How Many Players Are There In A Football Team How to Keep Players Coming Back in Youth Football

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How to Keep Players Coming Back in Youth Football

Player retention tips in youth soccer

Part of the “mission” when coaching youth soccer should be to keep the players. While youth soccer is a no-brainer for some kids, for others it takes a while to develop. At the end of every season, I have kids on my team who have probably decided they’re not going to come back to play another season. But somewhere along the way they change their minds to come back and have a great season that changes their minds about the game forever. While I enjoy seeing my teams play well, execute our football game perfectly, and win championships, I get the satisfaction of seeing my players finish the season and come back to play another year of junior football. I will take more.

There are a few things I like to do in the 60 days after the season ends to help change the minds of some of those sitters:

Season DVD is always a big hit. I’m going to do a thing that includes funny headlines, all of our accomplishments, and we put it to Christian music. You have no idea how often those DVDs are watched by your kids and their families, some of my parents say that their kids basically “wear out” the DVDs from playing them too often. A hack to watch that can even help kids do their soccer better. These DVDs will keep the game fresh in the kid’s mind and set you apart from other youth soccer teams he might have played on. It can also set you apart from another sport, like football or the dreaded fall baseball.

I always send these DVDs to the kids in December as a Christmas present along with the letter. In this one-size-fits-all letter, I share how much I appreciate the season, the parents, and the kids. I will also include a personal message about what Christmas means to me and my family. Dave Dimmond, a friend of mine from Florida, has been sending personalized letters to his children for a long time. He talks about how much he appreciates the players’ contributions to the team and talks about the events and characteristics of each individual player. Although it can be time-consuming, Dave reports that these letters are appreciated by his children, and some children even frame them. This is what I will do for each of my players this year and for the foreseeable future.

Most junior soccer players need some social motivation to get them interested in the game, including your star players. You never know which child may feel a little inadequate about their efforts. We all have kids who aren’t rookies that we know are going to be good players in the next year or two. Unfortunately, some of these children do not understand that after one year under their belt, they will become “stars” for years to come. Some of these kids lose interest and quit soccer without proper encouragement. If we believe that youth soccer teaches life lessons, our goal as coaches should be to keep all kids safe, regardless of their ability. I want to keep stars, future stars, and I will never be a star. Some uninformed people think this is a mutually exclusive deal, which is not true, you can play kids, keep kids and even win in the most competitive youth football leagues. I have done it and so have many others.

Take the time to do things like this and your retention numbers will increase. Guys like Dave Dimmond are guys that kids love to play with, and he’s the guy that gets booed at the gas station by his current and former players. He tells me he gets emails that often start like this:

Coach Dimmond,

My name is John Smith, and a friend of mine, Mike Jones, was ranting about your youth football team last year. He’s proud of how much fun his son Jimmy plays for you and how your team went 11-0 last season and scored all those points with this offense John always brags about. How can I enroll my son in your team? Do you have any vacancies?

I also want the kids to take home a team trophy for the week. We then have them bring the trophy to school and give it to a teammate who keeps it for a week and then passes it on to the next player on the list. This will keep your teams name at school and in the minds of impressionable kids and give your players something they can show off to their family and friends.

If you’re a youth soccer coach and your teams are consistently competitive, you get emails like this, we all do. Get your players motivated and creative to keep football fresh in their minds and not only will you get better retention numbers, but you won’t hurt new players either.

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