Coaching Youth Football: Measuring Success

James Ryan

Success can sometimes be measured in a variety of ways.

‘Coach A’ may look at his season and only think that it has been successful if he has won every single game – including the Championships.

‘Coach B’ might not care about the wins and losses as much, so long as his team has made the playoffs and competed hard in each game.

‘Coach C’ on the other hand, might not care much about winning at all, so long as all of his players had fun and improved their athletic skills.

And ‘Coach D’ might just want his team to win ONE game, so that his players too, can know the excitement of winning; to know that all of their hard work has finally paid off in the end.

All of these can be measures of success, depending on the goals of the individual Coach.

From a competitive standpoint, I believe that it is the goal or ‘desire’ at least, of every team to play as hard as they can, to develop the skills of their players and to ultimately compete for a Championship. Show me a Coach at the start of any season who says that he not want to compete to win and I will show you a liar.

It is the competitive nature of the Coach that draws him (or her) to this level of competition. Unfortunately, this competitive spirit can sometimes get in the way of a Coach’s priority and obligation to teach and develop ALL of his players, and not just the star players (a.k.a. studs) and natural athletes.

Sometimes, a Coach (and a parent) can lose sight of what is really important. To be clear, I believe that the most important measure of success is simply how the player feels at the end of the season.

If a player has improved his physical strength and conditioning by the end of the season, than that player has learned the importance of hard work, discipline, and the many benefits of healthy, active living. A+

If a player has learned to help up his fallen opponent on the field of battle, than that player has understood the value of respect, class, and sportsmanship. A+.

If a player feels great about himself (or herself), despite not being one of the better athletes on the team, than that player has obtained a heightened sense of confidence and improved self-esteem. A+

If a player has tried his own personal best, knowing that the odds were stacked against him, than that player has learned the true value in never giving up and never quitting when life gets tough. A+

If a player is asked by his Coach to play a position that he is not comfortable or experienced in playing (i.e. QB), but is asked to do it for the benefit of the team – therefore, that player agrees and tries his best for his teammates, than that player has learned about loyalty, responsibility, leadership and courage all at once. A++

When a player can walk away from a season, knowing what it means to possess all of these qualities in life and the importance of these qualities as they relate to the real world, than absolutely, the season will have been successful.


These are my opinions. If you don’t like them…I have others. Check them out at

James Ryan
James Ryan


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