There is no greater foundational resource to a successful High School Football program than a strong Youth Football connection. The alignment between the Youth and High School program are an essential key to success. At Muskego High School in Wisconsin, we believe this to be an absolute fact. In the past three seasons alone, we are 37-4, with two consecutive State Championship victories and a state semifinal appearance. We believe one of the top reasons of our success is the connection we have with our Youth Football program. There are several components of our program that we feel build the strength of our relationship.
Youth Football is the key to Success for High School
In Muskego, we view our football program as a 1st through 12th grade organization. Tackle football starts in 1st grade for us. The contents of this article will focus mostly on strategies that we use to build the connection from High School to Youth Program, the specifics of what we expect from our Youth coaches, and some other tips and tricks that we feel contribute to our success.
In our program, we try our best to ensure equal teams at every grade level. From 5th-8th grade we achieve this by having two teams at each grade level, a “Red” and “Black” team. After two years, the teams will be re-drafted in 7th grade. Across these levels we advise our coaches to start 20-22 kids on each team. The goal is to get kids on the field and to enjoy their experience as best as possible. As a High School program, we set a clear expectation that part of our Youth Coaches evaluation is the amount of players who return each year. We feel that player retention is largely representative of the quality of experience. Football is a numbers game, and we want as many as possible.
There are several other items in place that have solidified what we believe is the strongest Youth Football program in the state of Wisconsin. The first of these being a Youth Football Coaches Clinic that we offer during the spring time to all of our Youth Football coaches from 1st through 8th grade. This is a great event where coaches can experience a clinic that delves into the overall importance of the coach role for youth, in addition to the basics of our Offensive and Defensive philosophies. It is an expectation that our Youth Football teams are running the same schemes as both the High School on both sides of the ball. One of the highlights of this Youth Coaches Clinic is a conversation on coaching character. During this process, we discuss the importance of the role of a coach. We challenge our Youth Coaches to keep it fun and be positive. We remind them that the three pillars of Youth Football are Safe, Fun, and Fundamentals. After all, it is player experience that means the most! One other creative strategy that we do here in Muskego is what’s called the “First Down, Mom’s Youth Clinic.” This is a great opportunity to get the mothers in our community out to a clinic type environment where we focus on the safety measures that are implemented in our Youth Program. We feel this event is a great night for spreading awareness that the game of Football is as safe as it has ever been.
In addition, when we are closer to the season, we will host a one day Youth Football Camp for the Youth players in August. This camp is coached by the High School coaches and players. It is a great opportunity to teach common skills and drills that are common for the High School program. The final event that we do with our Youth Football program is a Youth Football Night every season. This is one of the most electric atmospheres of our season. We invite all Youth Football players, coaches, and even their respective cheerleaders at each grade level to attend and be announced. The young players make a massive tunnel for the High School players to run through and out on the field.
Related Content: How Playing Youth Football Builds Character
It is our hope that this article gives insight into the value of a strong relationship from Youth Football to High School Football programs. The Youth lay the foundation for a strong High School program. It is imperative that all coaches involved across levels work together to solidify this relationship. Without a great Youth Football program, it is our belief that you cannot reach the highest level of success at the High School level. You simply cannot have one without the other. It is of utmost importance that your Youth coaches understand how vital they are to the success of both the Youth and High School programs respectively!
If you ever want to reach out to discuss what we do in Muskego at the High School or Youth Football level, please feel free to reach out. My personal email address and the address for our Head Coach, Ken Krause, are posted below. Thank you for Youth Football Online for the opportunity to talk about our Youth Football program in Muskego!
Follow Coach on Twitter: @CoachLucch
Head Coach: [email protected]muskegonorway.org
Defensive Coordinator: [email protected]