Advice for Young Football Coaches
Becoming a successful football coach requires the same basic ingredients as most professions. A strong work ethic, commitment, loyalty, and persistence will serve you well in any line of work. Coaching football is no different. Coaching is a profession of long hours, endless learning and is incredibly competitive.
Volumes of books could be written to provide advice for young men looking to join the coaching ranks. Equal amounts of ink could be used to give those young men council on strategy, game planning, quality drills, film study and more.
Provided here are five simple tips that will serve any young of first year football coach well.
1. Use your ears more than your mouth
I think Socrates said it best: “Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue-to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.” One of the worst things a young coach can do is over step his bounds with veteran coaches. Young coaches need to comprehend that you can never know enough. Listen, learn and never allow yourself to feel complacent with your current state of knowledge. Watch veteran coaches. Whenever possible, take notes and ask questions. Look to gain a reputation as a young man driven to learn, not a young man with an over reaching ego.
2. Master a position
The vast ocean of football knowledge can be overwhelming for a young coach. Think of becoming a great coach as a series of steps and benchmarks. If you try to reach all your benchmarks in your first year, you will surely fail. A young coach needs to make a decision very early in his career. Are you going to specialize in offense or defense? The answer to this question will set your course of study for the near future. This is usually determined by the position you played, but it does not have to. Use your first year to learn everything you can about a specific position. Watch coaching videos, go to clinics and read books. Study the position inside and out. Become an authority on it and seek to give that knowledge to your players. As time passes, look to expand your expertise to other positions on your side of the ball. If your spend your first year studying the quarterback position, you will be wise to spend the off-season learning about offensive line play. Take steps and reach benchmarks.
3. Study how to study film
When a coaching staff puts together a game plan, there is no more important tool than watching film. A first year coach will have a tendency to watch game film as if they were a fan watching a football game on television. This is very common and also a huge waste of time. Most coaching staffs will hold film study sessions. A young coach should seize every opportunity to watch film with a seasoned coach. Take notes and ask questions. When the film session is over, get a copy of the film. Take it home and study it on your own. Learn how to evaluate your opponents personnel. Study their tendencies, and look to gain any knowledge that you can share with your coaching staff that will give your team an advantage.
4. Do what is asked of you
Many aspects of coaching are far from glamorous. Equipment inventory, laundry, monitoring study hall, filling water bottles and many other remedial tasks are usually left to the low coach on the totem pole. When you are asked to do your part, do it! Don't ask questions, don't complain, just do your job. Nothing will drive a head coach more crazy than a young assistant coach who feels he's bigger than his chores. Pay your dues, it will pay off.
5. Be patient
It's good to be ambitious. Every young coach want's to be the guy calling the plays and taking questions from the press. Your ambition is a tremendous tool to help drive you and keep you motivated. It's also very important to remain patient. It takes years to achieve enough knowledge to become a quality head coach. Never allow yourself to become blinded by your own ambition. Remain steadfast in your objective to learn, teach and enhance your coaching capabilities.
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