Clinic Takeaway: Youth League

At the first annual Coalfields Clinic, we brought in several coaches whose expertise lied within the middle school and youth league systems.  To some, these leagues are somewhat important but not crucial.  We, along with many other coaches, would like to disagree.  Derrick Hypes, the head of the Mountaineer Youth Program, went into extensive detail about why youth football is irreplaceable.  Here’s the takeaway:

Some of our fondest memories of the sport take place before we even knew understood X’s and O’s.  The floppy shoulder pads, the saggy jerseys, constantly pulling your knee pads up from your shins, and chewing your mouth piece up every two weeks.  Coach Hypes not only places emphasis on the love of the sport being built but a parental love for technique being taught.

In a one-on-one conversation, Coach Hypes expressed his passion for technique.  Terms like ‘safety first’ and ‘head up’ that are said a million times a day are, let’s be honest, rarely acted on.  Coach Hypes makes proper tackling technique a top priority.  It’s all about protecting the players and getting them to protect themselves in the future.  Habits are hard to break.  He pointed to recent example of Saints corner Marcus Williams dropping his head on the final play of the NFC Divisional, missing the tackle, and allowing the Vikings to win.  A professional who still is human and has his bad habits most likely learned young.

Coach Hypes spoke that things like proper technique and a respect for the game are crafted into stone with the type of culture of the youth league.  He has a stern position on coaches being coaches and parents being parents.  We all remember that certain parent always berating the coach, child, referee, etc.  He says this has no place in youth sports and he has little bend.  The understanding of roles makes the environment better and the majority happy.

So, we asked, if none of these traits exist in any nearby youth league programs, what do you do?  He said sometimes you have to take matters in your own hands.  When he took control of the Mountaineer Youth Program, it was because he cared enough.  What was his secret to doubling, tripling, quadrupling the number of kids coming out?  First off, he said wave off sign-up fees.  It’s a youth league not a travel team.  Economically, a free league is more inclusive, therefore invites more families which will be using the concessions.  It should cover itself if not more.

He also asked where the money was going.  IMPORTANT.  The money made must be reinserted into the league.  Things like clean and working gear, good field set ups, and a big one: nice uniforms.  Coach Hypes says bringing class to a league is affordable and makes it so much more fun for the kids.  He even goes to the extent to buying the championship team players rings (nothing too extravagant) but something those boys will cherish forever.  Which, is what he said, is what it is all about.

Back Road to Glory- PART THREE: Training for College Ball

In this three-part series, Coalfield and Co. will cover advice and processes to succeed in being recruited, making a decision, and preparing for college ball life.  The Mountain State is proving to have athlete after athlete under the radar.  Don’t be that uncle who said he would’ve made it to the pros at every family barbecue.  Play it right and get the most out of it (A FREE EDUCATION).

“True mental toughness isn’t doing a five minute plank.  It’s getting to your AM workout on time, not missing class, and not being the guy the coaches have to stay on”


We have already discussed the process of getting exposure and committing.  Now, your name is on the dotted line, your local news station recorded your stuttered and generic response, and now you’re on a direct path to the next level.  Let’s hit on some key things to educate yourself about.  One word: self-responsibility.  True mental toughness isn’t doing a five minute plank.  It’s getting to your AM workout on time, not missing class, and not being the guy the coaches have to stay on.  You won’t have somebody holding your hand around every corner; it’s sink or swim.  The best way to prepare for the early morning/long day schedule of regular and off season college ball is to live it during high school.  Wake up before school and lift, grind in your classes, and know your personal methods for success with such a hectic schedule.  LEARN SELF-RESPONSIBILITY.

Believe us, mental discipline will skyrocket your worth on the team and also your GPA.  Yet, we know it isn’t all about brains.  Of course, you must be physically ready to compete.  Coaches recruit different types of players: those ready to play and those needing developed.  First off, ask your coach what they want you working on.  This can mean getting bigger, losing weight, faster, stronger, all the above, etc.  The main takeaway is don’t force weight changes.  Your future strength coaches would much rather work with a blank canvas they can sculpt to their liking than a previous 330 lineman now looking like a bench AAU basketball center because he shed 70 pounds.  This goes the other way too.  We are planning to release more detailed articles talking about gaining/losing weight with a school schedule or limited budget.  KNOW WHAT TO COME IN AS.

We guarantee the one thing you all will be doing is lifting and running (or we would like to assume).  Pretty nice 315 belly bounce bench for two on your IG #gains, however, is this getting you ready for college ball?  Debatable.  We aren’t here to preach the perfect workout routine though we plan to also release in-depth college prep and high school development routines.  We’ll keep it basic.  What the main difference between college and high school with a widening gap on every level?  Speed.  Don’t confuse speed with conditioning.  Very different.  Speed is strength used with explosiveness.  If you run a sub 4.5 and weigh the same as a JV volleyball player- yeah, focus on brute strength.  Otherwise, continue your normal strength routine but work in exercises that’ll help your explosiveness.  Examples: lunges, squats (with actual depth), cleans, jump routines, sprint starts, accelerations, etc.  EXPLOSIVENESS -> SPEED -> STOCK RISES.

In the coming months, you might be honored with a selection to an All-Star game or you might apply to one of the lower level All-American games or even be selected for a large one.  Future tip, playing in any type of All-Star game won’t get you offered if you are looking for that last minute look.  If that’s your intention, you’re wasting your time.  However, many of these games offer you unique experience to become a team with strangers in a short amount of time.  It can create lasting friendships and memories.  The North-South game is WV’s main all-star event, and from personal experiences as coaches, players, parents, and fans: it is a fantastic time.  Don’t feel pressured to participate but you might regret turning down the opportunity to take part in a lasting tradition.  PLAY ALL-STAR GAMES FOR THE RIGHT REASON.

Finally, we cannot state this enough because it is easy to do.  Don’t rush out of your high school days.  Enjoy that last season of baseball or track.  Enjoy being with your high school brothers that you have gotten to do everything with for the last decade because you will all be on different roads soon.  College ball and college life won’t go anywhere, we promise.  Learn to appreciate the people who have helped you get to where you have because you will miss them when you’re off on your own.  Skipping out to rush into the next level will leave you will regrets.  College ball is fun but very different.  Training, playing, and going to school with your childhood friends is incomparable- don’t forget it.  ENJOY YOUR LAST HIGH SCHOOL DAYS.

BONUS TIP: Social media 101.  If you’re working out early, you are permitted ONE post about it per two weeks.  Trust us.