As we head into the meat of our schedule our practice plans vary just a bit. Like you all, we are losing daylight and it’s getting dark here by 7:45, so our practices have been shortened to 1:45. While our competition nearly always practice more than we do, the practice methodology, priorities and pace we utilize more than make up for the differences in practice time.
While we continue to hone the basics, this is the time of the year we start adding a few techniques to those groups that have a strong grasp on the fundamentals we have taught to date. As mentioned previously we are also doing a lot of cross training now.
Monday we worked both offense and defense but the emphasis was on defense. The defensive backs again worked a bunch on reading their receivers then responding with their correct responsibility and technique. We worked extensively at beating the stalk block and open field tackling. The defensive tackles and bearcrawlers went though their normal progressions and the linebackers worked shedding and open field tackling technique. We did about 10 minutes of very intense 3 level Oklahoma drills (search the blog here for that term the drill is in there) for each team. We also did 10 minutes of “Compete”, again those drills are here in the blog.
We added in a new series of football plays, one that our oldest players have been running, but that now seem to make sense for where our age 7-9 and age 10-11 kids are at. I used my “varsity” kids as a template to demo these football plays to the younger coaches and players. Since we use the very same blocking rules and tags, the linemen had to learn nothing, while the backs had to get down a very simple backfield action to make this series of football plays work.
Defensively we worked just 15 minutes of team defensive recognition on air and finished up with about 20 minutes of offensive team on air with no helmets on.
Thursday again we worked both sides of the ball and special teams as well. Individuals for the line was back to the basics, wedge, crab blocking and pass blocking mirror drills.
For the backs we worked stalk blocking with lots of mirror drills and about 10 minutes of live, working in our defensive backs into pass recognition. We have also had a problem especially at the youngest age levels of players getting caught from behind. While we realize we don’t have the fastest kids and are going to often get caught from behind, we have kids with 15 yard leads that are getting walked down from beind like they are standing still. To improve their concentration and acceleration I designed a drill we call “Pylon” which I will detail in a later post.
We did 10 minutes of “Compete” on offense. On defense we are now putting all the remaining players on defense to defend against the first team offense. To make it even more interesting we are telling everyone the play, both the offense and defense. First of all this allows us to run many more plays, about 1 play every 15 seconds and secondly it makes the offense work that much harder and gives the scouts a chance to make plays. I got this approach from a High School coach and it has made this period much more competitive.
We did about 15 minutes of team defense on air and added a few stunts and alignment adjustments to take advantage of our strengths and hide our weaknesses a bit. We closed with about 30 minutes of special teams work. Our special teams have been outstanding so far. While my age 12-13 team has only punted 1 time in 5 games due to the fact we have been moving the ball very well, we may have the best punting team in the league. My age 10-11 team PAT kicker is 8-10 on PAT kicks ( we let other kids kick when we are way up) and our youngest team has been lights out as well.