Again for those of you following along with my season, I am coaching two teams. One is basically an all rookie team of 3rd-4th graders, the other is a veteran team of 5th-6th graders. We are practicing together during some drills and not with others. Here is how our third practice of the year went, it was our first practice with full pads:
Since we have such a disparity in ability and experience with these two teams, we had to come off the usual practice plan a bit. We had very high humidity and 95 degree temps again, so as usual we had our helmets off when it made sense and got plenty of short water breaks.
We were able to get our dynamic warm ups and angle form tackling down to 10 minutes.
Since over 75% of our older team has played before and has a very good grasp of form tackling, we put them into a very tight quarters (face to face cones just 2 yards apart) full speed tackling drill. In usual competition format, we had 3 groups, losers go the left, winners to the right. We learn who our better tacklers using this method and it keeps the weaker kids away from the stronger kids. The younger group worked on landing mat splatter tackling drills while the older boys did this.
We then separated backs from linemen. The linemen worked on our first two step blocking progression, we also added tall dummies at the end and added a third step, feet wide and drive. We are still doing everything on the freeze progression as detailed in the book, to insure proper form and head placement on each step. We put the linemen in positions and alignment in formation and worked on the process of each player lining up in a progression starting with the center and moving out along with proper foot to foot spacing.
We then worked our first two steps on air in formation. Next, we spent about 15 minutes forming up our initial wedge. We got as far as a good fit, with the older group being able to take a few counted steps on my count after fitting. The older group came together real nice, the younger group as expected had a tougher time but had a descent fit towards the end. As we tailed up the O-Line practice, we worked on our first “pull” step with both groups.
The Backs in the meantime were putting in their first football plays. With the older group we have a full backfield of kids that have played each backfield position, some as starters, some as backups. Nonetheless, we have a �pattern� that the new kids can follow, as the older kids know the base plays pretty well. After chalking, walking, jogging and then running to a fit and freeze, we put the 16 Power in with both groups. The older kids breezed through 10 reps with each group, the younger kids struggled but after about 10 minutes the first group was being fairly proficient with it. The younger kids were gettting much fewer reps, as the rookies have so many kids that have no clue and each rep takes more time. The older kids moved on to 22 Wedge, 31 Trap, 18 Sweep, 43 Reverse and 18 Sweep Pass, they were humming, just review for most of them. The younger kids pretty much stayed on 16 power, “no play” and 22 wedge and they started to come together fairly well towards the end.
We stressed accountability to a perfect stance, perfect alignment and 100% effort. All carries and fakes are taken 20 yards downfield to a marker and all blocks are fit and freeze to a coach with a shield.
All in all, it was a pretty fair practice, as the heat caused the kids to get a bit sluggish the last 40 minutes, even with lots of water. As normal with the first practice in pads, we have the usual equipment issues, kids losing shoulder pad clips, complaining about tight helmets and some pants that don�t fit well. The last 20 minutes we conditioned with our hidden conditioning �Deer Hunter� game.
We are going 3 nights this week, so our second football practice of the week this evening will be nearly 100% defense.
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