Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Are other Youth Football Teams Catching Up With My System?

That is a question I get all the time from youth football coaches at coaching clinics and from e-mails. It is a concern some coaching youth football have since they don�t want to learn a system and have it be a one and done season, then have to move on to and learn another system.

8 Seasons With Same System
I�ve been running the same exact football plays, playbook and defense for 8 seasons now, with a few very minor nuances. Some of the teams I�ve faced 5-6 times and some of them even had the same coaches for all those seasons. In fact, some of the youth football teams we play come from a town that has 3 teams in the league at each age group, all practicing at one park, under one administrator where they pool all their intel and film on my teams every year. So in essence this org gets to play me 3 times a year in most seasons. Sometimes I think we are the most filmed, scouted and talked about team in the history of Youth Football. Heck there is probably a youth football coaches clinics going on right now in Nebraska that�s sole focus is how to beat my teams, maybe I�m being just a bit paranoid. Coaches from our league come onto this site every day and read what I did last week, what worked and didn�t work, what I�m working on that week and often my plans for the following game. The head coach from one of the teams we beat this year even complimented me on the quality of my DVDs , he got a complete set of them for Christmas. Other coaches have quoted me back to myself chapter and verse out of the book, they obviously own copies. It hasn�t mattered, my teams have gone 78-5 and never lost more than 2 games in a season.

Why it Hasn’t Mattered:

Youth Football Team Uses “Template” To Beat Us
This year my age 10-11 team lost one game, our 5th game. After that game nearly every opponent we played ran the exact same �template� as the team that beat us in week 5. In our playoff game we played a 7-1 team that had pitched 6 shutouts. We won 41-8, the opposition adjusted to every motion and formation we threw at them and put our only �striped� player in conflict. Their game plan and even their offense and defense nearly mirrored our week 5 opponent. They obviously had been to the game we lost, filmed it, spoke to our week 5 opponent and studied us in depth. They were very confident, had 2 weeks to prepare and thought they had the “key” to the treasure box and even led at one time 8-6. They had their fans screaming at the top of their lungs and ringing bells so our kids would have a hard time hearing our no-huddle signals. They had it covered, wired, no problem. They even tackled every player, all three of our spinner backs,
( we love that, it takes 2 good players away from the play and the defense doesn�t know if the play is over or not). No one had been more prepared for us in 8 seasons, but it just didn�t matter and hasn�t mattered for the last 8 seasons. This team had 6 huge “striped” (over ballcarrier weight) players to our 1. Again, my apologies if this appears to be brash, but some of you worry about this.

Ex Insider Trys to Beat Us
In 2003 I had to let a coach go. He had coached for me in Omaha, attended all the clinics, knew all our football plays, he owned the playbook and was in our organization for 2 years. He went on to coach against one of my teams as a defensive coordinator the following year with a competing program. The results: my team blew his team out, it wasn�t even close. He knew our football plays, our playbook, what we would run and how we would run it, as well as all our tendencies, it didn�t matter. When he left us he was very vocal saying that he �knew� our offense and that he knew how to stop it “cold�. It didn�t matter.

Is our offense and defense infallible? Of course not, but it does put most youth football teams that use it in the best possible competitive position they can be and it doesnt appear to get stale quickly.

Why Haven�t Teams Been Able to Catch Up?
even though they�ve seen the system so many times:

The offense and defense are unlike any they face all season. This is the only time they will face an offense or defense that is anything like we run. It�s not like the �I�, Wishbone, Pro, Spread or even Wing T systems they see each week.

The system is very hard to mirror as a scout team offense. If you don�t know the footwork or the intricacies of the system and you try to get scout team members to copy it, they won�t be able to. Too hard to do with 1 week of prep time or even 2 for that matter.

Even if the scout teams mirror the offense to a reasonable degree (would be very unlikely), the deception of the plays make it nearly impossible to see who has the ball at linebacker depth. Add in the low snaps, crouched stances and our unique faking methods and it�s enough to drive any sane defensive player to the edge.

It puts the defense in conflict. If they sell out to stop one part of the offense, it is very easy to attack another, and with numbers advantages. The guy that I had to �fire� sold out to stop the wedge. In that game I never ran a single wedge play and toyed with his defense by starting the game running the exact same play 7 times in a row, for an easy score in a game we won 40-0.

There are set and practiced countermeasures in the book for every instance and technique we normally see from even the most creative and desperate defensive coordinators. See the adjustments section and think �Cross, Nasty/Tunnel, Wrong, G� etc.

Funny Story
I get some very humorous e-mails and phone calls at the end of every season. One funny one came from a very successful first year Pop Warner coach. His Mighty Mite team went undefeated and his Jr Pee Wee team probably missed a Disney National Championship by a single snap. He was told point blank by one of his competitors that the next year when they move up to Pee Wees �that stuff won�t work�. In fact this guy is talking smack all over the place about how �that stuff won�t work at Pee
Wees”. Gee if I had a dollar for every time I�ve heard that, I wouldn�t have to go to any more out of town football clinics.

I guess this trash talking guy doesn�t realize that there are age 13-14 Youth teams successfully running the system. There are High Schools winning State Titles with very similar systems, but somehow magically in xxxx at the Pee Wee level, somehow it�s in some twighlight zone where some how, some way it�s not going to work. At the end of many games in 2002 and 2003, even shellacking�s, I got that: “we know how to stop you�, see you next year stuff. If they knew how to stop it, why didn�t they do it that game? Is there something gained by waiting a year? I don�t get it. I�m not trying to be rude our loutish, but it gets tiring. I never rub it in or even say anything after we win big the following year, but I may smile a bit on the drive home.

I reminded my Pop Warner friend that he had been warned that this would happen and that he would have a target on his back after year one. With his organizational abilities, improvising talents and attention to detail, his teams were going to do very well right out of the gates in year one and they did.

How Much Of The Success is Due to “Newness”
Do you have an advantage the first year you run this? Sure you do, no one has seen anything like it, it can be like shooting fish in a barrel in year 1. But by the same token you are coaching it for the first time also. Just like your players, when coaching youth football, your biggest improvement as a coach will be in years 2 and 3. So the big �newness� advantage you have in year one is counterweighed in years 2-3 by the advantages you will have with the experience you gained in year 1. After you gt a year under your belt you will be able to run more football plays from the playbook too.

The moral is: Don�t fret if people are filming you, talking about you or talking smack about your youth football team. Heck my competitorws have my playbook and can follow my every move right here, I give daily practice updates during the season. Heck I�ve even made a great friend of one of my competitors (this guy can really coach), I invite him to come down with me on the sidelines when he�s scouting me. We sit together at High School games and trade intel back and forth. Just don�t fret, control what you can control, use the simple countermeasures in the book and your teams will be fine. Being talked about and being scouted means you are doing something good, no one is talking about the teams at the bottom of the standings. It would be a bad thing if they weren�t talking about you or if it was easy to get scrimmages and extra games.

The only area of the game that has deteriorated for us in terms of getting hurt by familiarity has been our onside kicks. We use just 2 onside kicks and our coverage percentages have dropped from the mid twentys to single digits. I�m sure part of it is execution, but part of it may be due to personnel groupings, of �hands� teams on the kick return squad. As to scoring and defense, our numbers have been pretty steady at about 35 points per game on offense and about 6 points given up on defense. So much for familiarity.

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Coaching Youth Football Copyright 2007 Cisar Management. Republishing this article is allowed if this paragraph and links are incliuded.

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