Keeping your football players focused, positive, playing hard and having fun before, during, and after a football game is your job as their coach. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you gather your football team together:

Pre-Game Talk

  • Conduct the talk away from any distractions.

  • Speak in a calm and relaxed manner.

  • Be brief.

  • Be positive, and touch on areas of the game that the kids have excelled in.

  • Stress the importance of having fun and displaying good sportsmanship.

  • Stay away from clichés; speak from the heart to get your point across.

  • Avoid pressure phrases like “Let’s score four touchdowns today.” Remember, kids can only give you their best effort.

  • Be passionate and enthusiastic, and your excitement will carry over to your players.

Halftime Talk

  • Regardless of the score, remain positive and upbeat. Highlight the positives.

  • Focus on a couple of main points that you want to get across to the kids for the second half.

  • Make sure the kids drink water to re-hydrate.

  • Play to your team’s strengths.

  • Pile on the praise for their hard work in the first half.

  • At the more advanced levels, ask for your players’ feedback and suggestions.

  • Don’t dwell on mistakes; mistakes are all part of the learning process.

Post-Game Talk

  • Keep the focus on fun.

  • Accentuate the positive.

  • Recognize good sportsmanship that was displayed.

  • Don’t allow the scoreboard to dictate what you say to the kids.

  • Wrap up the talk on a high note and with a team cheer, and send ’em home with a smile.