Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Getting Your Youth Football Teams to "Compete"

The “Compete” Drill for Youth Football

One of the many things youth football coaches have a problem with is having their team ready to play on game day. Many coaches tell me they see their kids coming to games lethargic and not ready to play. I’ve even seen some of my own teams in very early morning games maybe being less sharp than normal. This can cost your team, you can get down early, have a few breaks go against you and before your team finally wakes up out of its funk, the game can be out of reach.

We are blessed to have a 7 year NFL vet on our coaching staff this year. He is a very humble guy who has been an absolute joy to coach with so far, He hasn’t tired to tkae over or pushed to get the kids to use techniques or schemes that non-select kids can’t do, He has however been very helpful in helping us get ready in areas we probably needed help in. One of those areas was early morning games, making sure we were sharp from the opening gun.

This player played for Bill B and believe it or not they had some of the same issues, In order to solve the problem they used to do a drill called “Compete”. At any point in the day, anytime, this NFL coach would blow his whistle and yelled “compete”. The team would run full speed to the 10 yard line and go full speed, full contact for 10 minutes, with everyone yelling and whooping it up the entire time. During our offensive days, we do it with our first team offense against all the rest, with 24 kids that is 11 vs 13. Our kids know where to line up on offense and defense when we yell compete, they sprint to the predesignared area and we get after it. We no huddle with wrist bands and go all out for those 10 minutes. We don’t take time to put scrimmage vests on or anything like that, when “compete” is yelled, everyone, players coaches etc run full blast to the designated area.

The key is to run this drill when the kids least expect it. In the middle of individual instruction, in the middle of a water break, in the middle of our first little talk at the end of cals/warmup and even after they thought practice was over. We never tell them when or even if we are going to run the “compete” drill. What seems to help is to be able to get the kids mentally conditioned to compete at a moments notice, anytime, anywhere. While this is our first season using this drill, so far so good, I highly recommend it.


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  1. Tom Fees

    We implemented the “Compete drill” tonight, the kids were jacked up, have not seen this intensity or effort at any time so far this year!

  2. Robert

    I’m not understanding what you mean by “full contact for 10 min”. are you saying you run a scrimmage game between the offense and defense? if this is the case, how and where do you line up the rotating players?

    1. davecisar


      Yes, 10 minutes live. The backups are on the sidelines. With 24 kids, that is only 2 kids. They rotate in every 2 plays on a full sprint.
      If we have our first team offense in, we may even go against 13 defenders.


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