Coaching Youth Football Teams With Small Numbers
Several youth football coaches have emailed me this last week looking for advice for aggressively conditioning teams with very small numbers. These coaches were expecting to field teams with just 14-15 kids on their team, while competing against teams with 25-30 kids.
While I agree, conditioning is important when you have teams with small numbers, there is much more to maxing out that equation than spending all your precious practice time conditioning. First and foremost the simplest thing is to make sure and go no-huddle max slowdown. Going no-huddle saves your kids from having to run in and out of the huddle all game on offense. For those that like to shuttle in plays with kids, you eliminate that running as well. As for the insanity of having your Quarterback run to the sidelines on every play- no more of that either. More importantly you the Offensive Coordinator, sets the tempo by not calling the play in until there is just 10 seconds left on the ready to play clock. By doing this you can often times take a game that has 65 total offensive snaps and make it a 50 offensive snap game.
Shorten the game, give you kids a chance to catch every second of breath they can before you run the next play. Of course there are more aggressive ways to slow down games like not chasing the ball down on incompletions or having the ballcarrier set the ball down wherever he lands. You could onside kick every time to save your kids the energy of having to run down the field 30 yards and chase down an open field runner. As a coach you have to think about how far you are going to push the envelope.
Going no-huddle as a starting point is a no-brainer when faced with this dilemma. There are other methods to address this problem here in the blog archives.
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