WYC 007 Youth Football – Damien Wong-Ken – Life as a Vapor

Damien picWhat does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Coach Damien Wong-Ken shares coaching stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth coach.

Damien was born in Kingston, Jamaica – then moved to Calgary and grew up in Calgary, Canada. He is married and father of a 14 year-old girl and 10 year-old son. Damien is a chef –see him at bluemountainkitchen.com, and does wardrobe design for artists – check it out at aimwide.com. He has coached high school football and most recently been a head coach of flag football in Franklin, Tennessee.

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


Coaching/Leadership Quote

▪   ‘Life as a Vapor – Life Is Short. Eternity Is Long. Live Like It’ – John Piper

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Coaching your own Kid

▪   Damien found that it worked much better to have an assistant take care of any disciplining of his son

My ‘Cringe’ Moment

▪   If you have a non-confrontational style – it can be tough to deal with some of the challenging parents. A key is to establish your team rules and expectations up front

Coaching AH-HA Moment

HUGE IDEA: The Random Points Game- Kids love to have fun and play games – and even though the points don’t mean anything – the kids will go nuts trying to earn points

Teaching Children

▪   It might take longer to teach a younger child through discipline – but as long as you are consistent and immediately welcome them back after disciplining them – they can still be taught to do things the right way

Best Stolen Idea

▪   Good sportsmanship – learned from the first coach he coached under – Darin Clark. They actually made banners for the opposing team as well as their own

Coaching Resources

▪   Best resource is: Other coaches! Don’t be shy about sharing ideas with other coaches


▪   Damien uses typical parent techniques for discipline – timeouts – kids have to sit out their favorite drills/games

Reward, Recognition

▪   At the end of each game – he gives out 3 trophies – and the last one is the MVP – and this goes to whoever is the best teammate

▪   To Encourage improving year-to-year – Damien keeps track of stats for each kid for the year – then gives them cards (like Topps cards) at the end of the season – great motivator for them to improve themselves


▪   Send an email with details around specific accomplishments for each kid – then ask the parents to read the email to their child

Inspiring Story

▪   With a tough child – Damien consistently showed him he would be a man in his life who would not beat him down emotionally, physically, or verbally – but still discipline him.   He earned the MVP trophy for a game towards the end of the season- and the other players rejoiced with him.

 The One that Got Away

▪   Damien coached against a guy that was teaching his kids to play dirty – and things got very heated – they spoke afterwards and did not come to any agreement, Damien out-executed him and beat him, but it was not fun playing against this style of coach

Coaching/Leadership Motivation

▪   Book: ‘Life as a Vapor’ by John Piper –whatever we do in each moment impacts eternity

Parting Advice

▪  Be patient – breathe deep and often – take 20 seconds to think through tough situations

Interview Links

▪   HUDL

Damien’s businesses:

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