When coaching youth football teams, most coaches should consider using an “onsides'” kick every time on their kickoffs when the games are still in doubt.
Many of us often field teams that are not as athletic as our competitors.
I don’t want to put our less athletic players “in space” with more athletic players.
The other team is always going to put their best player in a position to recieve the kick. He will be about 20-30 yards from my nearest player when he gets the ball if we kick deep like most youth footbal teams. Why would I want their best player in the open field against my kick cover team ?
That is why when we have a lead of 3 touchdowns or less, we are going to onsides kick.
If I onsides kick we have anywhere from a 10-35% chance of getting the ball back. If we dont recover it, we give the other team the ball between the 40 and 50 yard line. This is often the same spot they would have gotten the ball to with a kick to their best return man. They have no chance to pick it up and run it back for a score in a typical onsides kick. If one of their players does try and run with it, it is usually one of their players that rarely carries the ball.
If we do recover the kick, with our ball control offense we are going to chew up most of the quarter. In youth football quarters in many cases being just 10 minutes long. the onsides kick is a huge weapon in these short games. We practice it often and use two very different versions of it. We have played games where we have taken the opening kickoff and scored a touchdown, onsides kicked and driven it right back down for another score. The other team is now down two scores before they even get an offensive snap. The other team is playing desperation keep up from the their opening possession and their coaches are panicked, quite often their kids are already thinking about what they are going to be doing after the game is over. In that particular game, the other teams offense was out on the field for just 6 snaps in the first half.
We consider the onsides kick to be another one of our football plays. We rep it and practice it to the level of perfection we would expect out of any one of our “Sainted Six” plays. The earlier we put the game away the earlier we get our backups more playing time and give our team a chance to work on specific areas in need of tune up.
This has been another post into Dave Cisar’s Winning Youth Football Site
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