How Many Plays in a Playbook for Youth Football? 6, 12, 24, 36?

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how many plays in a playbook for youth football

How many plays in a playbook for youth football? This is a youth football coaching questions I am asked many time every pee wee football season. How many plays should I run for my 9U youth football team? I heard six plays, your site says base 8 plays a friend of mine runs 24. What is the real number?

There is no one answer to this question, How Many Plays in a Playbook for Youth Football, because each team is different. I’ve had a 9U team run 36 plays and I’ve had a similar 9U team only be able to effectively run about 12 plays. Both teams were fairly experienced youth football teams but the running backs for one team could not remember the plays. Some players progress mentally and or physically at different rates, so you can only run the number of plays your current team can effectively run. That might be 6 or 36.

I have also seen over my many years coaching youth football, some youth football coaches cannot coach more than about 12 plays. So it is not just the players, but some pee wee football coaches are not ready to install more sophisticated play calling offensive systems. It does not matter how many plays in a playbook, they are running their base 12 to 15.

The coach might not have the confidence or the knowledge to try to install a more advanced playbook for their little league team. And really, if they are competitive running the 12 plays, then why make it more complicated than it needs to be. Is how many plays in a playbook going to make or break a pee wee football season? Probably not. KISS.

how many plays in a youth football playbook - huddle
Coach Parker calling a play with 9U KYA Rams

An older coach in our league that I coached with one season, only ran 12 plays. He was very successful running those 12 plays at the younger age groups. When his team moved to higher age groups they would struggle a bit, but were still very competitive. I became bored with his offense but I did learn some things about keeping it simple, especially since I like to push the envelope, yes I like to push even if I run the thought to be simple Beast. It’s not so simple!!!

So Coach Parker, How Many Plays in a Playbook for Youth Football?

I have a personal library of over 500 youth football plays that I can pull from each season. My two main playbooks the Power Wing Beast Offense and the Wildcat Multi Spread Offense for youth football have about 150 plays that I depend on each season. I will refer to these pee wee football playbooks for my base plays to develop my current teams overall offensive formation package and play call sheet for that season.

Because my two playbooks above are multi formation playbooks, I can match talent to an offensive formation. The current players will determine my offensive package for that season. Since the Beast Offense is so simple to learn and I have had zero issues installing for any team, I will usually install at least Beat Tank and Beast Wedge for any of my teams.

Normally for experienced teams, I will settle on 24 to 36 plays, which for Right and Left will be 48 to 72 in total. On average for for each game, I will use about 12 to 20 plays against an opponent. Shoot I’ve only run 6 Beast plays a few games and never pulled out any other plays.

Yak in Cake formation
Big Hole from the Cake / Fat Formation

How many plays in a playbook for 9u or 10U?

Let’s discuss what I would do for a 9U or 10U recreational little league team that is semi experienced. I will speed this up and add more formations as experience level increases, talent level is at the Select level and for older players with better mental capacities and or experience with football offenses and plays Practice time and reps are always a factor too. If you only have 2 days of practice a week then you will be limited on Offense complexity.

I will start out with the Beast Base 8 plays to install and expand the plays as I feel the youth football players on the team understand the plays and can execute the plays. I will start with the Beast Base 8 Plays and specifically the Beast Tank, Beast Wedge, Worm Stretch Sweep and Jumbo Sweep. I like to push them to learn as much as they can with the Beast and most likely introduce either my Pie or Fat / Cake formation depending upon how the shotgun snapping is progressing.

Beast Texas Counter Play – 9U

If I am unable to add Pie or Fat I will pull back to just the Beast offensive package. The offensive install process will be over two to 4 weeks as we can learn new plays. Play installs will also occur throughout the season.

Below is one half of an actual play call sheet for a recreational 9U team I coached a few years ago. The play call table below has 36 plays to the left that we could run by mid season. The other half of the play call sheet is not shown and is for mirror plays on the right side plays.

On that 9U rec team all of the running backs in the backfield had at least 1 or 2 seasons running the football; 2 from my previous season’s offense and half on another team’s offense. One of the backs had above average football IQ. Three out of four of the RBs were honor roll students. Let’s just say the 4 top skill players were above average pee wee football players. We did not have great speed but average speed. We could not throw the football very well either. XP, IQ, Speed and Passing ability will limit how many plays in a playbook.

9U Play Call Sheet – Left

#Play Call 1
101Fat Left 21 Even Wedge
102Fat Left 23 Power BB3
103Fat Left 25 Power BB5
104Fat Left 27 Power BB7
105Fat Left 29 Power Strch Swp GOLD
106Fat Left 13 Power Lead BB3
107Fat Left 15 Power Lead BB5
108Fat Left 17 Power Lead BB7
109Fat Left 19 Power Lead Strch Swp GOLD
110Fat Left 16 Lead Counter GOLD
111Fat Left 16 Power Lead Counter GOLD
112Fat Left 24 Quick Cntr Tuff BB4
113Fat Left 26 Quick Cntr Tuff GOLD
114Fat Left 1@ Cntr Power Sweep  GOLD
115Fat Left 38 Cntr Power Lead Sweep GOLD
116Fat Left 44 Cntr JAW
117Fat Left Even Swing Pass GOOP
118Fat Lt Evn Dbl Pop Pass GOOP
119Fat Left Evn 80 Pop Pass GOOP
120Fat Lt Even 30 Seam Pass GOOP
121BUC Lt Tank JAW
122BUC Lt Even Wedge
123BUC Lt Even Tricky Jaw
124BUC Lt Popeye GOOP
125BUC Lt Grenade Jaw
126Beast Lt Tank  JAW
127Beast Lft Even Texan Counter BB6
128Beast Lt Swp SoLong – JAW
129Beast Left Even Fake Mouse Wedge 
130Beast Left Cyclops Pass Goop
131WormL StrSwp So Long JAW 
132Worm LT Corky Counter Even JAW
133Worm Lt So Long Sweep GOLD 
134Worm Lt Even WB Quick Pass GOOP
135Jumbo Left 27 Strch Sweep Jaw
136Jumbo Lt All Hitches Sweep Optn Pass GOOP
actual play call sheet for rec 9u team

Many of the Fat plays above are very similar. The Fat formation plays are just going down the offensive line by hole numbers. The Fat Plays are also similar by just adding Lead call or no lead call play. So a majority of the FAT plays above are almost the same. So how many plays in a playbook would you recommend Coach Parker? I would go with 12 to 24 base plays that are simple to learn for your youth football team. If they can learn more then push to 36 if they are struggling pull back to 12 or 15.

Your teams ability to learn the plays and your confidence to coach them will be the two big factors on how many plays in a playbook your team runs that season.

Beast Jumbo Trips Sweep – 9U

How many plays are in a playbook for your youth football team? How many plays on average do you run a season? Let me know what you run below.

Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime. I love talking youth football.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas

PS: Stay Safe!!

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