Coaching Championship Youth Football, Football Play Selection:
I�m always curious to see how youth football leagues in various parts of the country vary from what I’ve seen locally or in the National Tournaments. From the information I’ve gathered with few exceptions, the championship teams look pretty much alike.
From a poll of over 50 youth coaches from all over the country this is the breakdown of the passing play frequency of the League Champion Team in the league their team played in, in the 2006 season:
No passes per game: 12%
1-2 Passes per game: 20%
3-4 Passes per game: 27%
5-6 Passes per game: 15%
7-8 Passes per game: 5%
9-10 Passes per game: 2%
10-12 Passes per game: 7%
12-14 Passes per game: 2%
15-16 Passes per game: 0%
17+ Passes per game: 10%
So the facts say that 74% of Championship Youth Football Teams passed 6 or fewer times on average per game. If I’m coaching youth football, I want to emulate the teams that win League Titles and avoid doing what those in the cellar are practicing. These statistics would lead me to believe that throwing the ball 6 or fewer times per game would give my team the best chance at winning a league title.
My guess is the few teams that did win championships and threw the ball more than 6 times a game may have had an abnormally talented thrower/receiver combination that most youth football teams would not be blessed with. The mistake many youth football coaches make is to think their 10 year olds should have the same football plays mix that the college or NFL guys have. The differences are the college and NFL teams are the best of the best of the best and each player on the team is a 1 in a 1,000+ player. The NFL selects each of it’s players from casts of thousands and so do the college teams. In most cases our youth teams have to take every player that signs up, and play him, no matter the players skill level. The NFL and college teams practice in essence year round and practice 20-40 hours a week in season. Most youth teams get about 6 hours of practice per week and are not year round programs. The NFL and college players have each been playing organized football for 10-20 years. Many youth players are first timers. The physical and mental development of the College and NFL players is far superior to the average 10 year old. Yet every year we see youth football teams trying to emulate these NFL teams, running the same type of offense and football plays and performing horribly in nearly every case.
Can you pass in youth football? Absolutely, the play action pass is one of my favorite youth football plays, but to drop back and hit a 15 yard out pattern just isn’t going to happen for most teams. In 2 of the last 6 seasons my personal teams have led the league in TD passes. That’s TD passes, not pass attempts
(big deal) or passing yardage. We average about 5 pass attempts per game, if we have a consistent throw/catch combination we gladly throw more. In 2006 at age 8-10 our defense had more interceptions (3 returned for TDs) than our opponents had total completions, so we love it when teams come out throwing and so do most championship caliber teams.
Keep these facts in mind when it�s time to develop your offensive system and football plays selections. Coaching Youth Football well means having the right mix of run and pass plays for your particular team. Of course if you are a style over substance kind of guy and are not concerned with the competitiveness of your team, ignore the facts and air it out 20+ times a game. These guys usually have e-mail or forum handles
like “airitout”, “airjones”, “nobackssmith”, “5wideCoach” etc. While my teams may run more than we pass, I’m going to do whatever is best for my teams competitiveness and development, not for my personal ego.
For more Youth Football Coaching Tips please go to Coaching Youth Football