Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Illegal and Unethical Trick Football Plays in Youth Football

There are a number of trick football plays that are perfectly legal and ethical to run in youth football. This is not one of them:

Not only is it Bush League it is an illegal football play. Something you would expect from a group of “coaches” you see on the clip acting like clowns or like they’ve just won a National Title. They act like they actually accomplished something of importance. What cowardice using such an unethical and illegal play to gain advantage in a youth football game. Great lesson to teach the kids guys! These are the types that give youth football a bad name.


Any action or verbiage used to deceive the defense into thinking that the ball is not about to become live is an UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT PENATLY, 15 yards. NFHS 9.4.4

This is the old �Where�s the Tee� play that was made illegal many many moons ago.

Nearly all Youth Football Leagues use Federation High School Rules with a few exceptions of �Special Rules� that they all make very clear to their teams often in a mini rule manual. This manual covers exceptions to the High School Rules only. Unsportsmanlike Conduct is not one of the exceptions and is covered in the Federation Rule Book under 9.5.1b. Again, Any action or verbiage used to deceive the defense into thinking that the ball is not about to become live is illegal. Acting like you need a new ball or have the wrong ball or are missing the kicking tee are all illegal under this rule if the ball is snapped during said baloney.

There are plenty of ways to compete in youth football and for some, a trick play is something they like to put in. I�m not a big believer in trick plays, we are going to fundamental you to death and I don�t like stealing practice time to perfect trick plays. I do however like to put in one trick play later in the year just to keep the players attention and keep them interested in midseason. We rarely run it to gain advantage, but as a reward to the kids, often as an extra point play when we are up a touchdown or two.

We do practice against the above illegal play in our defensive walk throughs and fit and freeze. But fortunately we have yet to see it in 15 years of coaching.

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