You can Double, Triple or Quadruple Your Offensive Reps When Coaching Youth Football
One of the keys to coaching youth football successfully is to be extremely efficient with your football practice time. Since my teams always practice less than our competition, this is doubly important for us. There are a few simple tricks to getting significantly more team offensive reps when practicing your football plays on air or even during
Many of the teams I�ve studied rep just one football play every 2-3 minutes. After our first game, my teams can rep offensive football plays on air at a rate of 3 per minute, so compared to many youth football teams we do 6 to 9 times the number of reps as they do in the same amount of time.
Quite often when doing team offensive reps the typical youth football team will have a player or two that lags when breaking the huddle or getting into formation and into his stance. This seems to often be the biggest culprit to getting reps in. The QB will delay the count to insure all the kids are lined up correctly or he will even slows things down so everyone including him can catch their breath. While you can choose to nag and punish this behavior, it is something that is a common problem for most teams.
Other problems that prolong the amount of time it takes to run plays:
Players can’t hear the QB
QB takes too long to call the plays
The football takes too long to be put in place
Coaches take far too long to coach up the play and players
Coaches stepping over each other
Substitutions are sloppy and haphazard
This problem is the easiest thing to correct when coaching youth football. The thing that shocks most coaches when I show up to do clinics for them is the pace and organization of my play reps. They think I talk pretty fast for a Midwesterner and move around with a sense of barely controlled urgency.
While you will have to buy the book to get all the tricks we use to accomplish this, here are a couple of simple tricks that are easy to put in: We are a no-huddle team, since we never huddle we do not have to worry about a play getting sent in by the coach to the huddle, repeated by the QB and then having the players break the huddle and jog to the line of scrimmage. All our plays are called at the line of scrimmage during games, so we do the same in football practice. Once a play is over, the offense immediately lines up on the ball rather than huddles.
Once the offense has mastered the snap count and our QB has settled into a solid melodic cadence that all the kids respond to, I call the cadence. This forces the offense to line up quickly and does not allow the QB to try and catch his breath and delay the play rep. I control the pace of the plays being run, not the players. As soon as the ball is quickly placed on the ground by our designated ball coach in the predetermined ball spot, I call out the football play to be run. The play is called out twice and I say the words “Everybody ready, everybody ready, everybody ready”. On the third �everybody ready� the players are in their positions with the correct spacing and in a “ready” position in their stances. Then I spout off our cadence of: “down, ready set go”. Since we always go on “go”, (except when we run “no play”) we do not have to call out a snap count or mess around with kids jumping off-sides. I call out the cadence, not the QB, to insure we get the maximum amount of reps in during that football practice segment. If a player fails to be in the correct position with correct spacing on the third ‘everybody ready”, he loses his chance at the rep. We rarely have problems with this after the first week of practice.
By using this technique and others in the book and Practice Management DVD, we are able to get a lot done in a very short period of time. When we play our first game, we are often weeks or even months ahead of our competition. I prefer to play the best teams in our league in that first game or two.
While there are no rules against practicing every day in our league, we don’t. We practice 3 days per week until the first game, which coincides with the starting of school. After the first game we only practice 2 days per week. In the meantime, our competition is usually practicing 5 nights a week then 3-4 nights a week once school starts. I often hear comments from the parents of the other teams captured on the game films my film guys shoots for me each week. Many of the comments are quite humorous and center on their thought that my team must practice 5-6 days a week. I�ve even heard one parent from the opposing team say “We could look like that if we practiced 6 days a week like they do, but it isn’t worth it.”Heck we even start a week later than many of the teams in our league of which many have �summer conditioning� throughout June and July or even week long “camps”.
In one of the leagues we play in, there was even a “Screaming Eagle” rule proposed as myself and our coaches called it. The rule proposed to limit practice time to 4 days a week before the first game and 3 thereafter. Because of our excellent offensive and defensive execution, no huddle system and smooth substitution and special teams flow, the thought was we must be practicing 6 days a week. This obviously wouldn�t have hurt us, because we never practice that much and in fact practice less than any team in our league. Us coaches found that quite humorous, because none of us have the time or even inclination to coach 4-6 days a week. The rule never passed, guess why? Many of the teams in the league were practicing that much or more and they didn’t want to limit themselves. Of course we were in favor of the rule LOL.
Use your football practice time efficiently, guard your practice time like a miser guards his money when shopping at a Neiman Marcus.
For other youth football coaching drills and football plays please sign up for Dave’s free youth football drills guide at: Coaching Youth Football
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