Last season, I learned the hard way that Defense wins games. I spent most of my time installing a new offense and did not spend the same time on Defense. We lost in the playoffs by one TD, because my defense could not stop the off-tackle play. We had beat the team in our first game. They went on to win our Pee Wee Super Bowl by 40 points. Oh, the horror!
Coach Nelson, in his book Football Principles and Play quotes on old precept about defense, “The game is never lost if the opposition fails to score.” And what’s so great about that last statement for youth football coaches is that defense is easier to teach than offense, because you do not have the ball handling & timing issues on defense. Plus, the kids love to tackle. “Get the kid with the ball, bear hung / wrestle him to the ground or knock him out of bounds. If the ball is on the ground, go get it before the other team.” That’s not to hard for 8 year olds to understand. Contain is another story.
Another lesson I learned this year was to meet strength with strength. The only regular season game we lost was to a North Denver team that overpowered my d-tackle and d-end with 4 blockers. Great play for them, but we did not adjust soon enough to shut them down. Lost by one TD and our last play ended on their 1 inch line. Your defense must meet strength to their strength. If they overload the line, your d-line needs to adjust, if they send a back in motion, you should adjust and if they continue to run 4 kids into the C Gap, Coach Parker you need to adjust!
So these three points work with any youth football team’s defense.
- You can’t lose if they don’t score.
- Meet strength with strength.
- Defense is easier to teach young players than offense.
Good Luck this season.