Coaching Youth Football – Reviewing the Past Season During the Off-Season


I always recommend spending a good portion of the youth football off-season reviewing the past year. You want to continue to do what works and get rid of what didn’t. If this is the first year running a different offense or defense this is especially true. I remember the first year we ran the Single Wing offense with 8-9 year-olds we had such an occurrence. Our Running Back position decided to cut every power play to the outside.

The power play is an inside run where you must follow the lead backs to the hole. By trying to cut the run to the outside he was abandoning the blockers and was getting tackled for small or no gains. I learned that when coaching the young kids you really need to make sure they understand the importance of the play being run the way it is shown in practice.

It is best to wait a few months after the youth football season ends to reflect on what actually happened on the previous year. Is important to make sure you can differentiate from what really happened versus what you thought happened. There has been many times when I felt we were doing one thing well by the end of the year and I was dead wrong. By waiting a few months you can clear your mind and review the past year looking for anything that will help you be a better coach in the upcoming year.

Every year you coach a different age or skill level you’ll find things that have worked from previous years at previous levels, and things that do not. You must be honest with yourself and realize that not all things work best at all levels. I always keep an entire log with detailed notes of the entire year. It is a wonderful reference for future years. I start each year by grabbing the binder from a previous year that most closely resembles the age and talent level I will be coaching this year.

Beware that each New Year will bring you new talent. What may have succeeded last year may not be appropriate for the upcoming youth football season. Make sure you keep an open mind at the beginning of the season before you make any final decisions.

Jim Oddo