I used to drive a lot for companies. I would often need to do several runs where I got up at 3:00 or 4:00, do several meetings, and maximize the efficiency of the trip to 10: 00-23: 00 the same evening. Of course, it was hard to stay awake, so I would channel surf and listen to talk radio. The more outrageous it was, the easier it was to stay awake and listen to it. There used to be a woman named Dr. Laura who was on whom I would catch now and then, who had a famous little book published called “Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Destroy Their Lives.” Although the book’s title seems rather harsh, it was just in goal, with details of 10 very common but preventable (not common sense) things women often did to ruin their own lives.


Unfortunately, there are a lot of common threads that run across the bad performance of football clubs. I’ve seen a lot of poor football teams for young kids after training for 15 years in six different leagues and creating/managing various youth football teams. I even took two years off to research the country’s greatest and worst youth football programs, not just in my neighborhood. While there are many ways to skin a cat, the teams who consistently finished at the bottom seemed to share many characteristics. This is a squad that has repeatedly finished in the bottom half of the rankings year after year and has difficulty maintaining players. It was hard to see some of these teams practice and play games; I felt bad for the children who had to play for some of these coaches; regrettably, many of the children were playing their final youth soccer season. In many cases, these teams had more skill than I had anticipated, but they were so badly taught that they had little possibility of individual achievement and little if any, team success.


6) Lack of coaching.

While the typical youth football coach will spend between 110-160 hours per season in practice, travel, and playing alone, many do not spend a single hour researching becoming a better youth football coach. Less than 15% of youth coaches ever buy coaching materials. When these coaches were tested on coaching materials, most people had no idea that these materials existed and did not own anything. The second taste of coaches laughed at it as if they knew everything they needed to know and did not care to own anything, despite their team consistently lacking in success.

5) Silly Playbook.

These coach books often looked like the 25 best gigs (or more) the coach had seen on TV on Saturdays and Sundays. There was no serial basis for these crimes. Most of the pieces stood on their own and were often connected with various formations. Other crimes included those who had no chance of success unless their team had a monopoly on the best talent in each league. These crimes did not suit the talent or age group of the respective teams. The playbooks were often over 40-50 pieces, of which not a single work was performed to perfection.

4) Non-existent blocking system

It was blocking systems either non-existent or poorly coached. “Block the guy from you” seemed to be the basic approach, but of course, it’s not a blocking scheme or a rule. None of these teams would pull down, block, double layer, trap or even cross blocks. Blocking was not a priority and was usually not assigned to the head coach.

3) Does not teach with Progressions.

Many of these instructors had previously played football but had no idea how to pass their knowledge to their charges. It doesn’t matter what the coaches know in the end; what counts is what the players know. These instructors had no concept of teaching development and frequently attempted to teach tactics that, even if trained properly, an ordinary youth football player would have very little chance of mastering.

2) To teach inappropriate techniques in age.

Many youth football coaches are unaware of what average children of various ages can and cannot do. Many coaches become irritated because the ordinary youth player cannot do what the coach did in high school when he was 18 years old and had nine years of playing experience under his belt, let alone have the body maturity and year-round training routine that most high school students currently have. Others (a very small number) misjudge what can be accomplished; sure, age 8-10 children can pull, trap, throw short passes on the run, and play zone defense, but no, they cannot throw 20-yard touchdown gives or reach block nine technical defensive ends.

1) Very poorly “designed” methods / wrong priorities.

Too much standing and at a pace make an Indy 500 car appear like a tortoise on race day. It’s no surprise that the youngsters are bored and seem to have under-trained; they squandered most of their training time by taking long breaks between exercises, reps, and everything else. Methods that are poorly conceived and performed and appear to place a priority on wasting time. Instead of refining the crucial success elements for developing youth football teams and players, emphasize and spend important time on non-vital vague factors. Time is spent elsewhere or wasted unnecessarily instead of perfecting the technology, keeping players accountable for flawless technology, perfect systems, and developing players.