Yesterday I coached my last youth football game of the season. It was a 3-month commitment of 4 to 6 days each seven day stretch of practices, scrimmages, and games, beginning August first. Furthermore, as the defensive coordinator, I had to watch our game film at night and scout our rival’s game film each week. It was a significant commitment of time, energy, and concentration. And I adored it.
In any case, there was one thing I didn’t cherish. The least enjoyable part of coaching in the Wisconsin All-American Youth Football League, WAAYFL, is all of the mandatory online training courses you have to finish to be eligible to coach.
Parents ought to take great solace in knowing that their coaches have all been trained in nearly everything related to the health and safety of the players. In fact, I think that whenever I am on an airplane and they ask if there is a doctor onboard I will ring my call button and let them know that while I didn’t technically go to medical school, I did take the marathon health and safety coursework online required to coach in the Mequon-Thiensville Cardinal football program. So I ought to be great with whatever crisis they were dealing with up in the fuselage.
Indeed, we learned how to coach the safest ways to hit and tackle. Yet, we also learned about everything from concussions and heat-related health issues, to heart and neck concerns. And we learned to identify signs of physical and sexual abuse. It’s a great deal of heavy stuff to wade through to coach a children’s game.
My Favorite Illustration
Yet, there was one brief unit in our training that stood out the most. It may have felt insignificant to different coaches compared to the weight of the illustrations above. However, for my purposes, it offered the best new tool in my coaching toolbox. Granted, my coaching toolbox was vacant to begin with. (I just had an old roll of athletic tape and that statement about the size of the fight in the canine.)
The unit I adored was The 4 Points of Coaching Contact. It taught us the importance of developing a connection with our athletes. It provided a simple, memorable framework to follow to interface with each athlete at each practice. My language underneath may be slightly different than the WAAYFL shares. However, the idea is the same.
The 4 Points of Coaching Contact.
1. Eye to eye connection: You ought to welcome each athlete each day with your eyes. This means, making deliberate eye to eye connection with them daily. (Be that as it may, don’t actually touch their eyes.)
2. Physical Contact: Welcome each player with a handshake, fist knock, high five, or pat on the shoulder or back. No bum touching. (That was really part of the broader training.)
3. Ear Contact: This is not about ear flicking or Wet Willys. This is about connecting with a verbal greeting each practice. Say hi in whatever way you say hi. Make it heartfelt. Utilize their name. There is far great power in this simple act than most coaches realize.
4. Heart Contact: Talk to your athletes about something other than the game. Ask them how their day is going. Ask about school, their family, or their different activities. Get to know them and foster a relationship with them as a non-athlete. Again, no physical contact with the actual heart is required. Or then again allowed.
Putting It Into Practice
I pondered The 4 Points of Contact each practice. It utilized the technique liberally. Although I didn’t hit all 4-points with each athlete consistently, I deliberately associated with each athlete as much as was naturally possible. And it made a real difference.
However, the impact of this simple relationship-building technique impacted me as much as it impacted the athletes.
Because each time I made eye to eye connection with one of my players, they made eye to eye connection with me.
At the point when we would high-five, fist knock, or shake hands I felt the connective power the way they did.
At the point when I welcomed our players by name, they would welcome me by name too.
Yet, most importantly, you can’t touch another person’s heart without them touching yours. It’s the universal law of heartiology. Or then again cardiology. Or then again whatever you call it. Keep in mind, I’m not a real doctor.
You have an opportunity to associate with others consistently. Interface with your eyes, your hands, your words, and your heart. This approach makes all the difference in youth sports. However, it works similarly as well in business, in school, within families, and amongst friends. In fact, these 4 points of contact are the manner by which we transform strangers into friends. And if you utilize this approach consistently, you’ll find those friends start to feel like family. That’s what happened to our sixth Grade Cardinal Football Team in Mequon, Wisconsin.
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