If you are thinking of volunteering to coach recreation youth football in the upcoming season in our area the following are some facts that friends and colleagues have given me for being a good volunteer coach.
First, remember that your success as a youth coach is not measured by wins and losses. Yes, everyone wants to win and no one ever coaches their team to lose. But, let's face it, losing is part of the game and a fact that we all had to learn before we entered the work force and the game of life.
So remember, win or lose, as long as your team gave you it's best, you won and they won. Twenty years from know you will be hard-pressed to find someone that remembered the score of the game, and if you do they probably will remember the fact that you were their coach and that was more important than the score anyhow.
Second, set expectations for your team, parents and yes, yourself before the first practice.
Make them easy, like arrive to practice on time, give your best and have a great attitude. And remember this goes for you, the coach, just as it does the players and parents.
Third, teach your team to have short term memories when it comes to certain aspects of the game. You have to remind them not to worry about the previous play. If it's your offense, they can't worry about an incomplete pass, a missed block, an interception or a fumble. If it's your defense, they need to forget about a missed tackle, a missed interception opportunity or a long pass completion for a touchdown. That play’s over and we can't take it back, but let's learn from it and move on. Teach them that it's better to have given your best and tried to make the play than to not have tried at all.
Fourth, remember this is just a game and it is meant to teach the fundamentals of the game, sportsmanship and teamwork, all lessons that we can use for a lifetime. Oh, and did I mention it's supposed to be FUN.
Last but not least, as a coach, if you have helped these youngsters learn the game, be able to deal with adversity, respect their teammates, their coaches and the officials and, above all, to have FUN, then all of the time, energy and, yes, at times money that you have invested has made you a success as a youth coach.
If you have done this then wins or losses will never enter into the equation.