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Everything posted by Johnp2

  1. If your league throws a lot--I would run a 2-3, else I would run a 3-2. We always look to stop the run first and then once a team proves they can throw on us we'll adjust accordingly. Good luck!
  2. You will most certainly have a blast! Some things to think about (things I really wish I'd known going into my first season). 1. Be prepared to take your lumps. I'm going into (I think) my 11th season, and only once have I seen a "new" coach have a team that competed well. 2. You'll run into some teams that have played together for a few seasons...and you'll be amazed at how crisp a team can become playing together for a while like this. The good news is with your age group 5-7, you won't find any that have played together for more than 3-4 seasons. 3. Oppossing coaches. Unfortunately, during the season, you will run into at least one coach who thinks his team is playing for a chance to go to the SuperBowl. It's amazing what happens to mature individuals when they find themselves in situations where they competing in public. Frankly, be prepared to see some things that disgust you. The best thing to do is remember that 99% of the people watching are most likely rolling their eyes at that type of behavior, so just take the high road and ignore it. 4. Attendance in practice. Nothing will doom your team more if you don't get full participation in practice. Be ready for a few parents who will probably simply stop bringing their kids to practice around mid-season. You'll want to deal with this swiftly yet tactfully. 5. Talking in the huddle. Make that your #1 rule. No talking in the huddle. ;-) I'm sure other coaches can provide some sage advice from a non x's and o's perspective.
  3. My advice is to re-think the strategy so that each player plays a primary position...this instead of moving them all around. If your intent is to give equal playing time, as well as give equal ball-touches, below is something to consider and try. I have implemented this every season I've coached, and it's worked great: 1. Assign each player to a position--either C, RB, Left Receiver, Right Receiver, QB. Thus you will have two players at each position. 2. Now, you'll need to let the kids/parents to NOT get caught up in assigned position, because every position in this model is fairly equal when it comes to involvement. 3. By doing this, you can have your players master their specific position, get all the reps at practice in that position, etc. 4. You can also add more plays. It's much easier for a player to remember what to do as Left Receiver for 10 different plays than it is for him to learn five plays at five different positions. Thus in this model, he only needs to learn TEN things as opposed with 25 things...and you are able to roll out more plays. 5. The key here is that you design your playbook so that each position has equal ball-touches. It's easy to do, and we can give you examples if you need them. Additionally, by doing this, you simply "open up" your offense. Said differently, instead of switching players in/out of the RB position and handing it to the RB on each running play (where a defense will eat that up), you spread the ball around by position, and the defense never knows which position is going to get the ball on any given play. With respect to playing time, I just have "team one" and team two". It is NOT broken down by skill set, but instead based on chemistry I see among the players (and you want to have a balance of skill, anyway). I sub "teams" at each quarter. So what's the downside? Example: You have two Centers. Freddy and Nathan. They are the only two that know the position of Center and its responsibilities. Little Nathan suddenly does not show up to a game (you find out 20 minutes before--if you are lucky). What do you do? Keep Freddy in the whole game since he knows the assignments? Or do you chance it and put a kid in who does not know the plays, and just go through the motions? Either way it is not good. The way to combat this is to have one or two "utility" players, those that know each position. Typically get your smartest players to do this. That way they can fill in at any position needed during a pinch. Hope this helps. Let us know how you do!
  4. Speaking of team names....this past season we played a team (must have been at least 3-4 games into the season). I asked the coach his team name and he said, "Oh, we don't have one. I guess we never got around to selecting one." Really? I mean c'mon. Frankly this irked me, and we came out firing on them in the first half then let up (they were bigger/faster/older so it was not like we were bullying them). I know that is an odd reaction to them not having a name, but it was my way of saying "coach your team". The only other coaches that irk me than the ones who are over-zealous about winning are the ones put NOTHING into coaching. They practice only a few times a season, and spend half the practice stretching, run a few plays, and then go through the motions all season. Give your players at least a fighting chance to compete, and if not, at least give the team a name. Ugh!!
  5. The Angry Old Ladies? Oh my. How did they come up with voting on that? To funny!! Do you gear your team cheer around the team name? If so, what is ya'll cheer?
  6. I like it, especially how you have sections for parents and yourself. Great job! I actually have not brought the pact out on the past few seasons (mine was for players only). Reason is we have the same group who signed it way back. A few seasons ago, one player asked in an early practice "aren't we going to sign the pact this season". I explained that the have already signed it and it will always be in effect. I then asked them if they could (as a group) recite the 10 bullet points, which they did. Obviously that was a proud coaching moment for me. ;-)
  7. I'll guess Leggo My Flag Yo won...
  8. I disagree that every player should have the chance to play QB. Not saying that allowing each player to do it is wrong, just noting that disallowing it is not wrong either (if that makes sense). I've had the same two QBs for years and have never had to yank one for poor play, but have scaled back their assignments in games where one of them is not playing well. Regarding the zone, Rob is 100% correct. I'll let teams run up the middle all day, but never ever allow players to go to the outside. I go as far as lining my "Ends/CBs" a few feet from the out of bounds line to force runners in the box. The key with this approach is you have to teach them how to read run vs pass. The rule of thumb for us is once the backfield empties, we drop into pass coverage, else we focus on the run. It's funny as if I were to face my defense, I would counter it by leaving RB in the back field and throw slants underneath all day. Ironically, no coach has ever picked up on this key we use. Keep using the zone. You just have to drive home 'keeping runners in the box' and they will eventually get it. Good luck this season. The biggest jumps I've seen from teams is going from their first to second season together.
  9. I appreciate everyone's responses. This is showing me that lean I more on "addressing" the team and less on drills (again, no right or wrong way). Addressing the team also includes includes game-planning. Part of that is discussing how to either fix (or even hide) weaknesses, and I'll do this by walking through various scenarios--specifically on defense. I'll put six of the players on defense, and then six on offense, and all we do is position the offense players in the field of play. From there, I'll dictate to the defense "when you see this, do this". Last season we started the concept of rolling coverage, and this helped. With respect to drills, it is very rare we'll do these. In fact, the only one we do anymore is Sharks and Minnows (if you consider that a drill). If we have an incredibly poor performance with pulling flags or hanging on to the football, I might implement a few drills in the next practice, but that is only as needed. I do, however, provide specific drills that I'll give to the players to perform at home with their dad and/or siblings.
  10. Wow! I think 16-18 is the max players I've ever had (and that was when we played 8v8). I'll be the first to ask...how did you end up with so many players? Honestly, what I would do is poll the parents and see if any of the dads are interested in coaching a team---give him half the players and then add another team to your league.
  11. That makes sense, and it's almost the chicken or the egg. In other words, are they playing D1 football and worked their butts off because they were always so much faster than everyone, or are they fast because they worked their butts off?
  12. Thanks for the responses thus far. They all make sense. Unlike Orange, my son is not very fast. He's not slow, he's just never been considered fast. Out of 11 players on my team he is maybe the 4th or 5th fastest player. Of course, he does run with proper motion (I was big into track and field in HS) so taught him early on how to run--as I know it. Additionally--and I find this very interesting--if I had to rank my players from fastest to slowest, the list has remained the same all the way back to when they were 5-6. Back then I would have bet anything that the list would have drastically changed 4-5 years later...but it hasn't. Of course, I imagine the biggest changes in flat-out speed occur between the ages 10-15 as opposed with 5-10.
  13. Do you think speed can be taught? I say no. I think team speed and even football speed can be coached, but I don't think flat-out speed can be taught. I know that many do (there are 'speed' camps popping up around here) and that is impossible to be agnostic of any sport, in my opinion. My assumption is they teach track and field speed, which does promote the fundamentals of running, but don't think it would turn into tangible benefits on the football field. What are your thoughts?
  14. There he is. :-) I was wondering if you were still watching this forum, Orange. Are you coaching ball right now?
  15. I'd like to poll the coaches to see how you break down your practices (at a summary-level). Please rank the percentage you spend going over drills, play execution, addressing the team, and 'other'. For me: Drills-5% Play Execution (including scimmage)-50% Addressing the team*-40% Other-5% *This includes weekly awards, discussing upcoming opponent, goals for the week, team-bonding, etc. There is obviously no right or wrong approach, just curious on the types of practice sessions you all employ. This past season we practiced next to a team in our league (lower division) that spent about 95% of their time executing plays. They did well that season, so that worked for them. Every situation is different.
  16. Good deal! I'm glad it turned out to be a positive experience for you son.
  17. Do they break the kids up into various position units? I have a player (of girth) who told me he learned something in 'lineman camp'. Curious if they segment the kids out and play to their (percieved) strengths.
  18. Doesn't sound too appealing, but if your son is enjoying it--then great! As you alluded, 8 year olds really just like the fact they are going to 'football camp', and it keeps their interest in sports. I found the 40 times interesting. I'm thinking of holding a 'football' camp' in early September for my team. Of course it will be geared toward our team and will help keep their heads in tune with football. Probably will do three nights for 2 hours each. Anyway, I've never timed my players in the 40 (we usually just have races, but don't time). Interesting how some players just blow the field away with 4+ times. I have a few players on my team that can probably beat me in the 40 now, so perhaps coach will go out there and get his 40 timed. ;-) Too bad they all that standing in line. It seems most (if not all) of that could be done in your backyard. About a third of my players go to some kind of football camp in the off-season. They all love it. I've not seen tangible improvements in their play, but have seen an increase in their "football smarts". This is one reason I like to hold my own OTAs for the team. It lets them participate/compete with other players, and is small enough to focus on specific things the players want to achieve. Said differently, it's much more enjoyable than standing around for 30 minutes just to do a cone shuttle drill. ;-)
  19. Most of you are in a league that allows full-on blitzing. If we faced that, I would definitely look to find a good Center who is responsible for the shotgun snap. I would only do it if I'm confident we would hit a 99% center/QB exchange. Our league mandates that defenses must announce when they blitz, so we simply call one of a set number of plays to combat it. If, however, you find that your QB is constantly running for his life and unable to make solid reads due to dropping back--I would look to institute this. I do think 2nd/3rd grade is a little too young to handle this responsibility, so your idea of rolling out combined with a PA seems ideal. p.s. The "drawing board" is fun so keep at it. Coaches that put forth a concentrated effort on how to play to their team's strength--like you are doing--always do well in my opinion. ;-)
  20. I like your list, Rushbuster. To add to this discussion, I'm curious for those of you that implement audibles--how often do you allow your QB to call them vs you calling them? While I do allow my son (QB) to call an audible--the players know I can veto it by yelling "Danny White". (Cowboys fans should get this.) The first season I allowed my son to audible, I must have called "Danny White" 60 times because he wanted to audible on every play simply because he was so excited. :-) Consequently, I added fake audibles, which can be a state, city, or country. I wanted the players to explicitly know what a fake audible is instead of just allowing our QBs to yell out anything. A good example of when we don't use an audible is hurry up offense. While I will only run it when appropriate (if we are losing in the final seconds), I just call out the play I want to run (it's not like the defense knows our play names). I refrain from calling an audible to simply save time. Once again--great topic! I'm curious as to you other coaches opinions on running it. I know it might sound like overkill, but once you've had the same team for a while, you are afforded time to do a lot of things like this. We try to build on what we learned from the previous season, and after a while you can get pretty creative.
  21. Rob, you know I am a huge fan of the audible. We run more audibles compared to other teams in our league--by far. This is an excellent question. I think the reasons you listed were all spot on! I like to say we run audibles "because we can". We have two types of audibles. One allows us to reverse/mirror the play...and one that allows us to change into an entirely different formation/play. The former is good because you can use it on ALL plays, and only need one keyword for players to learn it. The latter works well because you can drastically change your attack on that one play. While we do use it 95% of the times based on your list, the other 5% is used to combat any sort of subtlety might see in the defense. For example, even if the defense is lined up in a way I want them to be, but a defender yells out "watch out for the pitch" and is betting on what the play is (and is right), I will audible. We also use our audibles to set up teams. By that--we have some plays where we WANT the defense to learn an audible, and then we audible within that audible. Example: We have a Center Run play. Quad right. I'll call 'Ranger 18' for the Center to reverse it, and 'Falcon 22' for the Center to fake the reverse. However--we always call either Ranger or Falcon. After a few plays of this, if the defense makes a good play, I might make a comment out loud like "I guess they found out that 'Ranger' is for 'reverse.' A few plays later, I'll call out 'Ranger 19' (odd number is to do the opposite) and my players--in this example--know to fake the reverse. It works like a charm. Of course, another intagible is that it will get in the heads of the defense. When they realize that their opponent can change things up to do whatever they want, whenever they want--simply because "they can"--the defense becomes much more re-active. In the latter half of games there is chaos on the defensive side when we audible. We will even audible sometimes and not change anything---again, just to keep the defense on their heels. By getting your team to perform some complex audibles, the defense (and even the opposing coach) begin to realize "this team can play some football!" and it definitely does get into their pysche, in my opinion. Your list definitely covers the spectrum as to why a team would run it, and for us it's simply a matter of doing it often and confusing the defense.
  22. Rob, this is probably the biggest issue in rec ball. You know how I combat this? I'll make veiled comments on the field. If I see a coach giving it to his best player(s) early in the game, I'll start shouting to my defense (so that the coach and all parents can hear) something like "Watch #9! They like giving it to him a lot!" If there is a player on the other team I know who has not been involved, I'll say something like, "Noah--when are they going to give you the ball?" I think that pointing it out publicly like this allows you to say to the parents "Why is your coach giving it to his best player over and over and just using your kids to run dummy routes?" Only once (this past season) have I had someone respond. After a team gave it to their best player five out their first six plays I said "Watch #11--we now know who their guy is." One of the parents said, "We have lot's of 'guys' on our team." I responded, "I'm sorry--I did not mean any disrepect. It's just that he's getting the ball on almost every play so want my players to be ready for it." That player then got the ball the next two plays I could see those parents actually became a little embarrassed at their coach. They probably never thought much of it before---but seeing that someone else notices it, and does not play that way, probably put things into perspective for them.
  23. Regarding the parents, as mentioned I am fortunate as they all are more than aware of my philosphy. I am close to many of my players' families, and they have known for years what to expect. With that, I do think I've been given somewhat of a pass because we do win. I think after ALL these seasons some of them probably would have become a little "antsy" had we not achieved what we had in the win/loss record with the style I have--which I can understand. I think the fact we have the success we've had alleviates any pressure I might feel to go against my philosophy. Now the players are completely different. This past season my team wanted to win more than "spread the ball around". They encourage me to give it to our best players and would quite often ask "Why don't you give it to David on this play" and another would chime in "Yea, David can score for us." Of course these kids know me so well, I just give them a look like "really?" and start pointing our players who have "not made their play" in the game and how I will only be content if "all players make a play" as that is what I'm about--and if any of them want to be on a team that relies on its best players they are welcome to find another team. ;-). Sometimes I think they say this to me just to hear me rant how important I feel they ALL are.
  24. You nailed it. To form some context, I am coaching a bunch on 9-10 year olds in rec football. If this were a select league, or at a higher-level (school football)--one where the sole focus is to win and not player development--I would play my best athletes all the time. My lesser-skilled players would need to bust their tails like Rudy to even see the field.
  25. This is a very interesting topic, Schann. The story about your niece is awesome! You know, I actaully wish I could say there was an 'x' scenario where I kept a player on the bench in a crucial situation because of my perceived abilities of that player. However, I go too much on the other side to where I bend over backward (to a detriment) to ensure my players have equal opportunity to affect the outcome of a game. Especially those that are struggling. I vividly remember many scenarios during the years being in crunch-time where I knew if I gave it to my best player he would make a potential game-winning play. However, I purposely gave it to a struggling player to see if he could come through. I would actually worry what the parents would think. I envisioned them saying, "Why did he give it to Billy on that last play? He's our worst player?" In the end I simply did not care--I was going with our philosophy. The times it worked definitely trumped the times it did not (we all know the best feeling is seeing one of your least-skilled players make a game-winning play). I really hate to sound "holier than thou", but it really is how we've rolled. If anything, the star athletes get the short end of the stick on my teams, as I put so much focus on the lesser-skilled players. With that, the one instance for which I'm most ashamed came about three seasons ago. We were in the semi-finals in a tight game (but winning) in the fourth quarter. My best player, who had only played one quarter, started complaining about his thumb. I could see it was hurting him, and asked him if he could "tough it out". Of course I would have put him on the bench had he said 'no', but that was a leading question. I remember feeling very uneasy about it as frankly I would have probably demanded a lesser-skilled player sit. Again, this player kept saying he was okay...and it turned out he was okay...but it was a clear example of me treating him differently from the other players because of his skill. That has not happened since.
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