Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Big Win Bad Habits

It's tough being a coach. Your team has just demolished its opponent, a lot of players scored points, parents were happy, fans were cheering, and you got the win. On the way out you are greeted by all who are elated with the win and the score, even receive a few pats on the back for a job well done. The atmosphere is very positive with fans, parents, and players, all going home happy.

As you cross the parking lot to your car you already know that despite the win, you're not happy! On the way home you analyze the game. Your wife is waiting for you when you get home, greets you at the door, and congratulates you on the win, only surprised to see that you don't seem to be too happy! She shakes her head having been through this before and tells you supper is ready.

Sound familiar?

I know!

Your team won, but, as their coach you felt that they did not play well against an inferior opponent. Your team systems broke down as the game got out of hand, too many individual efforts, and not enough team efforts. Yes, you scored and won but your team picked up a lot of bad habits along the way. Your players got excited and veered out of the team systems, took chances, and were sloppy at times. You know, that against a more solid opponent, that your players never would have gotten away with it.

The best advice is to let your players have their moment, but, at the next practice you need to explain to them the downside of their victory and reinforce the system once again. Explain to them that against the better teams that they cannot veer away from their assignments and pick up bad habits that will hurt the team later. It's all about getting better each practice and game and not take any steps back even in victory.


Play with Passion!

Give your players this message, and if they do it, you're going to be a tough team to play against! The only problem is that not every player can do it and there's nothing you can do coaching wise, to get them to play with passion.

All you can do is to challenge them!

I like passionate players, they never quit, they play hard, and it means something to them. It's important! Combine this passion with raw talent and look-out; they'll make you look good. They are ultimately your competitors! But there are some pitfalls that as a coach you need to control.

It can be a double edged sword and you can live and die with them!

The key is to be able to keep your player emotions under control; otherwise they will veer away from your systems and become more a liability more than an asset. As well, they can lose focus and become undisciplined, and take bad penalties. Not good! The good thing is that they will compete game in and game out! Preach to them to play on the edge but not over it, and to maintain control of their emotions.

Sometimes it's a trade-off and you hope that because of their passion they do more good things than bad. You'll just have to deal with it as it comes. Either way I'd rather have a passionate team.