Are you blocking and tackling during youth football practice?
I am not sure why, but this season my brain keeps saying to me, “football is just blocking and tackling.” Yes, I know this comes from Lombardi…
Some people try to find things in this game that don’t exist but football is only two things ; blocking and tackling. – Vince Lombardi
In past seasons, I’ve coached more, well talked more. So far this season, we have been blocking and tackling more in drills. Maybe its because 15 of our 17 youth football players have played in Super Bowls before and our average playing experience level is 3 years. It is really nice to coach top talent. What I can’t believe is this is a rec team and not a select team. The amount of youth football talent is Texas is incredible.
Since we don’t need to teach and coach as much in the past, we’ve added more stations so almost everyone is moving. No time for horseplay. We coach with quick bites of info to address mistakes but keep the drills moving at a fast pace. It is still very early in the season, tomorrow will be our third week and two weeks before our first game. So we have time to learn our blocking calls and blitz packages. I must say this is my best hitting, tackling and blocking team in almost 10 years. We have some great looking talent this year.
I have really kept my drills simple this year using the form and fit drills for both tackling and blocking and our main hitting drill has been variations of the Oklahoma Drill and a blocking drill similar to the Hex knock out blocking drill. We try to keep these drills compact so the speed is minimal to reduce head impacts. Our running backs have been doing many walk throughs while the lineman tackle and block. We are trying to save the RBs for games, so they do a few reps and then off to the lite timing drills.
This week we will lessen the hitting impacts since we have filmed most of our practices and seen who and where players will end up on the depth chart. I’ve also graded everyone and listed their weaknesses and strengths. So we can watch for these issues in upcoming scrimmages.
Remember Blocking & Tackling Every Practice
Remember, at the end of the day not a whole lot matters except can your team block and tackle. I know its maybe not politically correct to say it in today’s safety aware environment but but football is all about hitting. Make sure you are teaching blocking and tackling so your players will be ready to hit in their first game.
One last thing, I heard this in a movie the other day. “It’s not about winning or losing but who are we going to scare for our next game.” So, even if you lose your next game, make sure your next opponents are afraid to play you.
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Remember to play for fun and Winning is Funner.
Keller, Texas / DFW / Fort Worth, TX
Do you have any comments on how to deal with parent/coach who has taught his son (WR) to crack back block the safeties with his head down? We about had a fight break out at practice due to his son continually going low w/ his head down towards the groins of players at practice.
Is his (WR) face and eyes looking at the ground when he hits or the player? If so have your D guys run past him quickly and or push his head in the dirt with their hands. No one can hit what they cant see. If he has his head up and hitting the Def player in the hips and thighs then the Defense need to be taught how to deal with the crack and crab block. I personally do not crack back my own guys in practice. We crack a bag. We also do not hit below the thigh but try to hit the belt area.
Defenders can fight off a crack by quickness, forearm to facemask, arm shuck, grab back of shoulder pads and dump cracker to dirt, push WR to dirt and keep legs out of way by bending and jumping back. CB or outside defender needs to call crack. This all needs to be coached.
Lastly, communication is always good. If the majority of parents have an issue with the crack backs in practice then talk to the guy and have him crack on a bag or an older coach.
I am a firm believer in Tackling and blocking in every practice. We lead every practice with a tackling drill and I try to get creative so that it does not become monotonous but rather something they look forward too. Even when the backs are just going through play I will have Dads out their with blocking shields so that my backs know who to pick up blocking wise. If they don’t block full speed or run full speed then the whole back group runs to the fence.
I have come to realize that you must practice at full speed if you want to play at full speed. I know you are reading this going duuuuhhh…But honestly look at your practice and you will soon realize you do not practice at full speed. There is a score board on the field for a reason, make sure you end up with the higher number……