WYC 011 Youth Football – Darin Clark – Step up and Coach even if you’re not an Expert

Darin Clark picWhat does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Darin shares coaching stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth coach.

Darin is a graphic designer, he is married and father of four boys ages 5-14, and has coached a mix of basketball and flag football for the past 19 years. He also is the founder of the Father and Son Bowl community event in Franklin, Tennessee – which has grown from a few families in 2006 to over 1,100 players in 2013 – which raised over $38,000 for fatherless children.

Facebook: Father and Son Bowl

Twitter: DarinClark@FatherSonBowl

Websites: fatherandsonbowl.com, dclarkcreative.com

Listen Now:

Listen in ITunes: Itunes link

Listen in Stitcher: Stitcher link


Coaching/Leadership Quote

  • ‘Encourage fathers to be the loving and strong leaders that they are created to be’

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What do I do when they need a parent to coach but I don’t know much about that sport?

HUGE IDEA #1 : Be willing to step up and coach – even if you’re on an expert in a sport – you can get the help you need to learn!

  • Seek advice from others and don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know that much about coaching this sport!
  • Evaluate what level the kids are at and adjust accordingly

My ‘Cringe’ Moment

  • Being too competitive and losing my cool during games

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun

  • Involve the Dads! – Darin has seen good success when he brings in some of the Dads to play some games and do drills with the boys.
  • Be engaged as a coach! – Darin also personally jumps into the games and drills so the players can see his passion and connect with the boys

Best Stolen Idea

  • Having a very simple playbook – and letting the kids name the plays so they can remember them

Playbook for 7-8 year olds & Calling Plays

  • Have 3 or 4 base formations – then 3 or 4 simple variations
  • Don’t overworry about other coaches ‘stealing’ your signals – they usually are focused on their own team and aren’t paying attention to that


  • Throw a penalty flag – Darin actually brings penalty flags with him to practice and throws them as needed
  • Consequences have to be tied to kids making a bad decision

Reward, Recognition, and Teambuilding

  • Words of affirmation is the primary method Darin uses – lots of praise, fist-bumps, chest-bumps

 The One that Got Away

  • Listen to your assistant coaches! – Both Coach Darin and Craig share stories of not listening to their assistant coaches – and how this hurt their teams

 Coaching/Leadership Motivation

  • Book: The Bible – be a humble, servant-leader

HUGE IDEA #2 – The Father and Son Bowl

  • Backyard style football – Kids from 5 years old to grandfathers who are 75 play flag football together
  • Grown from a few families in 2006 to over 1,100 players in 2013 – which raised over $38,000 for fatherless children.

Interview Links

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