5 On 5 Flag Football Plays For 6 Year Olds Acting Like a Maniac When Coaching Youth Football, Should You Ever?

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Acting Like a Maniac When Coaching Youth Football, Should You Ever?

All people are different, God made us unique for a purpose. Therefore, no two youth soccer coaches are going to have the exact same bias. Some coaches are humorous and animated, some are quietly confident, some are aggressive and forceful, and some just soak it all in and enjoy the moment. All of these expressions of who we are probably have a time and place when coaching youth soccer, but there are some expressions you should keep to yourself. Many of these will not do your reputation or your team much good.

Here are some examples:

About 16 years ago I started coaching youth soccer as an assistant coach for an 8-10 year old expansion team. Like most expansion teams with all rookie players and rookie coaches, we struggled that first year. We knew we would struggle from the start as most expansion teams in the league usually lost every game. Our head coach was a highly respected Real Estate executive with the largest firm in the state. He had given presentations to large crowds and had dozens of direct reports, pretty smart guy. Our first game, our players were nervous as you would expect with all first year players. Before the game I saw the Head Coach doubled up near the sidelines with a grimace on his face and an almost greenish tint to his mug. I asked him if he was sick, he said his stomach was killing him and he was nauseous. I asked him if he was sick this week, he said no, it was the game that gave him stomach cramps and nausea. This grown man, a great opportunity was letting a youth football game get to him.

The head coach leads by example, the players always take their cues from him and our manager was nervous and sick before our first game. This was a time when our kids felt the same emotions, needless to say we went crazy that day. Our manager was so confused about how the team was going to do that he got sick that day and it hurt his team’s performance and enjoyment of the game.

Another youth soccer coach I know is actually so emotional before his games that he drives away in his car, sits in a park and cries before games to let all his emotions out. Obviously this guy might need some kind of professional help and I wouldn’t let a guy like this coach with me, but a lot of youth soccer coaches let their emotions get the best of them.

While it’s normal to feel some anxiety before races, if you get sick or overly emotional before races, take it very seriously. Do some of us get up in the morning and on the way to work think of soccer games to run or ways to improve our youth soccer teams? Yes. Are many of us putting a lot of time and effort into our teams and improving as coaches? Sure. But thinking about youth football and making yourself a better coach isn’t about letting your emotions get the best of you before a game.

We all want our teams to do well and kids to have a great experience, but life isn’t going to change dramatically and the earth isn’t going to stop turning unless you coach the perfect game. If you take the time and learn from others and your own experiences and you are a good soccer coach. your teams will eventually play well. Over time, if your teams are well coached and play well, the wins will take care of themselves. As a soccer coach all you can control is your team’s preparation and plans and adjustments, you can’t control the weather, referees or the performance of other teams.

Does this mean you are obsolete if your youth soccer team loses? No, it means you are in control of what you can control and as long as your team executes and plays well, that’s all you can hope for. In the end, playing well usually equates to winning games, but worrying about it accomplishes nothing and actually hurts your team’s performance. If the kids see you’re not enjoying the experience, they’re not going to enjoy it either, and a team without smiles on their faces is a team playing poorly.

Don’t forget to get a good meal in before the game and bring some Gatorade for yourself too. I pray on my way to games or the morning of the game asking God for wisdom, patience and to have a long term focus in my actions. I also ask that God be glorified by my actions and the actions of my team that day. I’m not sure God takes sides in youth football games, I never pray to win, but I do pray that all my kids show up and that no one from either team gets hurt that day. For those who aren’t so inclined, perhaps looking at how you’ll be remembered 10 years after the game is over is a good perspective to guide your actions for the day. Of course, I also mentally review my game plan, key adjustments, and substitution plans for the day as well.

For most of us the level of discomfort in any task is inversely related to how well we have prepared for the task. The first public clinics I did I was quite nervous, I had never done large clinics before in front of strangers and the presentations were of new material. ( Kind of like having a new team or playing your first game) I didn’t have time to practice the presentations or get feedback on where there would be additional questions or even if the presentations would be welcome ( Kind of like I don’t many of the fit and freeze repetitions or even fighting). As you might expect, the first few clinics were okay, but they could have been a lot better. Now I always practice the presentations live and now even in front of crowds of 190 skeptical youth soccer coaches in Boston, I am cool and confident.

As this relates to your youth soccer team, the better prepared your team is the less nervous you will be. The more carefully you have prepared yourself and your youth soccer team, the less nervous you will be. Easy enough to say, hard to do for some. Either way, after putting in the effort for yourself and your team, you have to tell yourself that this is all you can do. As the De LaSalle High Schools 151 game hitting streak book says,

“There’s comfort in knowing you’ve given everything you’ve got.” In the end, you just have to let the game play out and see the results. If you have done the research and put in the time, like any Endeavor, you will likely become a successful youth soccer coach.

This assumption becomes rather clearer from the results of my teams initial matches, we are always well prepared, calm and confident. Even in our first game, our football plays look clean, our lineouts are perfect, we always have 11 on the field, we block and tackle well, we even move well and rarely get penalized. We almost always win our opening games by huge margins, even against the best youth football teams in our league

Results of previous years

We are able to do this because of the wise use of practice time, our comprehensive schemes and the progressive nature of the teaching methods we use to develop our teams. We go into these games with a lot of confidence. Very often we are literally months ahead of our competition that first game. We’ve been told many times by our opponents that our kids seem pretty carefree and have a lot of confidence. My thoughts are that we show up like that because we are, the guys know they’re ready to play that first game. Our coaches are all calm, cool and confident before games because as we all know the kids take all their cues from us, that calm demeanor is part of good youth football coaching. If your coaches are worried and concerned, the kids will be too. Even if deep down you’re not sure any of your soccer plays will work that day, you need to appear that way on the outside for your young soccer players and your team.

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