Here's where I'm at. I currently coach JV ball at the school I teach at. I know that down the road (sooner rather than later) my wife and I will start to have kids. With that comes a demand of time away from football. To do my duties as a dad while continuing to coach, I'm considering coaching at either the middle school or youth level. For those that have made this transition before, what are some of the main differences between coaching at the high school level and coaching at the youth or middle school level?
Football is the last bastion of hope for toughness in America. - Jim Harbaugh
Post by CanyonCoach on Mar 9, 2020 10:25:09 GMT -6
There is a huge difference depending on where you live and the structure of the league and then again minus the game planning and scouting it might be the same.
In one area I coached the youth league had restricted formations, motions, shifts and QB alignment (no pistol or shotgun) and you get 1 defensive front and no blitzes. In another place it was wide open run what you want.
In one area kids played the 1st half on O and flipped to D in the second half. In another area you only got 15 players and you played them however you wanted.
In one area it was common to "redshirt" 8th graders (hold them back a year of school) so you really had three age groups in middle school. In another area they celebrated on every play and gave kids high 5's for lining up correctly.
In one area every game was filmed for youth ball including an end zone view. In an other place parents didn't even take out their cameras.
Good Luck. Check on the pay before you get too excited about the move, some places it is peanuts.
Post by coachwoodall on Mar 9, 2020 10:29:19 GMT -6
Is the MS a 'seamless' school I.E. does the HS have a hand in the MS program. Depending on this and to what extent, being a MS coach might not get you as much away time as you think. You might not have to work over the weekend, but you might be expected to be at Friday night games to some extent, supervise MS in the offseason program, and do other jobs for the varsity program.
If it is a school where the focus is to 'play our 8 games and then it's basketball season', then it is what it is.
I would suggest middle school ball as youth league can be a PITA. Middle school ball is much less time consuming than high school ball; the seasons are shorter, there's no film breakdown, travel is cut back significantly, etc..etc.. It can really be a breath of fresh air if you're looking to coach and still be involved with the game but are limited on time.
With most middle school programs, you'll need to get into a "development" mindset (i.e. throttle back on the competitiveness a bit) as you're going to be tasked with playing all of the kids as long as they're showing up and practicing hard. You're still keeping score and wanting to win games but that has to be balanced out with getting the kids playing experience. But, it's a lot of fun when you win games while playing those kids.
More politics!! More parents!! But now you'll have Grandma and Grandpa too.
Get ready for that.
Politics aside...remember that these guys are children. They don't have the attention span of a kid even two years older. They don't have the interest in the game that YOU have. They want to go outside and play...roll around in the mud. That's what children do!
They can't learn the intricacies of the game as well as a high schooler and your personal patience will be tested.
Having said that...God Bless You. You are the kind of coaches that higher level coaches are proud of, and really appreciate.
I have coached Youth rec and MS as a head coach for about 20 years and I would say that it really depends on what some members have stated about how connected your school is to the HS. The school I am at now has an offseason conditioning that I run, Spring camp (2 weeks) that all the coaches run, summer OTAs and a 2 week summer camp that leads into school. The season has 8 games and a post season game. We travel 3-5 times a year as far away as an hour and a half. Those long days will include a team meal as well. (about 2 a season). We breakdown opponent film and grade our film each week. We use a HS field but still have maintenance of our practice field and equipment. We don't play everyone like a rec youth team does but we have to have to be mindful in order to build the program and teach the game. Additionally at the MS level you have to monitor academic eligibility. Bad grades = extra attention from the coaches and possibly missing games just like the HS. We also have fundraisers and execute our own banquet. So is it worth it? Yes
KISS! I've been a career mid level coach by choice. Two seasons varsity head coach at a small school, two seasons Asst head coach and head JV coach at a big school, all the rest of my 42 years at the 789 level. The earlier responses were all good, especially the do your homework part. My two bits worth would be to have a very simple defense and offense and spend at least a third of your time on the kicking game. Reverses kill at the middle level as do play action passes. Also keep in mind that emotions are not the same in midlevel kiddos as they are on the varsity level. You really can get young kids excited at halftime or knock them for a loop with too much negativity. If your league has minimum play rules you are in for a challenge. This is a time to get creative. Use your supply of wide outs to run plays in, even if you want to wrist band your offense. Get the low end players on the field early in the half or game so you avoid the tap on the shoulder from the principal and Johnny Jones' grandpa with the game on the line. Parents will go to the parents meeting but they won't listen much better than varsity families will. The practices for younger kids must have variety as well as some drills that they will know and set up almost by themselves if you keep it fun. I found that conditioning relays were effective if you spread them out thru the practice. Basically you can't just coach them like older kids in almost every way possible. Oh yeah after 90 minutes you won't have their attention even if naked. Not to say that is a good idea.