WYC 044 – Youth Football – Joe Daniel talks keeping things simple so that your kids build confidence- confident kids play fast- fast kids win games

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What does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Joe Daniel shares stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth sports coach.

Joe Daniel is the Defensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach at Prince George High School in Prince George, Virginia. He has been at Prince George since 2010, following a successful 2009 season at Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls Iowa. At Ellsworth, Coach Daniel coached the Linebackers and helped lead the team to a #9 Ranking in the 2009 NJCAA Final Rankings, as well as finishing with a Top 25 Defense. Prior to his time at Ellsworth, Coach Daniel began coaching at Smithfield High School in Smithfield, Virginia in 2002. From 2007 to 2008, Joe had his first stint as Defensive Coordinator with the school.

Coach Daniel has been featured in American Football Monthly Magazine, as well as on The Red Zone Show with Coach Big B and on Coaches’ Corner Show. He was also a clinic speaker at the Championship Football Coaches Clinic.  Joe also writes Football-Offense.com as well as hosting The Football Coaching Podcast.

Twitter: @footballinfo

Website/blog: joedanielfootball.com

Podcast: The Football Coaching Podcast

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


Coaching/Leadership Quote

‘Keep everything simple so that your kids build confidence, confident kids play fast, fast kids win games’

My Cringe & ‘Ah-Ha’ Moments

  • Joe didn’t have a mentor the first time he was thrown into being a head coach – he wishes he had sought out a mentor earlier
  • There are a million ways to coach/teach – be open-minded, there’s always new ways of doing thing

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun


  • Dale Baskett – Speed coach from San Diego Chargers – Coach Daniel learned from him how to have kids demo technique instead of having a coach do the demo
  • ‘Everything we do in practice is something you will directly see on the game field.  We don’t run over bags and ladders anymore, because they aren’t on the game field.’  Break everything down into it’s simplest piece and start small, then add progressions after perfecting the previous step.
  • Keep things competitive during drills

Best Stolen idea

  • Pete Carroll rugby tackling videos

Recommended Resources


  • Create the culture and set the standard early – this will limit your discipline issues
  • ‘The first time you do it, it’s on you.  The second time it’s on the team.’
  • When you set rules – don’t back yourself into a corner.  i.e. – If you’re late for practice, you won’t play in the next game – and then your best kid/player is 30 seconds late for one practice.
  • Celebrate the small victories in practice

Connecting with Kids

  • One kid – ‘I never had any friends until being on this team’ – he wasn’t a good athlete, played on the scout team – but being part of the team and feeling part of a football family was huge to him


  • ‘Until it’s in the papers, it shouldn’t be one of your top goals’ – Once it is, then if you don’t win – you get fired.

The One that got away

  • ‘We did something schematically that did not fit who we were – it looked good on a napkin, but wasn’t what we practiced all year.’

Leadership Quote/Book

  • Book – Dean Smith’s ‘The Carolina Way‘ – great leadership and business components

Joe Daniel Football

  • Joedanielfootball.com – Football defense, offense, coaching schemes
  • Includes blogs, video, audio, podcast, private Facebook group
  • Sign up for weekly emails: joedanielfootball.com/dim
  • Podcast has stories of what real football coaches are doing

Parting Advice

  • Be open-minded – but make sure what you are doing is applicable to the game field.


‘Keep everything simple so that your kids build confidence, confident kids play fast, fast kids win games’


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