Using Motion in Youth Football
Many youth football coaches fear using motion. Unfortunately we have all seen youth football teams attempting to use motion that have had poor results: offsides penalties, motion penalties, poor mesh points, flubbed handoffs, traffic jams in the backfield, lots of Keystone Cops type stuff. It really doesn�t have to be like that.
Why You Should Use Motion
Here are the reasons most good youth coaches like to use motion to improve the effectiveness of their football plays:
1) Gain Numbers advantages at the point of attack
2) Isolate their best players on weaker defensive players
3) Get better attack angles
4) Confuse the defense into hesitating or into the wrong responsibility
5) Allow you to run your base plays with a different look, allowing you to run it more often without looking as predictable
6) To isolate a strong defender away from the play
7) Cause the defense to scheme and use practice time to adjust to your motion
8) Give your ballcarriers a head start ( Jet Motion)
Why Not to Use Motion
Here are some reasons not to use motion in youth football:
1) Because it looks cool and more like what you see on TV on Sundays
2) To get a minimum play player out of the action
As you see from these clips, we love to use motion in many of our football plays and it works well:
While many youth football experts such as John T. Reed do not use motion in their offenses, my teams use motion on about 35% of our football plays. We have consistently scored significantly more points than what other youth football experts teams have scored, even with very restrictive “mercy” rules in place and playing all our players liberally.
Using Motion With Very Young Players
This season my age 7-9 all rookie team used motion on about 25% of our football plays after our 4th game and there are youth coaches from all over the country using my system and using motion with kids as young as 6 years old, see the testimonials page. You can effectively run my offense without any motion at all, but when you go beyond the base �Sainted Six�, the motion buys you so much. In youth football, motion gives you much more than what the High School and College teams get from it. Read More below.
We use motion in my offense to:
Get an additional perimeter blocker on sweeps, at a phenomenal angle on the Defensive End (Jet and Mesh Series)
Get the defense to flow away from the Point of Attack (Mouse and Spinner Series)
To Set up our Home Run plays (Mouse and Spinner Series)
To give us numbers mismatches at the Point of Attack (Mesh and Jet Series)
To help us read and understand the defenses responsibilities (Mouse, Spinner, Jet Series)
To run off and isolate a strong defender away from the play with a weaker player of ours ( Mesh and Jet Series)
To run our base plays without giving creating huge tendencies (Mouse, Jet, Spinner Series)
To give our fastest players when carrying the ball on Jet Motion, a full head of steam and �head start� on the defense with the ability to quickly outflank the opponent.
#1) Reason to Use Motion in Youth Football:
To create hesitation and conflict in the defense
In youth football, if you can put the defenses best players in conflict or at least get them to hesitate, your team is going to be successful. For most youth football teams that means the Linebackers and even more specific the Inside Linebackers. Secondary are the Defensive Ends, Outside Linebackers and Defensive Backs.
Long looping motion of moving one player from one side of the formation to another like many youth football teams do is simple enough to adjust to. If the defense is in zone coverage it�s no big deal at all, if they are in man coverage it involves a small and manageable adjustment with the defensive backs, it rarely affects the linebackers, the studs of most youth football teams.
However if the motion back is in a position to receive the ball at the snap, the linebackers must respond to that threat. Now most of you are probably thinking that no way are you going to teach a young kid to be able to time up his motion so he can take a handoff at the snap. I agree with you 100% on that for most youth football teams, however it can easily be done with very slow motion and with the right type of body turns by the player handing off. If the player handing off has his back to the line of scrimmage and the ball is well hidden, the fakes are strong and you have potential ball carriers running in 3 opposite directions, that stud linebacker doesn�t have a chance. We use that type of very slow methodical motion on our Mouse and Spinner Series football plays. I have used both series with kids as young as 7 years old and have had many others using my system that have used the Mouse Series with kids as young as 6.
In my version of the Single Wing Offense, add in the fact we can snap it to 3 different players with their fingertips touching the top of the ground (the football always snapped very low) with those players in so tight the linebackers CAN�T SEE who the ball is snapped to and you have a recipe for some very confused linebackers. Now you understand why we have so many touchdown plays where our running backs go in untouched or why no one likes playing us or why we have a heck of a time arranging extra games or scrimmages. You literally see the other teams linebackers screaming at the coaches � I don�t know who has the ball� and then the coaches screaming back at their players the inevitable �Tackle Everyone�, which is what we love. We want the defense to tackle and chase our non ballcarriers away from the play with their best players because we are always going to be blocking if not double teaming the most dangerous defenders at the point of attack.
The Jet Motion Series takes a bit better timing, this full speed motion is much less forgiving than the slow motion of the Mouse or Spinner Series. I�ve only used it with my age 10-11 kids, but others have used it all the way down to age 7. My age 7-9 kids were all rookies this year, so we weren�t able to put it in, but we did put in the Mouse and Spinner Series football plays.
The jet ( full speed shallow motion) puts pressure on the entire defense the way we run it. The defense of course had to protect the flanks to protect against the full speed motion sweep, if they don’t is is a free 5-7 yeard evry tine you run it. Once the defense starts flying to the jet sweep, the trap, power, wedge and reverse are all available under the jet motion. Add in the ability to use that jet motion back as a crack back blocker or as a pass receiver in a flood or isolation pattern and you�ve just created a nightmare for the opposing defensive coordinator. Add in the defenses inability to see who the ball is snapped to and having to account for those other potential ball carriers and it’s usually a bad day for the defense.
Now when you put your motion in you can�t just tell your player to go in motion. There are take off cadence points, initial footwork, shoulder position, speed, landmarks, timing, handoff and faking techniques to work on. Those are all covered in the book and DVDs.
I will cover some of the basics in upcoming posts.
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