Are You Teaching Youth Football Life Lessons?
1. Football is not as important as life.
2. Being a good player or coach is not as important as being a good person.
3. The most important things you teach as a coach will be useful in life.
Over the past few months, FirstDown PlayBook has been sharing a few things that we think might help you out as you coach youth football coach. Today we want to talk about one of your most powerful tools when it comes to working with young people. That’s your ability to teach youth football life lessons as you teach them the game of football.
Keep this in mind as you go about the process of teaching the fundamentals, techniques and schemes that are essential to playing football. We think that you should be teaching “life lessons” every step of the way. We have mentioned it here already a time or two. Your players are going to remember what you taught them when they become adults. However, it will not be what you taught them about playing linebacker or how to pull on a trap. It will be the life lessons that they are still leaning on as adults.
If you will think back on whatever experience you had as a young player, you will remember that your coaches taught you some football. They taught it by teaching you life lessons like:
HARD WORK SACRIFICE TEAMWORK DISCIPLINE CHOICES ATTITUDE
Good coaches are quick to understand that characteristics like the ones we mention above are critical. They are critical to developing good people, but they are also critical to having a good football team. Once a coach understands this and incorporates it into their practice, there are going to be benefits on several fronts.
One of the first things you are going to see is that your parents are going to get behind you with your message. It is important that you allow the parents to be a part of it. Let’s say you are using your visual aids in this picture to explain to your team that it’s going to be hot and hard practice. You are getting the message across about “Effort” and why it is important to give it during practice. It also allows you to tie this into life off of the football field.
By involving your parents, it gives them another angle to talk about with their child. Now it is not just how the football part went. Let’s say they know you incorporated a life lesson about “effort” that day. Now it gives that parent something to build on after they leave your practice. You will be hard pressed to find a parent that will not appreciate that.
Reinforcing A Word Of The Day Is A Great Way To Teach Life Lessons
You and your coaches can reinforce this “Word of the Day” by breaking your groups down with that word throughout that practice. When you call your team up at the end of practice, ask one or two of them to tell the rest of the team what that word means to them. You will be surprised at just how much they will absorb and take with them.
For those of you worried about how much time you have to spend on something like this when you are trying to get a football team ready, let’s just say that it will reap you unseen dividends when your team faces adversity and you need something to center them as they fight through a tough quarter, half or maybe even a whole game of under performing.
Not convinced? Go check out any major college or NFL coaches Tips & Reminders for a game week. You will find plenty of X’s & O’s specific to that position group. What you will also find is some theme that the position coach has been harping on that week. That theme will be reinforced right there on paper for his players to see and remember.
This is because that NFL coach and his players understand that knowing and understanding the game plan is only part of the process. If they expect to reach their individual and team goals, they will have to lean on the “Life Lessons” that their coach and the game of football has helped teach them. You can do the same thing for your team as you navigate the 2023 football season too.