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Scrimmaging in Youth Football

Scrimmaging In Youth Football

We all want to scrimmage and see how our teams are doing, the anticipation maybe mirrors what we felt like as kids when we came downstairs on Christmas morning to see what �Santa� had left for us. Unfortunately too many coaches want to peek at their presents before they should and ruin Christmas. There are a number of posts in this section about scrimmaging. Do a search to get lots of helpful tips on how to structure a scrimmage and get the biggest benefit out of it for your youth football teams.

This week I have had load of guys e-mailing me with the successes they are having in their early season scrimmages. I had one team that I did a clinic for in Louisiana that won just 2 games last year blow out a defending league champion in their first scrimmage. We also heard from an age 7-9 team that had scored just 4 TDs all of last season score 6 times ( before they quit counting) in their first scrimmage. Keep the results coming in.

While this is all well and good, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Don�t over-do scrimmages. In the above cases both teams had been practicing for over a month, they were ready to scrimmage. Rushing your youth football team into a scrimmage to see if your football plays �work� often does more harm than good and many if not most guys coaching youth football schedule their first scrimmage to early. The easiest thing for a youth football coach to do is condition and scrimmage, unfortunately most youth football teams benefit little from either. It�s a good idea to scrimmage so your kids get a feel for playing against someone other than themselves. However, there is little time in scrimmages to coach up and instruct players on proper technique, blocking assignments, defensive responsbilities and footwork. You get so much more out of fit-and-freeze reps.

I have had youth football coaches e-mail me that they are being forced to scrimmage by their leadership after just 2 weeks of practice. I even had one poor guy e-mail me that he was told he could have 3 one hour practices before his first scrimmage. That�s just setting the team up for failure. How in the world can they expect any of these youth football teams to run crisp well executed football plays in that amount of time, let alone run a sound defense? All the kids will get out of it is; the kids will think their football plays don�t work, they think they aren�t a very good team and that they aren�t very good football players. I even had one guy e-mail me that the leaders of his org never turn down a scrimmage request, it is a macho thing. Give me a break!

Don�t rush your youth football teams into a scrimmage. We often have 4 weeks to prepare for our first game, so we do our first scrimmage in week 4 and it is very controlled. Don�t be tempted or pressured into scrimmaging too early or often. Unfortunately coaching football sometimes invloves having to put your foot down and doing what’s right for the kids rather than what the egos of leadership covet. Rarely do my youth football teams scrimmage more than once a season versus outside competition.
Search on �Scrimmage� in the tips section for more details.

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