Play 4 Fun Sports - NFL Youth Flag Football Program
General Youth Coaching Principles
Before you read on, we'd like
to thank you for your interest in volunteering your time to
coach your children, their friends and other youth in our
community. Your assistance, time and dedication are vital
components of our program and they would not be possible without
your involvement. Coaching youth sports should be a tremendously
rewarding experience and Play 4 Fun Sports will do whatever
we can to support your efforts.
At the same time, coaching is an extremely important responsibility.
A good coach always places the best interests of a player
before winning. Above all, coaches need to ensure that this
NFL Youth Flag Football program is a positive, rewarding and
enjoyable experience for all participants.
If you follow the coaching guidelines and general principles
below, the players and their parents will be better served.
Ten Coaching Guidelines
The Referees' Responsibilities
Whether you are an experienced coach or a novice taking the
reins of your first team, your main goal should be to create
a fun and safe learning environment for your players. Many
of the skills your players will practice and play with are
just like those of their NFL heroes. Feel free to emphasize
this connection to the real-life game!
NFL FLAG games were designed to make it easy for every player
to participate in their team's success. While size and skill
certainly come into play when the action starts, your coaching
should emphasize this aspect of "working together.”
Tackle Tackling Early
Don't let your practices dissolve into a giant pile of rambunctious
kids. For both their safety and your sanity, make sure to
discourage any tackling or roughness early on. Remind them
that they won't help their team in a game by tackling or being
Sportsman Ship Rules
Help your players be good sports. After a game, shake hands
with or do a cheer for the other team. Applaud good play by
both sides. Treat officials with respect. While imitating
you, your team won't even recognize the good lesson they’re
Let Them Play Football!
The temptation to be another Don Shula or Bill Walsh will
have to wait. This is NFL Youth Flag Football. While teaching
football skills and strategies is important, keep your lessons
as simple as possible. As your team grasps the basics, move
on to more advanced ideas. Overloading young players with
too much information too early can cause confusion for them
and headaches for you.
Play 4 Fun!
We thank you for your volunteer service. NFL FLAG couldn't
happen without you – but remember to have fun too!
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Ten Coaching Guidelines
- A coach should be enthusiastic without being intimidating.
They should be sensitive to the children's feelings and
genuinely enjoy spending time with them. A coach should
be dedicated to serving children and understand that football
provides physical and emotional growth for its participants.
Remember, NFL FLAG is for the children.
- A coach needs to realize that they are a teacher, not
a drill sergeant. They should help children learn and work
to improve their skills. Personal gains are never a consideration.
The job does not depend on winning. The best interest of
the child transforms into the best interests of the game.
- The safety and welfare of the children never can be compromised.
A coach will consider these factors above all others.
- Be patient. Don't push children beyond limits in regards
to practice. Children have many daily pressures –
the football experience should not be one of them. Playing
football should be fun.
- Care more about the players as people than as athletes.
The youth football program is a means to an end, not an
end in itself.
- A coach should encourage players to dream and set lofty
goals. It is important to remain positive and refrain from
discouraging remarks. Negative comments are remembered far
more often than positive affirmations.
- Remember that the rules of the game are designed to protect
the participants, as well as to set a standard for competition.
Never circumvent or take advantage of the rules by teaching
deliberate misconduct. A coach who puts his or her opponents'
team at risk should not be involved with children.
- Be the first person to demonstrate good sportsmanship.
Take a low profile during the game and allow the kids to
be the center of attention.
- Parents and players place a lot of trust and confidence
in the coach. The coach has an important role in molding
the athletic experience of the child.
- A coach can measure success by the respect he gets from
his or her players, regardless of victories or defeats.
Children who mature socially and physically while participating
in sports are the best indication of good coaching.
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- On the youth level, referees should be aware that participants
are new to the game. Often, it is their first experience
with organized sports.
- Be familiar with rule modifications and their implementation.
- A referee can act as a teacher by explaining a rule or
call that is made.
- Make calls consistent with the level of play.
- Insist that the playing field and equipment are safe for
the children. Use good judgment in assessing weather conditions
(e.g. cancel games immediately in the event of lightning).
- Promote good sportsmanship through respectful behavior
to both coaches and teams.
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Coaching tips are offered by Jerry Horowitz, retired head
football coach at John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx,
New York. Horowitz guided John F. Kennedy High to the 1984,
1991, 1994, 1996 and 2000 New York City High School Football
Championship. In 1984, 1996 and 2000 John F. Kennedy High
won the New York State High School Football Championship.
Questions? Please contact Play 4 Fun Sports at (248) 877-7529