Youth & Flag Football Help #1: It Starts With People
It always starts with people. We will promise you this. You can have everything else in order as you prepare to coach a youth or flag football team. However, if you don’t have good people, you are going to struggle. This is why as we embark on the next two months of youth & flag football help, we are starting with…you got it…people. We understand that as a youth or flag coach, you can only control so much.
Before you do anything else sit down and consider these 3 P’s when it comes to getting started with your youth or flag football team.
1. Your Players
Smart coaches at every level look at their players first. From your standpoint as a youth or a flag football coach, you need to know who and how many players you are going to be responsible for. This is going to affect a lot of things. From a competitive standpoint, it may influence what type of offense or defense you run. It should. You should tailor your youth football or flag football schemes to the sizes and talents of your players.
It goes deeper than that though. Your players size and talent level are going to dictate how long you can practice and how much you should expect. Is your team made up of 40 players or 15? That makes a big difference as you plan your practices ahead of time. How do your players get to practice? Are some players going to need a ride to practice and or games? You should consider any logistical things like this before you take the practice field.
2. Your Parents
More than a few flag football or youth football teams have been ruined by one or two parents who just do not understand. It’s hard to be totally prepared for this, but it helps if you do a little recon before you start practice. FirstDown PlayBook is an advocate of including parents as part of your coaching staff if they are qualified and understand how to act.
We will get more into this later, but the majority of your parents are going to be at practice anyway. There is value in including them. It can invest them in the process. It can give them something other than their son or daughter to focus on. You will obviously need to set strict ground rules and guidelines about what is allowed and what is not.
3. Your Position Coaches
This obviously ties into number 2 above. First and foremost, your assistant or position coaches must be certified. The best place to get this done is with USA Football. This is going to insure that your coaches are versed on the latest and safest techniques endorsed by experts in the field. Your number one priority from the first moment you begin practice until the last second of your last game should be player safety. Period.
Your position coaches are an extension of you. Face it, you cannot coach all of it as well as you and some assistant coaches can. Without position coaches you will find your team standing around more than they are practicing. This can be avoided by having good certified coaches that are teaching their position or specialty.