The Fifth Football Practice of Our Youth Football Season:
We had another hot day of practice on Thursday with temps in the upper 90s and after a big rain on Wednesday, heavy humidity.
Since we did nearly all defense on Tuesday, so this football practice was all about offense. After our very brief dynamic warm ups and angle form tackling, we quickly separated the linemen from the backs, with both of my teams working together on the same drills. The backs worked on running low through a dummy squeeze, concentrating on keeping the shoulders square, running low, keeping the legs churning and exploding THROUGH contact to a cone 15 yards past the squeeze point. We also had this group running the gauntlet drill detailed in another post on this blog. The last thing we worked the backs on was splatter blocking drills. All these drills are in the book.
Meanwhile the line was again working our first two steps, concentrating on speed, proper angle and quickness. Out goal is to get our second step down faster than our opponents can get their second step down in order to get them on one foot when we make contact. We worked on those two steps along with a fit on a tall bag with getting the proper fit below the midpoint of the bag with the shoulder, wide foot base and with the players head up and on the correct side. We also worked our wedge and discovered it made sense to make a few adjustments personnel wise, as several players were quicker or slower than we had thought. Based on the player requirements for each position, as written in the book, we made a few switches and believe we are fairly well set as to where everyone will be playing at for the first few games. We are now repping the wedge at full speed for the older team and still on a fit and the counted steps per the book for the younger team.
After break we had the backs in the younger group working on repping the �Sainted Six� plays. We have coaches or dads at the point of attack with shields. We are looking for proper alignment, proper angles, full acceleration and correct head placement for these plays. We have 5 of the 6 plays in for this group. Our older group is made up largely of vets that have run the offense, for 1-2 years, so they are much further along than the all-rookie team. The older group has repped the �Sainted Six�, spinner series, buckwedge series and mouse series. We missed 3 starters on our O-Line on this team because of vacation this week.
Our linemen in the meantime are learning the basics of our GOD blocking rule. We reviewed what each term and letter means, the progression they go through to determine who they will block and then we lined up dads and coaches as defenders and quized the players. Then we taught several of our �plays� to the linemen. The linemen only need to worry about the last word of a football play called, that �tag� tells them what to do. Unlike the backs, the linemen will only have to remember 5-6
“football plays”, as we block a variety of plays with different backfield action the same way. So today the line learned �Power�, �Wedge�, �Sweep� and �Reverse�. About half of this portion of practice was done without helmets on.
Since we knew it was going to be brutally hot, we ended football practice for the younger group after 90 minutes. They went on to have a big waterballoon fight and watermelon feed. The older group was with me for the last 30 minutes of their 2 hour practice, running full speed football play reps on air with no defenders. We had them running the football plays out 20 yards. We did not have helmets on for this part of football practice and had coaches at the points of attack with shields to coach up proper blocking angles and technique.
While this group knows these plays fairly well, they were getting lax on proper first step footwork and were not paying attention to the details like perfect fakes that separate good teams from great teams. We were also puting the ball out on fakes on the spinner and mouse series plays which is a no-no, we rub fake. Our second team �QB� is still having problems with the proper timing of the cadence, a common problem that seems to work itself out in week 3. Our wedge still needs work, but with 3 starters on O-line getting back from vacation next week should make it look much better. We worked everyone in and were subbing every play. Both our centers seem to be very accurate and consistent.
With just 6 more practices in the next 2 weeks before our first game, we have a ton yet to put in. This will be especially challenging for our younger team which are all rookies with the exception of 3 players. We lack both aggression and athleticism on this team, so it just adds to the challenge. Next week it�s supposed to be 99 degrees and humid again so the weather isn�t cooperating much either.
These are the times that make many youth football coaches frett and worry. Priorities are the key, both short term and long term. In the short term we have to teach basic fundamentals to survive the first game, but we want to be able to perform well enough scheme wise to be able to compete.
Things are rarely as bad as they seem and my teams often seem to do a little better than I anticipate. My guess is that this is the case for most of you as well. Next week we will start to work some special teams in as well as do more live hitting and full team segments.
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