Some Key Points When Using Motion in Youth Football
Don�t be one of �those guys� that uses motion because it looks cool or makes your team look more like the ones that play on Sundays on TV. I�ve watched many youth teams play that used motion to gain absolutely no type of advantage, it was pure window dressing, a real waste of practice time and a penalty waiting to happen.
How We Coach Motion in Youth Football:
Jet or Fly Motion
Full speed shallow motion usually by a wing, slot or flanker. Quite often this is quite long and can be run just behind the quarterback in indirect snap offenses or in front or behind a quarterback in direct snap (shotgun) offenses. In jet or fly motion the motioning back has to run close enough to the quarterback to receive a direct handoff or fake handoff.
Orbit or Rocket Motion Similar to jet motion but the motion is deeper, often 4-7 yards deeper than the quarterback. The motion back is in a position to receive a pitch or fake pitch from the quarterback often taking the pitch well to the playside of the designed play. This type of motion is often used in indirect snap offenses (QB under center) to get outside quickly with depth.
Wyatt Double Wing Motion
Out of the Double Wing Offense made popular by Hugh Wyatt, a very short deliberate motion just before the snap. This motion is often just three steps and used to put the wingback in a position to receive a very short toss from the quarterback just behind a very tightly aligned fullback. This unique motion is used to give the back some momentum, put him in position to get a very easy to receive toss, set the defense up for counter and trap plays and square his shoulders to the line of scrimmage as he runs to the off-tackle hole.
Reset motion Nearly full speed motion used by a back to realign himself to a different part of the field. Quite often used in various passing sets to isolate good receivers on weak defensive backs or to help free receivers from strong pressing defensive backs.
Slow deliberate motion used to put the motion back in a more strategic position or to get the defense to flow in a specific direction. This motion is often no faster than a slow jog.
The keys to using motion in youth football are take off cadence, speed and landmarks.
Take Off Cadence
When youth football plays are designed with motion you have to determine what type of motion should be based on what you are trying to accomplish with the motion. Next it�s important to teach when the motioning player will start his motion. We get very specific with this, if our cadence is Shift, Down, Ready, Set, Go, we may tell our wingback on our spinner series plays to start his flow motion on the �S� of �Set�. This is a football play where we are using motion to both put the motion man in a position to receive a handoff as well as to get linebackers flowing away from two possible ballcarriers on the play. The speed of this wingback is a slow deliberate jog on all spinner series plays.
The motion man has two landmarks on this play, the first landmark is his endpoint, the point he will be at when he either gets a handoff or fakes getting a handoff, this aiming point determines his path. On the spinner plays, the motioning wingbacks landmark is the back heel of the right foot of our fullback. The motion mans other landmark is where he will be at the �G� of go, the point where we snap the football. At the �G� of go we want the motion back to be right behind the right guard, but of course at the depth that allows him to be at the heels of the fullback. The second aiming point gives the motion back a landmark that tells him if he should quicken or slow up his motion.
As most of you know, the landmarks must be arranged in a way that guarantees the motioning back is running in a path that never takes him toward the line of scrimmage before the snap, his motion path must always be parallel to the line of scrimmage or away from it. Many times in youth football games you see a motion player move toward the line of scrimmage before the snap and the team gets flagged 5 yards for illegal motion.
Jet Or Fly Motion
Jet or fly motion is something we added this year and it was a huge success. The full speed jet motion allowed us to stretch the field horizontally and gave us a much faster hitting sweep play as well as gave us another option to run our base plays out of.
The jet is the most difficult motion I have taught in youth football, this is the second team I�ve been able to use jet motion with. If you don�t have a well executing team with good ballhandlers, this is not the series of football plays or motion you want to use. This is NOT the answer to the struggling team that can�t execute their base plays, this is something a very good or at least well executing team adds to it�s arsenal to get them over the top of late season hurdles. The motion is much longer as the motion men are 7 to 14 yards from the end man on the line of scrimmage. The motion is at 100% full speed, hence if the timing is not perfect the motion man can overrun the mesh point of the handoff or the snap occurs well before the motion man arrives and you lose the deception, head start, and timing that this motion is supposed to provide you with.
Key Points on Jet Motion
We start the motion of our jet motion backs on the �R� of ready. Their landmark is the front foot closest to the motion back of our �Quarterback�. We want the motion man to be at the midpoint of the second offensive lineman to his side at the �G� of go, his second landmark. This landmark is wider than our spinner series because our snap is about a yard deeper, it takes the ball longer to get to the �Quarterback� and because the motion back is at full speed he gains ground much faster than when we run our spinner series.
The jet takes a considerable amount of time to get the timing down well. That�s why we don�t suggest putting it in until your base �Sainted Six� plays are down perfectly, maybe it�s something you add in midseason for that bully opponent or late season playoff run. For many youth football teams, it�s something you don�t add at all, if your base football plays aren�t perfect, don�t bother with it.
Repping Jet Motion
When repping the jet motion plays its very important that the cadence stays constant. If the cadence is varied the timing will be off, it has to be the same every time. You will also see that the variances in your motion players speed will throw the timing off as well. You will have to vary the distance the players are split out to insure they are at their landmarks at the right times. The faster players split out a little further, the slower ones a little tighter. If your motion man on the jet is not running at full speed, the series just isn�t very effective. You will see from our 2007 Season DVD that the first game we had the jet series in we weren�t nearly as effective as we were later in the year when our players were 100% confident in going full speed.
Other Key Points When Running Football Plays With Motion
Another thing to keep in mind when running any plays in motion; your motioning player has to be set for one second before he goes in motion. Your cadence has to allow for him to be set for a full second before he motions. If you put him in motion after a shift, he has to be set for one second after the shift. Some youth football coaches think that a player has to be in motion for one second before the ball is snapped, that is not true, a player can motion a nanosecond before the snap and still be legal.
You can�t however go in motion in a way that somehow simulates the snap. I always demo the jet motion to the referees before the game. One required our motion to be a bit more deliberate as to not simulate the snap. In that case, we just had the motion back slowly drop his inside foot back 2 feet while facing the opposite sideline as he started his motion, we adjusted his takeoff as well to be at the �N� of down. Here is the ruling on that, Federation book (7-1-7):
“After the ball is ready-for-play and before the snap, no false start shall be made by any A player. It is a false start if:
a. A shift or feigned charge simulates action at the snap.
b. Any act is clearly intended to cause B to encroach.
c. Any Team A player on his line between the snapper and the player on the end of his line after having placed a hand(s) on or near the ground, moves his hand(s) or makes any quick movement.
Use motion wisely in youth football, make sure it makes sense for where your team is at from a development and execution standpoint. When used wisely it is a tremendous weapon.
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