Youth Offensive Play Calling Strategy

Youth Football Offense Play Calling StrategiesBased on the latest poll results for topics to write about (see poll on the right menu), youth offensive play calling strategy is leading youth football blog topic on  I must admit this is a hard topic to write about because there are many variables and opinions on how to call plays, especially in youth football.  I think I am going to attack the play calling strategy topic in a series of articles, so we can all think through the process.  Like Socrates says, once you think you know, well you know nothing.  I cannot count how many games that  I have out smarted myself.

Here are a few Offensive Play Calling Strategies that are discussed:

  1. Give your Super Star / Play Maker the ball as much as possible
  2. The Sweep is the big play in youth football
  3. The off-tackle play wins football games and sets up all other offensive plays
  4. Call plays based on a series of play calls to set up the defense
  5. Passing in youth football offenses is a wasted play
  6. It’s all about misdirection
  7. Overload play side offensive line & LOS with blockers
  8. Spread the defense out
  9. Use trick plays when all else fails on better opponents
  10. Use multiple offensive formations to confuse the defense.
  11. Use all 4 downs in youth football never punt
  12. Always run / sweep to the wide side of the field
  13. Passing Spreads the defense out so you can run up the middle
I’ll end on lucky 13 and you can certainly add more strategies in the comments section below.  Don’t be afraid add your two cents to mine and maybe we can learn a thing or two.
Now you’re waiting for the right answer, well the right answer for a play calling strategy is whatever works for that team and its current set of players.  Sorry, I don’t mean to be facetious but KISS.  Keep it Simple Stupid or Sweet if you don’t like the word stupid.  I have tried pretty much all of the strategies above and in combination, and the best offensive play calling strategy that works is the one that scores for your current team.
I will say the play calling strategy combination that seems to work for most of my teams is;
  1. Unbalanced / Overloaded Play side offensive line
  2. Give the ball to my Play Maker 70%+ of the time
  3. Sweep if you have speed / Off tackle if you don’t
  4. Use all 4 downs
Youth Football Offensive Play Calling Strategy Series –  Part 1   |  Part 2 |   Part 3


Filed under Offense

8 responses to “Youth Offensive Play Calling Strategy

  1. Tim

    Similar to what you have there, Overloaded playside blocking; Give ball to playmaker, and Sweeps worked best for me.

    What DID NOT work for me was “spread the D”, didn’t work because I had no passing threat for the D to concern about my SE or Flnker.

    Also, using “multiple formations” DID NOT work for me, maybe because I did not get the players to execute well, or too confusing for them.

    This season I will try “Misdirection”, i’ll be using “WingT” and “Double Wing”.

  2. sdwyer

    I would like to make a suggestion on comment about not punting. If your defense is dominating the game, punting can gain you extra yards that the offense was unable to pick up. Last season, in the playoffs, the only points we gave up before the championship game was a safety. Our defense was so strong that when we would punt, we would gain 10-15 yards then the defense would shut them down. Our offense would then come on gain or loose 3-5 yards, (they had a very good defense) punt and then our defense would shut them down again. This was repeated until we finally got a touchdown in the last half of the last quarter. Final score 6-2.

  3. Anonymous

    Coach, we run flexbone, many option plays. So from your list
    1. The sweep – though for us, it is getting the pitch read in open space.
    2. Call plays based on a series – option-option-option-counter (or option pass)
    3. Spread the defense out – option works far better to a split end side, so having two w/ flexbone is really useful.
    4. Use all four downs.

  4. Anonymous

    My rule was always to call plays based on a series of play calls to set up the defense. That nice if the set-up plays get decent yardage. Two options for a loss do very little to set up a counter. This year I will try the basic: sweep if we have speed / off tackle if we don’t approach. I had to read #10 twice to make sure I got it right. Good point.

  5. dave

    well, i use the beast offense, primarily because we never have a line. I can line up my best blockers in the same hole and tell the other team, here we come. Stop us if you can. After a few plays i always get a huge gain with a reverse. the beast formation running off tackle last year gained us an average of 5.2 yards. I didnt have a good plan for when they figured out how to stop it though. This year its gonna be the same system im gonna try to add a couple trap plays. I was scared to have the guards pull. thought they would get confused. Started pulling them at the end of the year. duh…they can do it and do it well. looking forward to getting started. coach parker, thanks love your articles

  6. Coach Rob

    Great list of strategies – I agree that a coach needs to adjust the strategy based on the players he has available as well as the opponents. Our team tends to have a very soft O-Line so most of the Wing and Pro formations, anything that takes any time to develop, didn’t work well. The defense ran right over the line and we had yardage losses consistently. We then adjusted to very, very quick passes out of the shotgun and this worked much better for our club. The next best formation for us turned out to be from the I Formation with very quick runs up the middle, mixing between TB, FB and QB.

    But wondering if coaches may have some thoughts about a team with a soft O-Line and good formations that get the ball out of the backfield quickly. We worked hard on drills and training to improve blocking and aggressiveness, which helped, but only on the margin.

    I was a little surprised at #5 because we’ve had good success with short, quick passes, but not many of our opponents pass the ball – probably because they tend to run the ball well – and when they do, it tends to be deep and we often intercept.

    • We have success with quick pop passes but too many youth football coaches think when you say pass they should unleash a spread offense, so I try to scare away passing plays. But you are right, short quick passes are effective if you have the QB and receiver to pull it off consistently.

  7. Joshua Pelligrino

    I agree with Coach Rob. I got a soft line and having a hard time getting the backs out of the box. Tackles are killing me, and the DE’s are in before the back makes a step. Only thing that seems to be working for me is Jet Sweeps, and off tackle plays. Havent had any “home run” plays yet, but 3-4-5 yards a play, I’ll take it. But, would love to figure out this line situation thats really only doing MOB blocking, no pulling (yet) till they can prove to me that I can trust them to do it….. UG! So frustrating.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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