10 Tips for Motivating Your Youth Football Team All Season
Dragging cleats, distracted players, and frustrating practices… you know what we’re talking about: the mid season slump. Here are 10 tips for keeping your players pumped up all season.
10 Tips for Motivating Young Football Players
- Keep practice interesting.
Athletes get discouraged by the same old, same old. Mix up their drills, change up their routines, and work in fun games and team building exercises to spice it up.
- Stay positive!
It’s great to be passionate about your players’ performances, but make sure hard practices and tough losses aren’t followed by negative, punishing words from their coach.
- Keep ‘em moving, but take it easy on the conditioning workouts.
Okay, don’t take it too easy, but recognize when there’s too much of a good thing. Too much repetition and too many drills will burn out your players mentally and physically.
- Tell your team why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Beyond their love of the game, players might not understand why they’re running certain drills, performing tough exercises, or studying complex drills. Teach them how specific aspects of practice are making them better players and teammates.
- Pay attention to your players.
Of course you spend time teaching, encouraging, correcting, instructing, and well, coaching. Here’s the rub: It’s equally important to listen and observe. Let your players communicate what’s working for them and what isn’t. Then you can adjust accordingly and keep your young players engaged.
- Hang out on and off the field.
Nothing kills the vibe on the field like a team who isn’t jiving together. Give your players plenty of opportunities to bond. Remember, everything doesn’t have to include football. Trust is built through relationships on and off of the field.
- Set realistic goals.
What challenges your youth football team might be a breeze for some teams, and what’s realistic for them might be a stretch for another team. Their goals should be tough enough to challenge your players without discouraging them. Running a faster mile by the end of the month: realistic. Beating Usain Bolt’s record: discouraging.
- Focus on fun.
You want to win, your players want to win, and their fans want to them to win. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to win every game, and they’re ultimately on the field to have fun. Don’t let an obsession with winning derail your players’ motivation to keep their head in the game and enjoy themselves.
- Win (and lose) together.
Nothing discourages your players like feeling the weight of a loss on their individual shoulders. They celebrate wins as a team, and you celebrate right along with them, so make sure you carry losses as a team. Don’t let players single themselves (or their teammates) out.
- Make sure your young football team knows you believe in them.
Your players spend a lot of time hearing your instructions and feedback, but how often do you tell them you’re proud of them? A little bit of encouragement can go a long way in a sport as competitive as football.
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