Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Youth Football, Our First Scrimmage

Youth Football,  Our First Scrimmage of 2008

We do not like to scrimmage after just 6 practices. But we need to as our first game will be next week already, The league changed some of its rules this season to bring the first game a week earlier, We usually like to scrimmage at the end of the third week and play a real game the fourth week, but in order to be prepared for the first game, this plan probably makes the most sense. Many if not most youth football teams scrimmage way too early and way too often. The kids go into the scrimmage not knowing what they are supposed to be doing, struggle and then think to themselves “this stuff doesn’t work. I’m not any good, my team isn’t any good”.  Our goal for this scrimmage was for everyone to get playing time and for each player to experience having contact with someone not on the same team.  Our age 12-13 team was not able to find an opponent, despite a number of requests.

The format was 10 plays on offense, with the ball starting on the 50. The ball is placed as in a real game but without regard to down, Any turnover requires the offense to start again on the 50. After both teams starters get their 10 plays, the sides switch, the offensive team moves to defense. Once both teams have had a chance to go 10 plays on offense, the backups get to go 10 on offense and switch using the same format. The third series sees a combination of starters and backups, using the same 10 play format. Coaches were on the field and we didn’t do any special teams.

Our age 7-9 kids came into the scrimmage with just the “Sainted Six” our base integrated series. The team we were scrimmaging was full of young rookie players, so unfortunately this was not a very good matchup. We executed 8 of the first 10 plays nearly perfectly, the other 2 weren’t bad. On defense we do not have any of the base stunts in. The defense played well also with the defensive ends grading out at about 80%.  We subbed from the opening gun on defense. Our backups need a lot of work, but everyone got in ( all the kids were sweaty at the end)  and the kids and parents saw that the system works.

Our age 10-11 team is the one I’m worried about. They are full of rookies and have just 1 “striped” player above 120 lbs. We scrimmaged a much bigger team, with 5 striped players. This team is coached by a friend, and a very good coach. This was a much closer scrimmage and a much better test. The opposing team had a running back that probably weighed 119 ½. He was a load and scored twice early on long runs, but after our kids settled in he didn’t score again, Our kids started gang tackling and playing their positions properly, We went into this scrimmage with just our base 6 plays in the “Sainted Six”. On offense we didn’t have any long runs of 20+, but we were consistently getting 4-6 yards every play. We know this team will struggle, but were pleasantly surprised at the progress they had made.

All the drills, offense and defense can be found in the book “Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan”.

Copyright 2008 Cisar Management, all rights reserved

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  1. Jim


    I have a question. Our league has a jamboree where we play each of our conference opponents (10 offensive plays, 10 defensive). Since this offense (single wing) is so different from what we normally play, my coaches are suggesting not to run it in the jamboree. They’re thinking that we will lose the element of surprise if they see it now as oppose to when we play them in league.
    These teams will be gunning for us because we went undefeated last year. Since then, we have lost some player and needed to change offense to a more deceptive/efficient offense (the single wing).
    What do you suggest.


  2. davecisar


    Run what you have in, it will help you diagnose any problems and give your kids confidence in the system. That outweighs any advantage holding back will allow you to gain.


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