Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Friday, December 17, 2010

Football Defence:Blitz Attack!

One of the thrills of being a football defensive co-ordinator is the excitement of blitzing your opponent, pressuring the quarterback, and forcing a well oiled offensive machine into turn-over's and mistakes.

A carefully planned blitz attack by an aggressive group of football athletes can throw a wrench into the offence and make the playing field a little more even against teams that are superior in talent and strength.

But it can certainly be your downfall as well!

Blitzing is like rolling the dice play after play, it's a gamble that you take, it can be a lot of fun when you get on a roll, sack the quarterback and create a turn-over. But, from time to time, like any gamble, you're going to roll "snake eyes" and pay the price. It won't take too long for a well coached team to take advantage of your blitz attack, expose its vulnerabilities, and move the football. The better teams know that by being patient when under attack and figuring out where and what players are blitzing that they can expose these players and take advantage of the space they vacate in order to blitz. How many times have you watched NFL teams blitz and sack the quarterback in the first quarter and then get ripped apart in the second quarter?

Game over!

Be patient in your blitz. Don't fire the guns play after play and become predictable. Be aggressive, and then back off. Blitz different personnel. Show blitz, get them to audible to another play, then drop into coverage. Keep the offence guessing. As the game moves along, perhaps you'll expose some weakness or flaw in their schemes. Take advantage of it but be patient with it as well. If you find they are having a hard time with it turn up the heat slowly and be cautious of not being placed in a position where you can be exposed and give up a big play.

There will be times that team's will not be able to stop your blitz pressure. But at the same time the better teams will be able to expose this pressure so it's best to be patient with your blitz and be smart with it as well!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Youth Football: Keep it Simple Coach

Keep it simple coach! Being a youth football coach is a year round job. It becomes a big part of your life and an important part as well that is very satisfying and enjoyable. But, it takes a lot of hard work and commitment on your part. There are many dedicated youth football coaches in our communities that shape the development of our children across the country and they play a vital role in their character development.

It's important that they do a good job.

As a coach it is was always important to me to be prepared, knowledgeable, and organized. The internet has a vast amount of information of football coaching philosophies, strategies, football systems, practice plans, whatever, for the aspiring coach. However, for the most part I find it can be too technical, too costly, or too philosophical for what I want to do at the youth level.

My philosophy has always been to keep it simple or for the most part, and use the" KISS" philosophy: "Kiss" being" Keep it simple stupid! And of course, add in "Do it well".

By keeping it simple in both football practice and football game systems your players should better grasp their roles, are confident in it, and perform at a higher level. By keeping it simple, it is easier for you to make practice plans, game adjustments and get the response out of your players that you're looking for. To be able to adjust is the key. And its fun! To recognize what your opponent is up to and being able to adjust to it is very fulfilling, and gives you and your football player's confidence. A simple football system allows this to happen. Finally, become a student of the game and dedicate yourself to that commitment. In the end your players will benefit, win or lose.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Youth Football Systems

sAll youth football levels whether it is High School or Middle School, implement their specific systems in order to be organized and effective in both side of the football. Football systems are constructed in order to place your players and their abilities in the best possible situation so that they thrive and have a better opportunity to be competitive. All coaches have their football systems that they prefer to run each and every season, but, is the system that they prefer to run right for everybody? For instance, the local High School coach approaches the local Middle School coach about implementing his system. He explains to the Middle school coach that by implementing and practising the High School System that the players that learn it, will be more effective and be closer to the field once they arrive for High School.

Take a minute and decide if you agree with the High School Coach! Certainly there's a lot to consider!

For example, it's normal to have a favourite offensive system that you like to run year in and year out but is it practical to think that every season you'll have the personnel to run it? My opinion would be that it would be not practical. For the most part, probably with some tweaks you could run a similar system but not the same system each season. There are a lot of variables to consider such as athletic ability, size, and experience that you have to consider and they will be different every season as new players arrive and older players move on. If your system is one where you can recruit specific players for roles within your system then you can run it each and every season, however, if your players are limited to a specific area or region prepare yourself to tweak that package.

Now let's get back to the original question I posed earlier in this article. Is it right for the local High School Coach to ask the local middle school coach to implement his system? Well, I don't think it's wrong but I also think it's probably not practical. For the most part the terminology would be a benefit as the players that arrive for High School the following year would understand it, but if they do not have the tools to run it in Middle School then I don't think it will be effective.

It's not fair to ask players to do something that their not capable of doing. In fact it would be frustrating to play in it as well as to coach it. It would be more reasonable to evaluate your roster each season and determine where your strength's are and effectively implement a football system better suited to their strengths. I think it would benefit the high school coach more in the long run if they thrive in a system that's designed for them or tweaked for them as opposed to asking them to do something they cannot do. The coaches concern should be that they are getting and practising good football fundamentals so that when they do arrive in High School they are ready fundamentally and it's just a matter of fitting them into the system or tweaking the system so that they can thrive in it. It certainly makes it easier when they have good fundamentals!



Monday, December 6, 2010

Football Defensive Linemen Footwork

An effective football defensive line has to be able to move. If they cannot get out of their stance and effectively engage their block and get  to the ball, then your linebackers are in for a very long day on the grid-iron.
 A solid footwork program should be implemented as part of your group time in football practice and it should be done each and every practice for at least 10-15 minutes.The plan should start out having them in their stance and incorporate a lot of body movement and change of direction drills as well as drills where they have to pick up their feet. Practice equipment should include the flat rectangular bags, cones, and a ball. Such movement as high knees over the bags, lateral side steps over the bags, and change of direction drills are  a few examples of what can be done to get that football line moving. As well, throw in some fundamentals such as block shedding as they perform their specific footwork drills where along the way they enagage and disengage a blocker all the while mainatining a low stance and keeping their feet moving. These drills also help with their conditioning. Emphasize snap explosion whereby they get out of their stance fast and agressive.


Defensive Linemen the Neglected Group

One of the most neglected positions in youth football is the defensive lineman. A lot of times we get so busy sorting out the offensive line that we neglect the defensive linemen. We basically set them up as blocking dummmies opposite the o-linemen and as we practice offensive line fundamentals they are told to line up here or line up there and come hard. As a result these players become lost in the shuffle and we wonder on game day why we cannot get a stop on defence.

Usually these players are perhaps slower and not as athletic as your fine tuned O-linemen. So how can we make them into ferocious ball attackers? Its simple my friend. You need to make a commitment to them the same as you do with your offensive linemen. As a lot of smaller programs have both of these groups together because of numbers , its important that all practice their defensive linemen fundamentals as much as offensive line. Everything from stance, footwork, snap explosion, engaging the blocker to block shedding, getting up field to the ball, tackling as well as system assignments should be covered. Another key would be teaching them how to read their blocks . By reading the block of the o-linemen the d-linemen can effectively determine what kind of play the offence is running and make an agressive read to the ball.

All in all, a good run stopping, sacking defensive line starts in practice and is worth the time of investment.