Winning Youth Football Championships the Boring Way
Everyone wants to know about winning youth football championships. This won’t be your typical article about perfecting fundamentals, building team chemistry and using your time efficiently, it will be all about taking your team to a League, State, Regional or National Title.
Winning Youth Football Championships at National or Big League Level
When you are shooting for the top spot, you have to approach the season a little differently than maybe you’ve done in the past. To be the best, your standard has to be perfection. Will you ever hit it? Goodness no, but parts of your game will need to be near perfect, especially if like most of us, you don’t have the better talent.
That means you sweat the small stuff, every fundamental detail. No longer are 34-6 win
s something to be happy with. Sure early on when you are just getting started or are in the process of turning programs around, any lopsided win is great. But perfection has little to do with what is on the scoreboard. When your standard is perfection, you are playing against yourself, not an opponent. To improve your team to be worthy of a championship, you simply can’t be satisfied with scoreboard wins.
The only way to really get to this level is to analyze your play in great detail. That means you have to film your games and use a tool like HUDL to help your kids to learn and get better using film. I’m coaching a 3-4 grade team this season. During our evaluation period I rated one player higher than another at the 2 back spot. During individual drills, the kid on top consistently rated better than the #2 kid. The #2 was efforting, but he was running too high, his head was often times not on the correct side and he wasn’t lowering his hips enough going into contact. We won our first game 48-6 on Sunday and watching the game film shocked me. My very aggressive and dominant starting 2 back had made value adding contact on the correct player just 20% of the time. He ran really well with 70 yards on 5 carries and did a very nice job on defense, but he really struggled to locate and fit on the correct defender on offense. Meanwhile my backup 2 back fitted on the correct defender over 80% of the time. The backup #2, doesn’t run as smooth, isn’t as aggressive, but he was the more effective player.
The film also exposed a number of problems with my Offensive Line. My Left Guard who is very big and strong and does very well in individual 1 on 1 drills. However his backup played much more effectively, efficiently and consistently aggressively than did our starter. We also saw a good number of instances where our linemen were having success, but they weren’t stepping with the correct first step or at the correct angle. Pad level and aggression were good and we weren’t false stepping, but correcting that initial footwork problem is going to be huge for us. Yes, lots of problems to work on and this in a game where we had 418 yards of total offense, ran 32 offensive plays in the first half (only 10 plays in the second half due to running clock) and were pretty mistake free.’
If we didn’t have game film I wouldn’t have known any of this. You beat a team 48-6, you think you played really well. Well we have a ton of room for improvement and if we expect to win a 41 team age grouping we are going to have to get much better than we are now. We also did some amazing things, no bad snaps, pulled and fitted correctly on almost 85% of those pulls. We had no turnovers and just 1 penalty. When you use a tool like HUDL- where you are able to distribute the game film via the internet with your drawings and comments over the film, you need to point out both the positives and negatives to your kids. If all you do is point out the mistakes, the kids tune it out and won’t watch. I try to lean to 2-3 positives for 1 negative, so yes sometimes you look real hard for the positives. But when your goal is a championships, you have to look real hard for those negatives too. I’m not sure you can do that without filming your games and using something like HUDL. All of the National Championship coaches I know from Pop Warner and AYF film their games. All of the top teams in my league film and many of the best ones use HUDL as well.
For more info on HUDL go here: