High school programs that have vibrant community youth programs are more advanced than those without. To most coaches, that is no big surprise. The reason why is not as apparent. Some believe it is because good athletes get exposed to soccer and other sports at an early age and never develop a motivation to play football. Other believe it is the skill development. Whatever the reason, you do need to realize that whether or not you believe kids should be playing organized sports at that age, the motivated ones (and inclined parents) will be. With or without your program. Now, if you create your own program, you can help orchestrate it so it is most beneficial for the youths’ development, instead of leaving that up to chance.
Here at Impakt, we are all about helping you do more with less. Yes, we want your program to improve, and yes, we realize you probably don’t have time to develop a whole youth league along with all your other responsibilities. First, if you are feeling the time crunch, have you checked out our Impakt Coaching? If you are already saving yourself time and energy with Impakt, then look to parents. Below is our recommendation to getting a youth league off the ground the right way, without over-committing yourself.
- Find the Right Parents. Talk to your elementary teachers to find these gems. Based off the values you wish to develop in a youth league, ask your 2nd – 4th grade teachers which parents share those values and possess a desire to be involved. This will be the most essential step to the future success.
- Approach openly. State your motives and include them in your vision. Allow them to have a lot of the freedom on how it is all set up, as long as it fits the values and achieves your mission. If you like control, this will be the most challenging step. Let go and watch it grow.
- Provide resources. They likely will need field space more than money. Need refs or coaches? You have a plentiful supply of players who should be volunteering in the community. This will pay huge dividends by having all these youngsters admiring their coach and bringing their families to watch your team on Friday nights.
- Publicly praise. This program will take years to see the benefits and their will likely not be any pay for the parents. The only external reward they will see is likely coming from you. How much do you think they would be energized by you mentioning them, by name, in a pre-season press release?
We’d love to hear some stories about youth leagues in your area. If you have the need to set up a league, share this with a fellow coach to get the ball rolling.
– Coach Campbell