“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not arrogant; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”
I have been a youth football head coach for the past seven seasons, and have developed my coaching philosophy through trial and error, from diligent research on the internet, and from discussions with fellow coaches both on the web and in my league. My overall philosophy is to take an aggressive approach with all facets of the game, offense, defense, and special teams. As a head coach, it is my responsibility not only to develop a program that will achieve success on the football field, but will also develop young men who have a strong sense of citizenship, scholarship, and sportsmanship. Every facet of our program will emphasize these three essential elements. Our goal is to instill in our players a great love for the game based on sound fundamentals that they will carry with them throughout their football careers. We cannot achieve any of our goals if the kids are not having fun. As the head coach, it is my responsibility to ensure that our program priorities do not overshadow the fact that children should be allowed to enjoy the game, while still learning the fundamental skills necessary for success on the football field.
Offensively, I prefer to utilize a ball control, grind it out type of game that also includes a big play misdirection and passing game. I utilize two different offensive schemes, the double wing, which was developed by Coach Don Markham and has set national scoring records, and the Single Wing, which is one of the oldest and most successful offenses in the history of football. The two offenses are very similar but give me the flexibility to utilize the natural talents of my players from season to season rather than insist on running a certain system or play sets that do not fit their natural talents. We can do more with less talent with these offensive systems because they emphasize the importance of the team unit, rather than depending on a few superstar players in order to be successful. Our emphasis will be on execution of a small number of plays, executed perfectly.
My defensive philosophy is equally aggressive and is based on the philosophy of stopping the running game by attacking every gap and putting tremendous pressure on the quarterback in the passing game. Our base defense is a 33 Stack alignment, but we will shift into different defensive fronts, based on down and distance, and in response to what our opponents offense is doing both formation and scheme wise. Our base 33 alignment utilizes a “tap and go” blitzing system between the three stacked linebackers and the three defensive down lineman. This allows us to attack every gap on every play, while confusing the offensive line by removing their pre-snap blocking reads because we will send different players through each gap on any given play. The risk to this type of pressure defense is that there are few second level defenders, so if the offense is successful, we will give up some yardage. The rewards greatly outweigh the risk however, because we create many more turnovers and tackles for losses than in a more passive defensive scheme due to the fact that we usually have more than one defensive player unblocked on any given play. This system also allows us to utilize less talented, or younger players in any of the six “stacked” positions because these players do not necessarily have to be great athletes in order to be successful.
Special Teams Philosophy
My special teams philosophy is probably the most aggressive aspect of my coaching philosophy. My contrarian approach to special teams has the dual purpose of keeping the ball away from my opponents’ returners, while attempting to keep the ball in the hands of our offensive unit as much as possible. I have utilized several different kinds of on-side kicks and have used them with very good results.
The Importance of Parents
Our youth program cannot be successful without the help of dedicated and involved parents. We stress the importance of parents in our program by inviting them to be involved with our team in any way they can. The following parents’ letter was developed in whole by Derek Wade, and I have modified it over the years to suit our specific needs. You can download the original parent’s letter from Derek’s web-site at:
We are happy to welcome all players and parents to the Warriors Youth Football program. We are hopeful that this will be the most exciting and rewarding football season you’ve ever experienced. Our goal is to develop well-rounded young men and women who learn not only the fundamentals of football, but also the importance of education and teamwork, in an atmosphere conductive to developing sound mind, body and character – and having a good time along the way. We practice the ideals of sportsmanship, scholarship and Citizenship. Our program stresses learning lessons of value far beyond the playing days, such as self-discipline, teamwork, concentration, friendship, leadership, and, good sportsmanship.
We, as coaches, will do our very best to ensure that each player is utilized to his utmost potential and their talents are used for the team’s best advantage. The team comes before individuals. Safety is our top concern. Many of the exercises, drills, and team rules are there to ensure your child is prepared to play the game of football, both physically and mentally. Football, even at the youth level, requires a unique commitment from both players and parents. Our football season begins in late August and ends in December, and it is essential that players attend every practice throughout the season. Football is a violent sport, and the chances of a catastrophic injury are much greater than most other sports. Our program is committed to teaching our players the skills and techniques needed in order to play the game safely, thus greatly reducing the chance of a major injury. Even with all of the precautions we take, there is still a chance that your child could suffer a major injury playing football, or possibly death. This may sound dramatic and over-serious, but I cannot stress these points enough to parents. It is for this reason that players who miss practice during any given week will see a reduction in playing time, and chronic absences, regardless of the reason, will result in your child being removed from our program. Please take these factors into considerations when deciding if our program is right for you.
- Finish all homework prior to practices and maintain passing grades in school.
- Practices are mandatory. If a player misses a practice during the week, he will lose one quarter of playing time. If a player misses more than one practice during the week, the player will not play that Saturday. There are no excused absences, but as a courtesy, parents are asked to notify us ahead of time if their children will not be able to attend practice. Chronic absences from practice, regardless of the reason, can result in the player being removed from the team at the discretion of the head coach.
- Respect coaches, teammates, parents, and opponents. Respect goes both ways, coaches will lead by example and are held to the same standards.
- Maintain all assigned equipment and always come to practice in the right uniform, ready to play. Any equipment issues should be dealt with prior to practice, there will always be a coach there 15 minutes early to help players deal with equipment issues..
- Arrive on time for practices and games. Six pm means you are on the field and in position at six pm, so you must be a few minutes early. A six pm practice begins at 5:55pm.
Coaching youth players requires a different mind-set than coaching at the upper levels of football. We will reward our players by offering them encouragement during practices and games, and we strive to keep a positive attitude and praise players whenever possible. We keep criticism to a minimum, and always use some form of constructive criticism. One of the best ways that we have found to reward our players is by allowing them to play a fun game at the end of practice. We use these rewards as a motivational tool, but players must earn these rewards by achieving a pre-determined goal. One of the lessons we want our players to learn is that they will not be rewarded if they do not put forth the effort to earn that reward.
Traditionally we have had very few issues with disciplinary problems. We keep our players involved and interested by having fast paced, lively practices. By virtually eliminating the amount of time players spend standing in line, or listening to a coach give speeches, we have also virtually eliminated discipline issues. On the rare occasions that we do have a disciplinary problem, we will generally have the team “re-focus” by doing some form of exercise; a few “up downs” usually do the trick. If a player’s behavior becomes too much of a distraction, he will be sent to the sideline for the remainder of practice, and will lose 1 quarter of playing time the following Saturday. Chronic behavior issues can result in the player being removed from the team, at the discretion of the head coach.
Player positions can be a touchy subject for some players and parents. It is important for both parents and players to understand that football is the ultimate team game, and there are no “bad” positions. It is the responsibility of the coaching staff to ensure that players are placed in positions that will ultimately lead to the overall success of the team. Players will be assigned a position after a careful evaluation process. We want our players to play in a position that allows them to have personal success, while adding to the overall success of the team. On offense, we utilize pulling lineman on the majority of our plays, so some of our best athletes will play these positions. Please keep in mind that just because a player is a guard or tackle as a youth player, they will not necessarily be playing that position in junior high or high school. If parents have any questions as to why their child is playing a specific position, the head coach will be happy to discuss the issue either before or after practice, or over the phone. However, the coaching staff will not discuss any other players’ position. We want our players to have fun and be successful, and we will work on general football skills for all of our players in order to familiarize them with other positions. For example, we will teach all of our players how to block, tackle, and hold a football, etc., regardless of their set position.
It is the policy of our program to ensure that every player has a starting position on either offense or defense. Not only is this our policy, it is also a league rule, and we strictly enforce it. In the event that we have more than 22 players, which has never happened, a few players will rotate every few plays, but not for more than 1 quarter. Every player on our team will learn an offensive and defensive position, and we strive to get each player as much playing time on offense and defense as possible, though considerations are made by the coaching staff based on players ability to play each position safely. A situation could arise where a player is not prepared to participate in a game because he is not prepared either mentally or physically. We have encountered this situation only a handful of times, and we will discuss any playing time/safety concerns with the player and his parents before the game. League rules state that a child must either play on offense or defense however, we reserve the right to withhold playing time due to either missing practice, discipline problems, or if a player is physically not able to safely participate. Football is a collision sport, and can be dangerous, especially if the correct techniques of blocking and tackling are not learned and adhered to. There have only been a handful of instances over the last six seasons where we have limited a child’s playing time due to a safety concern. In each instance, the player eventually mastered the required techniques and received their required playing time. It is the responsibility of the head coach to discuss any limitations of a players playing time before the game in question. We will not approach you on game day and inform you that your child is not going to play due to a discipline/safety issue. That wouldn’t be fair to you or your child. Some coaches will use this excuse to limit the playing time of a less skilled player; we will never do this here. It is our job as coaches to teach the techniques and position each player to ensure that they will be successful.
Nothing in life, including football, is worthwhile unless you enjoy it and gain something from the experience. We stress winning and losing in everything we do. Our teams thrive on competition and our players learn that there is a winner and a loser, and there is no shame in losing. Sure, we’re trying to win football games and we are going to set our goals high, but it shouldn’t ruin our lives if we lose. Our football team should not believe that a football loss is a tragedy. All you can ask of our kids is to do their best. If we win, Great! If we lose, it’s not the end of the world. There will be another game along in a few days. Coaches that think only of winning don’t belong in football. Try this: Ask your child if he had a good time instead of whether he won or lost.
We can only do our best. We view coaching as an awesome responsibility. Your coaches will:
- Get the players in shape
- Understand each player’s potential
- Work on individual skills for each position
- Work on team execution of plays
- Motivate, communicate, lead
- Perform the “behind the scenes work” that will give the players the maximum chance of success; like researching our opponents and doing necessary scouting.
- Teach the players the skills they need to play football safely
Coaches must have the freedom to develop three things in their athletes: pride, poise, and self-confidence. We use the following steps to instruct the game of football.
- Explain what is required
- Demonstrate the technique
- Have the player perform the technique
- Explain the consequences of not performing the technique properly
- If necessary, execute the consequences
If you have any problems with the coaching staff please contact the league commissioner.
Your Head Coach: Jason Leeper ###-###-####
Assistant Coaches: Scott Robison ###-###-####
Russ Cochran ###-###-####
Brian Jost ###-###-####
Mike Goudeau ###-###-####
Your League Commissioner: Shay Adams (High School) 547-4111
Charles Hudson (Parks and Rec) 542-2719
Each player is required to supply the following equipment in order to play football.
- Mouth piece
- Athletic supporter with protective cup
- Dark Green Knee length Socks (preferred but not required)
- Custom mouth guards, if preferred, (Made by dentists) must attach to helmet face guard
- Water jug containing only water or a sport drink such as Gatorade
- A practice jersey (one of Dad’s old tee shirts or sweat shirts will do just fine.)
- Athletic shoes, cleats are preferred but are not required
Players will be issued the following equipment:
- Helmet with face mask and chin straps
- Shoulder pads
- Hip pads
- Thigh pads
- Knee pads
- Jersey and pants
Equipment will be issued on September 1st, at 5:30 at the Civic Center. It is very important that you and your child are there to pick up equipment, if you cannot make it for some reason, please coordinate with the city ahead of time to ensure that your child has the proper equipment prior to our first practice in pads. It will set a child back weeks if he/she misses the first few practices in pads because that is when we build the foundation for our blocking/tackling techniques and condition the kids to the equipment and contact.
This equipment must be returned to the Copperas Cove Youth Football Program at the season’s end or parents will be billed for replacement equipment.
In addition to this equipment, we will be raising money for helmet decals and pants. We usually raise this money by making team t-shirts and then selling them to team friends and family members.
Parents are as important to the success of the team as the players. Coaches and parents must work together. Please keep the coaches informed about problems that may be going on with your child. If the child has been sick, taking medication, or going through some emotional trauma please make sure the coaches are made aware of the problem as soon as possible. Parents and coaches must communicate with mutual respect. Parents and coaches reserve the right to postpone conversations that are getting out of hand. Heated discussions have no place in front of the players.
Although many parents have coaching experience, and may have played on a higher level than the current coaches of this team, the coaches must ask that you refrain from coaching your kids at home. These kids are being taught to play as a team, each player performing a set function that his teammates can rely on. A player who abandons his teammates to do something his parents coached him to do is letting down his team, his coaches, and himself. At best he may open up the door for the opponent to win the game, at worst he may cause himself or a teammate to be injured. We also ask that any problems you may have with coaches or other parents not be discussed with or in front of your child. If a parent is bad-mouthing a member of the coaching staff, it undermines the authority he/she needs on the field to be an effective leader and teacher. We would like for everyone to respect one another and keep the drama away from the team.
If you have suggestions or ideas, please do not hesitate to present them to the coaching staff after any practice, or call Coach Leeper at home at 415-2932. We only practice for one hour at a time, and we need every second of that time to teach your child the skills essential to his/her success and safety.
There are many volunteer positions that are needed to run the logistical aspects of the football team. This season I am asking for more parent involvement than ever, splitting up the duties normally assigned to the team parent. The season is long and the tasks involved can be daunting for one person to handle. Here is a list of the different jobs that need a volunteer for this season.
Videographer- This is the most important volunteer job. The information gained by watching video is invaluable to our coaching staff. I have a camera available, but we would like to find a volunteer who can edit the video and create DVD’s weekly for the staff to review. If at all possible we would like to have two people taping each game.
Snack Coordinator- We will need someone to make a list of volunteers to bring snacks/drinks for after the games. Please note that we ask that the snacks and drinks be handed out after the coaches’ talk to the parents and players after the game. If we hand them out while the coaches are talking, the kids are distracted.
T-Shirt/Fundraiser Coordinator- We buy helmet decals each season and in order to raise money to pay for them, we print and sell t-shirts to parents and family members. Any money that is left over will be used for the end of season party. This person will be in charge of collecting orders for the shirts and ordering the decals, which will require them to buy the decals and then be compensated through the sale of the t-shirts.
Water boy/girl – We practice at the high school and there is limited access to water, so we ask a parent or brother/sister to be in charge of water for the practices.
Party Planner- This person will coordinate the after season party. They will be responsible for speaking to the other parents and coming to a consensus on the location/cost of the party. The party planner can coordinate fund-raising events such as bake sales and car washes to help pay for the party, but it is our experience that parents typically prefer to just chip in for the cost. In the past we have made enough money from our t-shirt sales to pay for helmet decals, pants, and our after season party.
Equipment Manager- Equipment issues can steal away precious minutes of practice time. We need a parent with some knowledge of football equipment to help the kids with their issues. This parent should be willing to carry some items with them to games and practices.
Assistant Coaches- If you would like to help out in practices, please see Coach Leeper. We welcome any parent out on the field, but there are some limitations to the amount of help we need. We have a system of drills and techniques, and it is counterproductive and sometimes dangerous to have contradicting skills taught to the players. We only have an hour for practice, and we don’t have time to “un-teach” a technique that doesn’t fit what we are trying to teach. There have been some hurt feelings about this in the past, but we have to keep the safety and continuity of the team ahead of the wants of adults.
Every week practices are different. New skills are learned, problem areas are corrected, and new plays are taught. Your child will be at a disadvantage by not making practice on time and regularly. Practices are held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 6 to 7 PM. We are allowed to practice for one and a half hours on these days, but feel that we can get the job done in a shorter amount of time. Keep in mind that we may ask some players to stay after to work on specialty skills such as the qb/center exchange, and kicking/punting. We prefer not to extend practices past the one-hour mark, but we may have to due to unforeseen circumstances.
You are not required to stay at the practices with your child. If you are not going to be there we ask that you let a member of the coaching staffs know and ensure that we have a good point of contact for you in the case of an emergency. If your child is a discipline problem, or a wanderer, we will ask that you stay at practice to monitor their behavior. We have only had a handful of these situations in the past, but they do happen.
Understanding Our Philosophies
Youth football is much different from what you will see on Friday nights, or Saturday and Sunday afternoon football. We have developed a program that fits the skill level of youth players. While it resembles the higher levels of football, there are some major differences that may stand out to parents and players who are new to our program. This section will help you to understand the unique offensive and defensive philosophies that we employ.
Single Wing Resources
Here are some clips of the offense in action at the youth level:
Double Wing Resources
The double wing offense we use has many different influences, the following resources will help you get a better understanding of this offensive philosophy:
http://www.fbforyouth.com/Downloads/DWForumPlaybook2007.pdf (password: dwinger)
Here are some clips of the double wing in action at the youth level:
33 Stack Resources
http://www.footballhelpdesk.com/uploads/33stack_is_password.pdf (password: 33stack)
Wade, Derek. Letter to Parents. (Accessed on April 19,2011) http://www.fbforyouth.com/downloads.html