Coaching: How to Maintain Your Players' Attention on a Busy Field

Coaching: How to Maintain Your Players' Attention on a Busy Field

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

You can give the best coaching explanation in the world, but it's wasted if your athletes aren't listening.

And not listening is par for the course for young athletes - especially in a sport like football with its inherent distractions of numerous teammates, multiple position groups and high energy practices.

Here are two ways to attract and maintain your players' attention so you can be productive when you coach or teach. These methods have been used successfully for years by Dave Cisar with the many youth football teams he has coached.

"Ready, Focus!"
When a coach shouts the word, "Ready," the entire team must immediately stop what they're saying, look the coach in the eye and shout "Focus!" Any player who continues speaking or doesn't look the coach in the eye will be verbally corrected.

Verbal corrections are made for only a week. After that, any player not stopping or looking the coach in the eyes will have to run laps. Generally, few corrections are needed after the first couple of days.

Face Away from Distractions
You can use this tip in PE class, as well as with team sports.

Stand so your players face away from distractions. For example, have your linemen face away from the running backs or receivers as they dash up and down the field. Fewer distractions mean better attention.

Reference: Dave Cisar, (Founder, President and Coach, Screaming Eagles Football, Omaha, Nebraska), "Youth Practice Organization: Keeping the Fire." A DVD from Championship Productions, 2009.

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