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Everything posted by Johnp2

  1. Thanks for the responses! Patandsu: Ironically, "Orange Crush" is very simliar to our "Bootleg" play (which our most efficient passing play). I love rolling out our QB. I am confused a little about your play--does the QB hand-off to your RB and the RB throws the ball across the field? Orange: I like the idea of a half-back swing pass, but that's a dangerous pass right there. What did you do to get your HB open? What formation? How far downfield is the RB when your QB hits him? George: I like the flood passes. We run a Center flood that works well. The C-Drag used to be very effective for us, but for some reason the past three seasons it's not worked well. I can't put my finger on why that is. We use the Center heavily in our offense, and I've noticed some teams will put a spy on him around half-time, so maybe I'm just calling it at the wrong time.
  2. George, to clarify---the QB cannot run even when blitzed, is that correct?
  3. One of the things I love most about coaching is play creation. However, I am always looking for ways to improve our scheme. Simple question for you coaches: what is your best passing play? I'm not looking so much for home-run plays, but instead your most high-percentage passing play. I want to add about five more passing plays to our playbook and have no problem seeing yours to help generate ideas, or flat out implement that play. Thanks!
  4. Correct, we pretty much stick to our positions. We can control that. If we blitz, we open ourselves up to be exposed on a big play. As mentioned, our defense is about one thing: preventing the big play. We let offenses beat themselves. It's ironic, because I can never recall seeing a QB getting "sacked" in our league. As mentioned, QBs can ONLY run when blitzed (once the blitzer crosses the LOS), so 99% of the time teams ask their QB to just take off running--and it's good for decent gain. When we are being blitzed, we execute one of two plays. Usually it depends on how well my son (QB) lobbys for me to allow him to run with the ball. ;-) If the play is not crucial OR I think he can get the first down, I'll let him go. However, the KILLER play for us when we are blitzed is our slot-receiver Statue of Liberty. We score probably 80% on this play in this situation. This works well for two reasons: 1) Our slot-receiver is probably the fastest guy in our league, and 2) because a defense 'announces' it is going to blitz, most the defenders sit and watch the blitzer(s) as opposed to maintaining coverage. Before they know what is happening the blitzer is standing there holding the QB's flag in the air (with everyone watching), while the slot-receiver is on the other side of the field with the ball streaking down the sideline for a TD. Two seasons ago (in 8-9 league) a defender actually started crying in the game because he was so embarassed. He made a big deal out of a sack he thought he had (jumping around, fist-pumping) that really ended up in a TD on our Statue of Liberty. Frankly, I thought it was funny. If it were my player, I would have told him "if you talk the talk...." I know it's an easy way to score, but again the way our league allows blitzing, I think it is an advantage to the offense, so take full advantage of that. ;-)
  5. I agree it is important to keep your roster to the min player count (if not under it). I think there is a difference between "not inviting players back" and "not allowing additional players to join". Not allowing additional players to join: My rules are simple: first come first serve. About a week before registration begins, I send an email out to about 20 possible parents I would like to have back, informing them to let me know once they registered, assuming they would like to re-join our team. The first nine to respond they have registered, I put on the team. (And as mentioned I leave one open slot.) I then contact the league and let the know I have my team (save for the open slot). A lot of times, the parents will say, "We only want Joey to play if he can be on your team." Consequently, I've set it up with the league so that when a parent registers--he or she can inquire if my roster if full and then make a decision from there. This prevents overly disappointed parents from requesting refunds later. I've coached most of the players six seasons, and some many more seasons. Out of those 20, I have maybe 10 "core" players (those who have been with me since my first season or two). If I don't hear back from those parents the day before registration, I make a courtesy call to ensure they received my email. Those are the ones I am fiercely loyal to. The reason I do this is two-fold: first--I know my roster WELL ahead of time. Our season does not start for another 10 weeks---but I can conduct practice anytime as my team is solidified (except for the one open spot). Second, it's the only fair way I know to do it. In the past, I have had a parent or two come in late and I've agreed to open an additional roster spot--but the past 3-4 seasons I've stopped. Again--it is extrememly important to know my roster well before the season begins. I do not have many athletes, so the only way we can compete is to be incredibly well-prepared. Not inviting players back: I can think of only three players I've refused to have back. Obviously I don't include them on my invitation email, but in the event one does end up on my "official" roster, I have enough pull in my league to disallow it. This has nothing to do with lack of athletism, but instead it's based on dependability, player conduct, and frankly how well the player picks up our scheme. One of the three players was an INCREDIBLE athlete and he was so-so behaved. However, he struggled all season to remember his assignments (and I worked hard with this kid). Because our offense relies on "smarts" instead of athleticism, he struggled mightily the entire season. Even toward the end of the season, he had a difficult time knowing the formations. Fortunately, I've never had a parent whose son I simply did not want back contact me after not landing on my roster. If I did, I would give the same tactful response to those I would have liked back--which is our roster is unfortunately full. With that--I've only had to face a former player ONCE. He simply did not get registered in time. I chatted with his dad prior to the game, and of course made a big to-do over facing my former player (I talked friendly "smack" to the player the entire game--and his 'former' teammates were all happy to see him and requested him back.). ;-) Thankfully he's been back with us the past three seasons, as it is odd facing former players.
  6. As I recall, you are in a league that allows one rusher to get to the QB. Do you always rush one kid? Selectively? We are allowed to rush up to two blizter (five yards away) every four downs. QBs cannot run in our league (unless being blitzed). Additionally, we have to announce that we are blitzing, as the rusher(s) must hold their hand up. This has to occur before the offense breaks their huddle. As you can imagine, we rarely--if ever blitz. Two seasons ago we did not blitz once the entire season. Last season we blitzed maybe 2-3 times. With that, the majority of teams in our league do blitz at each allowed interval. With all the pre-requisites around blitzing, I feel it puts the offense at an advantage in our league--so we welcome it.
  7. We use a 3-2-1. First and foremost, we contain the sidelines and stop the run. The DE's play extremely wide and everything is forced back into the box. I've found once we are able to stop the run, teams will panic and go to passing plays they normally don't execute in games. From there it's a 60-30-10 percentage: incompletion, INT, or completion, respectfully. As a defense, you've got to like those odds. That's our philosophy. We typically use one safety. His only goal on the football field is to ensure no one gets behind him---no one. Our three LBs are the "playmakers". They get to be stop the run and play the pass, equally (of course these are our best athletes). Our two ends are the unsung heros, selling out to play in perfection position in order to own their end of the field. Every now and then, we will go to a 2-2-2, or (my personal favorite) a 4-2. Our DC likes to change up formations on the fly just to keep the offensive coach on his heels. Offenses will probably start going underneath more now than with 5v5. I know that is how I'd use the extra player. In our 3-2-1, we teach the NT how to drop back underneath, yet still watch and be ready for the draw play.
  8. There is a forum on here "Youth Flag Football Plays" that has some 6v6 plays. Although I never coached 5v5, I did go from 8v8 (which I loved) down to 6v6. I would not think there is a huge difference between 5v5 and 6v6, however advantage defense. My recommendation would be to take your 5v5 playbook--assuming you are content with it--and add an extra slot receiver. Good luck!
  9. As much as I love my players and their families, I try to keep at least one spot open for a new player. I typically have 15-20 requests (not trying to brag---just the facts) and do everything to limit my roster to 10 or 11 players. Of course this can also be a touchy issue because you've essentially allowed a new player while disallowing former players. NOTE: This is not to stack teams at all. In fact I've had to turn away some of my best athletes, but bring them back on in another season. With that, being new on my team can be tough. This is because we don't "start over". We walk on to the first practice pretty much where we left off. I think the most important thing to do let the new parent(s) know about the situation. Let them know that their child is coming into a seasoned team, and lay down the expectations. With me, it is dedication (being at practice on time, showing up to games) things that you assume parents would know but a lot of times new parents might be used to being on teams without these expectations. Additionally, let them know how excited you are to have some "new faces" on the team. As an example, I have already filled the "extra spot" this season, although it is a parent I know very well (don't really know the player, however). I sent the parent (who is also a coach in another division) my playbook, and he promised he would run his son through the plays. I informed him it was not necessary, as we will go through all the plays a zillion times in practice. However, it DOES help for him to have an idea of our scheme, formations, and overall offensive philosophy. Patandsu: I would not gauge the sort of coach you are by how many players you bring back. Some coaches go very much out of their way to bring back players (which obviously helps). Others, like myself, are simply "lucky" that we have a group of families who enjoy our coaching philosophy. I would say that if you have a few kids/families you really like and want to coach again--it does not hurt to send a friendly email letting them know this prior to registration.
  10. This is an interesting topic, and I commend you coaches on challenging your players to assume complex assignments. I agree it really depends on the personnel you have. I started teaching the concept of option routes to my son (QB) when he was 8. This because we had a stud receiver on our team who could catch anything and was extremely intelligent. I noticed teams would start to roll coverage his way quite a bit, so I taught him the concept to keep his options (pun intended) open. At that time, he was the only receiver whom I felt could handle such routes. It's one thing to draw it out at practice, but another thing when facing a real defense. My recommendation would be to find the player(s) who you feel can be reliable in executing it. If you are coaching 12-14, I'd assume the vast majority of them should be able to pick it up. I'd also suggest only executing a few plays that incorporate this and only give two options. Begin with your best passing play, and incorporate the option route into that. Where I think it is effective at younger ages (9-10) is that you can really set a defense up for it. Run the play a few times completely a successful out, and soon the CB will sit and the safety will over-commit to rolling that---while your receiver runs a post. ;-) I think ifly808 provided a great example play. If you'd like another I can give you the few we execute. This season, although my players will still be 9-10, I'm revamping my playbook quite a bit and will institue more option routes.
  11. Our Spring season goes through mid-July, thus HEAT is always our primary concern. We try to combat that by playing a few evening games right before dawn (I love evening games), and the tournament lasts a week (i.e. no team will have to play four games in a single day). Regarding rain and pulling flags: we use the suction type flags. What we've found (because a team actually got caught doing it once) is if you put water in the flag's "base" where it connects to the belt, it is incredibly difficult to pull off. If you use those type flags, it will certainly make it extra difficult when it rains.
  12. One piece of advice is to not let other teams intimidate your team during pre-game. Kids will always look to see "how good" their opponent is. Many coaches will try to "show off" their teams in warm-ups. We have one coach in our league who always runs his players through his opponents warm-up. Nice, eh? About five seasons ago we were playing a team that was much larger/faster then us. During warm-ups, their QB was slinging it around and their receivers were snagging the ball. My players were freaking out how good they looked (I admit even I was like "uh-oh"). However, we thoroughly whipped that team. That was a defining moment for my team, because now we just sit and watch teams warm up, and my players actually get excited if our opponents "look good" during warm ups.
  13. What age group do you coach? As others mentioned on, it's highly unlikely your league will allow it. If you think about it however, there is no real advantage to this anyway. If your goal is to simply snap the ball and then take off running, just implement a quick pitch. If your goal is to give a specific player the ability to either throw or run, then simply have the QB quickly flip the ball to that player and have that player drop back to pass--if he can't hit his first read then he takes off. How you design that play depends on the rushing rules allowed in your league. Good luck!
  14. Are you in a co-ed league, or is it all girls? We have a few girls in our league (mainly coach's daughters) but some are pretty good. I have an eight-year old girl whom I can't get into sports. I know she would never play football (she hates going to her brother's games), and even finding rec all-girl soccer/basketball leagues around here is tough.
  15. Welcome, and congrats on your last season! One reason I love this forum is the simple fact we are all here on this forum. This shows that we give everything we have for our volunteer work work. This is what makes rec sports volunteer coaches a fraternity I am proud to be associated with!
  16. At the beginning of the season (of football or basketball), we will sometimes have pizza at the coaches house. Perhaps toss the ball a bit. Or maybe we'll have 2-3 kids over for a play date. Jump on the trampoline (warm-up), toss the ball a bit. If it was too cold or wet, we would use the school gym (our teams are sorted by school) or a church gym to at least have walk-throughs. You nailed it here, George. To really get your teams parents into buying in to the importance of practice, you have to build relationships with them. One tangible advantage of bringing back the same team is that you already know who is returning, so you can hold practice whenever you want (we practice year 'round). You know the staff you are returning, so you can hit the ground running knowing which plays to continue perfecting, and which ones to introduce based on the kids' position strengths. During the off-season, when say...my Center comes over, when it's time for the boys to "play football", we actually go through plays for the upcoming year for the Center and QB positions specific plays. Quite often we'll all meet up and simply have an intra-team scrimmage. Things to keep their heads in tune with football, and it builds great relationships with the players. Continue to ensure each player is equally accountable, and after a few seasons you'll find parents who feel the same way, and who are dedicated. Having a group of dedicated players/parents will allow you the time to create a team that will compete, regardless of talent. I always devise my playbook so that talented players are merely a bonus in our system. Instead, focus on all the little things the non-focal point players on the play can do to make it successful. :-)
  17. No contest, I'd crush those guys, I know all their plays and strategies. Plus, I'd make 'em play in November here in CO. Sounds like a plan. Then, in the Spring League, we can always have the rematch here in Texas where we often play double-headers in 110 degrees during July. ;-)
  18. Funny! I know they would be incredibly disciplined, well-executed games. Better yet, I'd prefer to team with them. Perhaps Orange as Defensive Coordinator, me as Offensive Coordinator, and Rob as Head Coach. I imagine we would compete with any team regardless of whatever talent level we are given. ;-) In all seriousness, the number one thing I've learned at this age is that coaching really does make all the difference in the world. It's true that you get out what you put in when it comes to this. Assuming you have an "average team"...it's all about devising a sound system, and then practice, practice, practice, and then when you are finished practicing...practice some more! I cannot stress that enough for new coaches. Don't be afraid to try new things. Scrap what does not work, and build on things that do work. Essentially, be a mad scientist on the field...tweak, tweak, tweak, practice, practice, practice--and I assure you good things will happen. You would be shocked at how you can take a group of average/below average athletes, and teach them to perform crisp, complex assignments that will simply baffle opponents who rely purely on athleticism. We did this for many seasons. It definitely came to fruition this past season when we played up a league and simply came down hard on teams that were mostly three years older than my players. I said it before, but what keeps me going is watching the look of utter shock in our oppossing players/coaches/parents when we walk in with a bunch of "rag-tag" looking players and then kick the you know what out of them. After each game this season (WIN OR LOSE), my players were able to look their opponents in the eye during the post-game hand shake and say, "now you know."
  19. I agree with this. I think we had 8-10 practices before our first game this season. It might sound like a lot, but at one point I polled the parents to see if they wanted to scale back practice some and the answer was "no!" I have to really commend you coaches who are only given a limited amount of practice time (i.e. one hour per week right before the game). I don't see how you do it. I would not be afraid to conduct "optional/bonus" practices. Years ago I remember our league closed all games (including practices) for two weeks when the Swine Flu was going around. I told my team's parents that my son and I would be at the practice field playing football and anyone who wanted to come on down and watch/join could. ;-) We had 100% participation.
  20. I've had the same group of players for multiple seasons, but it was not intended--similar to Rob's situation. Much like his player's parents, my team's parents appreciate the fact we are not only about winning. Most of my players would see very little playing time on other teams. In fact, I imagine if I took my chances on getting random players, I would probably field a better group of athletes than I have. As noted, it is a great advantage sticking together simply because you can do more complex things. Through the years I've learned there are basically four types of teams: 1. Average athletes who have played with same team for multiple seasons. Very rare, in fact ours is the only team in our league with this type of team that I know of. 2. Skilled athletes who have played with same team for multiple seasons. I call these "stacked teams" and we have quite a few of them who openly admit to doing it. Essentially, the coach only keeps his best players and takes his chances on new players. In our league, we can specifically request NOT to bring back a player. The intent is to use this for kids with poor practice attendance, discipline problems, etc...but stacked teams use it to weed out lesser skill athletes. A few seasons of this and you have a group of talented players top to bottom. 3. Average athletes who have not played together for multiple seasons. Probably the most common in rec leagues. 4. Skilled athletes who have not played together for multiple seasons. This is when a coach lucks into getting six or seven really talented players at random.
  21. This season there were an abundance of coaches in our league who were extremely cut-throat in their desire to win. By that that they played their strongest players the entire game and their lesser-skilled players were on the field maybe one or two series at the most. To combat this, during the playoffs our league enforced that every player is on the field at least one series (they used a checklist to monitor). Frankly, I'm immune to it now, and I go in to each game expecting the opposing coach to do everything he can to simply "win". This has now become such a problem that our league is starting a select league next season. There will still be the recreational/developmental league that we play in now, but for the coaches/parents that want to bypass "playing for the fun of it", they are going to have tryouts, draft, etc. for this league. This will be for the 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12 leagues. It's for the coaches that want a league about one thing: winning football games. They will not have to substitute players, and there is a greater than zero chance some of their players will never see playing time. Football is pretty big here, and there are parents who are more than happy to watch their son ride the bench all season--as long as his team is winning. This is something I'll never understand, but I digress.... I'm not going to pursue this league, as to us it is still about keeping all players equally involved and developing athletes/team chemistry--not just winning. Out of my 12 players, I have maybe three that would see much playing time in the select league. I still think we could hang in this league, should we join. I'm going to request that the champions of the rec/developmental league get to play the champions of the select league. I think it would be cool to see how a team; note that word....team plays against one of these group of select athletes. It would be a huge disadvantage, but lots of fun nonetheless for the rec league team. With all of this...I'm curious as to how many of you play in a select league. AND, if you don't but were offered the opportunity to do so---would you try it out?. I can certainly see how it makes a coach's job MUCH easier. You just roll with your studs each game and pretty much coach to simply win the game and not worry about anything else. My son just turned 10, so he has six more seasons in our 10-12 league. Of course, I should retain 99% of the players during this time, but I figure one of these seasons before it's all over and just take my top six and go with that. Simply so I can have one season where the gloves come off (something I've held back from doing for 10 seasons now). It's an interesting topic either way. What are your thoughts?
  22. Heh-heh. We are working on getting the video uploaded. Attached is a pic of a pre-game handshake against one of our opponents. I'll let you try and guess which team is mine. You can see they had two players as tall as me. ;-) We took this team to the wood shed, however. It was ridiculous how much bigger our opponents where this season.
  23. After starting the season 4-1, things eventually caught up with us. Although we had a winning regular season, we lost in the first round of our playoffs 6-0 to the eventual runner-up. I was proud of our effort in that game however, as the official told me no team had kept them under 20 points all season. While I'm not into "moral victories", we definitely over-achieved in that game, as we did all season. To a man, I know we could have beat that team if we really wanted to, but we kept all players involved equally--as did they. With that, I personally learned a lot this season. It was very difficult for our passing game to be any kind of a threat due to the size and speed differental of our opponents. Consequently, we had to run the ball quite a bit this season, and teams began to clamp down on this in the second half. Next season we'll need to open up the passing game, and if anything, sacrifice some plays to keep the defense honest so we can keep our running game a threat the entire game. That will be fun, however, as I'll get to create some new passing plays now that I understand the defenses better in this league. All in all a great season. My boys were definitely respected by their opponents and the talk of the league by all team parents due to how this little group of guys played hard against some very strong teams.
  24. I finally had a parent put together a video for our season. I had no idea he was doing this until he noted he wanted to show the video at our end of season party (which is next week). It's a pleasant surprise as I've always hoped someone would do that. My wife still has to learn how to use her (expensive) "easy to use" camcorder she wanted so much--and I obviously cannot film and coach at the same time---so I am very grateful. I'll ask the parents if they are okay with me uploading it to YouTube (I feel funny doing it without their permission) and will send the link once I get the green light.
  25. Coach Rob noted in another topic the importance of coaching your kids to run until they hear the whistle. For new coaches, make this top-priority. The kids pick the concept up quickly. With that, curious if you ever had your players (or even opponents) stop when they hear a whistle from another field. As you know, there are times where it can sound just like the whistle came from your field. Does your league address this at all--or is to "too bad, so sad"? This season we were the benefactor of this in a game. I even thought the whistle came from our field as did many of the players and parents. I asked the coach if he wanted a do-over, but he declined because it was still a pretty good gain by his team. Not sure how to really coach this, because you will certainly upset an official if he needs to keep blowing his whistle over and over on each play. Just curious if any of you have ever had to experience the "phantom" whistle.
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