Flag football is one of the fastest-growing youth sports in the United States for a reason. It is high energy, accessible, gender-neutral (both boys and girls can play the game), and very affordable. Besides being fun for the players, flag football is also an invigorating game to coach. The process can be quite exhilarating, as long as you have a solid understanding of the rules, are aware of the psyche of kids and teens, and know how to motivate players.
A large section of the youth joins flag football or any other sport for that matter to develop teamwork. But, finding a coach who knows how to teach team spirit is not easy. If you are a flag football coach or contemplating a career in the field, we have curated some tips that can help encourage better team performance.
Tips and Tricks to Encourage Team Spirit as Flag Football Coach
Decide on the Type of Motivation
To begin, we can distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the use of external factors to encourage and motivate a team to perform or act in a specific way, whether it is positive or negative. In a workplace, external motivation could be things like a pay hike, a bonus, a free leave, etc. But, on the negative spectrum, an external motivation factor could be something along the threat of losing the job. When we talk about flag football, you can also adopt a similar technique. You can opt for extrinsic motivation, such as the promise of a player to team captain, a higher match fee for the team, etc.
On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is the ‘internal’ desire within a sports team to improve, achieve, and succeed. As a coach, your objective should be to ignite the intrinsic motivation in every player and challenge them to become the best version of themselves every day.
Set Measurable Goals
Many youth athletes in flag football teams have their training process recorded by coaches. So, when you are tracking and evaluating such data, leverage them to create a thirst for individual improvement and set team-based goals. For instance, as a flag football coach, you would have specific criteria for success for different sets of players. These per-game goals can be very specific, but they all require the entire unit to work together.
So, meticulously curating these personalized benchmarks helps the team reach their overarching goal of winning the game, title, or tournament. After a game or ahead of the game, you can review the goals and tweak them to fuel further motivation and consistent performance.
Do Not Opt for Punitive Measures During Failure
Sports is an emotive field. It arouses passion, joy, and despair. Of course, as a coach, it is easy to get carried away in the disappointment of a last-minute defeat or an individual lapse. However, it is not right to adopt an authoritarian or hardline stance to deal with team failure, especially when dealing with adolescents. The key is to stay positive and foster motivation among the players. Besides, it is also a good idea to celebrate the small wins, as it displays your appreciation for the team.
So, there we have it, 3 ways to encourage a team of flag football players for better performance. Knowledge is also critical – with printable flag football plays for 6-on-6 games, for example, you’ll have a huge head start. If you lack knowledge, it won’t be long before your team notices this!