Successful Coaching Philosophies
Safe Tackling and Contact
Coaching Requirements from BMFA
Coaches Code of Conduct
BMFA Yearly Timeline
CDMFA - Football Alberta Roles
How Tiering works inside CDMFA - Provincials Registration dates - Late fees
Team Manager - Stick Crews - Timekeepers 24 hrs Rule for Communications
Minor Football Rules and Regulations Links
Attachment A - Example Team Meeting Agenda
Attachment B - Example Parent Letter
Attachment C -Example Practice Plan Introduction
The Beaumont Minor Football Association (BMFA) firmly believes that the future success of all of our teams lays in the hands of trained passionate youth football coaches. The coaches more than anybody else affect the experience of the youth football players that we serve. Good coaching includes developing character, and providing guidance for the players as well as the efficient teaching of fundamentals and team play. Coaching youth football provides a great scope of influence on young people and on the community as a whole. The players look to their coach as role model and are watching so always set a good example when in front of the kids. As a coach you are responsible for having your players develop a love for the game. Coaches should treat the least talented player as you would the star player on your team. It’s your job to build team chemistry and retain players. This manual is for all coaches regardless of your experience. Just because you played High School or College Football is no guarantee you can transfer that knowledge to kids or that everything you know applies to youth football.
Youth football dynamic is much different than University or High School Football. Coaches have to work at coaching, that means you should be working when you are running drills. Constant correction and encouragement are needed.
This manual has been assembled to assist coaches in our association to improve their ability to coach. It is our duty as coaches to become as informed as possible about youth football in order to make our players’ experiences as positive as possible. Great coaches are not born. It takes training, effort and experience developed over time to become a great coach. This manual is just one tool to help accelerate that learning curve. The following are coaching philosophies that BMFA believes are typically associated with successful youth coaches:
Practice organization is probably the single most important aspect of determining the success or failure of a team playing to its full potential. Never go on the field unless every minute is planned in detail. Many coaches just try to wing it every day with ambiguous directions for their assistant coaches. The difference between equally talented teams is how they utilize their practice time. Most games are won and lost in practice. The daily practice plan must be written down, with the activities planned down to the minute. You should hand them out to every coach before practice starts. The head coach should determine all the drills and the drill length for the entire team. When your assistants become more proficient you can give them more freedom to choose their own drills. Good coaches demand very fast paced practices. Coaches should have a sense of urgency. As a head coach, you should constantly remind your coaches and players to “keep the pace” until this approach becomes 2nd nature to your team. It is much better to condition the players while they are learning to maximize the limited practice time. If you have a player that is really struggling with something and holding the whole group back, get a remedial coach to work one on one with the player away from the group. After doing your team cals and warm-ups you should separate the backs and line for individual work then bring them back together later. All drills should be 100% football related; the old school monkey rolls, seat rolls, bag drills, or a bunch of straight sprints really don’t teach football skills. Successful youth coaches spend most of their practice time on fundamental technique drills and scheme execution. Many successful teams do not scrimmage excessively and spend most of their time perfecting their base systems with repetitions on air or “fit” and “freeze” reps against a stationary offense or defense. Many coaches are used to putting in the offense first, putting in defense later and special teams in the last. Winning teams typically put their defensive system in first. If your opponent cannot score he cannot win. It’s typically a good idea to end the practice by bringing the team together and tell them you are proud of their efforts and do a team cheer. This is also good time to remind them to keep their studies up and the importance of good grades.
The following are components of good practice plans:
The first day of practice is like opening up that new box of chocolates, we all want to see what we got. Choosing players for positions may be one of the most important jobs for a coach and something even experienced coaches make mistakes with. It is recommended that the first two practices are primarily reserved for player evaluation and fundamentals. There should be minimal contact in the first few practices. We believe it is good to have them wear full pads so that they get used to them and find out whose equipment doesn’t fit properly. Evaluations are then based on players with full pads. It is the head coach’s responsibility to come up with an evaluation process. You should have a good idea of who your top athletes are and who your weak players are before you start having contact.
Evaluation drills are as follows:
A famous youth coach, once said: “Build the intangibles. Create the feeling of “all for one, and one for all”. Work at keeping down jealousy among the players. Watch out for cliques within the squad. Never let anything or anybody influence you playing a boy other than his value to the team.” Learn to access your talent and do what's best for your team not an individual player. Remember it's a team game and the team must always come first. Too often coaches worry about the individual and lose sight that it's about the team. This means never ask a player where he wants to play, he plays where the team needs him.
Coaches must manage parents effectively as part of their coaching duties. Parents can be your greatest ally or greatest pain. If you communicate properly, most parents can be an ally. Many parents show up to the first couple of practices to make sure little Johnny is in good hands. Some continue to observe practices and usually the younger the players, the more parents observe your practices. No matter how good of a coach you are, you are likely to have some parent issues. The typical issues that arise are as follows:
a) Conduct a pre-season team meeting. You need to let them know that this is a competitive league and your team is going to try to win but that you will without a doubt make sure that all players play and have fun. Let them know that you are going to place players where they provide the greatest team benefit.
b) Compose a parent letter that discusses team rules of how you are going to handle discipline; field positions/playing time, and other items such as your coaching philosophy.
c) End practices on time. Parents have schedules and more kids to chase. You just took 2 hours of their kid’s time, you don’t need more.
d) At the end of practice, bring boys together and remind them to thank their parents for allowing them to play football.
e) Make a rule that you will not discuss problems with parents immediately after games. Emotions are high after games and this is the worst time to address parents.
f) Make time for parents and make sure you communicate often with them.
g) Group texts are acceptable but it is good to talk face to face at least once early in the season with players’ parents.
The pre-season team meeting is essential in establishing communication, setting expectations and letting parents feel confident that their son is going to be in good hands. We recommend conducting the team meeting at the 1st practice. If you want to meet just with the parents, then have a plan for supervision of the kids. Some have the meeting at practice and assistant coach keeps the kids busy running a drill. The following is a sample outline of the team meeting:
a) Have Fun!
c) Football Fundamentals and Skill Development
d) Stress Teamwork
Safety is the number one priority in our league. It is the coach’s duty to maintain a safe environment for the players. All coaches should be issued a small medical kit with bandages, antiseptic, tape and cold packs. Do not allow any player to practice or play if they have any type of serious illness or condition that could jeopardize their safety. It’s recommended that at least one coach on the team has Basic First Aid, Concussion Recognition and Heat/Hydration training.
Concussions: Be on the alert for concussion symptoms. The warning signs could include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, ringing ears, loss of balance, leg weakness and confusion. If you see a player acting in a way that is inconsistent with their past behavior, see any symptoms or see them take a big hit or see their helmet hit the ground talk to the player. Ask him what day it is, what position he plays, ask him how he feels or if he saw flashes of light on his hit. If you feel there is any chance he may have a concussion take him out of the game or practice. Tell the parents to take him to a doctor and don’t allow him to practice or play until you have a doctor’s note that indicates it is ok for him to play. Don’t rush players that have been diagnosed with a concussion back into action.
Heat: The most common problem and possible serious situation is heat stroke or heat exhaustion. During hot weather allow players to take off helmets and do as many drills as possible without helmets including calisthenics and warm-ups. Do as much as you can in the shade on hot days. Make sure you give players plenty of water breaks, as often as every 15 minutes if needed and make water available to those that have none. If needed, shorten or cancel practice if it is too hot. Heat illness can be fatal and is very serious. Common signs of heat illness are excessive sweating, not sweating at all, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, light- headedness, fainting, and disorientation. If you believe a player is having a problem, immediately get them to the shade, douse with cool water, get them to drink as much water as they can, call their parents and call 911, to get them to a doctor immediately. Error on the side of caution when it comes to heat problems. Typically, in our climate this is not an issue. However, the coaches of the summer teams should be aware of this situation as we typically play in June, July and August when the temperatures are the highest.
BMFA has adopted Safe Contact principals. Safe Contact teaches safe tackling and blocking techniques along with safety education and awareness. Every football player needs to be able to perform the football fundamentals taught in Safe Contact, regardless of what position they play on the field. Because of the risk of spinal and head injuries we cannot teach “Bite the Ball” type tackling any longer. We require teaching the Safe Contact method. Coaches cannot allow their players to put their heads down or bend at the waist when tackling or blocking. We must do this to protect our kids and the game.
The players just learning football are typically afraid of contact. New players will react differently to contact but most really don’t like contact. We’ve even seen players that were not afraid of contact receive a big hit and all of a sudden become gun shy. Most youth coaches realize that kids must become very confident in their tackling technique before really unleashing and becoming a solid hitter. Work the kids into contact slowly and separate the low kids that don’t like contact from the players that are craving contact in tackling drills. Use many repetitions shown in the Safe Contact video on air and on dummies.
Never say anything that you won’t do. Threatening a team isn’t coaching them, and all you have as a coach is your word. Therefore, choose those words wisely. If you tell them if they miss a practice they can’t play; then stick to it. Regardless of the reason, always be consistent. Kids react differently to discipline. Many kids act up because they are in need of more attention. Many of the players have less than perfect home situations. Some have attention deficit disorder or some other condition that causes unruly behavior. As a coach you must consider this and never lose your cool. Deal with unruly kids with a matter of fact attitude and have appropriate consequences. When a player makes a simple mistake, start off with just telling them how to do the task correctly. Sometimes the best method is to start off with something positive like “Johnny, you lined up perfectly, real nice stance but how are you going to block on that linebacker in this play”? Can you show me how you are going to do it next time? When it comes to poor listening, insubordination, or poor sportsmanship, immediately go to the consequence. Have a set consequence such as running around the goal post. If a player continues to make a simple mental error, have him work on it with a coach or have him watch a player doing the task correctly. If the problem is just a lack of effort or concentration on the player’s part, have him sit the drill or activity out. Never punish players for physical errors like dropping a pass or fumbling the ball.
Recruit, then train / guide your assistant coaches in the techniques and schemes you want to implement. Empower them to develop / research drills that will help the players become better at their responsibilities for your schemes. Assign responsibilities to your coaches. It is likely assistants will have multiple responsibilities on offense and defense. Some head coaches may be offensive coordinator (OC), Offensive Backfield Coach and Defensive Backfield Coach. It becomes very difficult for one coach to properly coach both offense and defense on game day. We recommend the following position coaches as a minimum:
Most coaches have the kids arrive about one hour before the game. This is fine but anything more than this is a waste of time. Having kids arrive more than an hour before the game is a waste of emotional energy and most parents don’t like to sit around for an hour. Some coaches believe 45 minutes is about right because many times you can’t get on the field until just prior to the start of the game. The coaches should be there an hour early with a warm-up and pre- game plan. A typical pre-game plan would be to spend about 5-10 minutes in warm ups then align the kids for special teams, defense and offense. Go over substitutions and maybe run a few plays on air. Emotional pre-game speeches are usually worthless in youth football. Tell your kids to focus on their jobs, play hard and have a good time. It is a good idea to have a plan for substitutions going into the game. You might have some rotations at certain positions to make sure you are getting your players in the game. If you get ahead by 3-4 touchdowns, don’t run up the score. Make sure you have a play call system and try not to run your quarterback to the sideline between every play to get the call. This wears out your quarterback and slows down the game.
At the end of the game if you win, discuss with the team that the reason they won was teamwork and hard work they had put in at practice. If you lose, don’t place blame on the kids, rather try to build them up and find things that they did right that you can build upon. Cursing at them and threatening them does not go far with kids this age. It’s better to focus on techniques, details and things you need to adjust and get better at to win the next game. Be willing to accept blame for your team not winning. Here is a truth I learned in my first year coaching. Players win games, coaches lose them. There are way too many easy excuses, instead be a man and shoulder the responsibility. It will make you a better coach in the long run. Remember it is just a game, if your team isn't having fun and enjoying it then something is wrong. Yes, losing sucks, but kids tend to follow your lead so don’t show disappointment.
The coaching requirements at the moment are:
With the understanding that youth sports are for the education, fun and the enjoyment of the kids, and that I, along with the other coaches, am responsible for the safety and well being of the kids on the team and do hereby agree to the following:
Although it is always subject to change based on working inside CDMFA’s framework, a typical year could look something like this:
January - Board Monthly Meeting
February - Board Monthly Meeting; Winter Camp
March - Board Monthly Meeting ; Winter Camp
April - Board Monthly Meeting
May - Board Monthly Meeting
June - Board Monthly Meeting & Evaluation Camp for Atom - Practices
July - Off month as mandated by Football Alberta
August - Board Monthly Meeting & Practices/Jamborees for Atom
September - Board Monthly Meeting & Practices/Games for Atom
October - Board Monthly Meeting & Practices/Games for Atom. Finalizing items to be presented at AGM.
November - Board Monthly/Planning Meetings. Year end banquet and awards. BMFA AGM (Board Election for upcoming year).
December - Board Monthly Meeting.
CDMFA stands for Capital District Minor Football Association. CDMFA is a Registered Society (Alberta) whose members operate a league in order to provide the opportunity for minor football teams in the City of Edmonton and its surrounding communities to play each other in the spirit of friendly competition. CDMFA does this by governing league play, supporting member organizations and promoting teamwork, leadership, and good sportsmanship with a focus on the development of participants and the enjoyment of everyone.
Football Alberta is the Provincial Sport Governing non-profit Association for all amateur football in Alberta.
Has a membership of all amateur football programs including Atom, Pee-Wee, Bantam, Midget, High School (Jr. & Sr.), Junior, University, Sr. Men, Flag, Touch and Officials.
They provide programs and services to over 400 teams and 12,000 players, coaches, officials and volunteers.
In addition to all of the programs; they provide newsletters, directories, policies, rule books, resource handbooks, manuals and an active website.
The tiering system currently enforced by CDMFA to seed all teams at each level (PeeWee through Midget) uses jamboree style games where each teams will meet a set number of opponents over several dates to measure where each team fits based on results from those mini-games. This will determine which tier each team will fall under and based on each team within Tier 1-2 or Tier 3-4, who you will play against for the remainder of the season and playoffs.
Please be aware that in order to qualify for Provincial play, your team will need to fall under the Tier 1 or Tier 2 level. Tier 3 & 4 do not qualify for Provincial play.
Registration for the fall football season opens on April 1st of each year. It will remain open until a date has been set by CDMFA to end registration for all.
Late fees will apply if a registration occurs after the Evaluation Camp in June.
Being a Team Manager can be a very rewarding experience. The following are the duties of BMFA Team Managers:
BMFA Team Managers may also be asked to coordinate their Team’s participation in other BMFA’s activities, such as annual fund raising and Minor Football Night at Eskimo games.
Game Day Volunteers
Score Keeper and Score clock Operator Duties:
All teams participating in the CDMFA are required to complete the game sheet and enter the score on the CDFMA website. Scorekeeping duties include printing off required game sheets, filling out the score at the game and obtaining coach signatures. Score clock operators are only required for home field games and will be offered training on the Riel Field scoreboard.
(PeeWee through Midget)
Chains and Yard Sticks Duties:
The CDMFA requires that each home team provide 3 volunteers to work the yard markers and chains for each home game. Each BMFA team must provide 3 volunteers per home game. It’s just a few hours of your time and no experience is necessary. Each team usually averages 4 home games and you’ll have the best seats in the house! It’s an easy job and there will always be an experienced person there to help you out. (PeeWee through Midget)
Every team must have no less than one qualified training volunteer at every BMFA practice and game. First Aid supplies are provided by BMFA. First Aid or sports training background is required.
Parents should refrain from talking/emailing any coaches or member of the team Staff before 24 hours have passed after a practice/game if they are unhappy or have concerns about playing time and/or other issues. This is known as a cooling down period and avoids emotional conflicts and takes away the emotional state that many of us find ourselves in after something we are unhappy with has occurred. It allows all to think clearly, state in a non-emotional manner what the issues are and how they would like to see those resolved. It also allows the staff of the team to decompress from game play and hear/see more clearly what the issue is, hear the concerns and formulate a plan that will be satisfactory to all involved.
Football Rules and Regulations Links
Here are some links that you might find informative on many different subjects both at the CDMFA and BMFA Levels:
a) My Experience, 8 years coaching Youth Football.
b) My Hobby …. Passionate about Football.
c) Introduce Assistant Coaches this point.
a) Have Fun!
b) Safety -Concussions, Heat.
c) Teamwork - Teams that are selfless always perform better.
d) Sportsmanship - Don’t Tolerate Poor Sports, … Set Example
e) Football Skills - Blocking/Tackling
a) Text, Email, Difficult for me to call 23 people.
a) Unexcused missed practice may result in loss of plays during games
b) No Back Talking or profanity will be allowed.
c) Respect your teammates.
d) Respect the Referees and your opponents.
e) Fans must be under Control (No yelling at the Referees). Set Example Crazy Hot head Loud-month Cousin … Don’t invite to the Game
a) Practices are organized and planned out to the minute.
b) Limit Standing around.
c) Not training for cross country.
d) Normal Practices:
e) Please Call Me if you are going to miss a practice.
f) Pick up kids after practice / we can’t leave until all kids are picked up.
BMFA XXXXXX Division - XXXX
We are happy to welcome all players and parents to the team. We are hopeful that this will be the most exciting and rewarding football season you've ever experienced. Our goal is to develop young players not only in the fundamentals of football, but also the importance of teamwork, in an atmosphere conducive to developing character while having a good time along the way. We, as coaches, will do our best to ensure that each player is utilized to his utmost potential and his talents are used for the team's best advantage. The team’s needs and sportsmanship will be emphasized over individual wants.
Practices will be held at XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Wear all your equipment to the first practice.
If we see a player not listening, or not hustling, we may ask him to refrain from doing so, or we may just send him running. It is important that everyone understands our boundaries and understands them early. We need players to understand how important it is to listen and to provide effort, both of which require no physical excellence; both are choices the player controls. Discipline is what we do for a player to help him become a better player and a better teammate. Our practices are relatively easy, but we have no time to waste, therefore we do not have time to go into long conferences with players. If they are not paying attention, or not hustling, they will run or sit out. It is very rare to have anyone do any running after the first couple of weeks.
FIELD POSITIONS / PLAYING TIME
We determine positions based on your sons ability, the team needs, and lastly the players preference. The coaches have developed a thorough evaluation process which will help determine positions. The process includes games and drills that test for agility, strength and aggressiveness. After the 2nd practice, the coaches will decide tentative positions for each player. Positions will be determined based upon greatest “TEAM” benefit. Positions will be continuously re-evaluated during the season based upon performance. All players will likely need to play and fully understand 2 positions. Depending upon the skill level a few players may play both on offense and defense during the games. A key thing to remember is the importance of the offensive line. Without a strong, motivated, and disciplined offensive line our offense will go backwards more often than forwards. Without dominating linemen to block for them our backs cannot run for touchdowns. Therefore, it is important to understand that lineman is a coveted position on this team. Although you cannot carry the ball, you, more than any other person, are responsible for the success of this team. To be an offensive lineman on this team is to be one of the elite. Playing Time: The head coach makes all playing time decisions after consultation with his coaching staff.
Each player is required to supply the following equipment in order to play football:
a) Water bottle containing only water with the players name labeled on it.
b) Football cleats or sneakers.
c) Football Gloves are recommended especially for cold weather.
All other equipment is supplied by BMFA.
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. Parents are required to show good sportsmanship during games because it reflects poorly upon our team. Do not verbally abuse the referees, coaches or players. Please support the coaches teaching of the players. It is counterproductive to coach your boy one technique when the coaches are telling him another. If you have suggestions or ideas, please do not hesitate to present them to the head coach after any practice.
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 for (team) will be approximately 1.5 hours long typically from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at XXXXXXXXX.
Prior to the week of the first game there could more than 3 practices per week. The week of the 1st game and thereafter we will have 3 football days a week or 2 based on your level. Practice will shorten as daylight hours reduce toward the end of the season.
Rewards can come in two forms: verbal and material. Many of the rewards a player receives are positive reinforcement from coaches and parents. The best reward is always a smile and a pat on the back by a parent.
Nothing in life, including football, is worthwhile unless you enjoy it and gain something from the experience. 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. By the same token, we feel that we owe it to the players to do everything we can to make them winners. We plan to win every game, because if you don’t, then you need to ask yourself which game you plan to lose, and if you’re planning to lose, why show up, or practice the week before?
a) Center hiked the ball perfectly to the quarterback.
b) The quarterback made a perfect handoff.
c) The right guard blocked the linebacker.
d) All the linemen blocked and kept their man from touching Jack.
e) If one guy misses his block Jack doesn’t score. That is a team effort.
a) If you want to play quarterback but Jack makes the team better when he plays quarterback then Jack will play quarterback.
b) Everyone will have a role and we will try to put each person where they can best serve the team.
c) Football is about a group of young men working together to meet a common goal.
BMFA Practice Plan - minimum 4 coaches
6:00 (5 mins): Introduction & Today’s Goals
6:05 (10 mins): Warm-up
6:15 (15- 20 mins): Safe Contact Tackling & Blocking / Hawk Tackling
Refer to Safe Contact and Hawk Tackling videos on You Tube.
6:35 Water Break (5 mins): 6:40 (20 mins):
Offensive Individual Drills Includes RB’s/WR’s and QB
Defensive Individual Drills Includes LB’s & DB’s
Lineman Drills Offense/Defense
7:00 (10 mins) Offense Installation
Install play #5, Quickly Review (18 Sweep, 45 Reverse, 22 ISO), Install 16 Pass Blue.
Defense Installation Review defense base formation, gap responsibilities, blitz packages install
7:10 Water Break (5 mins):
7:15 (20 mins) Offense VS Defense Scrimmage
(THUD level only - rep plays and limit coaching at this time)
7:35 (10 mins) Special Teams - Kick-Off/Kick Receiving or Field Goals
7:45 (10 mins) Cool-down (stretching - hold for 30 seconds)
Arm Pulls, Toe Touch, Lying Side Quad Stretch, Downward Dog, Child’s Pose, Kneeling
Calf Stretch, Cobra Stretch, Torso Stretch, Full Body Stretch
7:55 (5 mins) Team Talk Post Practice review, modify, and plan for next practice with coaches.