Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

No Huddle Tips When Coaching Youth Football

Coach Dave, We run your system with the no-huddle just like in your book. We called all of our football plays last year from the sidelines, we never went into a huddle. This year we are adding in the adjustments in your book and adding them in as a “tag” to the play when we call the play in from the sidelines.  My concern is the defense will pick up on the “tag” and be able to eventually know what the play or adjustments are  before the play starts. Is this a problem? 


Coach, all that 007 stuff about intercepting signals and deciphering your playcalling “code” is not something you should lose any sleep about in youth football. In 83 games of using this system, just 1 team ever figured it out on us, so we just moved to the simple code change outlined in the book at halftime, problem solved.  We have had countless teams try and decipher the code and many have thought they had it down, making themselves look very foolish when they were telling their confused players we were running in one direction, while in reality we were running in another. Add in all the misdirection, motion and meshing we do in this offense and it was pure chaos for the other team having to also listen to their mistaken coaches telling them to go in a direction where the ball wasn’t. Actually this code breaking is something you hope your opposition does, because they rarely if ever will be right and when they aren’t right, it is pandemonium on the defensive side of the ball.  If they ever do break the code it is very simple to reset the dials.  Some teams even carry an extra set of playcard inserts they can slip right into the wrist coaches all your players are wearing. The new playcard of course has a different code in it, it would take at least another half to decipher the code even with a genius savant coach with a computer working it on the other sidelines.


 If the other team is charting everything and they have an MIT math whiz on their staff you could do a couple of very simple things to insure you aren’t giving any “tells”. You could add a tag to each play as you are calling it in. For instance let’s say your 16 Power No Huddle Code is “black 123” and you want to use the “cross” adjustment from the book. In previous play calls you could have added “dummy” tags to every play. In other words you could have added :”juice” to your Spinner 26 Power, “juice” doesn’t mean anything, but the defense doesn’t know that. You could also add a “live” tag like “cross” to a football play you would never use “cross” on, like 22 wedge. On 22 wedge the fullback is carrying the ball, he couldn’t possibly block a “cross” call on that football play. If you are one of those UFO conspiracy types and very paranoid, you can even just go with words that start with the same letter as your call. In other words, anything that starts with a “C” is a cross call, charlie, cat, cob, etc.


I’m not sure how much you get out of making everything terribly complicated and spy versus spy like. Adding in “dummy” calls probably doesn’t take much time to add in and shouldn’t cause too much confusion. If you do decide to go that route, make sure you practice it during regular football practice and in pre game. Also make sure you don’t use any “dummy” calls that sound like or rhyme with your live calls.


Copyright 2008 Cisar Management

All Rights Reserved. Republishing allowed if links are included.


About The Author

Related posts


  1. Neil

    I’m kind of concerned about using the no-huddle with my team of 5,6, and 7 year olds. what tips do you have for this age group?

  2. admin


    It’s all in the book and with the wrist coaches and system, very simple to do even for kids that age. The problem with games with kids that young is it takes so long to get in and out of the huddle. Even with 10 minute quarters the games are reduced to just 50-60 football plays. If you have minimum play rules it can be quite a challenge to get everyone meaningful game snaps when the games are that short.
    Speed things up a bit and get your kids more snaps by using the no huddle. You will find the kids are far more attentive and the pace of the game will improve dramatically. The net is it is good for the kids, easier on you and the parents have less to complain about.

  3. al sowinski

    I had one coach stand at the sideline and make all sorts of meaningless motions, while another walked behind the players bench and put his hand on the shoulder of the player wearing the number of the play to be called.
    This also permits us to suit our jvs for varsity games; they can contribute in this manner and, if we get way ahead or behind- they get to play! Put
    together with a playcard on each boys wrist, its a do-er!

  4. admin


    There are a lot of ways to signal your football plays in. One good method is to have a dummy set up if you are concerned about someone stealing your signals. In 83 games it has only happened to us once, so we feel it just confuses the kids. Your results may be different. My motto is “Use whatever works within the framework of good sportsmanship and good ethics”

  5. Bill

    We have been running Dave’s single wing system three years but just went to no huddle this season. The league we play allows a coach on the field (coach on the field has to stop giving instruction once the offense breaks the huddle), and just changed to a running clock this year. The no huddle/using wristband has worked great for us. The kids move faster and pay attention much better, plus not having a huddle completely throws off the other team and takes their coach out of the game (since he can’t talk if we are not in the huddle).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *