The comments such as “they are huge look how big #99 is, look how fast #23 is, man #12 can throw it a mile” are of nothing of value, other than to provide excuses for your team prior to the game starts. There are a variety of reasons we shouldn’t have our kids to be on the field for 30 minutes prior to the start of the game. Everybody is present for 60, 75 or 90 minutes prior to the game, and we can finish in just thirty minutes, and we have time spare. This also often freaks the other team members out as they don’t know if that we will show spbo up, and when we show up, we’re doing our pregame routine without helmets on and in a completely different way than they’ve seen before. At home games, I’ve experienced opposing coaches calling me at home (I reside 3 miles away from our field) and inquire if I am on the right field and are at the right date for the game since no one from our team has been on the field. Our championship banners are displayed at the entrance gate, which everyone has to pass through in order to get into the stadium, however they’re entering a deserted field in an abandoned High School in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and gravel roads. I inform the coach they’re at the right place and we’ll be there that we are ready for the game. It’s time to bake, and not have another thing to think about.
Stay away from the game before the game, don’t allow your kids to have a reason to worry or have them think about it prior to the game. Worry can be a motivational and energy drainer. We’re always optimistic in the lead-up to the game and are with a smile, however, everything happens very quickly and executed with precision. professional and the same from week-to-week. We’re always relaxed and calm, but not overly confident. We coaches talk in the past tense of what we intend to achieve that day. We remain positive, positive, and positive.
The goals we set before games are defined and communicated to the team in past-tense terms. The first step is our usual short warm-ups as well as angles for tackling. We ensure that we that we practice lots of kickoffs and extra points since we’re likely to do lots of these. In contrast to what we practice during football training we restrict the number of kicks we return since we don’t anticipate to have many of them during the game. We practice subbing with lots of backups, just as you’d anticipate to do in any game that you are able to lose by a significant amount of points. What are your kids thinking when you don’t do Subbing or extra points? They do not think they’ll have many touchdowns on the day.
In a game in 2004 we played against the Omaha team which was larger, faster and more experienced than our local all rookie team. They had a 200 lb tackle who could truly move. We had only one player who was over 100lbs. We also had four eight-year-olds in the backfield of this team aged 8-10. The other team was able to get on us by 2 touchdowns in the first quarter. After halftime, we calmly informed our players how pleased we were with the way they were playing and how we needed to make couple of improvements. We discussed the things we would take on defense and offense but we didn’t go over any fire and brimstone or other such things. We talked about the football games, adjustments and tricks we would employ, and why they would work and the team would be extremely disappointed with losing on their own field to a group of rural rookies.
We ensured that we let our children know at the conclusion of the game that we had won, but not to get too excited so as to not cause embarrassment on the team’s own field. I also reminded our running backs to pass the ball to the official in white hats following every touchdown, but not to put the ball at the goal line. I also advised our defensive players to not celebrate when they have a turnover or sack. Remember, at the time the other team was ahead by one TD and was in control of our football play. We eventually tied the game very late, playing our regular football play and defense. During OT we kept the opposing team in defense and had a chance of winning it with our offensive move. We had a timeout on the first play, and in the huddle, I told our players that if we scored, they should not act as if it would be the first time they’ve scored the TD and then hand the ball over to the official and move onto the sides as quick as they could so that they could get ready to handshake. I told them we’d celebrate the win with a bit of an huddle following the game and when the teams had been separated. The entire conversation was done with a smile and in past tense language after we had scored and win there was no fire it up with rah-rah talk. We scored our fourth goal, which was just 1 1/2 yards and the opposing team took an timeout. I walked in to our children smiling, and told them that I knew that everyone would perform their duties, Keaton would score and we would prevail as I reminding Keaton to pass the ball to the referee, and also for the players not to smack Keaton but instead to hightail it to me, as I was waiting on the 50-yard line to get the handshake line-up. I wasn’t going to be standing on the line of 25 yards to watch the final play, which is what is permitted during our club. I went to the 50. We scored on fourth down and the kids played exactly the way we instructed them.
The key to success before or during the youth football match is calmness and confidence. The youngsters will take it from you. It is essential to appear as though you have all the answers. If you’re stressed and anxious and worried, they will too. I’ve had several coaches say they could feel a peace and calmness that our children display prior to the game. They are confident because they understand the tasks they have to complete and are confident that how to follow the simple instructions and follow the strategies they’ve learned and practiced, the team will be able succeed.
We’ve been able to drill this into their heads since the very beginning of football training. They think that there is there is a way to ensure that when they continue to play consistently and focusing on their work they will come out in the top spot. My teams haven’t been far behind during the six-week 62-2 Fall Football run we have experienced using this method however we have seen several notable comeback wins. I’m not sure there’s been a single game in which one of these five teams thought they were going to lose, even though they were playing against a much stronger and more powerful “Select” competition and even being a bit behind.
The game that we lost by 46-6 in 2002 is an excellent illustration. Our kids were still convinced that they could take the game home even though we were only down 40 points. The kids were speeding towards the goal to complete games at the speed they could. I was unable to say to let them slow down after it became evident that we were not going to beat the other team. They were all out, tackling gangs and blocking up to the whistle. One of our best players wanted to know “Is the scoreboard really right? It can’t be”. The kid was convinced in his mind that we weren’t losing by 40 points, and that the scoreboard was incorrect.
He wanted to know what would happen when there were tie, and he wanted to determine if we could be playing an overtime match. He had figured out the idea that we’d need five touchdowns, plus the double bonus points to tie the game I suppose six TDs in a single quarter isn’t realistic, ha ha. Josh A was very serious. Josh A. And with smile on my face. I still can be able to hear him asking the question. When he says this, I’m trying not to laugh at the absurdity of his assertion, but also admiring his determination and enthusiasm. With a huge smile in my eyes, all I did was to give him a short hug and encourage him to be a hard worker and have fun. I smiled and recorded that moment to my memory for the long run. We didn’t get a 40-point comeback within a matter of 10 minutes that Sunday but I was impressed by the attitude of our children, they were adamant about drinking coolaid. After the games, our children were excellent athletes, yet they believed they were on the winning team and were eager to play with the same team the next week. I had to remind them that their team had been superior on the day and they deserved every credit due to their excellent victory and hard work.
Be cautious about the you say and how you speak on the field, because words can be subtle tools that your players notice. Training youth Football well requires using those tools (words) in your favor. Being able to manage your game well by using words and actions to build confidence in your young soccer team is excellent football coaching.