Plug 'N Play Football

Simplifying Football for Youth Coaches

6 Things Youth Football Coaches Should Do In The Offseason

Written By: hawkcoach - Jan• 12•12

The 2011 season is in the books and whether you had an outstanding or a rebuilding year here are 6 things you should do this offseason to become a better coach:

1.  Coach Another Sport

Let’s face it, being a youth coach takes a lot more than knowledge of X’s and O’s.  You have to be a good teacher, a good communicator, be able to get along with parents and know how to get young men & women to focus.  Coaching another sport will make you more well-rounded and allow you to practice these skills.  You say that you don’t know another sport well enough to coach it?  Then be an assistant coach to someone who does know the game.  Not only will you learn the nuances of the new sport you’re coaching, you will learn how other head coaches handle things.  I believe that being an assistant coach to someone else is a tremendous learning experience for someone who has only been a head coach for a while.

2.  Attend Coaching Clinics
Many coaches don’t realize the number of clinics that are available.  One of the best for youth coaches is the Glazier Clinics.   If you go to the Glazier Clinic website click on “Coaching Clinics” in the title bar and you’ll notice that you can select “Youth Coach Scholarships.”  As long as you don’t coach at a school, you can get a scholarship to attend Glazier Clinics and you’ll get access to all their online content.  If you are truly serious about coaching you can pay a small fee to attend other clinics in your area.  NIKE Coach of the Year clinics usually have sessions directed towards youth coaches, as an example.  Colleges and universities sometimes offer clinics to area coaches for a small fee.  Additionally you can search online and find clinics for the specific type of defense or offense you run.  Chances are you’ll have to travel a bit further to get to these clinics, but the information will be more specific to what you want to accomplish as a coach.  When you consider the cost for a clinic realize that not only will you get information to make you a smarter coach, but you can make relationships with other coaches that are invaluable when you have a question or are facing a specific problem.
3.  Take Classes/Earn Certifications
There are a organizations such as USA Football, National Alliance for Youth Sports and many others that will allow you to take classes and get certifications. Some of these certifications are broad based like getting certified to coach tackle football while others help you understand the dynamics of coaching a certain age group or certain position.  You can also attend football camps.  If you have a son or a player on your team that is interested in attending a kicking camp, a quarterback camp or even just a basic football camp, you can attend with them and learn new techniques on how to coach.
4.  Read & Study Coaching Resources
Take a look at some of the posts on this site titled “What I’m Reading Now.”  These mini-reviews may give you some ideas of books to add to your personal library or books to go your local library check them out.  If you read ebooks there are literally hundreds of books available for you to download and read.  I really enjoy reading American Football Monthly magazine.  With a subscription you also get access to their online library of past issues.  There’s a ton of information in this magazine including strength and conditioning, offense, defense special teams and etc.

5.   Prepare Next Season Practice Plans

Here is a post I wrote about planning practices. The offseason is a great time to think ahead about what you want to accomplish with your practices.  To me, nothing is more frustrating than watching a coach lead a practice and you can tell he is “winging it.”  Start out by writing down what things your team didn’t do well this year that you want to improve upon.  Maybe you want to make sure you spend more time on special teams.  Perhaps you wished you would have spent more time coaching your defensive backs how to cover a receiver.  While last season is fresh in your mind start to write things down so you don’t make the same mistakes next year.  My only advice is not to make your schedule too inflexible.  Remember that you’ll have rainouts, sick kids and other circumstances so make a plan but build in some flexibility.  Most importantly you should plan the installation of your offense, defense and special teams.  Which day are you going to install your basic run plays, which day will you start teaching your defense responsibilities and so on.


6.  Work On Your Playbooks

Now is a great time to review your playbook and scrap plays that didn’t work.  Make sure your playbook has some core plays that you will spend time on each practice.  You’ll want about six plays that will define your offense.  Plays that you can make adjustments to and make yards no matter what defense you see.  I’m a big proponent of having fewer plays that are run well.  Instead, consider formation adjustments that you’ll install so you can use your core plays no matter what your opponent tries to do to take them away.  Today’s youth are in love with technology.  Consider using some type of technology to get your players interested in learning.  I’ve done many things such as putting our playbook on HUDL and showing not only the X’s and O’s but a video of what the play looks like so they can see someone who plays their position execute the play.  I’ve also given my offensive linemen DVD’s of our blocking schemes animated from Powerpoint slides so they can learn in a different way.  Remember some kids will learn better by doing, some by seeing and some by hearing.  Make sure you can help each of these kids by being able to allow kids to see a play, hear what they are supposed to do and definitely give them many repetitions to practice.

Next season may seem like it’s so far away but it always gets here sooner than you think.  Make sure next season is your best one yet by doing some things this offseason that willl make you a better coach.


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