Emotions run high in the Sport of Youth Football

James Ryan

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I’ve been coaching just long enough to know that players, parents, and even sometimes coaches, can all let their emotions get the better of them out there on the football field, especially if they’re not careful enough to control themselves, no matter how upset or angry they might be. Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is both counter-productive for the players, and embarrassing for all of those in attendance who can only sit by in total disbelief as the full-blown meltdown occurs.

The emotions of intensity and enthusiasm play very large roles in competitive contact sports, as coaches and team captains will often times try to get the other players on the team “fired up” in an attempt to motivate or inspire them.

In a sense, the coach becomes the emotional quarterback for the team, and he sets the tone (example) that all of his players will then trustingly follow. It is for this reason that coaches need to take the high road in many situations and keep their cool, particularly when dealing with officials, and especially when dealing with parents. The coach is a mentor and a teacher. He must always prioritize the needs of his players above his own, and lead by a good example.

Players are the ones who are ultimately putting their health and their futures on the line during every game. When an injury occurs, it’s natural that any parent would be concerned and upset. And if the injury was sustained through an intentional action, which was blatantly meant to injure another player, then the parents certainly have the right to be angry as well, but they too must lead by example and keep their emotions in check.

On occasion, parents have even gone so far as to blame the opposing team’s coaches for their own child’s injury, as if they were somehow personally responsible or in control of the player when he injured the other. Now with that being said, I was actually involved in a game once where that’s exactly what happened. The coach was literally using his players as weapons in order to seek revenge against another coach. To date, that was the most disgraceful action by a youth football coach that I have ever seen.

As a parent, I have to acknowledge that football can be a violent sport. Unfortunately, injuries will happen. As a coach, I know that it’s up to me to make sure that my players know exactly what I expect from them – not only because I tell them, but because I show them.

Play mean, but clean.

@coachjamesryan

James Ryan
James Ryan

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