Youth Football – Beware and Praise the “Fundamentals” Football Coach

If you are coaching youth football, high school link alternatif sbobet, college football and even professional football (according to Lombardi) the team that blocks and tackles the best will usually win most games. If anything, a team that is fundamentally sound and executes the base fundamentals well will always be a competitive team over the long haul. So one would logically conclude that if you teach great fundamentals, your kids learn them, embrace them, buy into them and execute them, your teams would be competitive. In turn if you wanted to field competitive teams, your emphasis would be tilted very heavily to coaching great fundamentals. I COULD NOT AGREE MORE.

In the leagues I’ve coached in the teams that were fundamentally sound in technique and scheme were almost always very competitive. On a rare odd-ball occasion a freakish group of players would come together and do well in spite of their fundamentals and coaching, but those occasions were very rare, much rarer than most youth football coaches would like to admit. I saw that odds defying freak group of kids in less than 10% of the games I’ve watched. I have however seen far more very average skilled but extremely well coached teams consistently beat teams chocked full of better athletes who weren’t coached well and were not fundamentally sound. I see those kinds of teams winning far more often than the freak group.

So why should you beware of coaches that preach fundamentals? I’ve seen too many consistently losing teams who have coaches that preach, ” I don’t care about wins, all I care about is teaching fundamentals”. They try and cover for their losing ways by preaching that they are not going to concern themselves with winning, but for the higher purpose of teaching great fundamentals.

The only problem with that equation is that if a team is being taught and has learned great fundamentals, they will be competitive over the long haul. Again there may be a “perfect storm” mix of very unathletic players and some injuries that can short-out a season, but that shouldn’t be the case year after year. The last thing you want for your son is to have him play for an excuse maker. Is excuse making what you want your son to learn, embrace and emulate? If the game is really about more than wins and losses and X’s and O’s, I would hope that your answer to the above question was no.

I’ve gone to many youth football practices to observe and learn from both great teams and very poor teams. In 2004 I remember going to Lincoln, Nebraska to watch the practice of a team that was failing miserably. This team had some athletic talent and good size size and coach was adamant that he was teaching “nothing but fundamentals”. What I observed at his football practice was much different than what he had told me. They were doing about 30 minutes of stretches and cals followed by about another 30 minutes of agility drills that had very little to do with any fundamental football skill.

The remaining hour was filled with about 40 minutes of inneffective live scrimmaging, with about 1 play being run every 90-120 seconds, an extremely slow pace. The last 20 minutes was all about an impressive showing of the teams conditioning, lots of gassers. They were in great physical shape, had this been a conditioning or cross country competition, they would have won hands down. Instead they were losing all their football games, which is what they should have been preparing for.

Unfortunately this team and many others are coached by guys that have good intentions, but have poor priorities. This coach either didn’t know what great fundamentals were or maybe he didn’t know how to teach great fundamentals. My guess is it was a little of both mixed in with a huge dose of not understanding his critiacl success factors and putting his practice priorities in place. Just doing a specific drill, done without precision over and over and over again wrong, does little to improve the fundamental skill level of youth football players. Practice DOES NOT make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.

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