Coaching youth football can be a lot of fun or a lot of stress depending on how prepared you – and your players – are going into the season. It’s also an opportunity to make a lasting impact on your players whether you have a winning or losing season.
To make sure you’re prepared, Custom Sock Shop put together a few tips to help you kick off a great season and a great coaching career.
Schedule the Time: Plan on a minimum time commitment of 15-20 hours a week to coach 6 -9 year-olds and 30 -35 hours a week for coaching a high school team. If you have aspirations to coach at a higher level, consider this: college level coaches spend somewhere between 60 and 100 hours a week coaching. (They’re going to need lots of pairs of football socks to make up for the lack of time to wash their dirty ones!)
Safety First: Safety is the foremost concern of many parents when their kid announces they want to play football. Teaching your players proper skills and techniques, and requiring proper equipment and uniforms are key in keeping your players safe.
Consider having a uniform inspection before the first practice so you can make sure everyone has a complete uniform that fits properly. Inform parents of the changes that need to be made before their child will be allowed to play.
Have a fully stocked First Aid kit readily available. Keep your cell phone nearby to call 911 in case a severe injury occurs. Tape the address of the field to the back of the phone so you can quickly inform the dispatcher of your exact location. Make certain all players know where the phone is kept in case you need one of them to place the emergency call.
Discipline: Very few youth football players will end up with a career in the NFL, but all of them will benefit from the discipline they learned. Create a schedule and a code of conduct. Discuss them, their importance and the repercussions for infractions. Ask players and their parents to sign a contract stating that they understand and agree to the demands of being on the team. Be firm. Strict accountability early on will quickly gain the attention of the team and limit future violations.
Develop a Team Attitude: Perhaps the most valuable lessons to be learned playing football come from being a part of a team. Your players will come with a wide variety of natural abilities and experience levels so building a cohesive team out of them will take a bit of effort. The internet is full of great teambuilding exercises that can help a lot. So can custom designing some really cool football socks that only your team can sport.
Teach Sportsmanship: Sportsmanship is a dying art that is worth reviving. Holding your players accountable to the team, the schedule and their contract are a good start. Treating them with respect and demanding they respect you, their opponents and all others they come into contact with – both on and off the field – will benefit them long after their potential NFL career would end. Teach them that winning or losing isn’t nearly as important as knowing how to do both gracefully.
Educate: The younger your players are the less likely they are to understand the game, but it’s important to know that nobody knows it all – not even Bo Schembechler. Dedicate a portion of each practice to teaching a new skill and how, when and why it’s used.
Discuss Parent-Coach Issues Before the Season: Often times team parents can be harder to manage than the players. Talk with other coaches about what sort of issues arise and how they’ve handled them. Have a parents meeting where you discuss issues you anticipate and how they will be handled. Be sure to include the proper way for parents to address any other issues that come up during the season. Also make it clear when it will not be acceptable to bring up concerns and why.
Have Fun: Don’t forget that football is a game. If you’re not having fun and the players aren’t having fun, it’s time to reassess what you’re doing. Lighten up and don’t focus on winning so much – maybe even custom design some fun football socks for the whole team!
Custom football socks are a fun and affordable way to make your team stand out from the crowd. They’re easy to design in just 7 simple steps at Custom Sock Shop where you can also easily add your team logo to them. Start your coaching career off on the right (or left) foot by ordering some Made in America football socks for you and your team today.