Ever wonder where you stack up when it comes to your onside kicks? Ever think about how that strategy works out for teams who employ it?
I did a Survey Monkey Survey to help find out where the aggregate is at. Here are the results:
What Percentage of the time did your team recover the onside
kicks you kicked last year? Average Score 23%
What percentage of the time did you onside kick last season? Average Score 74%
What age group was your team last year primarily? 11.2 years
Did you onside kick last year every time until the game was not in
doubt? 62% Yes, 38% No
What percentage of your games did you win last season?
When looking into the individual responses this was the data I found:
Of the bottom two groups, teams that won 0-20% of their games- they onside kicked just 38% of the time. They recovered near the average with a 24% recovery rate.
Of the top two groups, the teams that won from 81-100% of their games- they onside kicked on average of 81% of the time and recovered right on average with a 23% recovery rate.
Does this tell us that to win you have to onside kick all the time? I’m not sure because there are a lot of factors involved. Youth football teams that onside kick may be coached by guys who just understand the youth football equation better than those who don’t onside kick much. However when I go to the big national tournaments like Pop Warner, AYF and the like, most of the teams there are onside kicking every time until they have a comfortable lead. They made it all the way to Nationals for a reason, they won a bunch of games to get there.
Playing the percentages certainly can’t hurt most teams, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Last year in Reno when I was coaching an eighth grade team we played a team with an incredible kicker who could consistently kick the ball to either corner inside the 5-10 yard line. They were a very deep and athletic team who could afford to put a very athletic kick cover team on the field. For them onside kicking every time probably wouldn’t have made good sense at all. We started plenty of drives inside our 20-30 yard line against those guys. But rest assured there aren’t a whole lot of youth teams out there like that.
Note, this is not a scientific survey and I’m not claiming it is. If it was a perfect survey we would have an equal distribution of winning percentages. We don’t, 51% of the respondents won 81% or more of their games. If this was a perfect poll, there should have been just 20% of the coaches represented in that group. This means as you would expect, guys that are out there gathering information and trying to be better coaches responded at a much higher rate than the guys losing a bunch of games.
Hopefully this data is of some help to the guys coaching youth football this season. If your recovery rate was just 10%, understand that it could be much higher. If you are in the 35% range, you are doing a great job and probably topping out.