Our Fourth Football Practice
Today in practice we concentrated exclusively on defense. Many youth football coaches often neglect to put in the defense until the last week before their teams first game. While my personal teams are known for scoring copious amounts of points and our offense, we spend as much time on our defense as we do the offense.
Our teams focus on defense is not just in word, but in deed. We always angle form tackle in the first 10 minutes of EVERY practice. Proper Tackling is a critical success factor when coaching youth football and we show our commitment to being a great tackling team by angle form fit tackling in the first 10 minutes of every practice.
Yesterdays Football Practice:
Again we were very efficient with our time on our dynamic warmups and angle form tackling, getting it down well within 10 minutes.
Both groups did a full speed very close quarters tackling drill, face to face with barely enough room to put a piece of paper between their helmets and with a 2 yard boundary. This is done in 3 groups in competitive format to insure players are working against kids of similar ability, losers move to the left, winners to the right. We then went to 3 slot challenge tackling drill to see how the kids operated in a little more �space�. In both of these drills, the older and younger teams are running separate groups.
Next we brought the younger and older kdis back together for some individual work. We divided into 3 groups, down linemen, bearcrawlers and �players in space� (linebackers, D-Backs and D- Ends). The bearcrawlers worked on the base technique using several drills, a bearcrawl relay race, squeeze through 2 tall dummies, squeeze to form tackle fit and squeeze to pass recognition drills. The d-linemen worked on the base swim move, swim to form tackle fit and swim to pass recognition. The �in space� players worked on base pass coverage techniques, proper hip turn and some open field pursuit angles. Every drill used in these practice segments are using ball movement only as the starting point of the drill. All of these drills are detailed in the book.
We then set up a defense against a �scout offense� of cones. We had the older team lined up on these cones in our base defense with everyone assigned a position, alternating the backups in on every repetition. We reviewed the alignment and responsibilities of each player again as we had done in the individual segments. We then had the players take their first 3 steps and freeze, moving on ball movement. We then added having the coach move with the ball, with the defense going through the proper gap, using the proper technique taught in individuals and then taking the proper pursuit angles or staying in their correct �slow play� spots as dictated by the defensive scheme. For the older kids we added in our two base linebacker stunts, for the younger guys we stayed in the base defense the entire practice segment.
We wrapped things up with tall dummy relay races to get some conditioning work in as well as do some fun teambuilding. The older group is coming together fairly well, we are extremely small there, with just 1 player over the ballcarrier weight. The younger group is very unathletic and seriously lacking agressiveness, skills and athleticism. It will be a very tough challenge to make this team competitive with low numbers, extreme lack of experience and very low athleticism. My early guess is if we don�t have too many injuries to this team, we should be able to grind out scores, but will be very vulnerable on defense. This squad looks to be the least athletic and least aggressive team that I�ve coached in my 15 years of coaching youth football, a real challenge.
The temps are supposed to be 99 degrees on Thursday, so another hot day is in store.
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