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Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Week Three Youth Football Practice- How Championship Teams Are Built

Winning Championships in Youth Football
Winning Championships in Youth Football

This is how week 3 went for us. As we proceed through my 2015 season, week by week, game by game, PLEASE STEAL as many ideas as you can. The goal of this exercise is to help you become a more effective youth football coach. This is a lesson on how championship teams are built in youth football.

With the weekend off- the down time went to putting together our revised depth charts for offense and defense. That depth chart was e-mailed to all the coaches for their feedback and input. There wasn’t a lot of movement as far as positions went, we had done a very good job during our single evaluation day.

Practice 1

This was about offense, we were able to build our offensive playbook up to 6 plays now. Not all of the backups were hitting on all cylinders, but our top 15 out of 23 were doing a pretty good job. We were still at 50 minutes for indys, 20 for group and 45 for team.

Our approach of 11 in and 11 out on every team rep was starting to pay some dividends in building depth, but more of a standpoint of having our 2 back also competent at the 3 spot. We finally went 11 on 11 live for about 20 minutes and it wasn’t nearly as ugly as we had anticipated. Our snaps were consistent, who was pretty competent and how wasn’t terrible. Our 3 back wasn’t running well through contact and our starting Wingback wasn’t consistent on who or how.

Practice 2

Practice 2 for the week was about defense. We only spent 30 minutes in indys we spent about 80 minutes in team. Team consisted of 40 minutes of tackling circuits, team tackling drills like dummy tackling relays, 3 on 1 dummy tackles and 3 level Oklahoma. We finally progressed to having a small group of 5-6 kids who could handle it doing open field tackling as part of the circuit.

The rest was team pursuit drills and defensive recognition concentrating on just a few base formations: double tight full house, double tight with a wing, twins and double twins/double wing. We had no clue what our first opponent would run, so we drilled the basics. While we prefer zone and teach man first, we wouldn’t have enough time to put zone in for game 1. For looks, we simulated with cones and 4 coaches in the backfield. All fit and freeze on the following plays: sweep, power, dive, crossbuck, counter, bootleg, power pass, bootleg pass and hard count.

Practice 3

This was an offensive day. We would be going into game 1 with just 8 youth football plays, 6 running plays and 2 pass plays. If you count our hard count plays we would have a 9 play youth football playbook we could call in game 1. My philosophy has always been to perfect a handful of integrated plays in a series before moving on to the next series. With 15 rookie players, 4 new starters in the backfield and just 12 practices under our belt before game 1, that made sense.

To firm up our Wing position I cross trained our VERY bright starting 2 back at the 4 spot. He was more consistent on who and how on the block and was adequate at running the Counter. Our backup 2 was small and not very physical, but was consistent.

We spent just 30 minutes in indy drills and 80 minutes in team. We were 11 in and 11 out for most of practice. Almost all in fit and freeze mode. Just 10 minutes of live 11 on 11 work. Every snap saw our Center with pressure on him, a coach with a shield or a live defensive player.

While we could have done an unpadded practice on the day before the game, we chose to just wrap things up on Thursday with our 12th practice and call it a week. More on the last practice before game 1 and the game 1 results in the next post.

For more info on our daily minute by minute practice plans, drills, offense and defense, you can start here: Winning Youth Football Book

Winning Youth Football Coaching Book
Winning Youth Football Coaching Book

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