Win games or develop players?
This is a question that comes up even when we don’t realize it. Many coaches start the flag football season with the right intention of teaching the fundamentals of flag football and building a cohesive team. We hear so often the encouraging position, “It doesn’t matter if we win or lose.”
The hurdle comes a few games into the season when your team suffers a few loses. The parents look at the coach, the kids look at the coach, even the coach looks at the coach. All wondering when and if coaching the fundamentals of flag football will bring wins. With the feeling of defeat stacked with the pressure to succeed, we often see the coach deviate from the original game plan and strive to win at all costs.
There’s no question about how easy it is to play your star football players in order to keep the game competitive. However, relying on a few players has an unhealthy affect on your team as a whole. While you may see immediate results, the problem comes later in the season when the other players have not developed their skill for flag football due to lack of playing time.
My thoughts are simple. The players’ development comes before winning and winning comes after the players’ development. The job of the coach is to not only teach the fundamentals of flag football, but also inspire the players to follow “practice makes perfect”. If you keep that intact, the wins will come.
The season is not focused on one game, but on improving from one game to the next. In fact, for the most promising results, plan on having your team play their best flag football at the end of the season. I've seen it time and time again - the best teams at the beginning of the season aren't the best teams at the end of the season. Teams that work hard at developing every player will be a better TEAM at the end of the season…Playoff Time.
We'd like to hear your thoughts and experiences.