Tag Archives: Keller Youth Football

Coaching Youth Football to Lose and Why?

Coaching Youth FootballOver the last 10 years, I have coached three different youth football teams through the 7U to 12U age divisions.  During those many Spring and Fall football tackle seasons, our teams consistently beat a few teams that we played each season as our team aged.  I always think about why our Teams won versus other teams in our Division.  This morning was no exception, since I am planning to begin coaching another 7U/8U team this Fall 2017.  I started writing down the team names we played over the years and why I thought we beat these teams season to season.  Here is a summary of what I thought about this morning….

Why Teams Lost Summary

  1. Son played QB; “Daddy Ball”
  2. Shotgun snaps inconsistent or QB / Center Exchange
  3. Too many pass plays and low completion rate
  4. Play calling strategy; did not run best plays, wanted to be too fancy or pass
  5. Did not focus on Blocking
  6. Defense was a reading Defense, and did not attack Offense

Yes, my two sons have played quarterback over the years but if I had a better QB, my sons played other positions.  As a Coach, you must be able to play the best player at a position, not start your son or someone you like better due to parent politics or a pre-season promise.  You must do what is best for the team, not what is best for you and your family.

Each season, I see so many teams force a shotgun snap because they want to run the Spread or Pistol offense.  If your Center cannot shotgun snap 14/15 times consistently then you will turn over the football at least twice during the football game.  These turnovers will lose games.  I see it in youth football and at the Junior High and High School levels.  You can run these offenses under Center, maybe not as effective but more effective than fumbling the QB / Center exchange.  This area of offense must be focused on and practice at every practice.  Even I get lazy and lose focus on this QB Center exchange and then it bites me in the bootocky.

Look if your team cannot complete more than 50% of your passes then do not focus on the offensive passing game. If you want to focus on your passing game, then play 7on7 and practice there.  But forcing the passing game to learn how to pass for a whole season while you consistently lose more than half your games is no fun for you, your players, parents and fans.  Sorry but many youth football QBs will not start as high school QBs. Running the football at the youth level will increase your chances to win games.  But hey, if you have the legit passing QB, receiver, blocking etc than pass the crap out of the football.  Out of my 20+ season coaching youth football, I’ve seen more teams win by running than passing.

Many coaches, want to over complicate youth football offenses.  I know I do sometimes.  Remember to keep it simple.  Do not force an offense on your talent. Let the Talent tell you what they can do.   If you’re trying to run a fancy offense and getting penalties every series or unable to shotgun snap then maybe that offense is not working for your talent.  If your offense play calling strategy is all over the place and you keep calling pass plays that do not work or Jet Sweeps that are losing big yards, or throwing 2 interceptions a game, maybe you should run that Stud TB down the 5 or 6 hole behind your super large offensive tackle and maybe move to an unbalanced line and just run it down everyone’s throat.  The stats say your averaging 5 yards a carry on that play.  I don’t know how many times, I’ve looked over at my Co-Head coach and said thank god they keep passing and not running #20 down our throats.  But hey, keep passing from a shotgun formation and turning the football over on interceptions, downs or bad snaps and give me the win.  I’ll take it.

It took me a few years to learn to really focus on blocking.  Many youth football coaches focus on the running backs and just tell the lineman just block any man in front of you.  Yes, you can win doing that if you have really good running backs.  But if you do not have tier 1 running backs then you need to learn to block.  You might have a pretty good passing QB, but if you cannot protect him from my 6 very determined pass rushers then it will be a very long day.  If your guards are not blocking the inside gap and letting my A gappers crush your QB then it’s hard to hand off.  Your linemen will usually be 50% or more of your players on your football team.  Coach them up on blocking fundamentals to be the reason you’re the best offense in the league.  Your players and parents will be happy you focused on all players not just your top 5 running backs.

Defense wins Championships.  I see too many coaches running a 5-3 or 4-4 split defense or even running a 6-2 defense but with reading linebackers and reading defensive ends on the edges in tight to the formation with the Corner Backs set back in a cover three with the Free Safety and losing a ton of games.  I see too many “reading” linebacker centric defenses get stomped on by heavy running offenses.  If most of your youth football defensive players are linebackers and defensive backs reading plays then most experienced offensive coordinators will shred your defense for 4 to 5 yards a carry each play.  It has been my experience that youth football players do not read offensive keys, players, plays, formations very well.  These defensive players will wait for the running back to hit them and not attack the offensive player on his key move from the backfield.  Youth football defenses must attack.  I use a 5-3 defense or 5-2 Monster as my pass defense in youth football not my main run defense.  If you have legit linebackers that attack then maybe you can run a successful linebacker centric defense at the youth football level.  Make sure to scout opposing offenses and focus on Defense.  Offense is pretty and wins a few games, but your Defense will get you to the playoffs and maybe a chance in the big show.

I know my opinions are a little brash, but this has been my experience over the last 20+ seasons coaching youth football in Texas and Colorado.  Let me know your thoughts.  I would love to hear your opinions.

Below is why I thought we beat each team consistently over the years…..

Team 1

  1. Coach played his son at QB, who was not a QB
  2. Too many pass plays and low completion rate
  3. Offense was too easy to Defend, not enough variety
  4. Players not assigned to proper positions
  5. Shotgun snaps inconsistent

Team 2

  1. Ran same play that did not work too many times a game
  2. Coach played his son at QB
  3. Too many pass plays and low completion rate
  4. Did not focus on blocking
  5. Did not adjust Defense to Offensive alignments

Team 3

  1. Coach played his son at QB
  2. Ran wrong offense based on team talent
  3. Shotgun snaps inconsistent
  4. Too many pass plays and low completion rate
  5. Offensive play calling strategy suspect

Team 4

  1. Did not Draft/Recruit well; Poor Planning
  2. Switch Offense week to Week
  3. Switched Players around week to week
  4. Did not listen to other Coaches trying to help
  5. Shotgun snaps inconsistent

Team 5

  1. Promised players positions on Team; QB
  2. Did not play better players at QB
  3. Recruited players they liked vs best players
  4. Did not put players in proper positions
  5. Offensive play calling strategy suspect

Team 6

  1. Over complicated offensive shifts pre-snap
  2. Good motivator but lacked tactical focus
  3. Shotgun snaps inconsistent
  4. Did not run best plays, wanted to be too fancy
  5. Did not adjust Defense to counter Offense alignments

Team 7

  1. Ran too many LBs and did not attack on Defense
  2. Relied on only 1 main RB
  3. Did not focus on blocking
  4. Too many coaches / voices
  5. Easy Offense to Defend

Team 8

  1. Coach played his son at QB
  2. Too many pass plays and low completion rate
  3. Did not run his stud RB more
  4. Defense did not attack Offense
  5. Offensive play calling strategy suspect

I hope this will help you understand the dynamics of winning and losing youth football games.

Thanks
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas

 

 

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Pee Wee Football Coach’s Clinic – Part 4

This is the fourth post of a multi part Youth Football Coaching Clinic presentation that I developed for KYA Football in Keller, TX. In this post I will be discussing coaching football fundamentals.  Find Part 1,   Part 2, Part 3.

Football is Blocking and Tackling

You just drafted your youth football team and now the fun begins.  Many of you will focus on your offensive backfield in practices and teaching your running backs all your new fancy plays.  Coaching the running backs is where the glory is made, so you think.  Unfortunately, you have more than 4 or 6 players on your team.  Most of us will have 15 or more players on our roster and just focusing on your 5 or 6 running backs will alienate 60% or more of your players and parents as they watch their kids stand around while you play with the RBs.

I see so many rookie and inexperienced head coaches, with their offensive running backs and where they should be is with their linemen.  An average running back can run behind an excellent offensive line but a terrible offensive line might not block good enough for your stud running back.  So many head coaches forget about blocking and blocking is a a core football fundamental that must be taught to your youth football players.  I get many players Pro Bowls or Sr Divisions players on teams that I’ve coached that have no clue how to block.  Many coaches just tell their players, block the guy in front of you.  While that is better than nothing as a blocking rule, many times the players have no idea what to do next.

And because your spending 75% of practice with the running backs on offense.  You forget about defense and the art of tackling.  Tackling and blocking are the core fundamentals of football.  Learning pass plays and running sweeps all day are not going to win championships.  Yes, you may get lucky and win a few games with a stud running back sweeping to the outside all day until you meet the team that can stop your sweep and tackle.  Then to top it all off, they know how to block and they run off-tackle power plays down your throat the whole game so your stud running back can never get on the field because they held the ball 65% of the time.  They beat you 12-8 when you’ve been scoring 40 points a game against other teams.  They are just more fundamentally sound.   Football Fundamentals

Focus on fundamentals and win championships not just a a game or two. Plus, the High School coaches will love you for teaching fundamentals. So many youth football coaches want to run their High School offensive system so they can prepare players for High School Football.  Do not worry about what offense or defense scheme your HS is running, just make sure to teach the core football fundamentals and your players will be more than prepared to run any system presented to them.  What is the saying, about teach them to fish and they will never starve.  Teach them the basics and then they can accomplish anything on the football field.

Coach Dungy also make another very good point in his quote above. Nurture your team dynamics.  Create that team spirit where everyone is equal.  If you are always focused on your 3 or 4 players, then the other players do not feel part of the team.  As a Head Coach I make sure I talk to each player every practice.  I also make it a point to work with the lineman at practice and let them know they are just as important as the running backs.  We give 2 stickers to each lineman blocking for a TD and only one sticker to the running back for his TD.  The lineman feel like they are part of every play and much more part of the team.  Do not forget to have team activities, many times I will take the team to DQ for ice cream after a big win.  Team movie nights also works great.

Youth Football Fundamentals

For many seasons, I have been discussing developing a curriculum plan for our league.  We are close to implementing such a curriculum template. Above are some Curriculum goals we have discussed.  Each division would have a curriculum that every player must be taught.  You would be so surprised how many veteran senior players I coach that are new to my teams, that do not know hole numbers or positions on the field.  It is unbelievable to me.  I do know talking to our HS coaches in our area, they really want us to work on stance, blocking and tackling.  From watching my two sons play in middle school and high school, we need to do a better job of training our QB and Centers on shotgun snaps and under Center exchanges.

Lombardi Quote Football is Blocking and Tackling

The Magic Pill is Blocking and Tackling

So many head coaches are looking for the magic pill or answer to help them win games.  As Coach Lombardi says in the above slide, “football is only two things, blocking and tackling.”  As a youth football coach if you focus on blocking and tackling and other football fundamentals / basic rules you will be preparing your youth players for High School.  Lay the foundation for your players at the youth level so their future middle school and high school coaches can have a fundamentally sound and smart football player that the coaches can teach any scheme to in the future.  If you become the most fundamentally sound youth football team in your league, you will be winning many football games.  The Magic Pill is not the the new Spread formation but blocking and tackling, and please don’t forget the proper football stance too.

Update 7/25/16 – Free Coaching Video

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Beast Wide Left Gut Counter Youth Football Play

Here is a complimentary counter play to the Beast Tank play, the Beast Wide Left Gut Counter or “Corky”.  The Beast backs group moves out just wide of the Tight End and the interior back runs a counter to the opposite Center Guard hole.  We usually make sure our FB is the interior running back on this play.  This is a great play when the defense makes a huge over shift and leaves a pretty big gap over the opposite guard.  Watch the video.

This play needs to be set up.  The Gut Counter works about 50% of the time for 3 or more yards, but I had a half back two seasons in Arvada, CO that ran this play well and had a 75% success rate.  He was very shifty.  I prefer to run the play out of Beast Wide rather than just Beast but you can do either and also out of Beast Jumbo which is just a wide trips Wildcat formation.

Let me know what you think of the Beast Wide Gut Counter for your youth football team.

Have Fun and Wining is Funner,
Coach Parker
Keller, Texas

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Spring 2012 Youth Football Summary

Zane Parker Super Bowl Spring 2012

Zane Parker

Last Saturday we just came up short in the Spring 2012 KYA Sophomore (9U) Super Bowl.  This was my third straight Super Bowl with 3 slightly different teams.   Its been a great run the last year and a half coaching with Coach Whit at KYA Football.  Even though we lost the Super Bowl Saturday, our Spring 2012 youth football team exceeded our expectations.  Our Bobcat sophomore youth football team was ranked #3 after the draft and #3 going into the A bracket playoffs.  We beat the #1 seeded team to gain our Super Bowl berth to play against a well coached and extremely talented USC Trojan team that was peaking at the right time.  We played USC tough with three 2nd half offensive drives into the red zone but just couldn’t put any points on the board and lost 12-0.  Congrats to the USC Trojans and great job to the Bobcats for a awesome FUN season.

A few of the things we did this year that I really liked and will continue….

  1. Multiple blocking calls per play to adjust based on different defenses
  2. O-line leader called blocking call and adjustments in huddle not QB
  3. Separate o-line blocking calls for TEs and blitz calls for o-line
  4. Multiple audibles especially for quick passes and weak holes
  5. Lineman Bear Crawls and Crabs uphill for strength training to work the core and arms
  6. Kick Off calls to kick certain directions based on opponent alignments
  7. Rugby style punt team
  8. Split offense backfield instead of I formation
  9. Added more Beast plays to go for sweeps, counters and reverses
  10. Continued to tweak defensive formations based on opponent offenses

A few things we need to work on….

  1. Subbing during the game, seemed harder this season
  2. calling time outs if defense / offense has not shifted set correctly
  3. passing passing passing catching catching catching under pressure
  4. multiple snap counts based on Ready, Set, Hut, Go, Now!, Pirate and Silent
  5. Backs going in motion on the right count
  6. QB / Center snap exchange too many issues this season
  7. blocking at the second level by the RBs and lineman
  8. RB drills – forearm hit explosion, balance, strip protection, proper cuts
  9. how to coach players with learning disabilities or attention disorders
  10. Getting everyone to show up on time for pre-game practice not 15 minutes late 🙂

I wish we would have done this…

  1. Won the Super Bowl but I’m ok with having a great season anyway, I guess.  🙂
  2. Ran a no huddle offense package and called plays at line of scrimmage based on D
  3. Started an Iron Man training program earlier in season
  4. Had more Team parties during the season.
  5. Involved the other assistant coaches more during the practices and games

Overall, what a great season.  We never thought we would play for a chance to actually win the Super Bowl but we had our opportunities and just couldn’t do it.  Congrats again to BK and T for coaching a Championship USC Trojan Team to win the Spring 2012 KYA Sophomore Super Bowl.  Coach Whit and I will get you guys next time.

Cheers,
Coach Parker
Keller, TX / DFW / Fort Worth Texas

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