Some of you may be in a position where you have to or maybe even want to help coach multiple teams during the same season. It can be done using some planning, scheduling and organizing techniques. Be warned however, it is not recommended for most and certainly not for those who don’t feel very confident in your time management or coaching abilities.
I’ve head coached more than one youth football team in three seasons, more about that later. What is important is I have done it in real life, this isn’t theory. Coaching Youth football is one thing, coaching multiple teams is a whole new equation.
Coaching more than one team may involve organizing your football practices in a way that is much different than what you are used to. In order to make it work, you have to get creative. Here are some of the things I did:
I started my football practices 30 minutes early for my younger team, My older team practiced 30 minutes later than the younger team. This allowed me 30 minutes of time alone with each team.
Early on we had a few practices alone, we varied the days each team practiced to allow each team one day per week alone with me.
We combined some of the skill building and technique work within age groups. Some of the more advanced and mature kids on the younger team practiced with the older team and some of the weaker older kids were grouped with the younger kids. This allowed our weaker older kids to rep and get better against kids of their own abilities while allowing the more mature younger kids to be challenged by the older kids. The groups worked side by side with both groups doing the same exact drills.
Most of the special teams work and dynamic warm ups including angle form tackling were supervised by my assistants, which gave me segmented “alone time” with one team.
Team Defensive segments were often done by the defensive coordinators after the first few weeks. In the first few weeks it was important to show the defensive coordinators and players how to run a proper team defensive and defensive recognition segment. After that it was just making sure the written practice plan covered what they needed to work on that segment and what football plays and formations they needed to concentrate on defending that week
You must delegate all the logistics responsibilities to other coaches and parents when coaching multiple youth football teams at once. When the parents pressured me into doing this, I responded by putting all the blocking dummies, and equipment on the field and requiring that they be responsible for it. I did the same for the team “books” and whatever else I could farm out to others. If you have a life, you have to.
Other key factors:
Most of my assistants were second or third year coached with me.The assistant coaches were believers in the system. I had full control of both teams. The parents wanted me to head coach both teams.You MUST have written minute-by-minute practice plans when having multiple teams or even one for that matter when coaching youth football.
My first year coaching two teams was simply because there were not enough coaches. We had plenty of coaches for our “A” and “B” teams but we were real short in our “In House” age 6-8 teams. Since it was “In House” and not very competitive I was able to add this team to my regular coaching duties that year, our age 8-10 “Select” team.
Another year I had to fire an entire age 13-14 coaching staff one week before their first game for not meeting the terms of the agreed upon coaches contract. In addition to that they were “stacking” a “B” team, a very unsportsmanlike and unfair thing to do which by the way is common with very weak coaches who feel the only way their youth football teams can do well is to have overwhelming talent. In this case this “B” team was coached by me and another coach that was also coaching another team at the same time. We couldn’t practice all these teams on the same field so we went to a Tuesday/Saturday schedule. Fortunately the league scheduled so there were no game day conflicts. Funny how that works out when you try to do the right thing. By the way, we kicked the 4 best players up to the “A” team and ended up with a second place team in a very satisfying season.
In 2007 I head coached an age 7-9 and 10-11 team, due to pressure from parents to continue coaching their older children. My preference is to coach a new younger kids team every year and send players on to the next age group rather than stay with the team as they age through the system. In 2008 I’m head coaching 3 teams but we have put in place a set mentoring/apprenticeship program for head coaches that will allow me to go back to coaching just one team in 2009.
If you decide to do this, make sure all your coaches are on board. Make sure to consult with the parents and for safety reasons, do not put kids of dissimilar abilities with huge age gaps against one another.