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If you’re coaching youth football you know that all kids, it seems, want to play a position other than the one they’re assigned by their coaches.
I address this situation in a letter to the parents and kids. I read this letter to everyone on the first day of football practice, and as I said, include it in their playbooks as page 1. The beauty of this approach is that the youth player and his parents know from day one where they stand and what it will take to excel in our program.
This letter is also part of the first page of the playbook that explains how to maximize their son’s playing time and win a shot at the position of their dreams, even if the coaches have assigned them somewhere else.
The letter motivates them to not only study their playbook from their assigned position for just 10 minutes a night, but to learn a position they’d rather play as well.
In the playbook I include skill sets for each position, as well as the plays themselves. And I explain that I distinguish boys of similar athleticism by their mental capacity to grasp the plays, concepts and skill sets in the playbook.
With the help of their parents, I encourage them to learn someone else’s position too so they can ultimately win the position of their dreams by proving they grasp that position better than the boy currently playing the position.
I also stress in the letter the responsibility each player has to his teammates in terms of work ethic and attendance, etc, and explain that playing time is a reflection of the commitment a player makes to his team, not just something they’re automatically entitled to.
Year after year I have seen the more motivated youth players win jobs from the less motivated, and even do so with less physical talent.
This approach also mitigates a lot of the resentments that build up among parents on the sideline who don’t understand how or why their son, the next Peyton manning by their estimation, isn’t starting at QB, etc.