Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Our 10th Football Practice

Our 10th Football Practice

Here is how our last football practice of the week looked like.
This is our last practice before our first game, always a very important practice.

We reserved the School gym in case of rain and thank goodness we did, as there was lightning and a pretty good shower coming down. The kids had their pads off and were in bare feet.

We split the two teams and did our warm ups and angle form tackling as usual. The Older kids worked on special teams run throughs as I worked the younger team on offense. As we repped our plays on air and then against dads and remainders in fit-and-freeze mode, we subbed players in on every rep. Any players name that was called that did not run in off the �sidelines� yelling the name of the player he was replacing and slapping him on the hand, was sent back to the sidelines. We just don�t tolerate poor substituting and in the last 6 years of coaching we have yet to have a too many players on the field penalty. Getting great at subbing means more kids play and that�s a good thing. Our second team center got a bunch of reps and he did very well. Our backups were at least lining up correctly and giving us the correct initial footwork. On each play rep we were subbing 1-3 players and still getting a play off every 20 seconds or so.

We looked pretty crisp on our �Sainted Six� with a few extras tossed in. We are at about 9 football plays for this age 7-9 all rookie team. We even had one of our late starters ( just 1 week with us) and slated minimum play type player have the “light bulb” come on today as he got his first two steps down well on offense and was subbing in well. It looks like he finally is getting it and understadn what he is supposed to be doing on each of our football plays. I praised him in front of the group and in private and let him do the final break, he was all smiles.

On defense with the little guys, we have our base defense in and 2 stunts. We looked pretty descent here as well at least from a responsibility and subbing standpoint. The special teams werethen left to my assistants as I went over to work with the older team.

We repped our offense on air with the older group for about 40 minutes. We stuck with the starters for the first 15 minutes, then subbed from 1-3 players every snap for the next 15 minuets. The last 10 minutes was almost all backups, because the first teamers were cooking pretty well. When I mean backups, I don�t mean the kids we sub in right away like our backup wingbacks or ends or even tailbacks, I mean the kid we have playing right guard getting reps at blocking back. I mean my power tackle getting reps at fullback. We promise those kids that if they work had and we get ahead in games, they will ge the ball. For these kids we only teach the �Sainted Six� as when we get ahead we won�t use all of our football plays anyway.

The older kids had already done defensive walk throughs and fit-and-freeze reps against the coaches so we did team line ups. We had everyone off to the side and called the first offense onto the field and ran a rep or two, then the first defense, then the kickoff team, then the kick return team, the field goal team, punt team and punt return team. We made sure al the kids knew which teams they were on and when and where to line up. The last 30 minutes was spent doing special teams reps.

While I was doing this with the older team, my assistants were doing the same with our younger team. This was a longer practice, 2 � hours, by design.

Next post: my talk with the kids about game day behavior.

Next week with will get back to fundamentals and some more advanced drills that we rarely are able to get in before our first football game. We will get back to some individual technique work as well as refine what we do when we come together. We may add or subtract things based on what we see in our first full action contest.

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