Choosing a Youth Football Offense is a bit different than choosing an offense for a High School or College football team , but quite often it is approached in the same way.
First of all choosing an offense, any offense is starting on the right track. An offense isn’t just a binder full of youth football plays. It should be an integrated offense of complmentary plays based on a coaching philosphy.
The worst youth football teams we see every year have offenses that seem to be made up of the coaches 20 favorite non related plays he has seen on TV on Saturdays and Sundays.
Coaching Youth Football well means making good decisions on what kind of offense to run.
Before you settle on one or try and force your old high school football playbook down the throat of your team you may want to ask yourself:
What kind of football players am I going to get ?
What kind of size, strength and speed will I have compared to other youth football team in my league ?
How deep will my football team be, do I have plenty of strong backups ?
Do I have a minimum play rule or self standard to get everyone playing time ?
How do I work weaker players into my offense without hurting the competitiveness of the football team ?
How much football practice time am I going to get each week ?
How old and “football mature” are the players I’m getting?
What is the quality of my youth football coaching staff ?
How long are the quarters?
I ran the Option Offense in High School and the Pro Offense in College. Naturally, when I coached my first youth football team we ran “I” option football. Unfortunately in Youth Football we only have about 6 hours a week practice time to put in the offense, defense and special teams, our kids play both ways. With many kids that had never played youth football before, it was very difficult to put this offense in. After 9/1 we went to 2 days a week of football practice, so it became even more difficult to make work.
We had an ex High School football coach from Canyon Springs California High School coach for us for 4 years. His team had won 2 USA Today National Champioships during his tenure there. They ran the Veer offense, my favorite Football Offense. However, his teams failed to score many points in youth football. Why? Because we don’t have the practice time or the mental facilites at this age to make those kind of quick reads. The High school kids now go about 20 hours a week and are doing Spring and Summer drills etc we don’t do that with youth football.
In High School and College if they have a player that can’t play, they either cut him or send him down to JV, the team is usually made up of the best of the best from a farily large group. The High School or College Football team could care less if all their players get playing time or not, there certainly aren’t any requirements for them to do so. In youth football we have to make due with a very small grouping of kids and we have to find spots for all of them to get some playng time. We can’t cut or send the weaker player to JV. We don’t have 20 hours a week football practice with our kids or year round drills. Yet many youth coaches choose football offenses that require these types of time and skills.
It’s great to run the “I” formation if you have a great big durable “I” back and a descent QB, but what happens if you don’t have either or if the big back gets hurt or gets sat out because of grades? Then what, with 25 kids or so for most youth football teams you aren’t going to have another “one man” team to carry his spot.
If you are that smaller or weaker youth football team, how are you going to compete with one-on-one, hat-on-hat drive blocks?
Yet year after year we see the same teams running the same youth football offenses with the same mediocre or poor results. I think all the coaches are doing in this case is hoping someone drops a Dan Marino or Barry Sanders in their lap. We call this “wish” coaching. Coach is preparing his football team to get better by “wishing” for better talent.
There are youth football offenses that don’t require 20 hours a week practice time, that feature back, great QB, or one on one blocking, but it isnt the “I”, Wishbone, Veer or Spread, that’s for sure. More about that in an upcoming subscribtion article.
This has been another post into Dave Cisar’s Winning Youth Football Site
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