated, eat properly, and get sufficient rest. The topic of creating a team environment will also be talked about. I will also write up a letter for the parents and have the kids give it their parents after practice. Outlined in the letter will be team rules, team expectations, contact information, and some other miscellaneous content. The letter to the parents is basically an overview of the topics discussed at “parents night”. You can do a meet the coaches day/night before the season starts as well. You can invite the parents down the field on a nice Saturday afternoon and order some pizza. I prefer to do it after the first day of practice because they parents will already be at the field and excited for the season.
Long story short, win over the parents. Your coaching life will be easier when the parents are happy and supportive. When you are fair and coach every player evenly and you do the right thing on a consistent basis, the parents will not be an issue. Coaching in a new youth football organization is exciting and it is vital to make a strong first impression.