Saturday, November 19, 2011

Coaching Football

I had a great time coaching this year in the Eastern Thunder Youth Football League. Last year, I assisted on one of the an 8 and Under teams. I was excited to be asked to lead a team this year. The number of kids that came out for football was outstanding, and the League had need for a 3rd 8 and Under team.

I had a challenge in front of me, because my team was going to be a team comprised of first-year players. We would be competing against teams that played last year. One year makes a huge difference with these young kids.

I was able to select some talented players that I thought would give us a chance of winning a few games.

It was slow-going at the start of the season, teaching the kids the fundamentals and the basic objectives of the game. My brother-in-law was coaching the Red 8U team and asked if we could "scrimmage" each other before the season started.

What an eye-opener. We were so raw. They were like a well oiled machine. We fell for simple ball fakes, and had difficulty staying in position to make tackles. I knew the start of the season would be rough, but not this rough. We got in a few more practices and we were slowly getting the hang of it. My assistants, and a few dads did a great job of helping us all get through practices.

We started off the season with a Jamboree at the EGHS varsity football field. We played the 8U Black team (who won the championship last year). We gave up 4 touchdowns, and we scored once to get on the board. I was encouraged at how far we came from the scrimmage we had just a couple of days earlier.

We opened the regular season with a victory. We lost the next two by a combined 3 points. What a great teaching moment it was to show the kids that each play counts. We fell short on just a few plays because of lack of execution, and that was the difference in those games. We were pumped to play harder in our remaining games. We won the next 3.

My team had a few players that were play makers and really helped make a difference in the games, but as a whole we were playing much better as a TEAM. We were blocking better and we were tackling better as a team. Unfortunately we came up short against our bigger and stronger 8U Black team in the playoffs.

We finished 4-3 for the year. Not bad for a group of players that didn't know much about football just 3 months prior.

Thanks to my friend Eric Thompson for taking pictures of the team during the season! And thanks to my Assistants, Dann and Kris. It was a blast this year. I hope to do it again next year.

Until then, I will be spending the off season coaching Biddy Basketball and T-ball.