Coaching Youth Football – Lessons Learned from Other Sports
June 21, 2020 Business
Lessons Learned From Other Sports
Some lessons learned in coaching youth football have really helped me in coaching other sports I know almost no about.
In 2002 the Screaming Eagles Youth Football Program decided we’d start a baseball program. The problem was I hadn’t coached baseball before and over 90% of our kids had never put a glove on, as baseball popularity has declined dramatically in the inner-city.
Since we’d had the opportunity to totally change our football program from underneath of the league to the top via intensive coach training and developing a system with heavy research, I decided to do exactly the same for baseball:
My experience with baseball was non-existent as a coach. I’d played only as much as my Junior year of High School and was just average on an excellent day. ข่าวฟุตบอล I felt my little expertise on the subject was minimal and I’d no authority or credibility to impose a brand new system on the entire Screaming Eagle program. The baseball “program” I was putting in place was for my personal team only.
Started the project like any other, doing research on the videos and books available to teach youth baseball coaches. I bought a recording by Marty Shupack on baseball practice organization. I went to the neighborhood indoor baseball practice facility and bought a couple of books and tapes which were all specifically targeted to youth coaches. I asked around and found out who the most effective coaches were that won consistelntly. Most of them practice at an indoor practice facility, so I went and watched a few of the top youth teams teams getting their year-round instruction inside.
I then sought out advice from the most effective youth baseball coaches in the area. In the event that you are going to study on someone, why don’t you go to the guy that has had the absolute most success? Here in Omaha that’s a guy by the name of Bill Olsen. Coach Olsen has coached National Championship teams at the Youth Level. He is an accomplished High School coach and he was also an assistant coach on among the USA Pan American Games and Olympic teams. Coach Olsen knows his stuff and has an interest for developing youth baseball players and he loves teaching coaches how to teach players.
I was luckily enough to attend 4 large clinics Coach Olsen placed on, and while I’d played 9 years of organized competitive baseball, I then found out:
1) I knew nothing about coaching baseball
2) My previous baseball coaches didn’t know anything either, I have been shortchanged as a player.
I was committed to not let the same happen to these kids.
Coach Olsen showed us proper fundamentals, but moreover how to break up and teach each movement. He gave us many detailed progressions to teach proper hitting, fielding, throwing and even pitching. I was amazed to observe how his methods paralleled how exactly we taught our kids how to play youth football.
I then observed several of the finest “select” and rec level coaches while these were running their practices. I learned how to teach the movements and how to shave a great deal of time off my practices. Back in the days that I played, batting practice contained 1 player hitting while 11 players shagged balls in the field, how boring. Rarely were any coaching points imparted, we were supposed to be improving by “practicing. I learned getting a great deal more done in much less time. I also got a chance to observe Mike Evans running some practices of his own, Mike has brought several Pacesetter “Select” teams to Youth National Championships and now coaches a Junior College team. I learned some real neat games from him that keep the children interest, just like the fun team building and evaluation drills we do for our youth football teams.
To make a long story short, I developed an idea and implemented it on the basis of the expertise of these men, not what I’d known from my own personal experiences. My first team may have been described whilst the “Land Of Misfit Toys” from the “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” movie. Our first few practices most of the kids needed to be shown how to put a glove on and about 1/3 of the children didn’t even have gloves, these were HORRIBLE. I transpired to the Salvation Army Store and bought some used gloves, oiled them up and had them ready for the second practice. The kids kept coming and we improved each practice once we very slowly made progress to our goal. In the same way in youth football, we labored on the critical success factors, nothing else, no wasted time or movement. We used many of the tricks we use within football like progressions, “ready focus”, group instruction,fit and freeze, limited live scrimmaging, player contracts, discipline model etc etc Using Coach Olsens ideas and what I saw on the videos, we could get each player 16 minutes of batting practice in every 2 hour practice we had. We didn’t even hit “live” until week 3 once we did lots of “hitting” instruction and drills without bats and no balls, then going to Tees, then to soft-toss and then to hitting the ball attached to the stiff 5’pole apparatus that hurts my wrists so much.
We didn’t “scrimmage” or do lots of live infield and outfield, we did lots of drills without balls and ball to bucket drills. We didn’t play catch, it could have been an overall total waste of time ( playing fetch,not catch) we labored on frozen throwing mechanic (yes, fit and freeze) drills. I simply did everything 100% as Bill Olsen suggested.
We went into our first game not knowing how to play the overall game terribly well but we were making real good progress on the fundamentals. We wound up winning that game and all 14 games we played that year, to EVERYONES surprise. Every one of my kids was hitting the ball, even the very overweight 190 pound defensive tackle that in the initial practice missed about every ball hitting from a tee! We’d consistently have 1-2-3 innings etc on defense. Next 2 yrs I stayed only at that age level as this original group moved up on onto other teams. The following year my team won all 12 of our games and the following year we won all 14 again, 36 months whilst the dominant team in the league with out a loss only at that age group and we switched leagues 12 months to a Little League that consistently produced State Champions. We never played in virtually any big tournaments once we did not need the funds unfortunately to take action and we generally took a reduced key way of baseball once we did football. Baseball to us was just “filler” until football season came around.
The moral of the story is; priorities are very important, progression teaching of the very minute fundamental detail is essential for every sport, “scrimmaging” is overrated and great practice organization using time saving tricks is critical. Taking sometime to understand from the experts allowed me to teach the children properly so they might do have more fun. The same as in football, the children have more pleasurable if they don’t really lose every game, in baseball they aren’t having much fun either should they never get a hit or lose every game too. The sad thing was we were so a lot better than the other teams each of the 36 months I coached that people could have actually played up an age group and competed. Most of the coaches that I coached against went to exactly the same Bill Olsen clinic Used to do, but I really could tell during warm ups that these were not doing what Coach Olsen suggested they do in warmups, or how they held their gloves, or how their infielders got in their stance or how their hitters got within their stance. Either these coaches were asleep while Coach Olsen was speaking, or they just decided to do it their own “better” way. I decided to do it Coach Olsens way and if it didn’t work then I’d do more research and make changes. I think these youth coaches really shortchanged their players, ours were so more fundamentally sound, it appeared as if we were practicing 5 days weekly when in fact we were practicing far less than any team in the league and most of the other teams had kids with experience on the teams.