Find your Quarterback and Center Fastest!
It seems like every youth football season when I start coaching a new set of pee wee football players one of the most difficult skills to perfect is the Quarterback and Center snap exchange. If you drafted a new team at try outs, then you may have a few ideas who your Quarterback will be and maybe a few Centers. That’s great, you have a head start. Maybe a few of you are assigned players from your youth football league and do not have any background information on your players yet. For the latter group and maybe for others too, now you know exactly what you need to find in your first few practices; QBs and Centers.
If I do not have returning QBs or Centers or I have an almost completely new youth football team, I will basically hold a punt, pass, and kick field day with timed 10, 20 and 40 sprints along with a King Crab Sled push at my first practice and video tape the practice. If I need more time, this PPK type of practice might be held my second practice also. This way I can evaluate all my new and returning little league football players. From these try-out field days, I will choose 3 QBs and 3 Centers and teach them the snap exchange and have them start working on the snap exchange at practice and at home.
Your QBs and Centers must get in at least 50 snap exchange repetitions every practice. You should ask the QBs and Centers to arrive about 20 minutes before practice and have them taking snaps. A good drill is to line up your Centers in a row on the 10 yard line about 10 yards apart. Have each QB take 5 or 10 snaps from each and switch centers. The starting QB should call your snap count. After a set of snaps to get warmed up, then have the QBs Sweep Right / Left and Centers perform a 3 step block down away. This movement will simulate movement in the game. You may also want to have a coach with a bag hitting the Center as they move, this will make it more realistic too game situations. If the Center and QB do not move while practicing the Center QB exchange, this will become an issue in the game! Also, make sure they do the Center QB snap exchanges with their pads on. The pads are heavy and get in the way so you need them getting used to the pads and discomfort snapping the ball, especially the Centers. I would also advise you to have your Centers to wear a cup. I asked all my youth football players to wear cups.
So, the moral of this story, Find your QBs and Centers Fastest than any of your other players. Yes, I know it should be Faster but you hopefully get my point.
Let me know what you do to improve your Center / QB Exchange. Post your feedback in the Comments sections.
Ft. Worth Texas / Keller
I watched a season worth of pee wee games before my son moved up from flag so I knew the average snaps we would have per game. At the beginning of every practice the following year I would take the first 15 minutes of practice to run position specific drills that we did everyday. The C and QB would have to snap 35 (was the average I derived from my observations) straight clean snaps before they could move on.
Coach, when we ran the split back veer and had a c/qb exchange offense, we would look for our qb”s first. We needed three. Unless we had returning qb’s, we would line everyone up and test for throwing distance and accuracy first. Then we would run test looking for the best linemen to the worst. However, some kids look great in shorts and a tee shirt. The true test is when you put on the pads. With that said we usually got it correct 90% of the time. We never had a season that all three qb’s got injured or did not come to the games. Thank god. And the key for us was to give ALL 3 qb’s the same amount of reps reading the dive key and pitch key every practice. Unless that kid missed practice, they always got the same amount of reps. That is why you must have 2-3 foot splits to give your qb’s a chance to learn to read the dive. Splits = distance and time to read the dive. We also used the point read method because it was easier to teach and resulted in less fumbles. But it was not as deceptive. And finally we had a very small play book. The only other youth offense that i ever heard of with a smaller play book was from double wing coaches. They usually had 4 running plays. We usually have 6. And not all 6 plays are read plays. We also had easy adjustments that told our qb’s to fake the dive read and just option the contain player or to just give it “dive”. If i were to run this offense again the 6 plays would be isv, osv, ct, ct option, trap and trap option. Yes i know many coaches would say that “is not enough” plays but we were not a team running the option, we were an option team with to non read plays. As some great coach said you can’t minor in it you have major in it.