The # 1 Reason Why Kids Quit Playing Football
There are many reasons why kids quit playing football. Poor coaching, overbearing parents, toxic team environment, and lack of skill are some of the top reasons why kids choose to hang up their cleats. The undisputed # 1 reason why kids quit playing football is because of their coaches. I have been involved in sports my entire life, both as a player and as a coach. When a kid quits football- it is the inability of a coach to keep the athlete interested and encouraged. I take pride in the fact that I have not had one player quit on me since I have been a head coach. Championships are great, winning seasons are always fun, but not having any players quit since I have become a head coach, that is by far my greatest accomplishment.
As stated, the # 1 reason why kids quit playing football is because of bad experiences with their coaches. There is a segment youth coaches in the world that have only one objective and that is winning. This coach will only focus on their ‘superstar’ players as their weaker players get push to the side. A majority of the time the kid that quits is one of the weaker or less effective players.
Coaches- it is your responsibility to create a team-first, fair, encouraging, and safe environment for ALL of your athletes.
Coaches need to create an environment where teammates encourage lesser players to improve. Coaches need to encourage and spend time with the players that need improvement. These youth football athletes need to feel that they are an important part of the team. As a head coach, I personally spend a lot of time with the players that need it. It holds more weight when the head coach is committing time to the weaker players. Regardless of skill level or athletic ability, every kid needs to be and wants to be encouraged. A great coach will be able to build his players’ confidence level to a high degree.
Here are reasons why lesser skilled athletic players quit:
- Coaches encourage them to quit so they can cut the ‘dead weight’ and make a run for a championship.
- Kids don’t feel a part of the team.
- Teammates disrespect and make fun of them.
- Lack of football playing time.
- Lack of coaching and encouragement.
- Kids are afraid to make a mistake (coaches scream and yell).
- Disorganized practices.
- Parents allow their kid to quit and/or don’t realize that their kid is far from a superstar.
- Consistent losing.
- Is not fun for the child.
Why my kids do not quit!:
- I have a policy that all of my players need to follow- if you don’t have anything positive or encouraging to say, then keep your mouth closed. Teammates must learn encouragement. There is ZERO tolerance for negative talk and teasing amongst the players.
- All players earn playing time based on their effort and commitment, regardless of skill level. No favoritism. Kids have to learn that if you work hard, you then get rewarded. From day one we focus on effort.
- I personally work with kids that are struggling and seem less interested.
- I am honest and straight forward with parents. I explain that their son needs work but we will get him where he needs to be. We just have to stick with it.
- They know when they make a mistake it will be addressed and it will be corrected (as long as effort was given we don’t get too upset). They are able to play with a certain comfort level. No player is going to have a perfect practice or game. Let the players play.
- Our main focus is getting better every day and preparing to win every game we are going to play. We work hard and play hard! Always make some time to have some competitive fun during the practice week. If kids aren’t having fun, then they will lose interest.
- We keep things organized, fast paced, and fluent.
There are many factors that go into whether a kid quits playing football or not. Parents play a role. Physical ability, maturity and safety play roles. BUT! The #1 reason why kids quit football is because of horrible coaching. If a player doesn’t like his coach and doesn’t feel part of the team then the kid will quit. Of the course the goal should be to win. We will never teach our players to be ‘cool’ with losing, but when it is all said and done, there is more to youth football than just winning. As youth football coaches it is our job to make a positive impact on these kids. These kids are future leaders and many will help shape the overall greatness of the United States (and other parts of the world), us coaches have to take this very seriously.
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