I Want My Child’s Coach to Develop Players

By Janis Meredith | Posted 3/23/2020

When parents sign their kids up for a sport, what are they looking for? A coach and a team to keep their kids busy or out of trouble? A place for kids to just have fun with their friends?

Those are both valid reasons for getting kids involved in sports, but for our family, they were not enough. All three of my kids wanted to play sports because they love sports. So, sports were not just a time-filler for our family. It was a place to learn and grow. My husband and I wanted our kids on teams led by coaches who had a vision to truly develop players.

Perhaps you’ve heard of USA Football’s New Football Development Model, which strives to “teach fundamental movements and techniques as a foundation at each stage. This will help players develop at their own pace and build advanced skills effectively.”

This coaching approach develops players, which means that your child should be learning skills and building upon their knowledge of the game every season.

I saw this very clearly last fall when my husband began coaching a new team at the high school where he teaches. He took on the position of head coach of 9th-grade football. This particular school has kids from lower-income families and most of the kids on his team had never played organized football before. His job was to teach the fundamentals and build upon those basic each week. I likened his job to that of a kindergarten teacher, getting kids ready for first grade.

The Football Development Model says, “Teachers teach addition and subtraction before moving to multiplication and division and then advance to algebra and calculus.” Coaches who truly care about developing players follow a similar path of building appropriate skills in an environment that best suits the kids.

For my husband, it was not just about winning games—although like every coach he wanted to win—it was about helping the players walk away at the end of the season with a good beginning foundation of the game and a sense of what they could be as people and leaders.

I will be honest and tell you that his team went 0-8 last fall. But every one of those players left the season a better player than when they started, and many are already looking forward to spring ball in May. As a coach, he may not have won on the scoreboard, but he excelled in developing players because he truly cared about the kids, not just about the outcome.

That’s the kind of coach I want my child to have. One that sees beyond this season and one that is willing to take the time and exercise the patience it takes to develop players, not just fill uniforms.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.


USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.