Into the minds of youth football coaches

Blake Badraun coaching up the kids before the play. Lauren Crandall/Courtesy 

Football coaches are real contributors to kids’ lives, some will become mentors while others might become father figures for the hard times of their lives. At a young age coaches are introduced to kids and for six months they are a part of their lives. For some kids they might coach for one or two seasons but for others, they can have the same coach for up to eight years or even longer.

Just like many other sports youth football has been canceled or delayed due to COVID-19 but that did not stop Coach Blake Badraun and Coach Michael Smith from having their season. Usually their football season would be over by now but COVID-19 delayed it by a few months but they have been able to have their camps that are safe social distancing but have not been able to do what they are usually able to do.

“Highschool they are only allowed to only play with 9 kids at a time and stuff like that and it’s affecting the kids,” said Badraun, coach of the Santa Margarita Cowboys. “It’s taking their time away to make friends and brotherhood and learn discipline and learn football.”

Before every practice the Santa Margarita Cowboys will ask the kids a group of questions, check their temperature and the coaches will also wear their masks through the practices. When they talk they also have to stay six feet apart and parents aren’t allowed really on the field they have to stay 60 feet away.

Badraun is the head coach for the Santa Margarita Cowboys, a Pop Warner football team. Pop Warner is a little league nonprofit organization founded in 1929. It is the largest and oldest youth football and cheer and dance program in the world 

Baudraun describes the joy of giving back to kids as what he likes the most about coaching. Giving back to the kids is really what made him want to get into coaching.

“Kids come out, they learn the game of football, they learn how to be a team, they learn how to be respectful, and discipline,” Baudran said. “When kids get to high school they have bad coaches and they don’t know how to be good teammates and most of the kids we end up coaching end up getting D1 scholarships over the others because of how they learned and were taught”.

Baudran describes that youth football teaches a multitude of things like teamwork and discipline. There is life after football and that’s how they like to teach. If someone is late to work then they will end up getting punished or they will get fired and that’s the mentality that Badraun likes to bring on the football field. 

Michael Smith, another coach for the Santa Margarita Cowboys, has been coaching for 11 years. Smith believes that the fraternity of the kids and the coaching staff is what is important. Football is a big opportunity to continue to grow as people on or off the field.

Coach Michael watching the kids during their play in practice. Lauren Crandall/Courtesy 

Smith grew up playing sports and what made him want to coach is because he saw all of the growth that football gave him. He just wants to teach his kids how to be good stewards of the community while trying to help their kids maximize the best within themselves.

“Being a part of the community is incredibly important for me and I want to continue to do my part in where we continue to teach the youth to be better young men or young ladies,” Smith said. “I really think youth sports develop’s cooperation and teamwork whether it’s a single sport there’s a certain level of teamwork as all of these sports have a certain level of accolades but you certainly also have to work as a team to score many different points in arenas.”

The Santa Margarita Cowboys will be starting their practices later on this month to get their players ready for their games that will be coming up soon.