Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Gaining Advantages With Dominant Hand Placement in Youth Football

99% of people have a dominant hand, we are naturally right or left handed. This dominance can be used to your advantage when making position selections.

Players naturally move more comfortably towards their dominant hand side. As an experiment, run a drill where players get the ball and then make a cut either to the right or left at a point 5 yards downfield. You will find over 90% of the time the player will cut to his dominant hand side.

We use this fact to our advantage on kickoffs. Since most players are right handed and will in most cases cut to their right, we kick to the other teams right sideline. We find that even though there is little room to run in between the hash and the sidelines, most of the kick returners will still cut to their right, their dominant hand side and refuse to run left. Using this strategy we rarely have to defend more than 1/4 of the field on kickoffs.

Players that are left handed are going to feel more comfortable running to their left and right handed players are going to feel more comfortable running to their right. In the double wing offense where the offense calls for pulling both the guard and tackle to opposite sides equally in a balanced formation, it would make sense to have your left handed pulling guard and tackle on the right side (pulling left) and the righties on the left side ( pulling right).

In the Single Wing Offense, our linemen are in most cases stepping to the inside to protect the inside gaps. If you have a left handed linemen in this offense, it would be to your advantage to place him on the right side, as he would be moving left in most cases. The exception in this scheme would be the right guard who goes in both directions quite a bit. In the Single Wing playbook there are lots of football plays where the wingback either goes in motion to his left or even carries the ball to the left. Some Single Wing Teams even have football plays in their bag of tricks where the wingback throws the ball. It would be a huge advantage in this Offense if the wingback were left handed. In 2006 we had a left handed wingback; he scored 12 touchdowns and averaged nearly 10 yards per carry.

On the flip side we had a very good running back type in 2006 that was left handed as well, he started at blocking back for us and did an excellent job in our SIngle Wing Offense. If you have the 2006 game tape you will see on our spinner blocking back wedge or trap plays where he carries the ball, he invariably breaks the plays to his left. This player should have been our backup tailback, but in our playbook so many of our tailback designed plays go to the right and our run pass option play goes to the right as well. We gave this player reps at tailback, but he never felt comfortable there and could not throw the ball moving right at all so we didn’t end up playing him at tailback. If your Single Wing team ever has a very dominant player that is a lefty and you want to play him at tailback, consider making your base formation unbalanced left and run your base football plays to the left.

Hugh Wyatt of double wing fame even goes so far as have the players on the left side of his line have their left foot back in their stances and their left hand down. His theory is it is much easier to pull with the above configuration.

In Coaching Youth Football, the hand dominance advantage can give your team a slight advantage when putting players into positions. Make sure the player is a fit for the position first though, as hand dominance should not be the main decision criteria.

Copyright 2007 Cisar Management Services. This article may be reprinted if the links are kept intact.
For more useful football tips please go to: Coaching Youth Football

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