My two year study of successfull and consistently poor youth football programs accross the country exposed a glaring mistake most of the poor programs made nearly every year. The poor teams rarely had the same offense in from year to year or in many cases from week to week. Many of the bottom dwellers were “flavors of the week” teams that seemingly changed a lot of their offense every week including formations, plays and blocking schemes. They seemed almost schitzophrenic the way they changed offenses each week.
On the other hand the teams that consistently excelled seemed to have a well defined identity and were very good at doing the same small well defined integrated and complementary grouping of plays nearly perfectly week in and week out, if not year in and year out.
Too many of the poor teams panic and look for a “silver bullet” that would somehow change a team that loses 40-8 in week 2 to a winner in week 3. A new offense or “trick play” or new formation in most cases isn’t going to improve that team one iota, and in most cases it’s just going to make the players more tentative and more frustrated. In some cases week 1 they would be in a double wing set and the next week they are in the “I” and in week 6 they are in the lonesome polecat. Maybe the coach thought they would be confusing their opponent, but in the games I saw they seemed only to confuse themselves.
Advice for the Struggling Offense:
The first step is to make sure the scheme in place matches the kids, is age appropriate, allows you to compete versus the matchups you typically face and is sound. Sound means the system is integrated, every play plays off another and is not the coolest 20 plays the coach has seen watching TV or mixed and matched from the 4 different teams he played on in Youth and High School ball.
The second step is to make sure the blocking schemes are sound and take advantage of the skills or lack therof of your players, this is where most poor youth football teams fail.
The third step is to perfect a grouping of 6-8 complementary plays that hit every point of attack.
Even the oldest and most sucessfull youth football teams in the country adopt this strategy. The team that won the age 13-14 Unlimited Select National Title in Daytona, Florida last year runs about 8 basic complementary plays out of their Wing T set and practice a full 5 days a week.
My personal teams running the Single Wing Offense averaged nearly 40 points a game over the last 6 years and we never have had over 20 plays in our playbook and often have just 6-8 perfect football plays in use come game day.
But what most failing coaches do is ADD plays instead of perfecting the ones they already have in. Less is More for the struggling team. Don’t dump your offense if you are struggling, go back to square one and perfect your blocking, make sure you have the right players in the right positions and get sound on defense. Many of the struggling coaches spent far too much time on offense, their defenses were letting the other team control the possessions, the clock and field position as well.
Here is a sampling of what 50 + First Year Single Wing Teams have been able to accomplish:
What was your teams winning percentage the first year you ran the offense?
These teams practice a “less is more” philosophy and as you can see from the results they did quite well. These are all just first year teams, just imagine how they will do their second year when the coaches and players have a year under their belts.
This has been another post into Dave Cisar’s Winning Youth Football Site
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