I used to do a lot of company driving. I would frequently need to get up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., attend multiple meetings, and maximize the trip’s effectiveness from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. the same evening. Of course, staying awake was difficult, so I’d channel surf and listen to talk radio. It was simpler to stay awake and listen to it the more absurd it was. Dr. Laura was a woman I used to see now and again, and she had a famous little book called “Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Destroy Their Lives,” which I would occasionally catch up with it. Although the title of the book appears to be harsh, it was just aimed at providing information on ten very typical but preventable (not common sense) things that women frequently did to wreck their own lives.
FAILED TEAMS’ COMMON THREADS
Unfortunately, several common threads run through football clubs‘ poor performance. After 15 years of training in six different leagues and creating/managing many youth football teams, I’ve seen a lot of bad football teams for young kids. I also took two years off to study the best and worst youth football programs across the country, not just in my community. While there are numerous ways to skin a cat, the teams who constantly placed last seemed to have many in common. This team has struggled to keep players and has consistently finished in the bottom half of the rankings year after year. It was difficult to see some of these teams practice and play games; I felt horrible for the kids who had to play for some of these coaches; unfortunately, many were in their final year of youth soccer. These teams had more skill than I expected in many situations, but they were so poorly instructed that they had little chance of individual success and little if any, team success.
THE TWO MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS YOUTH COACHES DESTROY THEIR TEAMS ARE:
6) There is a shortage of coaching.
While the average young football coach spends 110-160 hours each season in practice, travel, and playing alone, many do not devote even one hour to learning how to become a great youth football coach. Only about 15% of child coaches purchase coaching materials. When these coaches were assessed on coaching materials, most of them had no awareness they existed and had no possessions. Despite their team’s persistent lack of success, the second group of coaches laughed it off as if they already knew everything there was to know and didn’t care to own anything.
5) The Silly Playbook is a comedy based on a true story.
These coach books frequently resembled the 25 top jobs (or more) that the coach had seen on Saturdays and Sundays on television. These offenses were not committed systematically. The majority of the works were self-contained and were frequently linked together in various ways. Others knew they couldn’t succeed unless their team had a monopoly on the greatest talent in each league. These offenses were inappropriate for the individual teams’ skill or age category. There were typically over 40-50 parts in the playbooks, and not a single one was done flawlessly.
4) There is no blocking system in place.
It was either a lack of blocking systems or a lack of well-trained blocking systems. The primary concept seems to be “block the guy from you,” yet this isn’t a blocking method or a regulation. These teams would never pull down, block, double layer, trap, or even cross blocks. Blocking was not a priority, and the head coach was rarely allocated.
3) Does not use progressions to teach.
Many of these instructors had played football in the past but had no idea how to pass on their knowledge to their students. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the coaches know; what matters is what the players know. These teachers had little understanding of teaching growth and frequently sought to teach skills that a typical youth football player would have very little chance of acquiring even if properly educated.
2) To teach incorrect tactics to children at a certain age.
Many juvenile football coaches have no idea what average children of various ages can do. Many coaches grow angry because the average youth player cannot perform what the coach did in high school when he was 18 years old and had nine years of playing experience, let alone have the physical maturity and year-round training routine that most high school students now have. Others (a small percentage) overestimate what can be accomplished; yes, children as young as eight or ten can pull, trap, throw short passes on the run, and play zone defense, but they cannot toss 20-yard touchdown passes or reach block nine technical defensive ends.
1) Methods that are badly “planned” and have the wrong priorities.
On race day, too much standing and too fast makes an Indy 500 car look like a tortoise. It’s no wonder that the kids are bored and appear to be under-trained; they wasted most of their training time taking long intervals between exercises, reps, and other activities. Methods that are poorly thought out and executed appear to prioritize wasting time. Instead of focusing on the critical success variables for developing youth football teams and players, more time is spent on non-essential ambiguous issues. Instead of enhancing the technology, making players accountable for flawless technology, ideal procedures, and growing players, time is spent elsewhere or wasted unnecessarily.