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Were Back at Winning Youth Football

2016 4th Grade Team 

The 2016 Season- We Are Back

Yes, I’ve gotten hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from you guys who have been missing my blog posts at Winning Youth Football for the last months. The good news is we are fine and the blog will be consistently updated for the foreseeable future. Yes I was coaching youth football in the 2016 season and yes I still run a middle sized program in Lincoln, Nebraska with about 120 kids. I am continuing to do clinics, consulting and of course mailing out the books and DVDs. A huge consulting project took up a lot of time, but we are back on track.

Challenges

The 2016 season was a challenge as we expected. The goal of sharing our season info with you is to help you, many find themselves in similar equations. We offer some solutions to those problems with the hope it can help your youth football team as well. This season I coached a single grade team of 4th graders. We play in the largest youth football program in the state of Nebraska with over 100 youth football teams. Everyone thinks their situation is special, but just take the time to see where you see your issues are the same as mine, we all have a lot more in common than we don’t.
For just the fourth time in my 20 plus years of coaching, I coached one of my sons, my youngest who is an Offensive Lineman. Our league switched from a double grade format to a single grade format and just like you we had to adapt, leagues change formats and rules all the time. You can whine all you want, at the end of the day you play the cards you are dealt.  Our 2015 Championship team lost 15 of our players to the upper grade team including all the backfield starters, all the backfield backups with the exception of one player who just got his minimum plays as well as all the starting Linebackers, Defensive Backs, Defensive Tackles, Pulling Guard, Center and Strong Tackle. We had just 8 kids back with playing experience, 1 was a 2 way starter, 2 were on Oline starters only and another started a single game on the Oline.

Big Challenges
It was a rebuilding job to say the least, having zero starters or even kids with any tackle experience at all in every backfield position was going to be tough. Unlike previous years we also didn’t do any speed training over the summer, due to my consulting work load. Since we don’t selectively recruit and I personally don’t recruit anyone, we had no clue what we were getting this season.
To make a long story short, we finished 6-3, losing two one point games to one loss teams and getting beaten pretty handily by the league champs. Had we been able to turn either of those one point losses into wins, the team I was coaching would probably have been playing for a league title for the third year in a row in this league. Slowly but surely we got better every week and we played our best ball in the last two games against pretty good opponents, winning both by mercy rule.Every week I’m going to post one coaching tip that all of us can use to improve our teams. You will also get another post that week on my teams season, the issues we faced and how we solved for them. So if you have had or will have a very inexperienced team lacking bandwidth in regards to athletic players and have a minimum play rule to deal with, you are going to want to keep checking back and take a few notes.
This season was a wild one filled with challenges, injuries a bunch of new coaches and much more. I may be the ONLY youth football coaching “guru” who still actively coaches and is fully transparent on our results. You would be shocked to see the real results/ track record some “top” advice givers have. Here are our results over the last 19 seasons: //winningyouthfootball.com/resources.php

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2 Comments

  1. Yosi

    Coach:

    Good to see that you’re still publishing. I was missing your blog.

    Do you track the progress of your kids when they leave your program? That is, you usually put up winning seasons…does this carry over to middle school and high school?

    Also, how do you think a single-grade profile is going to impact your program? If your kids are all 4th-graders, they will presumably all be 5th-graders next year, so…no returning players. Thoughts?

    Reply
  2. davecisar

    Coach,

    Thank you, that is very kind.

    About 99% of our kids feed into one High SChool and I go to most of those games, so yes we see how our kids are doing there. The kids parents usually keep me informed if Jr goes on to play College Ball.

    When we got here the local youth team the year before didnt win a single game. We won our first 26 in a row. The High School hadnt had a winning season in over 10 years.

    The HS brought in a new Head Coach, they made it to the state playoffs in I think his second year and in his 4th they played for a state title. They have consistently done pretty well in the last 8 years or so. We got here 12-13 years ago. We arent taking any of the credit- our goal is for our kids to just continue playing- love the game.

    Yes the single grade format hurt us because we are the smallest program in the single format. In the past we have been able to even out our lack of talent in one class with talent from an additional class. In low population areas like ours there are huge variations in number and quality of kids in single classes. We were able to spread out our coaching talent as well- cant do that with single grade.

    Yes, we have almost everyone back and have added some kids. We should be fine- check back next season.

    BEst of luck

    Reply

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