Football coaching for beginners may seem daunting at first. However, it is vital to understand that coaching is not an established practice in the sense that there should be adherence to a set number of guidelines. It is not about what you do, but how you approach certain situations as an esteemed member of that particular coaching staff. I have faced several challenges in my minimal experience as a football coach that tested me and my standing in this role. These instances have taught me a few important lessons about being a good and reliable coach that I continue to implement throughout my daily life.

Build a respectful relationship


As a younger, more inexperienced member of the coaching staff, it is easier to try to gain respect through any means. The players may see you as a colleague, one with whom they can share a bond on a more personal level because of the small age gap. They may even refer to you on a first-name basis. While this referral might be tolerated initially, it is important to refer to the head coach if it does persist.

If this method does not garner the appropriate response, a no-nonsense approach may be taken to rectify matters of disrespect. When a player does not hustle or constantly talks back, I have been known to resolve the matter through physical actions to make them understand that such behavior will not be tolerated. These actions include constantly running sprints, performing proper push-ups, and conducting other exercises while fully equipped for the game of football. However, while wielding such authority, it allows amateur coaches to get carried away.

Adverse ramifications of constant reprimanding

This can potentially reach the point where the coach is constantly heckling the players at every sign of poor effort or other transgressions. It may seem that by doing this, the coach is instilling discipline in all who participate. However, this can adversely affect the coach’s relationship with the player because the individual will start to convince himself that the coach will be angry with him at all times. They would be apprehensive to bring any problems to that particular person.

Moreover, when another coach notices the intensive punishment, it may be best to reflect and understand that this is not the proper way to earn the respect and reverence of the athletes themselves. Coaching football for beginners should emphasize building a stern, but more accomodating relationship with all players and coaches.

“To me, the X’s and O’s … they’re an important part of coaching but a relatively small part. Eighty percent of it is just relationships and atmosphere.”

Emphasize trust through player interactions


Throughout the season, athletes may come to you with certain issues that could pertain to the particular sport. An example of this could be when someone approaches you and asks questions about any manner of the sport.

In one particular instance, a young man asked me about weight and how much he should gain before playing varsity football for the upcoming season. In this particular case, if you do not have a firm grasp on the desired information, it is beneficial for both you and the player to redirect that inquiry to someone a little more versed in answering specifics about nutrition and weight when competing in such a tough sport as football.  A more knowledgeable person could be the team trainer.        

However, aside from the sport itself, players may be going through personal things that they have no control over. In this instance, it is important to let the player know that you are there for them if they need anything and hold a strict level of confidentiality to whatever is discussed. In more dire circumstances, such situations must be brought to the attention of the head coach.

“Never be the source of gossip or distrust – instead help, support and advise.”

It is understandable that you may feel uncomfortable if confronted with both situations. If these feelings of apprehension and fear do overwhelm you, lean on other coaches for help. Explain the problem and try to ask for their perspective on the situation. It is likely that they have been faced with similar situations throughout their coaching career.

Additionally, they may give you guidance about how to proceed and correct the situation. Through listening and understanding their viewpoints, it can expose you to more efficient ways of approaching certain circumstances. Coaching football for beginners values gaining insight into how to handle any situation so you can adapt and act properly when similar situations arise.

Always be responsible



When you begin coaching, it does not matter what your assignments are amongst the coaches. Make sure you put maximum effort and always attempt to do the best you can with everything. A good impression is essential to a successful coaching endeavor. Whether you were under the impression that you were going to become a coordinator immediately or would be involved in game planning on a weekly basis, take each task seriously.

It is never a good notion to have the head coach not trust you, especially the opening week of the year. Whether the game is scheduled for the morning or afternoon, make sure to take care of other responsibilities promptly. If you do not, it will lead to texts, calling, and ultimately a reprimanding from the head of the coaching staff.

Ways to be Accountable

In maintaining accountability as a member of the coaching staff, it is okay if other commitments perpetually plague your daily life. When you receive this information, it would be more professional to reach out to the head of the program and let them know the predicament before they begin to wonder why you are not at practice.

If you do not send a simple text and give them the proper awareness of your prior obligations, the coaching staff and players would start to wonder if you essentially quit on them. They would question your dedication and commitment to the new responsibilities awarded at the beginning of the season. Ultimately, they would become tired of the excuses and discontinue responding to the texts about why you cannot make practice, even as you begin coaching football.

            When you take on the responsibility of coaching any sport, especially football, you must show those who gave you the opportunity the same courtesy by letting them know what is going on if you are not going to make practice. If you are not going to adhere to your responsibilities as an assistant coach, it hurts the team. Success on the field cannot be achieved without coaches and personnel being fully committed to the game.

“Our tradition calls for a commitment to accountability. This is not an assumption – this is a promise that I will be there for you; and I can count on you being there for me.”

Although there are several qualities that epitomize what good coaching is, the most important aspects of football coaching for beginners have nothing to do with the X’s and O’s. In fact, it has everything to do with situations away from the field. It is through several major tenants, such as perception, trust, and accountability, that one can build a strong relationship with both the players and coaching staff. Developing these traits will ultimately make football coaching for beginners more tolerable.