Plug 'N Play Football

Simplifying Football for Youth Coaches

Coach’s Game Day Checklist

Written By: hawkcoach - Apr• 09•11


Coach checklist for youth football

Checklist for youth football coach

A football coach has many roles but definitely the most public one is game day coaching.  A successful game coach will always have spent a significant amount of time preparing for the game.  Any neglected minor details could become major issues during the game.  I like to have a checklist to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.

Here’s a partial list of tasks & equipment you may wish to add to your checklist:

  • Multiple copies of depth chart
  • Playbook
  • Clipboards
  • Wrist coaches
  • Towels (in case of rainy weather)
  • Pre-game warm up & practice plan
  • Cones for pre-game warm-up drills
  • Game ball
  • Balls for pre-game warm-up
  • Kicking Tees
  • Equipment kit (Get a small tool box or tackle box and keep these extras on hand)
    • Extra shoulder straps & clips
    • Extra chin strap & pad snaps for helmet
    • Extra jaw guards for helmet in most popular sizes
    • Mouth Guards
    • Shoelaces
    • Athletic Tape
  • First aid kit & ice packs

The next most important step is to make sure that you’ve divided the game responsibilities appropriately.  Let’s assume you are the head coach and offensive coordinator.   Assign a member of your coaching staff the responsibility of the depth chart and making sure the right personnel are on the field at the right time.  Another assistant coach might be the defensive coordinator.  Another staff member or a parent might be in charge of injuries, emergencies and water.

It’s also a good idea to divide responsibilities while watching the plays develop on the field.  If this is not done, inevitably everyone will be watching the ball carrier.  You’ll have no idea if the defense is playing unsound or is ripe to be exploited if you are watching your own backfield.  While on offense assign someone the task of watching the defensive backfield, someone to watch the offensive and defensive lines and someone should be watching your own backfield.  This way you can know when to call a play to a specific hole or call your counter & reverse plays.  Similarly divide the responsibilities when on defense so you can have a good grasp of how your defense is reacting and be able to anticipate what the offense will do.

Which of the following game day experiences would you rather have?

Scenario One:  You show up 30 minutes before game and realize you forgot the kicking tee at home.  You meet with the assistant coaches and discuss what you should do for pre-game warm ups.  10 minutes before the game starts the officials call for team captains and you quickly scan the roster to try and determine who should be captain.  Just before kickoff your tailback lets you know he lost his mouth guard so you sent his dad after one, hoping he finds one before the second quarter.  When the game starts you are frazzled and have a tough time focusing so you just start trying things hoping for a big score.

Scenario Two:  You show up one hour before the game and start setting up cones for your pre-game warm ups.  When the assistant coaches arrive you hand them a clipboard with a printed depth chart and a list of which coach is responsible for which game responsibilities.  Your team practices crisply and you call them together and share with them some wisdom about how your team will win the game.  When the game starts you feel in the groove and have a plan of what plays you will call to set up the offense for your big plays later in the game. 

Proper pre-game planning and having a checklist will not only make you a better coach, it will help you get much more enjoyment out of coaching games.

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