Tag Archives: pee wee football

Youth Football Defensive Player Analysis

I’ve been writing a Spread Offense book over the last several months, The Wildcat Multi Spread Offense; A Youth Football Running Spread Playbook.  During my research I keep thinking about how to attack the outside and Spread the Defenses, since the Sweep and Sweep Option Pass are the main plays in the original TCU Spread playbook by Coach Dutch Meyer.

I started drawing up Defenses and looked over my defense the 62 Multi 8 Youth Football Defense and started analyzing where youth football coaches hide their weakest talent and put their stud defensive players.  I then started asking other youth football coaches and the chart below is what I developed to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of a typical youth football defense.  And yes, this is somewhat biased to a more recreational youth football league vs Select league.  But, I do find running left is very successful with most pee wee football Offenses; Select or Rec.

Yes, I understand better and more experienced little league youth football coaches will adjust to your offense via their scouting report, but you will be surprised how many teams will not adjust via scouting report or during the actual game.  Don’t say NO before you try it.  I win a ton of games running left and attacking weaker areas.

Youth Football Defense Player Review

So what I found is that pee wee defenses are usually manned by mostly stud defensive players at the inside linebacker positions and defensive ends / OLBs.  On the chart above you can see these players in Red.  One of the linebackers might be just average and or definitely weaker than the other ILB, so I have one in Yellow.  These linebacker type player positions are usually the best tacklers on the team. You must find a way to block these studs or run away from them and or use misdirection to catch them over pursuing which they will do at younger ages.  These guys usually want to hit on each play so misdirection works on them more than average.

I personally like my DTs to be studs since many teams love to run off-tackle plays so these big tackles are usually pretty good players.  I personally like to find big basketball players for DTs.  I have one Red and one Yellow in the chart above.  Many youth football coaching books suggest putting weaker players in the A Gaps.  So you will see many teams put their Minimum Play Players / MPPs in the A Gaps, especially early in the game to get their plays out of the way.  I also do this a lot but try to always have one good player there too.   For this example I have two weak players there that are Green which I find most teams will do in the first and third quarters.

The defensive backs can be a bit tricky.  Many times the 2 cornerbacks will be weak since you have Stud OLBs/DEs playing contain.  The CBs are just out there for a backup contain man hoping to scare the RB to the inside.  I really do not block most youth football cornerbacks and tell my running backs you must beat the CBs.  Every now and then you will find a stud CB and that can be a tougher game.  Many teams will also hide a MPP or weaker player at Safety so there is little threat there.  Most younger teams do not pass so sometimes this player turns into a Rover / Monster Defender but many times still below average talent.  So in the chart above I made 2 DBs Green and one Yellow.

So many times on a youth football defense, especially in rec,  you will get 4 studs and 3  or 4 average players and 3 or 4 weak players if not more.  Many times coaches will stack the right side of the offense and or the wide side of the field with their top players.  You can use this to your advantage.  Many times we find the left side is weaker or possibly the short boundary side depending on the team’s defensive philosophy.

Here is a video I published on Youtube that goes over more in depth info for common youth football defenses like the 62 Wide Tackle, 5-3, 70 Diamond and Gap 8 Defense.

I hope this Defensive player position analysis will help your Offense get more first downs, score more TDs and ultimately more wins.  Let me know what you see regarding youth football Defenses.  I would love to hear your feedback.  Please use comment field below.

Remember, Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks,
Coach Parker
Keller, Texas

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Filed under Offense, Youth Coaching

Playing Multiple Sports but not During Same Season

Arvada Pirates Youth Football Team

Arvada Pirates 2006

I am so surprised each season, when parents come up to our coaching staff and explain why their child will not make practice for half the season and miss some games because they are playing another sport which overlaps with our Football season. The parent will let us know that when they signed up their child they were taking a chance and knew this might happen but want us to help them work through the issue as their child misses more than one third practices and games to focus on another Sport. This is the last thing a coach of any Sport wants to hear; “My child will miss practice.” We hate hearing that sentence come out of any parent’s mouth. Your child learns how to play the Sport during Practice not during the game.

I am a big believer in playing multiple sports if the seasons do not overlap by more than a few weeks as one sport winds down their season. I played Football for 10 years as a young athlete and multiple other sports like Baseball, Swimming, Basketball and Racquetball during Pee Wee, Middle School and High School. I know my Football coaches were not very happy with me when I played Basketball my Freshman year in HS during the football off-season but my 40-time improved the next season. My 40 time really improved as I started to play Tournament Racquetball while in High School. In College, I wound up playing Racquetball and Handball for Club Teams.

Most student athletes will not play professional sports. So, making a 10-year-old, only play Baseball or Soccer for 12 months is a little overkill. Plus, there have been so many arm injuries lately that I am not sold on year-round Baseball. I am not trying to give Baseball a bad rap, but playing any sport 12 months out of the year is too much in my opinion. Yes, I coach Football in the Fall and Spring, but I do not get mad at players that want to play Basketball and Baseball in those traditional seasons and Football in the Fall. As a matter of fact, I think it’s good for them to play multiple sports.

I also think young athletes should try multiple sports to see what they like best not just what their parents like. My youngest son took off a football season when he was 9 to play Select Soccer. After that season, he decided to focus on Football even after I tried to get him to continue to play Soccer in the Football off-seasons. He loved Football more and wanted to stick with Football. He now runs Cross Country in High School after playing Football and Weight Lifting his Freshman year.

What is frustrating to Coaches and myself about our players participating in multiple sports are players that play multiple sports at the same time during a season. I completely agree that young athletes should play multiple sports but not one or two sports during the same season especially if one or both sports is a Select sport which requires massive amount of practice and travel time. Playing two Sports during the same season is unfair to both teams. A player cannot focus on two sports and give 110% to each. It just doesn’t work that way.

When a parent signs up their child to play two sports during the same season, you are hurting both Teams not just your child. Your decision to play two sports has effected about 30 to 40 other children not just your child. Parents need to understand that being selfish does not work in Team sports. Team sports require Teamwork and missing practices and games does not benefit the Team only your child.

I agree playing multiple sports is a great way to have fun and cross train. I did it and my two sons did it. Just do not play two or more sports in the same season and expect your child to play more than a few plays on my Teams if they consistently miss practices and games. If the Team cannot count on you as a teammate then you are not part of the Team.

How do you feel about this subject? Would love to hear from Coaches and Parents.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas
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Filed under coaching youth football, Youth Coaching

Youth Football League Organization Comparisons

playerjerseyA few of my readers asked me to discuss youth football league organization and my thoughts on what works and might not work.  I’ll try to do my best and review league organization based on leagues that I have coached within both in Select  / Recreation youth football and some youth baseball and basketball leagues.

First let’s talk about Select vs Recreational leagues and Teams.

  • Club Select Teams Paying Fee to Join Select League
    • Club / Team Managed Completely Independent of Youth League
    • Player Recruiting independent of youth football league
    • Pays Team Fee to join a Select League
    • Might play in different Select League each season
    • Usually a tournament team too
    • Roster size might be game / league specific
    • No minimum play rules
  • League with Select Teams
    • Coaches and Teams part of youth football league
    • League Promotes and Advertises League and Teams
    • Player evals Recruiting done by Coaches / Teams and might also be assisted by League
    • League may control roster size
    • Coaches may leave but Team stays within the League
    • No minimum play rules
  • League with Hybrid Select / Recreational Teams
    • Coaches and Teams Part of Youth Football League
    • League is primary recruiting vehicle for Teams and Coaches
    • League Allocates base set of players to Team but allows some recruiting by Coaches each season
    • Majority of Team’s players allowed to stay intact from season to season
    • Some Minimum Play Rules
    • Teams, Coaches, and Rosters controlled by Youth Football League
  • Recreational Youth Football League
    • Youth Football League Allocates most if not all players to each Team
    • Youth Football League Assigns Coaches to teams
    • Minimum Play Rules – Usually 8 to 20 plays per game
      Team Rosters usually 15 to 30 players per teams
    • Teams rosters reallocated by league each season with possible 0 to 8 freezes (players returning) each season.
    • Teams, Coaches, and Rosters controlled by Youth League

I actually prefer the Hybrid Select / Rec youth football league.  I do not have time to go out and recruit players, worry about team size and do all the recruiting that is necessary to manage a successful Select youth football team.  And in my old age I do not like all the parent politics involved in recruiting top youth football players.  I also like coaching up some of the newer players and seeing them turn into Select players.

Age Divisions

Many youth football leagues are organized based on the following:

  • Age Divisions
  • Grade Divisions
  • Weight / Size Divisions
  • Select Players vs Recreational Players
  • Experience Level
  • Combination of Above

I’ve noticed lately youth football has moved to a standard age division set up similar to US Soccer.  This might have to do with more youth football tournaments around the country.  But the 7U, 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U age divisions have become very popular in Texas.

Division Size

League Size and Number of Teams in a Division is always a hot topic. A youth football trophy
Division size under 4 teams is to me not worth the effort.  I like Divisions with at least 6 teams so you are not playing the same teams each week.  An 8 team division is my favorite.  I have played in a youth football league with an age Division of 2 conferences of 6 teams and 8 teams and then top teams went through playoffs to Super Bowls.  I loved this set up.  It was a County run league with teams from community partnered leagues that adhered to the County league rules.

Roster Size

Team size and roster size is also another area which is an important are organizing a youth football league.  I hear about team rosters reaching 30 players in some areas.  Wow, now that must be really hard to get players into the games.  I know from talking to these coaches parents are not very happy with these large teams.  I know that my wife would be very upset if our son was on a 30 person youth football team.  Some of the best leagues I’ve coached in keep rosters size below 24.  I prefer a roster size around 18.  The current league I coach in keeps their rosters between 15 and 20 and try to keep them around 16. I prefer less than 20 players on a roster when you have minimum play rules otherwise a 30 player roster with a 10 play MPP rules is very difficult for coaches to manager.

Minimum Play Rules

There is a lot of controversy surrounding play time and minimum play rules in youth football.  First let me say that managing play times can be difficult especially when rosters are over 18 and the MPP rule is over 10 plays per game.  There are only about 60 plays in a youth football game.  We usually have one or two people in charge of subbing and taking care of MPP rules.  Many recreational youth football leagues require 5 to 20 plays per game per player.  My current league requires 5 plays from scrimmage per half.  Special Team plays, penalties and do not count toward the 5 plays.  Select leagues usually do not have MPP rules.  I have found that even with MPP rules, parents still want their child to play about one quarter a game or more.

Player Allocation to Teams

  • Recruiting and Try Outs by Club / Team and Coaches independent of League.
    • League might have game roster / player maximum
  • Recruiting and Try Outs by League and Team’s Coaches with League oversight
  • Players Registered through League and allocated to Teams:
    • Randomly Assigned
    • Try Outs / Player Evals / Questions
      • League Grade and Team Assignments
      • Coaches Grade and Coaches Draft Players (NFL Type)

To be honest, I think my favorite part of the youth football season is evaluating and trying out new players and then drafting the players to my team.  I am not a very good player recruiter but I am very good at evaluating talent.  I’ve had other coaches around me that really knew how to recruit which has been a blessing.  I’ve been in two youth recreational youth football leagues that allowed player try outs and then hosted a formal draft.  One league held a standard drills try out for 2 days and the other league ran the 40 and then released the groups of 10 players to the teams for 30 minute rotating  try out sessions.  I loved the 30 minute try out sessions.  We were able to out the players through our tests vs just having to settle on standard tests.  I prefer my own testing.

Returning Players to Teams

  • Club Select Teams New Recruiting and Try Outs Each Season based on needs
  • League Allows Teams to Stay Together Each Season
  • League Might Allow New Recruited Players Up to #XX
  • League Might Assign Players to meet #XX Roster Size
  • League might to Combo of Above
  • League Reallocates Teams Each Season
    • Random Assignments
    • 0 to 8 players allowed to return to team based on coach and parent approval
    • Player Evals Draft via Coaches or League Officials to allocate to teams

Like I said earlier I prefer the hybrid recreational select youth football league.  I really like to keep my teams together and recruit as needed to fill certain needs.  The current league I coach in lets new coaches bring 3 players with them into the league and returning coaches may hold onto 0 to 6 players from the last Fall and Spring seasons.  Many coaches wind up keep 3 to 4 “freezes” and draft almost a whole new team.  It’s fun and certainly changes up the teams but I know many players and parents would love to stay on certain teams.  Well, the ones that win.  🙂

Issues with Youth Football Leagues

  • Pure Select League
    • Roster / Birth Certificate Manipulation
  • Allowing Coaches to Draft Players
    • Most Rookie Coaches are not good at the player eval and draft process
  • League Random Player Assignments
    • Teams are unequal
  • League Evals and Grades Players and Assigns to Teams
    • Coaches think league is stacking favorite teams
  • Team Size
    • Rosters over 24 are difficult to manage with MPP Rules

Every youth football league that I have coached in has issues.  No one is happy.  So if you are a league commissioner / official, you must realize that 80% of the organization is happy, 15% is ready for a change but silent and 5 % are the difficult vocal ones.  Plus you can never please everyone.  Try to limit the big mistakes and make sure everyone is treated fairly.

helmetThe biggest issue I have seen with youth football leagues is that when the player numbers are low and or the profits are low league officials will stretch the rules for certain teams and or players to allow them on a team to fill out a Division or meet a teams roster size etc and then someone gets upset because rules were broken and then everyone decides cheating is ok and tries to manipulate the system.  If you are in that situation make sure to communicate with all the coaches about why this is happening so no one is surprised by the stud 13 year old that is playing in the 12U division.  Yes, I’ve seen it happen.

Well, I hope I answered a few of your questions about youth football leagues.   I am sure I have left some items off.  If you see a glaring issue or would like to leave a comment or questions please do so below in the comments.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

Thanks
Coach Parker
DFW Texas

 

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Filed under coaching youth football, Youth Coaching

Youth 7on7 and Youth Tackle Football

Coaching Youth Football Playbooks, Tips and more pee football talkThere is a definite transition going on in Youth Football. More and more youth tackle teams are playing 7on7 football to keep their skill kids together in winter, spring and summer months to sharpen their team passing game fundamentals. Playing 7on7 is a great opportunity for Youth Football Coaches and parents to have the teams QB’s, RB, WR’s & TE’s play another 10 to 20 games per year without the risk of unnecessary contact and really enhance the skill of route running, throwing and catching. Teams that play 7on7 get a better understanding of spacing, timing and defensive alignment or leverage to determine what they can do and what they can’t in the passing scheme. Playing 7on7 year round allows Youth Football Coaches and players to develop team passing fundamentals and concepts to incorporate into their Team Offensive package.

Passing the football in 5th or 6th grade tackle football is not based on a stud QB who can fling the football 30 or 35 yards. It is about running short, quick and precise routes based on timing and correct offensive spacing, like slants, hitches, skinny post, bubble routes and quick outs. None of these are passes over 15 yards and just about every youth QB can execute with a little extra Team practice in a year round 7on7 league.

That is where Leagues and events like ours come in. Now as a team you have another 6 weeks to work with your QB, WR, Slot or TE and RB to practice, rep and go live against other Youth team skeleton defenders of 2 corners, 3 linebackers and 2 safeties. I have seen teams as young as 4th grade that have 10 total plays but are proficient at running those 10 to both sides just shred other teams because everyone is on the same page as they have repped these over and over and the team timing is so good. You would never be able to get that amount of passing game reps in your team’s Fall tackle practice as there isn’t enough time as the physical part of properly teaching blocking and tackling fundamentals would limit these passing reps.

The game of football continues to get spread out wider at every level and youth football teams that start the process early are going to flourish and give that athlete an advantage to learn spread concepts prior to arriving in middle school in 7th grade. 7on7 is a great way to learn Spread concepts.

To learn more about 7on7 Football Leagues, Tournaments or Camps in the State of Texas please visit us at www.texaselite7on7.org.

Shawn Smith
President
Texas Elite 7on7 Football
817-690-8458

Coach Shawn Smith is a contributing writer to CoachParker.org. Coach Smith has over 20+seasons coaching youth tackle football in many of the top Select and Recreation leagues in North Texas and is President of the Texas Elite 7on7 Football League. They hold tournaments across north Texas including Cowboy Stadium. Texas Elite 7on7 is one of the top 7on7 leagues in Texas.


Texas Elite 7on7 Youth Football League

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Filed under 7on7 Football, Youth Coaching