Copyright 2000 John T. Reed

One of the main and overlooked differences between real-world youth football and the TV football that too many youth coaches try to imitate is the difference in the quality of the personnel. College and pro football players are all superlative athletes. The typical NFL player was all-American in college and the typical scholarship football player in college was all-state in high school. Neither describes your youth team.

Accordingly, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at a junior pee wee (age 8 to 11) team I coached in 1992 and ask what happened to each of them footballwise in the ensuing nine years. I will use letters instead of their names for privacy.

I did not know it at the time, but knowing what I know now, this was a better-than-average youth team. You normally do not have this many future high school players.

The main trick in youth football is not using your stars to beat the other team. It is figuring out how to get the most possible production out of all the kids who are going to quit playing football in the next year or two. They are the predominant type of talent you have to work with. They require the simplest possible assignments, as much help as you can give (e.g., double-team block), and have to be heavily coached. In contrast, your stars can handle multiple complicated assignments, need little or no help, and either do the right thing without coaching or learn the right thing easily.

Good luck,

John T. Reed