Dealing With Youth Football Politics
Unfortunately the world of youth football today is often driven by politics. In the last two weeks I’ve had four different coaches share with me their frustrating stories. In every case these coaches were putting up with incompetent, ego driven “coaches” or administrators that were more concerned with their own coaching reputation than they were with the best interest of the boys playing the game.
Where Else But Youth Football?
I’m not sure there is any other field in life where someone that has had constant and even horrific failure feels they are somehow an expert. Does the architect of buildings that consistently fall down offer advice to other architects whose designs have won national awards and have never crumbled? Does the mutual fund manager whose fund has gone down in each of the past 10 years offer buy advice to Warren Buffet? Does the owner of 3 failed restaurants offer his recipes to Bobby Flay? Of course not, none of these people have any credibility or would have the gall to do so, they would be laughed out of the room. BUT the consistent failure in youth football, seems to love to give unsolicited advice, and especially to those that are doing well.
Last week I had a youth coach e-mail me, his team had gone 8-1 last year, all of his players decided to come back and his parents loved him. He was being hassled by an administrator in his league who has not coached a winning team in his last 10 seasons. Last year in fact, this administrators team scored just 3 touchdowns for the season and in several of the games, they didn’t even record a single first down. He ended up losing over a third of his team. Yet this admin person felt he had the expertise to offer advice to the 8-1 coach about his X’s and O’s and practice methodology.
Another coach, let’s call him Don, e-mailed me last week about his organizations teams. Last season they had 6 teams entered in their league and they won a grand total of 3 games, 1 of which was by forfeit. Don said he wasn’t sure if any team in this organization has had a winning record in the last 3 years and he said they were having huge problems with retention. But when Don suggested the organization consider making some changes in X’s and O’s and priorities, he was told, “nothings wrong with the way we are doing things now”, that the system Don was suggesting they consider “would never work”.
Another coach told me about him taking a perennial loser and going from worst to nearly first last year, finishing at 7-1 and going to the playoffs for the first time in 4 years, while all the other teams in the organization finished below .500 and sat home during the playoffs. He was told he “got lucky” and his system would never work next year after the other teams were used to seeing it.
How can anyone that has consistently failed try and tell someone that has succeeded they are doing something wrong and do it with a straight face? I realize it is human nature these days to try and minimize ones failings, but do these guys realize how insane crazy they sound?
You Are Right
Know that if your kids are all coming back every year, your team is competitive and your kids block and tackle well, all is right in the world. Teams with the best fundamentals and practice priorities win in youth football. Realize that when someone chalks your teams success up to luck, one good player, weaker division that year, new novel offense blah blah blah blah it is just the failing coaches way of trying to make himself feel better about his lack of coaching success. It is the “new” American way, make excuses about your lack of success and minimize others who have had success. Then put huge obstacles and special rules in place that have nothing to do with making the game or the league better, but give unreasonable and unwarranted advantages to the failing coach.
The absurdity of it all is revolting to most of us gown-ups with common sense. Sure anyone can have that “perfect storm” and have a bad season, but how can someone that consistently loses feel he has the competence to guide others that have had success? Just know that the green eyed monster of jealousy will nearly always raise its ugly head once you have succeed where others have failed.
How The Excuse Maker Coach Can Help Us
Let’s not pooh-pooh these blowhards just yet. You can learn from them, think about what they do and do the exact opposite, because if everything they do is wrong, the exact opposite would be right wouldn’t it? This video clip may help you understand it better:
I’m never rude to these guys, unfortuantely most of them are too proud and set in their ways to admit failure or to take any advice from anyone. Just be nice, smile and feel bad for the kids playing for them. They remind me of one of those really bad and clueless American Idol singers.
The losing coach telling you how to coach is like this superhero telling Paula how to sing or Simon how to judge. It’s bizzaro world.