Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

This Weeks Youth Football Practice

sep_18_0734-cplThis Week in Practice:

We practiced on Monday but heavy rains on Wednesday and Thursday and a home High School Football game on Friday night meant a perfect storm of events that led to us practicing just 1 time this week. A Saturday game for my age 12-13 team combined with a home Nebraska game and our age 7-9 and 10-11 kids playing on Sunday made it impossible to practice another day. This is the first time I remember practicing just 1 day in a week in September. I can’t image what all you hurricane area coaches do in these circumstances.

While we will practice in the rain, there was plenty of lightning in the distance that precluded us from practicing on Thursday and the school gym was already booked with school softball and volleyball teams. No matter how bad we needed the practice, it’s never worth the risk of practicing when lightning is visible. Just last year a 14 year old girl was struck by lightning and killed on a soccer field less than 30 miles form here. I would not want to be responsible for any life changing event for any of the kids or families under my care, I hope you think in those terms as well the next time you see lighting in the distance. A youth football game means nothing when comparing the possibilities. In hindsight we should have practiced both offense and defense on Monday with any threat of rain, it cost us in the game.

Since the Monday forecast said light rain and clear on Thursday we went with our normal offensive heavy practice on Monday. We did our normal 8 minute now cals and angle form tackle fit.  Since we are getting into the meat of the season we don’t abandon teaching fundamentals, but we do start to work kids into additional positions, IF they have mastered their base position. This helps them develop, stay interested and helps the team by developing some depth. You never know what may happen in game 10 or 11, the time to prepare is now. We also work on some more advanced techniques for those that have mastered the base techniques.

We split our backs and line and had the line work on first two steps, double team blocks and also coming off of double team blocks to take away linebacker blitzes. While many if not most youth football teams that have no splits like we do and utilize a base blocking rule like we do, do not have to learn this skill to be successful, our more advanced kids are learning it. We diligently work the double team blocks to the second level, but once we have movement and control of the block we teach the inside player can come off the double team if a linebacker is shooting inside of him.

The backs are working on open field blocking much like an offensive lineman would learn how to pass block. It’s all about the feet, getting a good push upfield, breaking down  and then mirroring the defender on stalk blocks and attacking the defenders inside shoulder and maintaining contact and good knee bend on kickout blocks. At this juncture on individuals, we are also doing a ball protection and read react cutting drill as well.

On team offense, we are working not only our backups into every other rep, a number of our starters are learning a backup role at another position. This will allow us to shuffle players into alternative “best mix” teams if we have a player go down. An example” our starting Right End is also our backup Tailback, he is now learning the fullback position, While he wont be proficient with the entire playbook, he will be competent with the “Sainted Six” for sure.

We worked all of our plays on offense on air and included 10 minutes of “Compete”.

We now have all our base adjustments in as well and those are repped thoroughly. The pace with my younger teams seems to have reverted back to one without urgency, with one play getting off every 15-20 seconds, while the team I’m repping plays with is at the 12 second mark. You have to be vigilant to maintain a rapid pace all year long when coaching youth football.

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