Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Specialty Teams

A wise old coach once told me years ago "you can't cheat on special teams". He was absolutely right!

For youth football ,its important that you invest at least 15 minutes per practice into a specialty team. A lot of teams now will have a pre-practice specialties listed in their practice plan. Its as important as your football systems! Coaches expect their specialty players to be up on the field 10-15 minute prior to practice working on specialty fundamentals. Long and short snappers snapping for punt and field goal, holders holding,kickers kicking, and punt returners catching balls. With some programs limited to a 90 minute practice this pre-practice specialty time is invaluable and the return( no pun intended) will be noticed on game days.

Some youth coaches view specialties as a time to get some of your younger players on the field and give them a chance to play. They are making a mistake and setting these players up for failure. As special teams are such a big part of the game you need to have your best athletes on the field. Usually in real close games special teams will determine the difference.
Having your younger players out there sets them up for failure as most teams put out their best. You'd be asking them to do something their not ready to do yet, and set them up for some physical punishment. Like the old coach said " don't cheat on special teams".

Like all football systems, special teams have their individual assignments as well. Evaluate and choose your players wisely. Don't be afraid to shuffle the deck until you get the look you want! Make sure they know their assignments and hold them accountable to them.


Football Game Planning

Game planning is an important part of getting your team ready for a game. Game planning is your strategy on how you will  deal with your opponent, some of their key players, as well as their different looks,plays, tendencies and how you will coach your team up to counter.

Attend a game between your up-coming opponent and another team. Bring along a parent or a friend to video tape the game. Video is great to have to view and confirm a lot of things that you observed or missed when scouting the match. Chart their plays and formations. Who are their key players? What are their tendencies in different situations and who are their go to guys. Identify players with poor fundamentals or technique and make a note. Record who the play-makers are and what positions.

Now review your notes, film, play charts, and begin your game plan. Set up your defence in order to be consistent with your opponents strengths. Perhaps they are a running team  first, so you set up your defence to be tough on the run, or perhaps they have a quarterback that likes to run more than throw so your game plan would be to contain him in the pocket, force him to throw and have good downfield coverage. Your scouting notes have indicated that the quarterback will hurt you more running than throwing so you make him throw the ball. Prepare your defence for situations for short and long yardage and what their tendencies are.

Offensively identify areas or players of their defence you want to attack.Set your offence up to run quick passing plays to counter a blitzing defence or run some trap plays inside to counter an aggressive defensive linemen.

One thing about good teams is that they do things well consistently all the time. The downfall to this is that because of it, opposing teams get to know their tendencies and players. The bottom line is that your players still have to play the game and stop them or move the ball, but, knowing your opponent and preparing your team for them will increase your odds and assist you in your game decisions.