First Youth Football Practice of the Season
This Monday was our first football practice of our young season. The temps were in the high 90s and the humidity was over 80, so it was pretty miserable. As many of you know, I am head coaching 3 teams this year an age 7-9 team, an age 10-11 team and an age 12-13 team. My preference is to coach just 1 team but there was a petition, pressure etc, so I caved. But I did put my foot down and have a transition/training plan in place so I can get back to just 1 team next year.
What did we do?
Of course we always start off with a 30 minute mandatory parent/player/coaches meeting. We set our expectations of the season and review our coaches, parent and player contracts that spell out our expectations and requirements. We leave little to chance in regards to our mission, attendance, playing time, positions (what’s best for the team), sportsmanship expectations, communication process, effort, discipline and attitude to name just a few. As has been the custom for the last 8 seasons I gave all parents the option of getting their money back and moving on to another team if they felt this was not going to be a good fit as our mission, goals and methods are not up for negotiation and will not change.
The remaining 90 minutes of practice went better than expected. We have about 40% new rookie first time players this year as we added another team. The veteran players have up to 4 years with us and are excellent copy models for the rookie players.
In order to leverage the talent pool of our coaches we do some drills as an entire group regardless of age and others we are split into teams. All of our coaches have attended clinics put on by me and many have the book. Of course we got the kids off on the right foot with our “ready focus” communication rule/process. The kids were great, even the real young kids were attentive after we reviewed it and let them know why and the repercussions for not adhering to the standard, We did dynamic warm ups as an entire group. As is the norm during our dynamic warm ups, we taught the stance progression and our cadence and first play, “no play” within the first 5 minutes of the first practice.
This segment lasted about 10 minutes, we will have it down to about 5 minutes by the beginning of nest week, The dynamic muscle activation movements included jumping jacks, high knees out of a stance and on cadence, butt kickers out of stance and on cadence, lunges and then a group yell/break.
We followed the first day practice plan right out of my book on page 88 and did Angle Form tackling in groups of 6 as well as the snap progression drill detailed here on the blog. We were able to use several of the fun games/drills we use to evaluate players including Deer Hunter, Towel Game and Sumo. All the coaches had their little note pads out to write down who was finishing where in these games. All the while the kids were having a blast even in the extreme heat. We stayed in the shade and had plenty of water breaks.
We reviewed the back numbering system and hole numbering system with the group during the water breaks to conserve time. We will practice again on Tuesday and then will be in pads on Thursday. Stay tuned to see where we are at.
We had lots of smiling faces not only from our players, but from our parents as well. I had two fathers of 2 players that played on a different team than ours last year. They couldn’t get over how much different and fun our practice was versus what they had experienced the previous year, Both said they could see what we were trying to do “under the covers” and really liked our progression teaching approach.
Hope your seasons are going as well.
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