Youth football can in many ways be reduced to a numbers game. If you have more numbers than your opposition at the point of attack, you have a decent chance at success. Now if you have the best talent and size in your league year in and year out, numbers really won’t matter, but what happens when you run into a team that is your equal or better?
How do you get more numbers at the point of attack?
Double Team Blocks
Pulling Offensive Linemen
Do not waste players
Leave non threatening players unblocked
Most of these suggestions are self explanatory with the exception of “Don’t waste players”. In many youth football offenses, the quarterback hands off or pitches the ball then watches the play develop of in some cases he puts on some type of half hearted fake. In offenses like this, your team is playing 10 versus 11 football before the play even develops.
In direct snap offenses like the Single Wing this is not an issue, our “QB” on the sweep play is the ball carrier, same on the off-tackle play. If our “QB” is not carrying the ball, the play involves some serious misdirection that take at least 1-2 defensive players with him.
Leaving non threatening players unblocked means in order to get double teams and numbers to the play you need to leave certain players unblocked. On sweeps and off-tackle plays to the strongside that means the weakside corner will not be blocked and if he makes the tackle on those plays he is either playing out of position or you have the slowest team in the history of youth football. All you are looking for is 5 yards on each play so if he making the tackle downfield you have very successful football plays.
Using motion or unbalanced formations at the youth level are usually very effective at helping your team gain numbers advantages. In some leagues less than 20% of the teams change their alignment to adjust to the unbalanced formations.
Motioning to an unbalanced set or even to a balanced set often places defenders into a quandary, uncertainty takes away aggressive play for most youth players and motion creates that uncertainty. In the Single Wing Offense, we use both motion and unbalanced formations and sometimes both to gain numbers advantages before the football plays even start. Add in double teams, pulling and no wasted players and you have a recipe for big numbers advantages.
To top it off, use the easy count method in chapter 13 of the book to help you determine where those numbers advantages are.
Like many things in life, youth football can often be a numbers game. As a youth football coach, your job is to make sure those numbers are in your favor.