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Is winning the most important thing in youth football?  

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seeindouble
(@seeindouble)
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Winning and losing can be relative. That 7th grade coach is hiding behind cars in the parking after every game. That 5th grade coach is trying not to cry on everyone's shoulders as they are crying on his after every game.  😛

(Nerd laugh) That's some funny ish.


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coachmiket
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My two year record as a HC is 2-15.  Am I embarassed by that? Certainly.  Were we competitive in nearly every game?  Definitely.  The losses were more my fault for not being a good gameday coach and play caller.  But I'll be darned if anybody is going to tell me that our kids weren't tough kids that knew the fundamentals of the game. 

The team I coached to those two wins is now 6-2 and will be playing for the league championship this weekend.  And I will be there cheering for them.  I built a lot of relationships with the kids that are still there.  I made my way to the field after their semifinal win last weekend to congratulate all of them.

While sitting in the stands before their game, I had 2 sets of parents of former players tell me that on many levels, they wish I was still coaching the team because of the TEAM and FAMILY values I promoted.  I've heard throughout the year that they are going through a solid case of "daddyball" this year.  I couldn't believe that I was hearing this from parents on a team that was one win away from the title.

Then I had the father of the biggest head case we had the last two years that if it weren't for me, and two other AC's I worked with on that team that his son would not know how to find a football on a football field and might not be playing anymore.  His name was called several times over the PA system for making tackles.  He then told me that he knows he and I had our differences the last two years but he now understands why I did the things I did and he is very appreciative for the way we coached his son.

So I'm going to go out and say that no, winning is not the most important thing.


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CoachDP
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The REAL reason I coach is to teach my players the life lessons of teamwork, sportsmanship, dedication, hard work, perseverance, honor, etc.

I can't teach them these things if they don't turn out for football, and kids won't  turn out for football if a team is not competitive.

Make no mistake, we coach to win.  But like Craig says, that's not really the reason we're out there.  We can teach them teamwork, sportsmanship and develop a mission for academic success and integrity but if we don't win, those messages are harder to sell.  I'm a competitive person.  Since I work hard at what I do, I want to win at what I do.  But I want my players to also experience that level of success and learn what they can achieve if they put their mind to it.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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billb7581
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We've played teams this season that haven't won a single game.  One of those teams accrued a total of 3 touchdowns the entire season (2 touchdowns against my team because we changed things up to prevent a slaughter).  With that said, perhaps I'm completely naive (being this is my first year as a head coach and second year coaching) but I will not give any excuses for those two teams...it boils down to poor coaching in my mind.  I don't think my players are naturally more gifted than those teams...I think it boils down to the fact that I was pro-active, I joined this forum, I bought some coaching materials, I studied, I ask questions, I do what I can to be a better coach. I'd rather have better coaching and no talent rather than having awesome talent with poor coaching.  Unless you truly believe that god plays favorites and decided to give ALLLLLL the talent and athleticism to the other towns and you're left with uncoachable rejects...when you fail to be competitive, that's on YOU as a coach.  At this age group, I would expect that all kids are close to equal.  You're going to have outliers on either side of the standard deviation, those that are faster or more aggressive and those that are slower and less aggressive.  You work with what you have.

Players can learn many values from different sports and different life experiences.  I'm all for rolling various things into football, but being competitive should not be devalued.  Being competitive is especially important in any contact sport.  Each down is an individual fight as well as team vs. team.  If we were talking about mixed martial arts or boxing, the referee would stop the fight if the fighter took multiple punches to the head and was unable to intelligently defend himself...but imagine if the fight continued for 4-15 minute quarters...because that's kind of the game of football.  If you're on the field consistently receiving a butt-kicking, how is that going to foster a LOVE FOR THE GAME?  Are you really learning about TEAMWORK when your "team" obviously isn't functioning as a team because you cannot score points or stop your opponent in order to win the game.  Maybe you could learn about sportsmanship and how to deal with losing.  Camraderie?  that's a stretch, how could you feel great about your coach or your teammates if they consistently let you down by failing to execute?  If you're "preparing for the next level" chances are that your Jr. Pee Wee team stinks too...that's been my experience at least.  I don't think I've played a team that has a dominant mitey-mite team but their Jr. Pee Wees stink.

We bought  materials from Dave Cisar and won the league championship and thought we were all geniuses last year at the JPW level, moved up to PW and got our asses handed to us. 

Dont get too full of yourself Francis.    Sometimes you get a good group


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CoachDP
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Unless you truly believe that god plays favorites and decided to give ALLLLLL the talent and athleticism to the other towns and you're left with uncoachable rejects...when you fail to be competitive, that's on YOU as a coach.  At this age group, I would expect that all kids are close to equal.  You're going to have outliers on either side of the standard deviation, those that are faster or more aggressive and those that are slower and less aggressive.  You work with what you have.

Agree.  Every year, I believe that we have the tools.  How I use them and how well I use them is up to me.  Every year, I believe that our opponents have the tools, too.  Problem is, I see too many coaches who try to use a garden hoe as a telephone, or a weed-whacker as if it were a CD Player.  No clue at all...

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Coach D
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Besides helping boys become young men with confidence and integrity, I have always kinda said it like this, and it goes with what Dave Cisar already said about playing to your full potential. 

I'm happy if we win the games we should win, be competitive in the games we are over matched, and steal a couple because we worked hard for it or surprised a team that underestimated us.  When I start losing games that I know we should have won, or know I didn't prepare for correctly, or start to see my team quitting even when there is still a chance, I have to question if I should still be out there. 


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Prodigy
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There is a difference between winning and being competitive.  A competitive team always has a reasonable chance to win a football game, a non-competitive team does not.

Next, I'm not sure why people are shy about the topic of winning.  I don't want any part of a coach that doesn't hold winning in high regard.  Every skill that you teach on the football field should relate to winning.  If it does not, than why are you teaching it?  Are you teaching kids to hit each other just for fun?  because you think that it will help them get a job in this harsh economy?  No, it's to serve some purpose that contributes to the success of the football team by way of touchdowns or (from the perspective of a defensive coordinator - to stop the other team from scoring).

Can we easily measure things like "fun, sportsmanship, perserverence, comraderie, respect, good citizens etc"  no...but we sure can measure wins.  Winning builds credibility and demonstrates competence on some level.  A coach that couldn't win a football game to save his life MIGHT be able to teach the players all sorts of great lessons about life, but that same coach who is competitive, who has a decent record of wins I THINK is going to be taken much more seriously by his players.  He tells the players to do X, Y & Z on the field and this results in a win and the players are able to make that connection "Coach actually knows what he's talking about."  That coach can tell the players to focus on other values and they are going to take it seriously.

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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JohnM71
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I think what's most important is to get the most out of your players and fellow coaches.  If everyone is giving 100% and the team loses, that's ok.  I see way too much half-assed effort by coaches at practice and on gameday, and that's exactly how the players will perform.  I'm tired of hearing coaches tell me "we're too small....we're soft...it's ok because they're having fun..."  I don't buy into that stuff.  The bottom line for me is that if you're ok with losing the game, then you damn well better have put in your best effort.  That gos for both coaches and players.


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davecisar
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Yep lots of excuse making out there it's the new Amerikan way  ::)

Having fun, teaching great fundamentals, getting everyone playing time, being great sports. teaching Character and winning ARE NOT mutually exclusive like some of the perennial losers will tell you.

It doesnt need to be the most important thing
BUT if you do all the other things right over time you will consistently win

In todays "reset" world with so many options- if a kid doesnt have some reasonable success- he is moving on to something else

Over time the good youth coaches will consistently win- Perfect Storm, once in a blue moon- have a losing season? Sure, a poor coach getting lucky via genetics 1 year- sure. But over time the best will win pretty consistently and the worst will lose pretty consistently. My take coaching this stuff over 20 years 4-5 different leagues and working with 100s of coaches nationwide. Most of the time I can tell a guy who is going to win in the first few minutes Im talking to him- rookie coaches who have never coached football before- get them all the time at clinics- can often times tell who the guys who are going to lose all the time or be all over the place etc

When a guy like Joe moves, amazing how lucky he is every time he moves, NY, FL, NC, AYF, PAL, HS, it doesnt matter  ::) Same for Doug- every time he moves- same exact deal- amazing how that seems to work out  😉

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill


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CoachDP
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I'm not sure why people are shy about the topic of winning.

Are they?  I'm not.  From my parents meeting:

"Make no mistake...We are all about winning.  But I'm not just about winning football games.  I want them to win at everything they do.  I want them to win in the classroom.  I want them to win in the community.  I want them to win at home.  And I want them to win on the football field.  So understand that while I am all about winning, it includes more than just football.  Because to me, life is more than just about football."

So we don't play to win; we work to win.  We make no apologies or excuses about it.  We want to finish first.  We want to be the best. And we don't want to be even close with anyone else.  If we aren't significantly better than our opposition, then I'm not doing my job.  If they're not doing their best at home, at school or in their community, then they're not doing their job.  If they don't do their jobs, then they won't play for me. 

We put a lot of pressure on our players to be successful.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed.  I push everyone hard.  I'm not a player's coach, nor am I a coach's coach.  If you're on my team, be prepared to work because I am.

But my goal for my players is to be better than when they came to me.  Not just better football players.  But better young men.  That is the overriding goal.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachBrian
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It doesnt need to be the most important thing
BUT if you do all the other things right over time you will consistently win

Exactly.  I talk about winning all the time with our kids.  We expect to win.  But I don't consider winning the most important things.  If we do the things I feel are the most important, then winning just happens.


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billb7581
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God doesnt play favorites, but some org's around here are drawing from a much bigger area

We draw from 3 towns with a combined population of  19 thousand.

We're up against populations of 40-90 thousand.

In high school these teams would never play each other because they align High Schools by number of students in NJ.


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Prodigy
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Are they?  I'm not.  From my parents meeting:

"Make no mistake...We are all about winning.  But I'm not just about winning football games.  I want them to win at everything they do.  I want them to win in the classroom.  I want them to win in the community.  I want them to win at home.  And I want them to win on the football field.  So understand that while I am all about winning, it includes more than just football.  Because to me, life is more than just about football."

So we don't play to win; we work to win.  We make no apologies or excuses about it.  We want to finish first.  We want to be the best. And we don't want to be even close with anyone else.  If we aren't significantly better than our opposition, then I'm not doing my job.  If they're not doing their best at home, at school or in their community, then they're not doing their job.  If they don't do their jobs, then they won't play for me. 

We put a lot of pressure on our players to be successful.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed.  I push everyone hard.  I'm not a player's coach, nor am I a coach's coach.  If you're on my team, be prepared to work because I am.

But my goal for my players is to be better than when they came to me.  Not just better football players.  But better young men.  That is the overriding goal.

--Dave

This is phenomenal.

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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Test Account
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It is the most important...but because winning a youth ship isnt all that important.
It is the only tangible thing that  they can take with them into every area of their lives.....But for that to make sense? winning has to be a much bigger thana score.

Please don't PM or respond to this Member. It is an account for all of the posts from abandoned or banned Member Accounts.


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MHcoach
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When I look at winning, it's not always about the score board. Yes, I have been extremely fortunate to have coached some talented young men. If often wonder though is it because I see their talent for what it is. How many times have we looked across the field & seen a player with great talent only to watch it being wasted by poor coaching? He's playing out of position, he has no real fundamentals, & he's in an unsound scheme.

Coaching weaker squads isn't always an excuse for not winning. I know this because I have coached weaker teams too. Some we have been lucky enough to go on & win with. Some couldn't win against better teams, they still beat the poorly coached ones. I coached a team that went 6-4, & truly was terrible. I think so much depends on what we as coaches do with what we have. I remember going to a clinic & listening to a big time college coach. He was talking about secondary play, & showing film of incredible plays made by a safety. Being a young coach I asked the foolish question, what if my safety can't do that. He smiled & his replie has always stayed with me. He said, coach if my safety can't do that I recruit one that can, you on the other hand can't recruit one, so coach what you have & use a scheme that fits his talent.

In youth or HS for that matter, we need to coach what we have. We need to make the pieces fit the puzzle, not the puzzle fit the pieces. We also need to make it a team, to instill the important values, if we do that we will win. Every league always has teams that win on a consistant basis, there also are teams that lose on a consistant basis. The 1 factor is the coaching, not the talent.

IMHO, & I have been saying this for years, in youth football blocking & tackling are paramount to success. If you are consistantly losing, look at your blocking & tackling first. Then think about scheme & team dynamics. The first season at Mint Hill we went to Nationals with a team that had 135lbs guards, playing 14 U. During the regular season we played a team that had 2 dt's over 250, they stood up & had no technique. Even so our small guards couldn't move them, we adapted. We played great Defense & won 40-0. 1 of my early mentors always said, is it the player can't or the coach can't teach it.

Joe

"Champions behave like champions before they're champions: they have a winning standard of performance before they are winners"Bill Walsh


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