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Johnp2

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Posts posted by Johnp2


  1. I'd suggest the following at a high-level:

    1. Base your playbook around your personnel. You noted you learned a lot in the first game, so build on that.

    2. Hand the ball off to multiple positions. If you hand off to the RB every running play, defenses will shut it down quickly.

    3. Teach the kids a zone defense. It's really not that hard. Just have them "stay in their positions" and keep their eyes on the football until the ball crosses the LOS, then swarm.

    Finally, look at this season as a learning season. This is not to say you should not expect much, but it is really difficult for a team to compete their first season (unless you are playing teams in your situation or you have one or two terrific athletes you give it to every play, which you probably don't want to do). We got kicked in the teeth over and over in our first season, but we tried to build on something after each loss---and actually won our first round playoff game that season. ;-)

    I hope this helps some---if you need more specifics let us know. Thanks


  2. I'm pretty close to a lot of the coaches in our league (i.e. we'll socialize outside of football). This season we have a lot of new coaches, so I'm only friends with about six of the 12 coaches in our league.

    Forever, we've had a support system among us in that we will provide scouting reports to one another after we play a team. For example, I received a call from the coach who is facing the team we played last Saturday in his next game. I detailed for him what to expect and my suggestions on how to attack their team (i.e. who their best players were, the type of defense they run, play selections, etc.). Essentially anything to give him an advantage. I notorious for this, and have no problem telling any coach about any team I have faced---so I get asked a lot. Ha!

    Do we do this among our own teams? Absolutely! I know my team is typically one of the most highly scouted teams, and coaches know what to expect from us---the unexpected. ;-)

    Just curious if any of you guys to the same with other coaches in your league, and/or you think this is unethical.


  3. Good luck! Sounds like you've had a great season thus far. Did you play your next opponent during the regular season? Those are the only ones I worry about---the ones I know nothing about. Or do you know much about this team?

    You were spot on about practice (especially early in the season). Because I know 100% of my roster about a month before other coaches even get their rosters, we get to work very early and will typically triple the number of practices of other teams before the first game...and it makes all the difference in the world. Practice, practice, and more practice is the way to go.

    I also agree with you about the QB position and how a coach's son has a tremendous advantage (assuming you want the QB to implement comlex assignments). My son has learned 100% of his QB'ing at home. Allows me to focus purely on all the other players at practice and not worry about spending half the practices coaching the subtlities for that position. I'm also fortunate that our second QB (who plays half the game at QB) has played that position for me now five seasons---so he has it down too.

    Let is know how you do!


  4. Thanks for everyone's responses. To elaborate, we did not get another pick so luckily did not have to take a knee. I informed a few parents during the game that is what we would do (and word spread). Everyone agreed save for the one parent--which again I understand. She stated in her email, "(Joey) should never feel like he needs to shrink him self so that others feel better." Again...she was extremely polite in her dialogue and I took no offense whatsoever. I like them a lot and we simply need to agree to disagree on that one.

    Offensively, I can pretty much control everything, right? Extremely simple plays, milk the play clock, etc. Defensively is where I was worried about it getting out of hand.

    I thought about approaching the coach but I was a little timid in doing this because he was a new coach, very confident, and frankly was in shock. I had a nice chat with him after the game and he was very understanding.

    Taking a knee can be offensive to some coaches, although I'd rather be accused of rubbing it in like that then on the score board.

    Regarding playing "lesser-skilled" players---that is where I am stuck. There is very little difference with respect to athleticism with my players, so I don't really have any "good ones" to sit and non-athletic to play in that situation. Ironically, the player whose mom emailed me already scored two TDs in that game, including a pick-six (in about 10 minutes of playing time).

    With all that...I too have been on that sort of losing end before way back when we first started playing. I recall one game in particular a coach took a knee on fourth down near our goal line in the third quarter. I informed him I wanted them to go full throttle as that is the only way we'll learn (and he did after that). ;-) Additionally, when we play teams that I know our superior to us (we spent the past two seasons playing 'up' a division) I tell the coaches just because we are friends don't hold back. I expect their best because we're bringing ours.


  5. Game 2

    We played our second game and tied 32-32. My team played their worst game in two years, and I had my worst coaching performance during that time-span. We were down two TDs then scored three unanswered TDs and then gave up a TD late--so it was an exciting game. This team we faced was pretty much a one man team. They had a kid that was half a foot taller than anyone on my team and all they did was throw it to him high (he scored all their touchdowns). In fact, it got to the point where we were triple-teaming this player.

    Everything went against us in this game, gave up at TD on last play of the half, dropped two easy extra point passes, had an interception that was popped loose and caught by the opponent who scored, etc., etc. I told the players the good news is we played our worst game against a good team and still managed a tie.


  6. We won very easily in our last game. At the half we were up like 40-0. We opened the third quarter with a pick-six. It was the THIRD pick-six in the game at that point.

    At this point I started getting a little concerned. I actually reflected on the 100-0 high school basketball game that occured here a few seasons ago and how the coach was destroyed once it got out (he actually lost his job).

    When we got back on defense, I told the team, "Hey, since we are up so big here, if you make an interception it would be a class move if you took a knee instead of running it back for a TD."

    A few days later, a player's mom sent me an email. She was very tactful and essentially said she would rather her son not be "limited" and instead sit out in a situation like that.

    I fully respect (and understand) her mindset. However, I do disagree with this approach. A few important notes on my decision:

    1. First, for most coaches that have been in this situation you know it is a no-win situation. Your darned if you do, darned it you don't.

    2. My philosophy, above everything, is that we play with class (win or lose). Part of that is ensuring that my players understand how to discipline themselves on the field when we need to scale it back some. This does not mean to go half-speed, but to tweak our approach to slow the game down and prevent the score from getting out of hand. Just as we go vanilla and milk the clock in games such as this...it's merely a tactic.

    3. The player 'Joey' had not played much in the game. Sitting him out would run the risk of hearing from a parent "Why should my son have to sit on the bench because our team was so dominant?"

    4. If I took the approach to "sit" players because we are up so much, then I would not have players on the field. By that, we really don't have 'stars'--so who do I sit?

    I informed the player's mother I respect her feedback, and I would do the same thing again if I am facing an 80 point win, but will ensure I sit her son on the bench.

    I know this is a controversial subject and don't want to open up a can of worms here, but I would appreciate your thoughts on the way I handled this. If you do decide to tear into me, please be sure that you've read the post through completion. ;-)

    Thanks


  7. Game 1

    We had our first game of the fall season and it was extremely lop-sided (54-0). We were up 40 points at the half, and I actually considered asking the opposing coach if he wanted to play the second half, but did not want to offend him. I actually hate games like this and did everything to keep it managable. I was proud of my players as they won with extreme class. They have been around a long, long, time, and they are fully aware that they can be on the other end of 54-0 come our next game...so they were fairly business-like in their approach.

    I assure you the rest of our games won't be like this as we have two 'select' teams that joined our league from a select conference a few miles away---although one of them lost this weekend to a team that's been around for a few years in our league (heh-heh)


  8. I'd also like to hear any comments as far as different variations of the other rules....i.e. having to declare rushers, limited rushing, such as a certain amount per series, having to wait for a certain amount of time before you can rush, etc....

    I am real curious to hear from the coaches who play in leagues where the QB can run and/or pitches are allowed.

    In our league, as team can rush up to two declared rushers every four downs (or a full on rush after 7 seconds). I personally like this. Our comish really tries to encourage passing so our rules are slanted a little toward the passing game. We rarely blitz. In fact we run more "fake blitzes" (i.e. where we declare we are going to blitz but don't--those actually work well).

    QBs cannot run in our league unless they are rushed. 99% of the plays when a team rushes, the QB takes off---and 80% of the time it's for a good gain. I have a few home run plays I designed specifically for when we are going to get blitzed, so it's really an advantage when the team declares they are going to blitz.

    If we were to change, I'd suggest where a team can blitz two once ever four downs...but they don't have to declare it. Of course being so offensive-minded, my preference is for them to announce it so we can hopefully make them pay. ;-)


  9. Our league has a 7-second rush (which is very nice) and I see QBs (including ours) check down all the time. It's one of the benefits of not having to be out there running for your life....you get the chance to actually read the coverage and react. As TeeDub alluded to, it's all about having the time to do it...we are fortunate for this rule, so a lot coaches take advantage of that. We've had a two-deep progression for many seasons now. Once we tried to go three-deep, but I found that to be a little too much. If your check down is not open, find ANYONE who is open after that. ;-)

    Regarding the original post---it's not uncommon for QBs at that age to get tunnel vision. Sounds like implementing short passes with a (consistent) check-down is the best approach. The check-down does not need to be complex....simply always have a receiver 3-5 yards in the right flat and allow that to be the QBs safety net. Once he gets used to that, you can increase the level of complexity with regards to looking for the secondary receiver....then you "make something happen". If your QB bird-dogs his receivers you just simply have to keep drilling the QB to scan the field and react. Another idea is to implement fakes and then have him throw. This will take his eyes off primary receiver running the route. Good luck!


  10. Will,

    Thanks for your post. I can assure you that you are not alone in your competitiveness---most 'coaches' are sports fans and we have an inherent way of defining success with our win/loss record.

    One thing that might help is to think in terms of the parents and players at this age. While parents enjoy their kids' team to win, their first concern is (or should be) their child's individual contribution to the overall outcome. Players at this age? Hey---I can assure you when little Joey is riding on the car after the game, he's not thinking about whether his team won or lost, he's thinking about what HE did in that game. ;-)

    Said differently, continue to NOT let wins/losses dictate how successful of a coach you are. My first few seasons we got SKUNKED. However, we got skunked as a team. ALL the parents completely bought into my "team first" mindset, and I still have 99% of the same players 12+ seasons later....and we did end up winning some championships in the mean time. It was much sweeter doing with a team that battled through thick and thin...as you can imagine.

    As for substiutions...kudos to your wife for pointing it out. Is she saw it and mentioned something, then know it was definitely noticed by some parents who are monitoring how often their kid plays.

    Here is what we do: I sub at each quarter. I make a line up of who is to play in each quarter at each positions...and I stick to it. I let the parents know that while each player might not play an equal amount in each game...they WILL play an equal amount for the season as a whole.

    If you would like an example of the way I track substitutions let me know. As you've learned...game day is fast an furious. The only way I can ensure fair playing time is to chart it and stick to it. It also lets you devise your game plan as you know who is playing where...and when. I script my first 10 plays for each game, and we walk through them in practice...and I assure you when we open up the game we are a well-oiled machine and go in like a buzz saw and frankly destroy the will of our opponents if we can in the first quarter. If not, we've still shown we can dog-fight with anyone....as a team.

    Good luck!


  11. We play 6v6 and last season we faced a team who put their BEAST at NT. The kid was 13 years old, 5'11" and could run like the wind. I actually know him and his parents, and the next week I saw him on the field I jawed at him for destroying us...he said "Sorry about that. One of my coaches said he counted 19 flags." :-)

    Essentially he was doing just what you described, as soon as we would hand off, pitch, whatever, he would be all over it. We could not throw against this team as the rest of their defense was as talented as he was. In fact he batted down three passes at the LOS. For the first time, I actually started drawing plays up in the huddle.

    One play we did run on him a few times that worked was single wing left formation, I had my QB turn left and fake a pitch to the wing back and then quickly turn right and shuffle it to the Center who ran about three yards to the QBs right. Because the NT was so aggressive, he was either called for a penalty for jumping the LOS on the pitch, or if we got it to the Center in time he was still going after the wing back.


  12. if you want to send me a private message about why kids 4 and 5 shouldn't play flag football that is fine. I have followed a lot of your threads and value your opinion. From what I can tell so far, the kids are learning a little bit about football and having a lot of fun. There is a very small amount of contact, and that is only when they get tangled up trying to pull a flag, and I have only seen that a couple times.

    I see nothing wrong with 4-5 year olds playing football, in fact I encourage it. Our league has 4-5, and quite often when my son and I get to the fields early we'll stop and watch them play (as it can be pretty funny at times). Aside from some of the overzealous parents (wow!) I think it's incredibly healthy for kids that age to play organized sports. It gets them excercise, teaches them discipline, the concept of teamwork, etc., etc. Glad to see you got the mouthpiece drama worked out. Good luck this season!


  13. ...but I'm thinking it might be better to give each player an assigned 'position' and tailoring the plays so that each position gets touches. The only problem I've encountered with this is that I need to get all of the kids in at RB to get hand offs to them. How do you typically handle this? Any suggestions for naming plays so that they are easy for the kids to remember?

    I can't speak to rotating positions, as all my seasons I've only used the primary/secondary position assignments, and it has worked well.

    Regarding ball touches--if you do assign primary positions-- simply tailor your playbook so that each position (not player...but position) has a running play geared toward it. This also has additional benefits as the offense never knows which position is getting the ball. This instead of rotating kids in at RB so they can get hand-offs (and the defense just tees off on the RB).

    Additionally, Rob is spot-on regarding fakes. Fake reverses can be deadly. Run a reverse a few times, then fake it (having the ball-carrier extend the ball out for everyone to see) and the defense will most always (especially at that age) start chasing the player who was 'supposed' to get the reverse. Focusing on little things like that can pay major dividends.


  14. You talked about trying to convince them into playing but I don't think that should be your role. Respect the kids and the parents decisions. If they ask you to try to convince the kid, that's different I suppose, but strange. I would never give them the hard sell if at all. Tell them you'll miss them, they are welcome any time on your team and wish them luck.

    Apologies for not being more clear (but I believe the following is explicit above in earlier posts): his parents asked me to speak with him, and I did not try to 'convince' him to play--but instead wanted to know why--and simply wanted him to appreciate his opportunity to play (as most kids don't get that opportunity). I also noted that I did not give him the 'hard sell' but instead completely respected his decision.

    As for it 'strange' that his parents asked me to speak to him, I can see how you might think that, but I have to respectfully disagree. These people are family friends. Meaning our families socialize outside of football. In fact--because I've coached him for so long--there have been other times his parents have asked me to talk with him "as his coach". I don't view speaking with a family friend's son at their request, one who is great friends with my own son, and one whom I've coached as long as my own son as "not my role". Quite the opposite, actually. We put relationship building and team dynamics (meaning parents and players) above anything else--and we support each other anyway we can.


  15. What a way to start a season. We decided today to get my sons mouthpiece all set up and ready for the first game of the season. Only problem is that he won't cooperate with me in getting it set up for his mouth. He is only four, but still, I wouldn't think it should be so hard. He coughs and carries on like it is choking him. Any suggestions on how I can get him to accept the fact that he has to wear a mouthpiece? The flag football league requires it. Oh and on top of this issue, I am the coach of the team, and it is starting to look like my child won't even get to play.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The season starts tomorrow at 12:00.

    Thanks

    A few tips that could possibly help?

    1. If he likes football, show him pics of players on his favorite team wearing mouth-pieces.

    2. Get him a "cool" mouthpiece. Something different like a black one or a red one.

    Our league does not require it, and I'd say maybe five percent of them wear one (and while I know he probably should--my son does not wear one). I might end up getting him one for when he plays defense (he is our QB and is barely in a scrum on offense).

    One funny story. A few seasons ago before our first gamea parent was helping put flags on our players. One of the players saw another player who had a mouth-piece and asked "Are we supposed to have mouth-pieces? The parent (who is a big military-type guy, great guy though) said "Nah...you don't need any mouth-pieces". I simply said "It's up to your parents...if you want to wear them you can". Well, that first game...guess what happened? That parent's son got busted in the chops. He had a mouth-piece at our next practice. Ha!

    Good luck, I'd imagine if you have to sit him out for not wearing a mouth-piece, he'll change his mind.


  16. The mother asked me to talk with him as she and her husband really want him to play. I spoke with him and gave him a little speech about how he only has so many opportunities to play football in life--and wanted him to understand what he's leaving on the table. While he's probably the best player in our league, he's also probably the smallest player in our league--meaning I doubt he'll go far in tackle unless he grows considerably. His parents are both very tall--so I assume he'll sprout up soon.

    I think there is something with his height that is bothering him. When I first started coaching him he was one of the tallest kids on our team...now he is easily the shortest. He said he's tired of playing against kids much older and bigger than he is...even though he simply runs WILD on them. In the end he decided not to play..and I respect that. I know he'll be coming out to our games and I will get an extra jersey in the event he wants to jump in and play.

    I know the coaches in our league are going to be estatic. In one game last season, after this player got his first carry (for an amazing TD), I overheard a parent say to the coach, "Wow! That kid is unbelievable...does that coach give it to him a lot?" The coach said, "Nah...only when he needs a touchdown". Ha!


  17. I volunteered to coach my son's 8v8 9U flag football team because there was a lack of volunteers.

    Good for you!

    While the team is 9U, most of the kids are 6 and 7. On my team, 6 of the kids are 6 & 7, two are 9.

    That's a fairly good age discrepancy. I'm surprised your league doesn't have a 7U league, but it is what it is. What about your opponents, do they have a lot of younger kids as well? Has your team been competetive--or are you getting blown out?

    They constantly ask me 'where do I go?' after I call a play. I tried using some of the plays I found here, but most of the kids will forget the play between the time we outline it in the huddle and snap the ball (we have practiced them in practice).

    I think this is natural for 6-7 seven year olds. First, ensure that your players understand the passing tree. i.e. They know what slants, posts, outs, etc. are. Drill it into them. Then, when you call your play in the huddle, simply go around call out formation/play, and denote the route for each position. i.e. "Spread, Blue32 Cross, LR slant, LG medium out, C curl.." etc. Tell the players simply to execute their specified assignment, and the play will take care of itself. Quite often I'll have the players repeat their route to themselves from the huddle to the LOS. At first you'll probably get some questions like "What is a post again?" If you see you are getting that...then you know you need to keep practicing routes. If, at the LOS you have a player ask "what do I do again" and the play clock is running, simply tell him to run straight ahead and move on.

    This is causing me to get a ton of complaints from two of my parents because their kids aren't getting touches. One parent has chastised me for using a playbook and has pointed out that the other teams don't use one and just basically tell their kids "handoff to so-and-so, or pass to so-and-so", and that playbooks are too hard for kids this age. This same parent also told me that if the two older kids continue to get all the touches, he will pull his child from the team.

    First, I think you are absolutely doing the right thing by having a playbook. Telling players to "hand-off or pass to so-and-so" is not teaching them football, which should be your main objective...instead of "winning". As for the parents, you have more patience then I do, as if a parent "chastised" me, I would swiftly remove the player from my team and tell the parent to step up and volunteer to coach if he can do it better. As for ball touches, you only have so many plays to run, and if a parent's child forgets to take a hand-off on a play intended for him, at least you gave that child an opportunity. Perhaps let the parent know that "Joey's plays are Blue 32, Half-back End Around, and 3 Counter". Give the parent a copy of those plays so he can work with the child to practice at home and remember those plays more than any other.

    Of course, you'll want to re-evaluate your playbook and determine if it is too complex for the players. Simply ensure you have a "system"...much like I mentioned where all the players need to do is know their route (which you will call out in the huddle) for any given play.

    From an attacking approach, set teams up. I've attached a quick example of doing this.

    Having worked with these kids now for 6 weeks, I think that 8v8 with kids this young is a huge mistake, but it's what I have to work with. Quitting is also not an option. I will not do that to my son or these other kids.

    I coached 8v8 for many seasons with younger kids. You are correct that the defense has a HUGE advantage. Definitely don't quit...just keep a positive attitude and enjoy it for what it is. If parents are giving you a hard time and ruining the experience simply explain that you are a parent just like them, and that YOU volunteered to help...and they did not, and it's not as easy as it looks. Finally, don't be afraid to change things up this late in the season. If what you are attempting is not working, then try something different. Also, it's hard to tell your QB to not throw to the best receiver if he is typically the only one open. If this happens, just ensure you call enough run plays to give the other players and opportunity to touch the ball. Good luck!

    Example Set up.doc


  18. How close are you to the parents? I would first get their permission to speak with him and then without a doubt approach him gently.

    Thanks for your reply. I am actually very close to the parents--as well as his grandparents. As mentioned, he is like a second son to me--more so than any player I've ever coached.

    Ironically, my wife told me she talked with him the other day at school--and he was excited about the upcoming football season, so something has transpired. Not sure what--but I'm going to find out. I'll probably leave details out...as the main point to this thread was to 1) vent, and 2) see if any of you have ever run into a situation like this, and if so how you handled it.


  19. Over the last two fall seasons, I've had a few players elect to play tackle. I understand this, and have actually supported them...as they all come back in the spring and summer seasons. In fact, our players will go watch them play tackle, they will come to our flag games, some of them even attend our end of season parties, etc.

    I also have a lot of "day one" players...those who have played with me every season I've coached. One of them has been on every teamI've ever coached (regardless of sport).

    His mom emailed me the other day and informed me he decided not to play football this season. Ugh!! Just a few weeks ago she told me he was going to play--so this came from left field. There are two downsides to this. First, he is by far our best player. In fact, he might be considered the best player in our league. Most of you are aware of my philosphy (no one player carries the team), but losing a player like this downgrades our team substantially.

    More importantly, however, is the fact that this is the one kid I never dreamed I would not coach. In fact, had I known he was not going to play, I would have seriously considered not coaching (it's pretty much like if my own son decided not to play).

    I responded and asked if everything is okay, and she told me he is just going through a "phase" and does not want to play. I'm going to talk to the player and his parents this weekend. I know his parents want him to play so he's probably under some pressure from them. I'm not going to give him a guilt trip or anything, but I do want him to look me in the eye and tell me he does not want to play. There have been times before where they have asked me to talk with him about things "as his coach"...and he's been very responsive to it.

    If he says he does not want to play, I will respect that. I do expect him to to come out and watch HIS team play some this season, and I will have an extra jersey on hand in the event he wants to take the field. I realize some of you may frown on that, but he is a "lifetime" teammate and I would do that for any of them regardless of talent-level.

    So...question to some of you coaches long in the tooth whom have had "career players". If one of them elected not to play for some strange reason, would you take a stab at talking some sense into him? As mentioned, I'm not going to try and convince him to play but I do expect him to tell me what's going on.


  20. I think this is a good question, as very few of us luck into a count of players that allows us to divide the teams equally for intra-team scrimmage...and I'm curious what others do as well.

    My focus goes on offense. We play 6v6. Assume we have 10 players. I will put six on offense, and four on defense. This is because my mindset when we scrimmage is ALL offense. In the past, I would rotate players on offense to defense. Example: We run a reverse. I would keep my C, QB, RB, MR in (i.e. those touching the ball or faking it) but put my RR, and LR on defense.

    However, I noticed that it was a huge distraction to offensive chemistry, as even players who don't get the ball have a specific assignment to aid in the play--so now I only run plays with a full offense.

    So I guess my advice would be five on offense, and four on defense. Of course---we often do a defensive "walk-thru scrimmage" which has really helped our defense. Essentially, I put in a full defense, and we walk through the anatomy of an offensive play. I'll stop at certain points and say "When you see a WR here, the RB here, and the QB doing x...then you do y". As we progress through the play, I'll position the offensive players in the field (they just stand there) and we work through it "If you (LB) see one WR in the flat and one in the seam, then you cover the seam to a certain point and let him (S) take him once he gets to this point...and then you (CB) keep roll to the flat and keep the WR in the flat in front of you", etc. etc. Then we might do that in real-time, but the intent is to stop a play and let them see what is around them so they know how to react based on specific situations.

    I am the first to admit I throw a LOT at my players. However, as long as they absorb it, I keep throwing. One thing I started doing a few seasons ago that really helped them retain things is at the end of every practice we stand and I ask each player what he learned at that practice. "Joey" might have forgotten what he learned when practice is over, but when he is forced to recall it--that seems to help place it in his long-term memory.


  21. Why not put all kids into a draft so that relatively equal teams can be formed? Our rec league redrafts every year, so there are no dynasties formed. It's harder on the coaches, but probably better for the kids.

    There are rec teams here that do have drafts, and we even looked into having one. There are pros and cons to it. In fact--it was because of MY team that we considered doing it, but not for reasons you would think. I'll try to be succinct. ;-)

    I've had 99% of the same players since Kindergarten. We've played 10+ seasons together...and I assure you they are not "athletes". I simply stuck with what I had each season as team chemistry is the most important thing for me.

    When my players were in 2nd/3rd grade, they won their first championship. The next season, they were primed to win it again. Again, not group of athletes, but a crisp group who simply know how to play as a team. That season, a team walked on AFTER registration ended. It was a team that fielded on SEVEN players (we were 7v7 then) and were a select football team that wanted to play flag during the off-season. They even brought in their own uniforms. They were bigger/faster/older than all teams. Of course they literally wiped the floor with everyone, and we ourselves went something like 9-1 and met them in the championship. To a man, there was not even a point in playing that game. We played them tougher than any opponent had that season, but it was still pretty lop-sided.

    The thing that rattled everyone is this was a walk-on select team, who brought only their top seven players...instead of home-grown players like all other teams (including mine). In other words, the best "normal" team did not win the championship (although we won it again the next season)...but it spoiled our three-peat ;-)

    I took it like a man, but our commish was pretty much in dismay, and called a meeting with me to discuss how to prevent it. He offered doing a draft...but in my mind that would have gone against everything that I had built...which is taking a group of normal kid athletes, and turning them into a pretty salty team. I could ONLY do that by ensuring I kept the same class group of players/parents who are dedicated to fostering a true team environment. We ended up agreeing NEW teams could not bring in more than eight players. This has since changed (as we have a new commish). I think as long you have a team of league-bred players, those whom you've been able to turn into good athletes and field a crisp team other teams/parents just need to accept that.

    ---BONUS THOUGHTS--- ;-)

    I do see the need to try and prevent dynasties from occuring. One popular thing in our league is to stack teams. By that, coaches will either ONLY invite back their best players and take chances on new ones (do it a few seasons and you have a good team)...or they form alliances where they take their top five or six players and field a team. In fact, this season I know of THREE coaches teaming up to do this (taking their top-level talent from three teams and forming a single team). Not saying that is wrong, as I imagine coaches who have yet to win a championship go into panic mode a bit as their kids get older...but I would not want to win that way...it's too easy.


  22. While I cannot provide advice on what it's like to have a team that you know will have a cake walk, I CAN tell you that I have no problem whatsoever losing to a team of thoroughbreds, especially when they exhume class (which I know your team does). I'm confident that most teams will look at your team with great respect and think about how that is what they aspire to become. That is how we look at great teams, at least.

    For my thoughts on your questions:

    1)How would you keep your kids challenged?

    I would not be afraid to hold them back. Keep them competing with themselves. I see nothing wrong with constructing a few extremely challenging assignments, and then see how they can execute it during a game. Obviously not saying to put a beat down on teams, but have fun with coming up with some things that are simply impressive and everyone (both sides) would appreciate you can execute a few times each game (the players only get x number of times to try it). Or, you could essentially play to your players' weaknesses. Put your least skilled-player at QB, put your slowest player at RB, your worst defender at Safety, etc.

    2)How would you deal with the opposing parents/coaches? Would you communicate with them ahead of time letting them know what happened?

    Nah, I would think people are just going to say to themselves, "Look at that team!" But I doubt anyone would call 'unfair!'.

    3)I can't tell my kids to "chill out", they won't get it. I can't blow the other teams out of the water, they won't get it. How would you handle that?

    I'd see this as a golden opporunity to continue driving home how to win with class. Work with your kids to understand the talent your team has, and more importantly appreciate the effort other teams are giving. Who knows...a team or two might give you everything you want, and it could possibly be inspiring for your players to see.

    At this point, it seems that it simply "is what it is". In our final game last season, we lost to a team that went three consecutive undefeated seasons. Their coach and all of their players were class acts--and frankly I was proud to be on the field competing with them. I imagine if there is a lot of parity with the other teams, most coaches and teams will be very excited to play you guys, and circle that date on their calendar.

    I'm sure it will all work out and you'll have a great season, Rob. As you know--the season is what you make it. ;-)


  23. Sorry to hear about the lop-sided score (I'll assume the other coach eased up some, if not that is not very sportsman-like). It's very difficult to win your first season...and has little to do with one's knowledge of football, IMO. I look at it like an expansion team in the NFL.

    Just focus on asking your players to "stay home" on defense. By that, play a true zone and tell them not to move until the ball crosses the LOS. Split your ends out wide to prevent runs to the outside, and have your ends force the ball-carrier in the box and let your LBs maintain the middle. I'm sure you'll see vast improvement as the season goes on. Let us know how you do!

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