In 2006 when I started coaching tackle youth football again, the leagues coaching coordinator was very big on kicking onside kicks.  That was his thing.  To be honest, onside kicking every kick did not work out for us.  Sure we picked a few turnovers, but the majority of time we gave the other team 7 to 12 yards on our kick off.

In 2007 we started kicking just over the head of the 1st line of the kick return team and try to have the ball bounce before the second line of returners.  This short kick off worked better for us.  We recovered about the same number of kicks and most of the time, the returner at the second line just fell on the ball.  We would pick up about 7 yards a kick vs our old onside kick.  I cringed a few times when our kicker kicked the ball a little hard and it drifted into the “real” returners hands. 

This year, I am going to continue with the short kick focused on the second line of returners.  What have you had success with on youth football kickoffs?

Good Luck this season.  Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

10 thoughts on “The Onside Kick in Youth Football

  1. Interesting to see your post. Just about every Bantam team that we played over the last year did onside kicks. I thought it was somewhat unsportsmanlike and really wasnt teaching the boys anything. Isnt it better to kick it longer and have your boys learn to cover kickoff returns instead of going for the cheap turnover?

  2. I don’t know if a turnover from an onside kick is cheap or unsportsman like. It is part of football, especially at the youth level. I’ll take cheap, lucky or skill driven turnovers anytime.

    Kicking the ball deep is very dangerous in youth football. I do not recommend kicking the ball deep unless you have a great kick return team with great open field tacklers. At the youth level, I don’t see the skill or talent.

    I love when the opposing team kicks deep, we usually get a big return.

  3. Well, deep is relative – this is bantam that I am talking about.

    I hear what you are saying, it just felt cheap to me.

  4. FOR THE LAST 6 SEASONS WE HAVE KICKED IT ONSIDES AND HAVE HAD GOOD RESULTS ESPECIALLY WHEN SCORING A TOUCHDOWN THE TEAM HASN’T REALLY GATHERED THEMSELVES AND NOW TO RECOVER THE ONSIDES WILL REALLY GET TO THEM, WE AS COACHES DO WANT TO WIN RIGHT??

  5. We have been kicking off from the hash, the targeted landing spot is just behind or even with the second line of returners and close to the sideline. We try to have 2 kickers, one for the short side and one for the long side. We call the side with a hand signal determined by the alignment of the receive teams
    personnel. We put our speed players evenly divided per side on the outsides.
    We recover more of these kicks then most teams that onside kick every time.
    In 31 seasons we have given up 2 kick off TD’s. Have used this kick off tech
    in all youth league age groups. Coach Ben

  6. We have actually tried all three approached, and went in an opposite direction. We have our speed players lined up on each side of the kicker. The kicker kicks the ball VERY HARD, at the top of the ball, in a straight line. It will normally come to hard for the first line to handle, bouncing between the front and second lines. Our kickoff team aligns 10 yards deep from the ball, the kicker 4 yards deep. They leave at a full sprint on the kickers forward motion. We are recovering at roughly a 60% clip in this formation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s