Category Archives: Youth Coaching

Youth Coaching Football and other Sports Blog Posts by Coach Parker.

Youth Football Players Talent vs Coaching in Youth Football

Touchdown Talent vs CoachingThis is the age old argument; Talent vs Coaching.  I just read USA Football’s article In high school football, does good coaching trump talent?  by Stephen Spiewak which got me thinking about talented players in pee wee youth football ages 6 to 12.  How much does talented skills players mean to a youth football team?  Well, a ton.  I think youth football is very similar to basketball where you can have one or two stud players out of 12 on the basketball team and be a force in you’re league.  I think in youth football if you have 5 to 6 studs or on your youth football team then any coach can look pretty good especially if they have the fastest experienced running back in the age group.

I agree that coaching is very important to have a winning program.  And that is what good coaches can do for any organization from pros to youth sports.  Good coaches can almost on average guarantee winning seasons, positive experiences for the players and that the athlete will learn the sport’s fundamentals.  But, at the end of the day you still need talent to win consistently in the Playoffs and Championships.  I know here in Texas, High School coaches get fired for not winning playoff games even with above average winning percentages.

So I agree with the article that Coaching is very important but I recently read You still need the hosses to win.  Great coaching alone will not win games consistently in youth football / sports because at these young age levels one or two really fast experienced running backs can devastate an age group with even just a little coaching.

If you ask me if I want my son to play for the team that has great coaches but have not won a Super Bowl lately but still have winning seasons or for the team that has won the last 4 Super Bowls because they have they have the one man-child running back that is dominating the league sweeping Left and Right all day long and an average coaching staff, I would put my son on the great coaching staff team.

So yes, I love great coaching.  But can great coaching in youth football over come talent in youth football.  Yes and no.  Good coaching can keep teams very competitive and in the hunt, but a dominating tier 1 tailback in youth football is very hard to stop especially with an above average team around that running back.  And that team with the stud running back, will usually win the big game.

Even though I know I am a good coach, I always try to recruit the top players in my age division.  I never try to leave winning up to lady luck.  And that is great coaching; being able to find and recruit the best talent for your team.  So I am greedy and want both.  LOL

What do you think?  Can great coaching overcome talent in youth football?

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

~ Coach Parker

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Filed under coaching youth football, Youth Coaching

Tackle Wheel Yoga Ball Tackling Circuit – Youth Football Drill

Tackle Ring DrillWhen the tackle wheels / tackle rings came out I knew I had to have one.  But they were about double / triple what I wanted to pay for one, especially since I am just a youth football coach.  My wife is already on me for buying just about everything else, although equipment under $100 is much easier to explain vs $200 to $300.

So when a friend of mine offered to make me two tackle rings I was stoked.  I really can’t thank Coach Steve Mason enough.  Coach Steve researched how to make the tackle wheels and decided to make 4.  He says he was able to get the parts at reasonable prices off Amazon but the real issue was with sewing and assembly.  When I listened to him talk about the project, I thought it would be easier to buy one.  But you guys might be more crafty like Coach Steve with your sewing skills than I am.  Coach Steve says he will post an instruction video soon and when he does I will link it up.

If you can’t afford the Tackle Rings / Wheels, I found that Yoga / Exercise balls work almost as good.  You can get the yoga balls on Amazon for around $15.  I also added a medicine ball to the mix and you can also get them over on Amazon.

When I was helping Coach Steve with his team earlier this year.  He was doing the tackle wheel drill with the four tackle wheels.  I liked the concept.  It must have worked because his Mustang Panther team beat 2 Southlake teams to win their Super Bowl last Fall.  His team were great tacklers.  He says

Overall, the wheels (last season) turned my:
Great tacklers -> Super Stars
Good tacklers -> Great
Lesser tacklers -> Contributors

Since we were struggling all season this Spring tackling a few weeks ago, I instituted the Tackle Wheel Yoga Ball Tackling Circuit to increase tackling reps and teach proper tackling fundamentals.  Since I am trying to get at least 50 tackling reps each practice per player I did not want to use a live hitting drill for safety / injury reasons.  This drills comes close to live simulation.  Coach Steve calls it batting practice for tacklers.  I must agree.  Our defense and tackling have greatly improved over the last several weeks.

Tackle Ring Tackle Drill Youth Football

Here’s how the drill breaks down.

Purpose: To develop good tackling techniques; break down, stay low, wrap up and drive / roll in a non-hitting session. We will usually do a live angle tackle drill right after this drill.

Set Up: 5 Tackling Lines; 2 Wheels & 3 Yoga Balls Coaches / Helper Dads / Players roll balls wheels as described above. Try to keep lines less than 3 players, to get as many reps for each player. Do at least 3 to 5 sets in a very fast pace.

Coaching Points:

  1. Keep fast pace so everyone is winded
  2. Focus on Breaking Down, staying Low and most importantly wrapping up during the tackle
  3. Make sure players hit bags like its 100% live
  4. They should carry / drive bag 3 steps and roll 2 (wheels)
  5. Players must wrap up with two hands and not let go during the tackle roll
  6. Make sure players are staying aggressive even though this is against bags.

If you dont want to read the drill info here is the video.

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Here is the drill live at one of our practices.

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Next season, I will not wait to implement this drill mid season.  We are starting out with this drill and this will be our main tackling drill.  The drill builds great muscle memory and is also a good conditioning drill if you keep the lines short and go at a fast pace.  I did add the medicine ball in the practice video which I will keep in the drill.

I hope you enjoy the Tackle Wheel Yoga Ball Tackling Circuit youth football tackle drill.  It is working for our team and others and you should consider adding it to your practices.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

~ Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller

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Filed under Defense, Youth Coaching

Youth Football Craziest Play at KYA Pee Wee Football Spring 2018

This is one of the craziest youth football plays I have seen in my 20 plus years coaching youth football / sports. Watch closely as the Tigers’ Center snaps the football over his head hitting an opposing player on the helmet and then bouncing back into the hands of the not so surprised Tigers’ running back who scores a touchdown. This crazy play from March 2018 maybe one of the wildest pee wee football plays ever at KYA Football in Keller, Texas.  What is even crazier is the running back and opposing player involved are cousins.

This funny play is from a 8U KYA Football game; Mustangs vs Tigers. The Mustangs went on to win the pee wee football game but the Bantam Tigers have a lifetime memory.

The play might be illegal but I doubt the referees actually saw which helmet the football bounced off of in all the chaos.  I know the Tiger’s running back had seen this crazy snap many times before.  My team scrimmaged the Tigers and the Tiger’s center had problems a few times and snapped the football over his head.  But give it up the the quick thinking Tigers’ running back for grabbing the football and then scoring on a 50 yard run.

Congrats to both teams on a fun game.

I hope you enjoyed the video.  Thanks to KYA Football and Game Tape Productions.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Keller, TX

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Filed under Offense, Youth Coaching

Staying low while tackling in pee wee football

lw8_89_tackleA friend of mine called me last night.  He said his 12U team is not tackling low.  They are tackling pretty good but some are having trouble breaking down and staying low to make tackles.  We talked about not all tackles will be low since they might be open field pursuit tackles when a player just needs to save a big yardage gain.  He explained that his team is tackling good he just needs some more practice staying low to work on a few players fundamentals and keep everyone fundamentally sound.

I told him we use our tackling bags and with a red tape line around them representing a players belt and have our players break down and tackle below the red line on the tackling bag.  We also do the close quarters SeaHawk angle tackling drill where players are just arms length apart already broken down and one step into a near thigh low shoulder roll tackle. Lastly we do a two line drill where we are close quarters again and one player jumps up and the tackler wraps and holds up the jumped player to make sure we have wrapped up and we also do a grab cloth drill from two lines.  One players turns and acts like a running back and the tackler grabs his jersey “Cloth” and the runner takes off.  This helps us make sure we know we can grab cloth and help will come soon.  Heck grab anything to save the tackle.

I have written an article on form tackling before, you can find it here, Is From Tackling Overrated.  Each and every season, I teach proper mechanics of form tackling, especially the Seakawk Tackling System, but I am big on making tackles not worried about what they look like.  That does not mean I do not like the fundamentals, I just know in most game situations a “true” form tackle is not always able to be applied because the ball carrier has other intentions.  We also teach the Seahawk Pec tackle for open field tackling situations.  Sometimes a high tackle is required or last ditch must move on a “jitter bug” running back.  But I will agree with my friend, staying low, both in tackling and blocking to gain leverage is a basic football fundamental and must be taught and perfected by every player to be successful.

Here are some more drills to stay low….

King Size Sheet Low Board

Coach Casey has a few more videos I like on blocking but this old sheet drill to stay low is perfect for all.  Just use an old king sized sheet as a low pole board drill.

 

Basketball Break Down

I’ve used a similar drill to this drill but used a basketball with youth football players versus a yoga ball with these bigger players.  You can also use a smaller tennis ball and scoop with two hands and then have them tackle a dummy bag.

 

SeaHawk Tackling and Drills

I love the Seahawk Tackling system.  This is very similar to what I was taught in high school.  Plus, I played Rugby a season.  I am very big on the shoulder roll tackles.

 

Low Pad Hits @ 1:23

I have never used this drill but I will this week.  I really like this to get across some muscle memory about hitting low.

 

Staying Low using a Tackle Wheel @:20 @:35

A friend of mine made me two tackle wheels and they are great.  This open tackle drill at 20 and 35 seconds are awesome drills to get your players tackling low.

 

I hope these drills and suggestions help you coach your team to get low during tackling and blocking.  Let me know if you have a few drills that you use to help your team stay low.

Remember to Play For fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks
Coach Parker
Keller, TX / Fort Worth, Texas
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Filed under Defense, Youth Coaching