My son is 8 years old, and we pretty much do everything together. Including coaching his football team (Go Bees!). And while we’re only a few weeks in, I’ve already observed a few stupidly simple lessons from him and his teammates that can up all of our ad games.
1) Have courage.
Ask a group of 8 year olds for a volunteer—for ANYTHING. Chances are you won’t even get to the actual task before hands shoot up. What’s interesting about this? The total lack of fear. They just GO—instantly throwing themselves into active roles and figuring things out in real time, with no worries about messing up or looking dumb. And here’s the thing: it works(!), which is quite awesome.
Meanwhile, we adults take our precious time to process fear, calculate risk versus reward, and even after all of that, may still choose not to act.
And while there’s certainly a benefit to taking calculated risks in the adult business world, certain situations (see: brainstorms, Smirnoff’s newest campaign, etc.) benefit from a more fearless attitude.
Know your audience.
For adults, sports are a chance to impart some time-tested life lessons that blah blah blah. For kids, sports are games, and games are fun.
Now, the secret to dominating youth football is actually no secret at all: teams who win are aggressive on the line. I could teach this by belaboring blocking drills, diagramming assignments, or talking at length about the importance of sideline hydration.
Or we could play “bull in the ring,” which is exactly what it sounds like and gets them happy and hyped while providing an opportunity to teach technique.
Much like a certain pretzel brand catering to their hungry-for-mild-absurdity audience, I’ve learned to wrap my boring football lessons in utter smashmouth joy.
3) Your audience will only remember one thing.
I’m begrudgingly realizing with age that brain space and information aren’t exactly equal partners. In my defense, kids aren’t walking hard drives either. And memorizing a barrage of techniques, plays, patterns, and drills is all too much for them.
Have a peewee football championship-level weekend, everyone!
– Your Hut-Hut-Hiking Friends at Brokaw.