If you’re like me, you are probably trying to install too many youth offensive plays or defensive stunts & blitzes before your first youth football game. I always think I have more time, and time is your enemy. Most youth tackle football coaches only have 2 practice days a week, maybe 3 if you are lucky, and a small percentage select / elite teams practice 4 days a week. Wow, what would I do with 4 days a week, maybe a trap Kick Return special teams play. See I like to keep adding information instead of keeping it simple stupid or KISS. I just watched a video by Michigan State’s Linebacker’s Coach Mike Tressel, and he talks about “paralysis by analysis”. Information Overload slows a player down.
Maybe you’ve already had your first game or scrimmage or two and thinking why are my players lining up in the wrong positions and not remembering their plays, we have practiced this skill or play over and over. I am sure you have practice those plays and skills in practice, but can you perform that play or routine 5 times perfectly without corrections? I’ve read research that says people need 10,000 hours of training to become an expert, 250,000 reps to perfect a skill or a 500 reps a play in practice before running the play in an actual game. Whatever the hours needed to perfect a skill or a play, I am sure neither of us are approaching 500 reps before running our plays in a game situation. We do not have the time at the youth level. So what is the solution?
If your players just aren’t getting it, pull back a little on all the information and focus on your core 4 to 8 offensive plays. My rule of thumb on offense is player’s age = # plays I can successfully coach that season. So if I am coaching 9 year olds then I might be able to coach 8 to 10 different plays on offense. On defense don’t set up multiple defenses. Maybe you should only stunt or blitz one or two players and not involve the whole team. Let the other 9 players play normal and two blitzers carry out all the special stunts.
How do I know pulling back and keeping it KISS works? Well in Spring we won our Divisions Super Bowl with only 6 plays for an 8 year old team. Yes, that’s right, 6 plays and that really was only 3 plays right or left. So if I can pull back and simplify to win, so can you.
Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Ft. Worth, TX / Keller