Latosha Carter grew up with football from a young age. The daughter of a semi-pro football player, she spent plenty of time at the field watching him play and learning the fundamentals of the game. A mother of three, she took up the mantle of coach for her son to teach him the game, and naturally progressed into getting involved within her community as a youth coach.
After some time spent coaching older age groups within the Tri-Citi league in Newport News, Va ., Carter was approached with the task of coaching the five- and six-year-old flag football team within her league. By her own admission, Carter was initially very hesitant to get involved with the younger age group, but she learned firsthand a new passion for teaching the game to the program’s youngest athletes.
Now several years into coaching flag to five- and six-year-olds, Carter has thrived teaching the core concepts of the game while recognizing her players have boundless energy and a tendency not to sit still. She recognizes that the best coaching involves meeting each athlete at their level and treating them as individuals.
“I like to sit down and speak to them at their level and try and learn what each child will respond to,” says Carter. “Some like to be challenged and coached a certain way, while others need a softer touch. At the end of the day, I’m always there to hype up and love on the kids as their coach.”
The process has paid off for Carter. Although her team’s wins and losses are not something she tracks, her care for her kids and teaching acumen have helped lead her team to the playoffs in all but one of her seven seasons as a coach. Her team has advanced to the league’s past three “Super Bowls,” emerging victorious in two of them.
A favorite among parents around the Tri-Citi organization, Carter doesn’t have a firm idea of how much longer she’ll continue to coach. Ultimately, the decision keeps getting put off by requests from friends and family around her.
“I’ve had parents ask me if I would still be around in five years to coach their kids, so at that point I know I’m on the hook for another five years,” Carter sighs with a smile. “I just became a grandmother, so now I know I’m on the hook for another five years (laughs). After that point, we’ll see how it goes. I love what I do, and I don’t see myself stopping this anytime soon.”
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