Coaching Youth Football, the Team Audit
Many youth football coaches squander their off-season time in areas that in the end won’t do their teams a whole lot of good. Often times coaches will put their time into an area they personally like and not where the team needs the most help. If you really want your youth team to improve in the off-season, the best thing you can do is to improve the coaching in the areas that need the most improvement. Sounds simple right? Well many youth football coaches scatter-gun their approach and end up with the same problems every year.
A year end team “audit” can help you identify where you need to be investing your off-season time. One simple way to do a pretty quick and accurate audit is to rate your team against the teams you played during your season and rank aspects of your play against theirs. You rank your teams performance against the aggregate performance of your opponents. On scale of 1-10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, how did your team compare to its competition in X aspect of the game? A score of 10 would mean your team was in the 91-100 percentiles. A score of 8 would mean you were in the 71-80 percentiles. A score of 1 would mean you were in the 0-10 percentiles. You get the idea.
You can get input if you like from your assistant coaches using a free tool like Surveymonkey. Allowing coaches some input has some ownership value, but be careful, some coaches have agendas and prejudices. One very successful local High School coach told me, “the most important opinion is your own.” Obviously you can do a more accurate job if you are brutally honest with yourself and take another look at your games on film.
These are the areas you may consider evaluating:
Offensive Line Play
Offensive Back Play
Interior Defensive Line Play
Defensive End Play
Defensive Back Play
Kick Return Team
Punt Return Team
Once you have compiled your data, rank them from lowest number to highest number to determine your weak and strong points. Now rank those same aspects from 1 to 33 in their order of importance. So a 1 would be the most important aspect to you meeting your goals and 33 the least important. Then multiply the score by the ranking, total them up and list them high to low. For example if you rated yourself a 4 on ball security and you ranked it #1 for importance, the score for ball security would be 4. If you rated yourself a 9 on PAT team and you ranked PAT #11, your score would be 99 for PAT. In this example you would probably be investing quite a bit of time with improving your ball security and little on the PAT team. This process should be a good starting point to help you understand where your teams and youth football coaching skills need to improve.
The off-season and especially January- March offer a lot of opportunities to attend coaching clinics. If that doesn’t work out in your schedule, then books and DVDs are always available. Just make sure the topics are where you should be prioritizing your time and that the instruction is proven and youth friendly.
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