What Time Do The Eagles Football Team Play Today Being a "Contrarian" When Coaching Youth Football

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Being a "Contrarian" When Coaching Youth Football

Wading upstream when coaching youth soccer

Many “mature” youth soccer programs that have been in existence for more than 10 years or more have entrenched characteristics. Many times it is almost as if some of these clubs have their own identity or even “brand”. Most leagues are made up of different recognizable “brands” or clubs. Each has its own unique personality and way of working.

Most youth soccer leagues are made up of a variety of these unique “brands.” There is often friendly, and sometimes almost hostile and unhealthy competition between coaches of different clubs.

The nature of the beast

As most of you coaches know, it takes a lot of time and effort to get a youth football program up and running. While most of the “heavy lifting” is done by the “parent coaches”, for long-term stability there must be continuity, and that means some leadership that stays beyond the “lifetime” of their own children’s participation. Unfortunately, for most organizations, those types of resources are somewhat limited. Thank God for these people, without them we would all have to start from scratch every few years.

Unfortunately, SOME of those that have been around for a long time carry with them some unnecessary baggage that actually inhibits the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. Some of these well-intentioned coaches will coach against you and don’t like change or anything that makes their organization look bad. They will always be your biggest critics. Any kind of “change” means they’ll have to learn how to defend a new scheme or defend against techniques they’ve never seen before.

Be a little different

My teams are the most filmed, studied and talked about in the league we play in because we run something very different than anyone else, we consistently score a lot of points and we consistently win. I’m sure those opposing coaches get tired of listening to their parents; “Why can’t we perform or score like the Eagles?” Or why don’t we have those cool football games like Eagles? Or why you can’t pass the ball to as many players as the Eagles. Or why can’t our kids block and tackle and shut down the defense like the Eagles do?” They’re tired of hearing that and sometimes their frustration and embarrassment shows. Unfortunately, if these coaches can’t stop you, they will often try to belittle you or become the king of the excuse makers.

We get to hear so many interesting stories from your coaches via email, phone and in person at clinics. That’s probably the most fun part of me doing this, hearing these amazing stories and in some cases being able to help in a small way. Some of the situations you have to face are very difficult and stupid in my opinion. There is often selfishness and back covering in youth football at so many levels. While there are fantastic leagues with great and dedicated people reaching out to kids all over the country, on the other hand, there are also small-minded, egotistical, jealous “human barriers”.

Working in several private clinics these past few months, I have had the privilege of working with several quality organizations and several groups of simply outstanding trainers. Coaches who weren’t just great X’s and O’s guys, but guys who were in youth football for the right reasons. Some of the things I saw: teams that were loaded with kids, all coming back to play (high retention numbers), enthusiastic coaches, an open and dedicated coaching staff. In general, their children respected and admired them, an easy group of children to work with. You could just tell the kids loved playing the game, couldn’t wait to start soccer practice, and hated it when practice was over. In fact, one group of coaches was able to transfer a group of 20 or so players overnight to practice the next day. This was in the middle of baseball and lacrosse season, you know they’re doing something right when they can pull it off.

The youth football drama unfolds

I have to share with you a story that was recently told to me in “off-hours” conversations at one of these clinics by a trainer who first introduced our system last year:. After our classroom clinic and field demonstrations, we went with the coaching staff to a local restaurant for lunch. One of the more demonstrative coaches shared with the group in a very animated way some very funny stories about his first season in my offense. He was at a game last season scouting the opponent and heard several coaches from his opponent the following week talk about his team. The opposing coaches had no idea that our friend was a coach because they were unknowingly bragging to him about how they would beat his team next week. These opposing coaches seemed so excited to stop that “silly” offense and blow up the wedge game and all with ease. was and how he had no chance against their defense. In fact, these coaches engaged our friend in conversation, demonstrating to him how the linemen would drop low and huddle together, again sarcastically mocking the offense all the way. their shock and horror the following week when they saw this same coach come out for the coach’s introduction and coin toss.

Our friend is a real storyteller, he’s one of those guys who’s all smiles and can put you on edge, you know the guy, the life of the party. While he was telling the story, he was full of activity, standing up, sitting down, moving around the table, flailing his arms, his voice rising and falling, and of course lots of smiling and laughing. The results of the game were almost as interesting as the way the story was told. By the time the game started, our friend was a little excited and decided to start with a game of wedges to see if the other team really had all the answers to back up their coaches’ bravado. The offense’s first drive was a 70-yard touchdown, the coach grinned a little and was pretty happy. After holding the other team to 3 and out, the next play for our team of friends: you guessed it, a 63 yard punt. On the inside, our hero was beaming, pumping his fist in the air, silencing his ill-informed appraisers, but on the outside he was calm and confident, with perhaps a hint of a knowing smile on his face.

He thought about driving a wedge through every part of that first half to prove a point, but he was the better man and passed up what was probably pretty tempting. By halftime the score was 35-0, and our hero pulled the dogs and led to the final 42-7. At the end of his story, I joined the crowd in a roar of laughter that was probably loud enough to startle several diners. Thank goodness it was Florida and we were in a fairly modest venue that this group regularly frequents. I think I laughed so hard that part of my lung is still on the floor somewhere in that restaurant. These weren’t his only critics, in the end his team finished an incredible 14-1. They beat at least 7 teams that had far more talent than his team, based on the game footage I watched. It was a magical season for a youth football team that lacked a winning tradition and a great coach.

Although I have met several times with some of the coaches of this team (very good guys), I have never met this coach. Our introduction involved a warm heterosexual embrace, something that comes from sharing a common bond or experience. I’m always a bit surprised by the warm welcome I get from people I’ve never met. But being a Midwesterner, for me that’s one of the biggest advantages of doing what I do.

Know that it can come to you

Be prepared, that’s what I’m trying to tell you. When you don’t run the same thing as most teams in your league, you can be the target of a few shots. If you have more talent than anyone in your league, it makes a lot of sense to run exactly what everyone else is running if it makes you happy. But when you don’t match up, when you DON’T have the best talent, how are you going to be able to compete doing the same things as most of your opponents? When you score a lot of points and win a lot of games like many or most of our teams do, some will unfortunately have the fangs of jealousy. Stay the course, but know that those hits may come your way.

In the end, many curious and critics of our hero in this story now take his team seriously. When you have success, it’s impossible to ignore it, no matter how much someone wants it. The teams in this club that have run our system have gone a combined 23-1 and now other teams in the club are looking to adopt some of what they are doing. I know this coach is forever grateful to coach (KMJ) who introduced this system to this organization. I’m sure the parents are glad that the coach was open enough to listen to the coach (KMJ) who did the research. learned and drew his attention to the system. Mind you, I am NOT taking credit for this team’s success, the coaches and players did a simply excellent job, their execution was almost flawless.

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