I'm a first year youth assistant coach with designs on becoming a head coach in a year or two. Youth football is so special to me now. Watching these kids develop and grow as players is awsome. This forum is a God send for me. I have two questions:
1. The kids in our program (11 to 13 year olds) are smaller, not as fast and less athletic than some of the other teams in our league. We play well when we match up against teams with similar talent to ours. We tend to get beat defensively against faster teams on cut back runs because we haven't really coached pursuit. Any drills for coaching pursuit for a team like ours? And how far out should the outside linebacker string out a run to the outside?
2. What is a good exciting offense to run on this level? I like a good mix and I believe in using the tight end more (as I was a big Mark Bavaro fan). I was told that you can't throw too much at this level, but on Sunday I saw a 6 year old flag QB throwing like John Elway. And what steps would you recommend I take to prepare to become a head coach in the future? Thank you.
I am not sure how qualified I am to answer your question but I will give you my 2 cents.
Pursuit is truly two things and that being angles and hustle. There are a number of good pursuit drills for both team and position and they also work well as conditioning or warm ups. You'll get the angles down doing those. The hustle part is attitude. It is letting them know they will fly to the ball..all of them will fly to the ball. You expect it of them and they should expect it of eachother. If you have to jerk a kid because he wont run then do it. They will being to understand. I would also do pursuit drills in every practice. Now your OLB question depends on a few things such as scheme and alignment. the way I teach it is get even and keep leverage. If my LB can get there and make the tackle great but if not all he has to do is stay even and keep leverage till help comes either from a corner or from inside. What he can not do is fly out to far to creat a lane between himself and the inside or jump up field with a bad angle to allow the corner.
As far as offense it all depends on your concept of exciting. Winning is exciting. If you do things right the no one cares because you are winning. We run mainly a power I with a few simpel formation adjustments. I also use a little single wing (still run my base offense) and a little gun (wrist coaches for the route packages). I will warn you that unless you have taught yourself a good deal about being a QB it has to be very very simple. Some of the worse stuff at this age group is someone teaching QBs that does not understand the position. You now only have to teach them the mechanics but also have to be able to deal with the mental part of the game. Your passing game changes with each QB.
Now if you liek a good mix and want something a little exciting and different but sound then I would look at what other teams are running that you play. Whatever they run you don't..or at least not the same formations. Formations are your friend at this level. With a little formation adjustment you can get the recevier you want open with a little movement. I coach the same age group and we get about 30 pts a game or so. Shifting and motion is not hard to teach and it gives the things some different looks while keeping teaching small. the kids like it because it looks like the NFL. If you can run no huddle (wrist coaches, hand signals, whatever) then that can be an exciting offense adjustment to run. No huddle also helsp practice in a lot of ways. Tell us what you are thinking and I am sure you can get some help.
I'm a 1st year Head Coach and something that we work on is Outside containment. We run a 4-4 and a 6-2. Our Outside LBers in the 4-4 are also oue DE in the 6-2. We pound and pound them on outside containment. In practice we have a drill I like to call Hit! Hit! Hit! We will send 2 blockers 1 at a time to block the OLB. The OLB must hit & seperate, hit & seperate and then go for ball carrier which we have running a sweep. On Offense We run a Wing T and alittle Double Wing, but I'll tell ya. It has been a struggle thus far. I may have introduced too complicated of an offense for my age group. Hope this helps.
Thanks coach! The information on the OLB was especially helpful.
An offense I like is the spread option. The wrinkle I'd like to add will be to include a TE, sometimes go with two TEs. I believe if you have a QB that can throw it a little, it should provide some match up problems. I'm still getting input from other coaches.
To quote a reply on a differnt thread in this forum - know what you are coaching and coach what you know.
having come from a veer offense and having coached in a spread/R&S system for the last 15 years I have learned to adapt the two systems (aka Geargia Southern style) and been successful with them. I have also been exposed to the I formation which is a really good youth formation and is capable of multiple styles of play (power, option, speed, etc). The best offensive advice is to do what you know best (probably from playing or early in your coaching career).
On defense I am usually a 50 or 50 invert ( something about someone over the center makes for messed up snaps occassionally). I also like to use an eagle type defense (aka 46)to really mess with thier blocking schemes too, but that is based off of the talent and favorable match ups.but since I have palyed in these and coached them for years that is what I do. I use a simple man free or base 3 deep zone with them too.
Keith Wheeler<BR><BR>www.herofund.com - give to those that are giving their lives everyday.<BR><BR>"It's not about plays; it's about personnel, execution, getting people to believe and doing it right." - Norv Turner<BR>
Defensively, in my experience, coachbots hit the nail on the head...really emphasize the outside containment. 90% of the plays that beat you bad will be due to lost containment. ALso, when teaching pursuit, remember that you do not want your backside players overpursuing...that may be part of the problem you have dealing with cutback runners.
Offensively, while i do not believe that youth programs should blindly run their high schools offense, i do think it is important that the kids at least have some introduction to what the high school runs (assuming you feed into a specific high school...ie not a parochial youth league). Obviously the most important thing is teaching proper blocking, tackling, etc, but if the kids are going to go on to play in a high school program that emphasizes the zone running game (for example), it's only going to help the kids if they learn the skills necessary to succeed in that style of offense (ie combo blocking with backside teammates, getting into the second level of the defense, etc).
One last bit of advice....the level of play of your o-line will determine the success or failure of your offense. I always go out of my way to make sure that these kids feel that they are part of an elite group, especially as it is a very UNglamorous position that a lot of kids do NOT want to play... I usually have my o-linemen over for a couple of hot dog bbq's during the season to build that sense of comraderie...I think it is vital to our success.