Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Youth Football Reality Show- Friday Night Tykes Episode 6

tykesA lot of youth football coaches have been asking me my opinion about the Youth Football reality show Friday Night Tykes.  This is my take on Episode 6.

Let’s be as fair about this. My comments may seem a bit unfair or harsh, I can only comment on what we see. No youth football coach is ever going to have a perfect season, but I feel for the benefit of all youth coaches out there, I have to point out both the good and the bad. There are a lot of things we can’t see, we can only comment on what the producers decide to put on the screen.  Please make sure to read my more comprehensive opinion on the show and its production in earlier blog posts. The easiest way to do this is take it team by team.

Colts- The Colts are preparing for their big showdown with the undefeated Outlaws next week. They do so by beating a fairly competitive Predator team pretty badly. On the positive side, the Colts run a very right trap and Jet Sweep, they run their base football plays very well.  Their execution and base fundamentals are sound and they execute their on-side kicks very well. In the Predators game the Colts score 3 times before the Predators ever touch the ball. Lesson learned for many youth football coaches, the game can be over before it gets started if you get on point with your onside kicks. The Colts head coach tries to keep the kids loose by joking around and being a little silly, which I like. He goes to the extreme of dancing to the song “Let’s Get Physical” to lighten up his practices. The coach gives good advice to his kids about owning every play. This team has a very talented and hard-working Running Back #28.

On the negative side, the Colts have too much distance between players on a lot of their drills. The head coach consistently uses language that is inappropriate for this age group.  The Colts like to make a big entrance and kind of taunt the other teams they play before the game. They encourage their kids to celebrate big after scores, that’s unsportsmanlike in my book. I think stuff like that does more harm than good when you are coaching youth football.

The Predators– were handily beaten by the Colts in this weeks show. I like how some of the drills the Predators do are technical fit type drills in tight space and the players aren’t taken to the ground. The coach and team displays good sportsmanship and the team plays hard until the final whistle.

On the other side of the ledger, many of their players play too high and the coaches don’t hold the kids accountable to lowering their hips prior to contact. I’m not a fan of grass drills, especially so late in the season. While they film their games, they waste time reviewing it as a group. A MUCH more effective and efficient way to review opponents film, is to use Hudl. Hudl allows you to draw over the film and insert text boxes and text so ALL the coaches can understand your scouting report. More information on coaching youth football more effectively using Hudl here, it’s a no-brainer :  //www.winningyouthfootball.com/Hudl-editing-youth-football.php

The Broncos– finally get a win but there is plenty to criticize again with this team. The coach tells his kids to “Beat em up” before the game. Well 8-9 year old kids often times take adults literally. While “Beat em up” probably just means be physical to you and me, to a few 8-9 year old kids, beat em up, means, beat em up. You can’t use those type of phrases with kids this age. The Colts ballcarriers don’t carry the ball high and tight, their players play too high.

The head coach pulls one of his patented boneheaded moves again this episode in the handshake line. A former player of his on the other team tells the coach, “I used to play for you.” The coach didn’t even recognize the kid and pipes back “See what happens when you don’t play for me, you lose.” Classless and uncalled for. I’ve had a handful of kids move and play for opposing teams, the reunion is always very positive and uplifting. The parents usually get involved and we talk about the positive things the player did while he was with us and catch up. I’ve never seen any coach do what this guy did, he’s clueless and classless.

The Outlaws win big over the Wildcats. As always the Outlaws play physical and the execution of their Crossfire series is very tight, right down to the play action pass off of 2 crisp fakes. The Miller kid is very good and shows off some good ball security and a nifty stiff arm. The Outlaws head coach uses this weeks game as a life lesson for his son, one of the better players on the team. He sits his son due to some less than stellar reports from school. He makes his son attend the game in uniform, but doesn’t play him and lets his son know how much he has let the team and himself down. The coach does a nice job of resetting priorities.

The Wildcats are a team Outlaw Coach Coley used to coach for. Coach Coley and his son left after an incident where the coach addressed his son and team in an inappropriate way. So there is a bit of bad blood flowing one way in this relationship. There are always going to be coaches on other teams who don’t act appropriately. As leaders we have to put that behind us, as difficult as it may be. We are there for our kids first, then the other kids. The opposing coaches shouldn’t own any space in our minds. While the Outlaws continue to gang tackle and pursue extremely well on defense, they are still hitting much higher than they need to. I’m not a fan of having so much space in many of the Outlaws tackling drills and they waste time doing needless toe touchers, agilities and other calisthenics. It’s hard to argue against their success, they dominate.

So this weeks episode, like previous ones showed both positives and negatives. The next episode should be a very good one, with the undefeated Colts and Outlaws playing each other for the league championship and top playoff seeding. Both teams have talent and are well coached.

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