Your goals as a youth coach should be to ensure that the players have a positive experience and learn the game. Each player will be able to reach his full potential by learning the fundamental skills repeatedly throughout the year.
Despite this, I believe that you should try to win even if you are achieving the above goals. This is not the case for flag leagues that are very young and where there is no scoring. Every parent is familiar with the game and most players keep the score. In these developmental leagues, I don’t recommend keeping score, counting wins and losses, or acting like Vince Lombardi. You can move the players around and give everyone a chance.
I believe that all teams should be prepared. Make sure they are ready to play, and that their fundamentals are sound. You can win if you reach the keeping score level, with records and playoffs. You should win but not at all costs.
Even at the Pop Warner level, winning the championship feels great and will stay with you for the rest of your life. There are many factors that will affect how many times you have the chance to win the title. If you’re coaching a travel team, the main factor will be the size of the town. But it is also important to consider how the players are split up. You will not have the chance to build a strong team if there is a draft. Chances are that you will be playing for many championships if you live in a large city that plays smaller towns. I am the second-smallest coach in our conference, but have reached the title game twice in the last three seasons. My teams have competed for the title approximately three times in the past twenty years. Youth football is not as popular as the higher level of live football match for today. The majority of games are won by the larger towns that have more players.
My town is rarely able to win titles. In the last two decades, my city has only been crowned champion four times. The New Orleans Saints seem to be the only city that has experienced a prolonged dry spell. They were victorious in just two playoff games over forty-two years before they reached the Super Bowl. The 2010 Saints team won the Super Bowl with their second playoff game, matching the record for most wins. The entire team was confident, especially after the opening quarter onside kick. It was a bold move by the Saints, which proved they were ready to win the game. The Saints weren’t shy about stating their goal late in the season, which was different from the Indy team, who publicly quit on fans and the NFL once they had won home field advantage in playoffs.