Friday Night Tykes Episode 5
For those youth football coaches following the reality television show Friday Night Tykes, this is my take on Episode 5. The goal is to help youth football coaches understand the good and not so good things they see on the show and how they might apply it to their own teams. I was a panelist for the wrap up show.
Once again the Predators focus on “being physical” in practice during the week. We see lots of one on one tackling drills from long distance. These aren’t even open field tackling drills where tacklers can learn how to break down, pursue and track, these are mindless hitting drills where the runner has to run straight ahead from 7-10 yards right at the tackler. What a waste of a youth football practice.
The Predators are physical enough to win games in this league and they have the talent to compete, however their blocking and base execution is very poor. They have a real hard time with the basics. In game 6 they are still not lining up correctly on offense, they have kids on wrong side of their formations. They don’t snap or gather the snap well and they don’t come off hard on the ball. They should invest their precious practice time on that instead of all the mindless and endless full contact hitting drills.
The Predators lose to a Storm team that they are evenly matched against. The game day coaching from the Predators non instructions instructions are “hit em, get em, hit someone”, the mantra of all poorly coached youth football teams.
While the Storm coaching staff isn’t winning any coach of the year awards, they outcoach the Predators in this one to pick up the win. The Storm are so predictable. When the Head Coaches son is under center, it’s usually a roll out pass, QB sweep or run pass option. EVERY TIME, when they are close and are under center, the Head Coaches son is getting it on the sneak. This team would be simple to defend, they are more predictable than knowing that 4 comes after 3 when counting to 10.
This team takes daddy ball to a whole new level. The son is a good smart youth football player, but he isn’t good enough to carry a whole team. When the son is in the backfield, you can count on the ball going to him on a sweep or counter. I was able to call most of the plays out before they were ran, nothing special though, anyone could after getting film of one of the Storms games. On a positive note we do see how much work it takes to start a new program and Coach Hurt is logging some major hours- where are his kids when it’s time to mow grass? If you do decide to do something like that and are in charge, expect to be cutting grass for 5 hours on game days on a really nasty looking field with zero amenities. We do see some improvement in some of the Storm fundamentals as well, something we caught a glimpse of a couple of weeks ago.
Yoakum continues to practice well, but like I’ve said before, they are setting themselves up to fail. I really like how they practice. Lots of technique progressions, fast pace, lots of thud, efficient multi skill development drills and non-contact technique work. They have the size and athleticism to go really far in this youth football league.
Unfortunately the arrogance and immaturity of their coaching staff is setting this team up to fail. They don’t like the officiating and have adopted this poor ol me against the world mindset. The coaches feel since they are new to the league, are from a rural area and they are winning most of their games big, that the referees are conspiring against them.
I’m not sure that’s the case. In this weeks game #74 the big athletic 180 lb Yoakum player gets called for unnecessary roughness twice and threatened with getting tossed out. The problem is he WAS tackling in a way that deserved the penalty and the Yoakum coaching staff refused to coach the player up to tackle properly or to take responsibility for the penalty. All they wanted to do was rant, rave and argue with the officials. The rule states ““No player or non-player shall make any contact with an opponent, including a defenseless player, which is deemed unnecessary or excessive and which incites roughness.” The Yoakum player was called on this because he would grab the Running Back by the bottom part of his jersey, then WWE style slam them to the ground using the momentum and torque generated by using the jersey and catapulting the Back to the ground.
This isn’t a proper tackle, it’s dangerous and by rule is unnecessary. The officials did a great job of controlling this game and coaching the player up to tackle safely. You can hear them calmly instruct him and warn him, then congratulate him when he finally makes a proper tackle. Well done refs, that’s how you referee a youth football game. Instead the Yoakum coaches stomp up and down the sidelines and even their kids have picked up on it. One of the players says” Are the refs getting paid by the other team?”
Shame on the Yoakum staff all they do is complain and get more indignant instead of listening and learning from the referees. That type of attitude never gets you anywhere with the refs and just ends up hurting your own attitude and team. The Yoakum staff kind of panics a bit in their first kind of close game- expect them to blow it once they face good competition. I like the way they coach practice, I really dislike the way they coach on game days. Their arrogance and immaturity will catch up to them, just watch.
In this episode we don’t see much from the Outlaws, Jr Broncos, Seahawks or Jr Rockets. Again for those of you coaching youth football, take what you can from the positives and make sure to avoid the negatives. It can be a bit humbling to see your own actions in the actions of some of these coaches. Understand that the first step to changing how you coach is to recognize what you are doing is wrong, so if you’re feeling a bit down because of your mistakes, that’s a good thing. Some guys never even get to that level, they won’t even recognize what they are doing is wrong.
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