My 2015 Season, the season before the season.
This season began before the season started, because we did speed training over the summer. I wanted to start with this, full disclosure on how we put this championship youth football run together.
These speed sessions weren’t mandatory and were open to anyone, even if they weren’t on our team. We even had two girls in the program. I told the boys we didn’t want ANY of them to substitute this for playing baseball, that those team sports came first. We let them know these sessions were just there to help them get better as an athlete, it didn’t matter to us if they came or not and would NOT have anything to do with playing time etc.
To make the program more accessible, we went on Mondays and Wednesdays in the morning from 8-9. We went Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evening from 6-7. So we were able to get some of the baseball kids too. We limited each player to just 2 sessions per week. Of our 95 players, we probably had 65 attend sessions with about 35-40 coming consistently. It started a week after school got out and wrapped up the week before we started practicing.
The 55 minute workouts consisted of speed, quickness and strength development using a variety of running, jumping and plyo work. We also would have about 10 minutes of “game” time at the end of every session which would in essence be start and stop football conditioning hidden beneath the covers of various games the kids loved playing.
One added benefit to me was I was able to see some of my prospective players. Since I was doing the television show in Reno the year before and 7 of the 8 veteran players from that team came to most of the speed sessions. Of the 15 rookie kids we had 10-12 of them attend fairly regularly.
Of the returning players from this 5-3 team were no starters in the backfield. We had two returning starters on the line, but one of them looked like he had potential in the backfield, more about his interesting transformation later. The returning backs weren’t big, but they weren’t tiny either, one was about 7 lbs under the striped backfield weight of 85 and the other was about 13 lbs under it.
Both of these returners had played the previous year, but not started. They had gotten maybe 10-20 carries each over the course of 9 games. Both were very solid athletes and from past experience I knew they would be in the 85- 90th percentile for speed in the league. To push them I put them in the 5-6 grade group and even there they held their own. The question was, would that speed translate into being a good youth football player?
The linemen prospects didn’t look bad either. We had 2 kids who were big enough to be “striped”, both were over 110 with good feet. Then we had a bunch of averaged sized kids like most have, with little or no experience. So we would be one of the smaller teams in the league with just 2 stripers, but we had enough kids in the 70-80 lb range that we wouldn’t be the smallest team either. So the equation was MUCH different than the previous year in the Reno “Worst to First’ show. On the face of it, it looked like athletically we would MOST LIKELY be in the 75th percentile or better in an age group of 30 plus teams of which 17 would be in our bracket.
When we were able to take this shiny new car off the lot and for it’s first test drives though, our Acura Legend would look more like an old AMC Gremlin, more on that later. As always these posts are here to help those coaching youth football to get better. Not all of you can do or are allowed to do speed training, more on how and why you can do it on the next post. Hopefully you can learn a bit from these experiences as they relate to your own youth football coaching experiences.