Friday Night Tykes Season 3 Episode 4
For those youth football coaches following the reality television show Friday Night Tykes, this is my take on this weeks Friday Night Tykes season 3 episode 4. 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.
This week was a bit of a surprise when it came to the Predators. In the two previous seasons, I picked the teams that were going to do well and not so well right from the start and they all ran true to form. After seeing the Predators first game, I thought they would be one of the better teams, that won’t be the case by a long shot.
The problem was we saw so little of their practices and the first game they played was against a really bad team. I said then that I wasn’t a big fan of all the full speed contact we saw at every practice or the coaching. There was little form work, no fit and freeze work and no group work. They have some talent, but the coach is so preoccupied with “playing and practicing physical” that they seem to be missing out on some of the very basic things like snaps, ball exchanges and ball security. They were down two starters for this game, but we all have to expect that, adjust and overcome. Their problems go beyond kids not showing up to games. The head coach also seems to be playing a little daddy ball as well.
The Jr Broncos have improved quite a bit. I said after Episode One that they had upgraded their talent and had ok size. We also got to see some glimpses of some proactive detailed coaching and slower form and group work going on. I like the Head Coach’s positive and encouraging attitude with the kids. His kids seem to be responding, making progress, are having some fun and want to be there. The Jr Broncos blew out the Predators.
The Seahawks are in the opposite boat, trying to paddle upstream with just one oar against a raging current. Again I like the Head Coach, he is putting in the time, he loves the kids, he wants them to do well, but he doesn’t know how to do it. They have lost every game and are 0-4 now. From the looks of it, the kids and parents have given up. Bless this poor guy, he is picking up two carloads of kids to bring to practice every day. The parents have thrown the towel in, as coach is picking up kids from pretty nice houses, with cars in the driveway. You get the picture, it’s a very bleak one.
About half of his coaching staff have abandoned ship and it looks like about a third of the players have too. I don’t see anyone having fun, no smiles. While I’m just fine with a loud 180 attitude adjustment period, he has had too many of these and he’s lost the team. There is a time and place for everything, but beating down a team with no success or confidence won’t yield good results. He has an excellent Running Back and a few big kids, but they really struggle with the very basics. He lost this team with his poor priorities. It’s a real shame because he seems to be a nice guy doing this for the right reasons.
The Outlaws get back on track with a blowout win over the U. Instead of force feeding the Spread onto this team, they went back to running the football. We saw a lot of offensive implementation in team rather than in indys and group, which is a huge time waster. It’s really tough to stop all 22 out there and go into the bits and bytes of how bad the QBS footwork is, or how low his elbow is or how poorly a route is being run. Instead of making corrections to all these mistakes in team, they just move on to the next play. We don’t know if they worked on it in indys or group, if they did, then it looks pretty poor.
While the blocking and tackling have improved some, athletically this team isn’t as deep as they were last season. I see talent at the three Running Back spots with just an adequate Quarterback instead of the beast Dabo or the legit spread QB Anthony Coley they had last year. Again, their line is smaller and less physical and they have a lot of less athletic smaller kids that I’ve never seen on an Outlaw roster in the past.
The Outlaws scored 5-6 touchdowns in their game and they were all by one player, Miller. Miller is big, athletic and runs very hard. Most of his touchdown runs are long ones where he breaks 2-3 tackles. I did see some improvement with the Oline, stopping the initial penetration better, but this was still a one man show game. We have only seen two of the teams in their league, so we don’t know how much better they will have to be to get into contention.
I’m still blown away by how much this coaching staff curses in front of and to their players and parents. It’s a carpet bombing of F-bombs and various expletives. As to this being a regional or cultural thing- I lived in Texas for 6 years and I’ve done over 200 youth football coaches clinics and team camps including at least a dozen in Texas. I’ve never seen anything remotely close to the language from this coaching staff. It lowers the bar of civility which is dangerous when coaching youth football and trying to help kids succeed later in life.
Just like I predicted, Yoakum is setting themselves up to fail. Of all the teams we saw, this team in TYFA was the best coached and had the most talent. They are seen scouting a game from the field level, which is almost always a terrible idea. If you are forced to scout a game with no stands, get a pole attachment for your camera or bring a ladder. It’s almost better (IF you have a system) to go to paper rather than film from ground level. The Yoakum coaches were there to “see who the best players were on the other team.” Scouting reports that concentrate on who the other teams best players are don’t help much. Those are the type of scouting reports I get from parents and coaches who consistently lose, they do little good.
That metric is so obvious, what you want to look for are: offensive formations, plays out of those formations (tells and tendencies) , offensive tendencies by formation-down/distance-field position-spacing and personnel groupings. On defense you are evaluating: strengths AND weaknesses, alignment, assignment, reads, coverage and tendencies. Lets not leave out special teams: where do they like to kickoff, how well do they onside kick, how deep can they kick, how strong is their PAT? Same for punting, can we block it, how good are their gunners, how strong is their return game and more. To see how we scout, go to our Game Day Management DVD: Game Day Management DVD
Yoakum, while I like how their coaching staff manages their time and works with the kids, they’re the only one I see doing a lot of non-contact form and group work, they are arrogant. When you play better teams you have to be on and prepared for all the if-thens. They’ve won so many games by blowout scores, let’s see how they react once they get into a tight one.
Nothing this week from the Jr Rockets or the Storm. Lets see how things end up next week.
For some better ideas on how to coach youth football more effectively on the defensive side of the ball: Youth Football Defense
Youth Football Defense