In our last article, we discussed how to improve young players in football through being supportive and including all players in games. We will continue that conversation here with more ideas on challenging your young players.

One way to help young players improve their game is to give them fun homework. Of course, you will likely hear some negative feedback using that word, but when you make it fun for them, they will ask you for homework. Some kids have a hard time getting their parents to help them on their skills when they need to improve a certain area. With this in mind, give them an assignment they can work on themselves. For example, they can simply throw the ball in the air and catch it themselves practicing tucking, or they can find someone else to play catch with. If they need to work on their speed, they can race friends or a pet. There are many options available in this area.

Second, have fun as a way to engage your players. When I work with youth, I tend to give them cool nicknames. You can allow them to choose their own nickname or pick one for them. Something simple such as this can go a long way to help the players have fun.

Last, always have an end goal in mind. The best way to do this is to break down different aspects of playing to address each practice. As a master one thing, you can start adding other pieces of the game to work on. As long as your team is regularly improving, winning is not the end game. Believe in your team from the beginning, even if they are all new to the game.

As you spend time building up your team, their confidence will grow and your investment will be rewarded. If nothing else, perhaps you will be the one to light the spark in them for football. To do so, you need to create an environment that is fun and encouraging for your young players.

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Do you coach young players? If so, you may be looking for a secret that’ll help you challenge your players to improve while building their confidence and having fun. Of course, it is important to remember that these kids are not being scouted and are just starting up their careers in football. With that in mind, without the stress and pressure, young players can retain more football information in a positive and fun environment. Below are some pointers to help you get started in helping your players grow.

First, it is important to be supportive to help build their confidence both during the game and at practices. Everyone tends to have a competitive side and loves to win. It is important, though, for your players to see you cheer on the other team when they play well. As you acknowledge good plays, good sportsmanship is demonstrated to your players. Many coaches will talk to their teens about having good sportsmanship, but when you don’t practice what you preach, the kids won’t listen. Whether your team wins or loses, acknowledge their hard work. Even when there is a negative outcome, positive reinforcement will build their confidence, encouraging them to improve on their own. Always keep in mind that your players will watch you to learn how to act, not just listen to your words.

Next, always include players with every level of skill. If you have a player constantly sitting on the sideline, you are unable to encourage them to improve. It is imperative to rotate through all your players throughout the game rather than only putting in your backups when your team is ahead. It doesn’t matter if that player simply stays in the same spot the entire play. Even if your center takes forever to turn around and face the quarterback. The only way for your players to get game experiences to actually play. When they watch the game from the sideline or simply hear you tell them how to play, they are less likely to be challenged to grow and stretch beyond their comfort zone.

Using the two steps above, you will help your team grow in confidence and skill. Give them a try and see how your team grows this season.

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