Youth Football is Youth Football No Matter Where You Live
Many coaches seem to feel biased about certain areas of the country having better quality youth football than other parts of the country. Some youth football coaches from less densely populated areas of the country also seem to often feel a bit inferior about the level of play in their areas.
My personal experience and the evidence of results of National Youth Football Tournaments don’t give credence to those ideas. I’ve seen video or watched teams play from nearly every state in the country and I’ve done clinics for over 5,000 coaches all over the country. I’ve seen great youth football played in areas of the country known for great football like Florida, Texas, Ohio and California. I’ve also seen some of the worst coached youth football in those same states. I’ve seen excellent athleticism and well coached football from states most don’t think of when they think of football, places like Utah, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Illinois and Washington. At the youth level no one area of the country dominates, just look at the winners of the Pop Warner National Championship or the big Unlimited National Tournament in Daytona. The teams come from all over and there is no trend, winners come from all over the nation.
While many feel their leagues are competitive and their area of the country is somehow inherently better than others I highly recommend you take your team to one of the many national tournaments. They are a real eye opener and a great experience for your kids. As a kid I still remember my Bowl trips, especially the plane trip to Las Vegas and I know our kids love going to Florida as well.
As the kids get older maybe there are some differences as weather, regional preferences, and Spring Football or even year round football make certain areas of the country “hotbeds” for football talent. Some states even have huge football budgets and coaches who either don’t teach at all or have very low class loads and even “athletic” periods where they meet with their football players year round in the classroom. Those differences may account for some of the differences in DI Football players coming from various states. But in the early development years the differences are not as large as many might think.
I had the pleasure of working clinics in Utah, Montana and Washington State these last three weeks and they play good youth football there. Great people and coaches in it for the right reasons. These are some of the most organized and well coached leagues I’ve come across. More on that in the next few days along with some UNBELIEVABLE stories. Yes we have a youth football/ live bear story that is almost too unbelievable to report. Just know that while youth football has a lot of commonality across the nation, there are some HUGE nuances, including shooting a live bear in Montana during a youth football event, don’t miss this one.