WYC 027 Youth Football – Mike Frederick talks High School Football, the NFL, and Joe Ehrmann

What does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Mike Frederick shares coaching stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful coach.

Mike played 5 years in the NFL, including a Super-Bowl run with the Tennessee Titans, 1 year with the original Cleveland Browns, and 3 years with the Baltimore Ravens. He is now the head football coach at his alma mater, Neshaminy High School in Philadelphia.  Mike is married and has four children.

Neshaminy H.S. on Twitter: @neshaminy

Neshaminy H.S. Website: neshaminyfootball.com

NFL Player article on Mike: nflplayerengagement.com

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


Coaching/Leadership Quote

  • ‘The reason I coach is to make each player feel valued – from the top player on the roster to the bottom’

click to tweet!

The Music City Miracle

  • This was a play they practiced every week all season – so the team was prepared, the coach did not panic, and even though it didn’t go exactly as planned – the players were prepared and executed the play successfully.

My ‘Cringe’ Moment

  • Pulling players immediately after they make a mistake – you teach your players to play in fear instead of aggressively

My ‘Ah-Ha Moment’

HUGE IDEA #1: ‘The best time to implement change is after a win’  – players are in a good mood, your voice will come across less irritating, studies show kids are apt to listen more after a win.  After a loss is when you need to be more encouraging.

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun

  • Each kid responds to different types of teaching – and the only way to figure it out with each kid is trial and error
  • Change things up: Play loud music during practice(learning to communicate in a loud setting); set fun goals: if our running back out-rushes their running back then we get ice cream(great goal b/c it affects the offense and defense)

Best Stolen Idea/Advice from another Coach

  • ‘The reason I coach is to make each player feel valued – from the top player on the roster to the bottom’

Recommended Resources

  • HUDL – allows him to watch film with his coaches while at their own home.  Also they exchange 3 films with each team they play- so they physically don’t send any scouts to any games.  You can also track how long players have been on HUDL – so they try to catch their players doing something right and recognize players that are putting extra time in.
  • Other coaches – if you’re struggling with something – call up some other coaches and ask for a few tips


  • 4 step process for a player who has a concern or is upset:
  1. Talk to your position coach
  2. Talk to your coordinator
  3. Talk to the head coach
  4. If there is still a problem – then the head coach can pull in the parents if needed

Reward and Recognition

  • Mike asked the players if there were any ‘entertainers’ in the group (artistic, musicians, rappers, etc.) – told them to prepare something  – and on the last 3-a-day of the summer – they skipped the last practice and let the players ‘entertain’ the team

Inspiring Story

  • Joe Ehrmann has been a personal mentor to Mike, and Mike has implemented Joe’s philosophy of how to love these kids.
  • Mike shared a story of a kid from Haiti who didn’t have much money or insurance, but when he turned 18 he purchased his own 4-month insurance rider and is playing for their team his senior year.  Very inspiring to Mike and the whole team.  ‘That’s why I coach’

Winning/Goals for a Youth Coach

HUGE IDEA #2– Priorities for a Youth Sports Coach:

  • Top priority: teaching safety techniques
  • Next priority: Avoid specialization – play multiple different sports – not only are their mental benefits(keeping things fresh) but also there are physical benefits(mixing up which muscles you are using)

The One(s) that Got Away

  • Mike shares a high school memory of fumbling on the goalline in a game they lost 7-6.  The thing he remembers though is ‘I am glad it was me.’
  • Mike also shares a story from college football at Virginia where they let a game get away from them against a team they normally should have beaten.  The QB got hurt and the backup QB came in and did well – b/c his team had done all their preparation for the starting QB.

Favorite Quote/Book

Parting Advice

  • Embrace the differences in kids and keep it fun – make them love the sport! The majority of kids stop playing sports by 3rd grade – we’ve made it too serious and taken the fun out of it.

Interview Links / Promotional Partners

Hudl cover pictureHUDL



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