Offensive Play Calling Strategy in Youth Football

Game day offensive play calling strategy in youth football starts with your scouting report on your opponents defense.  If you are not scouting opponent teams then you are not giving your team the best opportunity to win.  So if you are losing and not scouting your opponents, stop the player meat days and adjust your focus on yourself and your coaching staff.  If your league is like our league, a the video company that sells game videos also has a coach’s bundle of opposing films for scouting purposes.  This is a great way to scout other teams from the comfort of a home theater and a cold beverage or two.

When watching the scout film, some of the things I look for as an offensive coordinator are;

  1. What base / goal line / long yardage defenses are they running and adjustments
  2. Are they playing an odd or even defensive front
  3. Where and how does DE or OLB play the TE and Split Ends
  4. Does the DE box or play tight on line reading QB
  5. Where and how does the Corner adjust to Splits, Tights, Overloads
  6. Where and How does the DT in C Gap (off-tackle) line up
  7. What is the depth of their Inside Linebackers and Safety
  8. Do they Blitz much and whom do they blitz
  9. Who is their best tackler, lineman, LB and DB
  10. Is the Nose Guard or A Gappers going to tear up my Center
  11. What are the 3 best & worst plays of the opposing offense in the film
  12. Does the defense shift for offense’s unbalanced line
  13. Are they fooled by misdirection plays
I will stop again at lucky 13 but you get the point about scouting the defense and how this will affect your play calling strategy for the upcoming game against your next opponent. Based on the information gathered in my scouting report I start reviewing the current plays in our offensive packages and highlight 4 to 6 plays that I predict will work well against this opponent.  I may also add one play that will specifically address a weakness in their defense for the upcoming game.  The weakness is usually a particular player that lines up in the wrong place or is weaker than our player.  This special play usually has a high probability to score at least one touchdown or long gainer during the game.


So from my scouting and prep time, I will have 6 to 8 plays that I want to run offensively against a team that addresses the weaknesses that I found in their defenses from the last one or two games.  We review and add these plays in practice and I usually have these plays scripted for the first series of the game, especially the play specific for this opponent.


If you have anything to add to my post, please feel free to comment in the comment section below.  I would love to hear from you so we can learn from each other.  Thanks!


Next in this series on youth offensive play calling strategy, I will discuss actual in-game play calling strategy.


Remember to play for fun and Winning is Funner.


Youth Football Offensive Play Calling Strategy Series –


Part 1   |  Part 2 |   Part 3

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  1. What if you are not allowed to scout your opposing team how would you proceed in setting up your offensive game plan?

    1. Hi Coach,

      If I were unable to scout the opposing team then I would make sure I knew their base offense and defense. This will usually tell you their football philosophies as a coach. For example, a 6-2 Wide defense is mainly run defense and say they run a Power I Offense then they are probably an inside running team. So this should tell you to that its difficult to run against this defense and there will be a space over the B gap which a LB has to cover. I would test there pretty quick. Since thy run a Power offense I would use a 6+ man front to stop them and focus on off-tackle plays.

      There is usually an issue on scouting the first game. I usually ask around and find out who the coaches the team and see what he usually runs on offense and defense. I plan based on this info. And when all else fails, block and tackle.

      Coach Parker

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