Ok Google What Time Are The Football Games On Today How to Keep Players Coming Back in Youth Football

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How to Keep Players Coming Back in Youth Football

Tips for retaining players in youth soccer

Part of the “mission” when coaching youth soccer should be to retain players. While youth soccer may not be the best for some kids, for others it just takes a little time to grow into them. At the end of every season, I have kids on my team who have probably decided they won’t play another season. But somewhere along the way they change their minds to come back and have a great season that changes their opinion of the game forever. While I enjoy watching my teams play well, execute our soccer plays perfectly, and win championships, I get the most satisfaction from getting my players through the season and back to play another year of youth soccer.

There are a number of things I like to do in the 60 days after the season ends to help change the mindset of some of those cheaters:

The season DVD is always a big hit. I make one that includes funny captions, all our achievements, and we put Christian music on it. You have no idea how often your kids and their families watch those DVDs, several of my parents say their kids basically “used out” the DVD from playing it so often. Heck, watching that much can even help kids execute their soccer games better. These DVDs keep the game fresh in the kids’ minds and set it apart from other youth soccer teams he might play for. You can also differentiate it from another sport like football or the dreaded fall baseball.

I have always sent these DVDs to the children in December as a Christmas gift along with a letter. In this generic one-size-fits-all letter, I detail how much I appreciated the season, the parents, and the children. I am also including 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 quite some time. He talks about how much he appreciates the players’ contributions to the team and talks about very specific events and attributes for each individual player. While this may seem time consuming, Dave reports that his children treasure these letters and some of them even frame them. This is something I will do for every one of my players this year and for the foreseeable future.

Most youth soccer players need a bit of public encouragement to get them excited about the game, that includes their star players. You never know which kid might feel a little inadequate with his efforts. We all have kids who don’t start and we know they will become good players in the next year or two. Unfortunately, some of these kids don’t understand that with one year behind them, they will be the “star” of the next year. Some of these kids lose interest and give up on soccer altogether without the proper encouragement. If we believe that youth soccer teaches life lessons, our goal as coaches must be to retain all children regardless of ability. I want to keep the stars, the future stars and the stars will never be too. Some uninformed people think it’s a mutually exclusive deal, but it’s just not true, you can play with the kids, keep the kids, and win too, even in the most competitive youth soccer leagues. I have done it and many others too.

Take the time to do things like this and your retention numbers will go up. Guys like Dave Dimmond are the guys kids love to play for, he’s the guy who gets harassed at the gas station by his current and former players. He tells me that he receives emails that often begin like this:

Coach Dimmond,

My name is John Smith, a friend of mine, Mike Jones, has been raving about his youth soccer team for the past year. He brags about how much fun your boy Jimmy is having playing for you and how his team went 11-0 last season scoring all those points with that offense John brags about all the time. How do I enroll my son in his team? Do you have places left?

I also like that the children take the team trophy home for a week. We then ask them to bring the trophy to school and pass it on to a teammate who keeps it for a week and then passes it on to the next player on the list. This keeps your team name fresh at school and in the minds of impressionable little kids, while giving your players something to show off to family and friends.

If you’re coaching youth soccer and your teams are consistently competitive, you’ll also get emails like that, we all get them. Encourage your players and be creative to keep soccer fresh in their minds and not only will you get better retention numbers, but you won’t suffer for new players either.

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