Winning Youth Football

Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simple Defensive Line Key versus Zone Blocking Scheme

When coaching up your defensive line a lot of youth football coaches will give their defensive line either a man or gap assignment. In man the defensive linemen reads the offensive linemen based on his first step whether it be left or right or a drop step which would indicate pass. The step direction will determine the play and what side the ball will be going to based on the direction step of the offensive linemen. The d-lineman is taught to read the step, mirror with the O-linemen and fight to get up field and not get scooped or washed down. Usually when they are late reading the step they do get scooped as they are beat either on their outside or inside shoulder giving the O-linemen leverage to seal. One of the things you can do early in the season is start to teach your defensive line to read and mirror the offensive linemen’s first step. Through repetition and practice, it can be done quite easily and you keep practicing it until the defensive linemen is as quick stepping as the offensive linemen. This creates problems versus an effective zone blocking scheme as the defensive linemen begins to beat the offensive linemen to play side or maintain leverage so not to get scooped. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The 4-3 Defence An Athletes Defence

The 4-3 football defence seems to be a popular choice these days among many players and football coaches. But there are issues with it and for the most part a youth football coach should avoid it. First of all it’s a pro-style defence, that being, you need to be athletic and versatile in order to effectively play this defence. In other words you’re strong at every position and you’re not hiding anyone. The 4-3 can look intimidating with its 4 interior linemen and three hulking linebackers but its vulnerability begins versus the outside run game. If your contain players are not strong football players teams will run around the end all day. Usually your contain assignment in this defence would be your Defensive Ends and Strong Safety’s and if they’re not athletic enough then you’re in trouble. At the youth football level you’d be hard pressed to find four of these types of players that are athletic enough to step up and contain, and that’s where the problems begin. I refer to the 4-3 defence as the Athletes Defence, and with an athletic line-up it can be a very effective and dangerous defence to play against. However, the reality of it is that we don’t get these types of players all the time at the youth level. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Key Blocking and Tackling Element

Blocking and tackling skills are the key components to any great football players no matter what level or age. Players with great tackling and blocking skills play the game with ease and confidence and are fun to watch. But what is the main correlation between the two skills? Its easy my friend! The key component in both key fundamentals is hip rotation.Thats right, hip rotation! Players that sink their hips and then explode up on contact rotating their hips upwards are great blockers and outstanding tacklers. Hip rotation is football! You heard it here! To take the time with your youth football players early in their developement and to emphasize hip rotation on every contact drill will develope them into outstanding contact players that run over players,make great blocks, and are heavy hitters! Cheers!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Body Mechanics and Youth Football

Football fundamentals such as blocking and tackling are key elements towards effective football play. Specific drills that emphasize fundamentals should be a big part of your practice plan and done daily in order to develope your youth football players. But more than just drills, you as a youth football coach, should take some time to really explain the funadamental as well as the key body mechanics that must be performed correctly that will enhance the specific fundamental. Lets face it great hitters have excellent body mechanics which enables them to effectively perform with power and speed. One of the things a youth football coach can do is really take the time at the beginning of the season and explain to your players the importance of sound body mechanics in order to have strong fundamentals in football. Such things would include head position prior to impact as well as having the body in a set position with knees bent and arms back so that when contact is made the body is set up in order to be able to explode up and through the opponent. When teaching tackling drills the point of contact of your player or point of impact should be explained as part of the body mechanics they need to know to be strong physical players. Sometimes you'll notice players will pursue hard to the ball carrier and then let up just before impact. This would be a good example of a player not fully understanding perhaps his own bodies point of impact on his opponent which is they are not as physical as they should be. If proper body mechanices were emphasized in fundamental drills perhaps it would have made a huge difference. Body mechanics teaches youth football players why they do what they do and in the end will give them super confidence. A lot of times the youth football coach gets so wrapped up in their drills they lose sight of the teaching side of the game specifically the communication to your football players the importance of good body mechanics. Cheers!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Football Strategies:Defending the Wishbone Offence

For the longest time I thought the wishbone offence was basically a power game that featured a trio of big power backs that would go head to head with your defence with the goal of over powering you at the point of attack grinding out hard yards wearing you down and patiently moving the football along down after down beating your defence up along the way.

I thought it was grass roots football at its best, a simple but effective method of playing football.

I always wondered why teams would choose this type of football offence with all the offences to choose from when they know that the defence will simply load up the box to defend the extra back.I always just viewed it as a power verus power match-up.

Then I realized that this philosophy on defending the wishbone is exactly why they run this scheme. They know that you will load up the box, and attack gaps. Its exactly what they want you to do. They use this predictabilty to their advantage. While the defence is becoming so wrapped up in stuffing the run, being aggressive, and looking for the big hit the wishbone is methodically luring you in, setting you up with misdirection and play-action, as well as bootlegs and reverses.

This is when the wishbone is most effective! They want you to load up the box and basically get your defence being over aggressive and ruuning around.

The key is to maintain defensive assignments.Contain guys must force and filter the ball effectively back inside. Middle linebackers must be disciplined in their assignment, key on their near back and play tough, and not being sucked in on play-action. You can bring up your strong safety in the box to account for the extra back and my most success was to man up on all of the recievers and coach them up not to veer out of this man coverage no matter what in order to take away the play-action pass. Again, contain is important! Contain players are coached up not to get caught up on the misdirection of the wishbone and be ready for a bootleg or reverse. All in all maintain defensive assignments and make them grind out the yards and pay the price while doing so!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Football Success through Practice Preparation

Football success is directly associated through practice preparation.

The more you know about your opponent and the abilty to communicate that effectively to your football team equals success. Having your team recognize and adjust to players and formations puts you in a better position to be successful.

By scouting your opponent and charting their tendencies, habits,and passing that on to your football players equates to a confident football team no matter what level you coach.

Teach your players to read and recognize whats happening in front of them and to adjust accordingly. Have them play with a specific purpose,to be thinkers ,and to make the right read and play. Hold them accountable to their assignments and watch your team get better and better!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Youth Football: Keep it Simple!

Keep it simple coach! Being a 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 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 coaching philosophies, strategies, 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 practice and game systems your players should better grasp their roles, be 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 player's confidence. A simple 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.