Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The 3-4 Defence

A lot of coaches in the NFL are currently switching to the 3-4 defence. The trickle down effect is that a lot of coaches in Middle School and High School are switching to the 3-4 schemes as well.

Why the change?

A lot of coaches like the way the defence has the ability to pressure the offence by showing many different looks, blitz's, and stunts. With only 3 down lineman, you can mask different coverage's and bring blitz's from all over the field confusing the O- line and quarterback, pressuring them into making mistakes, creating fumbles and turn-over 's.

Life in football land seems good!

There are drawbacks to this scheme.

First of all you need to have a solid Nose-Tackle who is a football player and is strong enough can take on the double team. If you haven't got one of those guys, you're in trouble especially against teams that like to zone-block. By zone-blocking they will double team one of the D-lineman at the point of attack and then one of them will chip off and get one of your linebackers. Or they will down block in the same direction get all the defence flowing in one direction and try to "wash down" the defence while the running back looks for a cutback. This is usually what knocks you out of your 3-4 defence.

I like the 3-4 defence. When things are going good you can pile up the sacks and fumbles. But beware of the downfalls. Probably is a good idea to have a 4 man front somewhere in your defensive scheme to counter against a good zone blocking offence.


When Players Clash

Whether you like it or not at some point you will have some of your players clash.

Consider the fact that over the course of the season, the ups and the downs, the bumps and bruises, and the challenges along the way, it's bound to happen. When you have your players being accountable to you in their assignments, the next best thing is that they become accountable to each other.

This is a good thing!

It will begin at a practice or during a game. You'll hear the chirping between players as they challenge each other not to miss their assignments, to play hard, to make a play. They'll start to expect the very best from each other. Then, when assignments are missed, or bad plays are made, they'll chirp at each other. Probably, somebody at this point will get mad, pride is on the line, and they'll get in each others face.

Time to step in and manage this situation.

Remind them that they are team mates and neither one of them shows up every practice and game determined to make bad plays or veer out of assignments. Tell them they need to communicate better if they are not clicking and reinforce that they are both good players that play hard, with passion, and emotion, and that they as a tandem, bring the best out of each other.

Forgiveness can come easy between these two. Probably you'll see it when they do score or make an amazing play by their big grins on their face. Best friends again!

Don't ever try to figure it out. Just manage it as it comes. It goes away just as fast!


Football Minor Programs

Recently, I read a post on line from a Middle School Coach who was peeved at the Head Coach of the High School football Team who wanted him to implement the same systems as he had at the High School Level. His rational was that the players of the middle school were going to eventually end up there anyway so it would benefit the players if they knew the High School system coming in and in the end make them more competitive. The Middle School coach was upset at the idea of this suggestion.

For the most part I can agree with both coaches but not with one or the other. I understand why the Middle School Coach wouldn't want any part of the High School Coaches systems. The point being that they are in Middle School so running the High School system would be probably too complex and unrealistic to do for that level. Keeping it simple, doing it well, while working on fundamentals would be the ideal situation. Players arriving at High School with good fundamentals would be just as important.

The other hand is that while not adopting or mirroring the systems of the High School program the Middle School could use some of the same terminology, some of the blocking schemes, and a few of the plays that aren't too complex for them to handle. That way they would have some foundation when trying to make the jump to High School. Ideally, both coaches would respect each others ideas and come to some common ground.

Guest coaching would be one alternative to introduce some basic schemes and drills or even having a combined practice. This has worked well for me in the past keeping in mind that the age groups stick together when doing the drills. It seems to break the ice between programs and removes the "unknown factor".