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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays


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About pointyfootball

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  1. Mercy Rule

    The guy who runs our league does an excellent job of ensuring each team has a good cross section of ages and sexes. For instance, my roster for this spring has 12 players (my only beef - WAY too many players for 5v5), with four each of 10, 11 and 12 y/o's. IMO, the biggest thing leagues need to prevent is allowing team builders to keep a team together that dominates their division. Let them do it one year, and if they run away with it, you break the team up. Simple as that, I think. Restricting coaches to only being able to request 2-3 players would also help. A competitive league/division is best for EVERYONE involved. When you have a team consistenly winning by 15-20 points it isn't good for any of the players athletically speaking.
  2. Mercy Rule

    You're voted commissioner for life! Seriously, this is all it takes. We've probably had this discussion on here before, but I do NOT believe that coaches can't do things to avoid running scores up. Only step I would insert into the above "policy" would be to break up his team if it is truly stacked. Even though I'm one who takes advantage of coaches being allowed to register an entire team, assuming all ages in the division are represented, I would be fine with coaches only being able to have 2-3 players preassigned, and the rest placed at random. As to OP, we don't have a mercy rule. I don't believe in it, except as a matter of my personal coaching philosophy, which is to always approach every game as if my son/daughter were on the other team. As part of that, I would never want them to be humiliated either by getting blown out, or being "given" anything either. pf
  3. Coaching By Example

    I don't think it HAS to hurt a coach being adverse to fitness, I just think public perception of a coach that is wheezing from walking is that he's not very athletic. But, you're right, many coaches don't look like they could play the sport if their life depends on it, but they might be pretty good coaches. I would counter that with saying part of being a coach is setting an example for kids to look up to by showing a lifetime commitment to excercise is the reason we get kids into sports. haha - that's a good story. I'm same way, but I needed a harsh lesson of running/biking/swimming for endurance does not equal full-out sprints. I don't know about you all, but everytime I walk by a field and here a fat parent yelling for their kid to "hustle out there" and "be aggressive" when it's 90degrees, I want to tell them to get off their butts and see if they can sprint the length of the field even 2x. Kids vs. parents used to be a "joke" when they were 8 y/o, but you don't get as many parent volunteers as they get 11-12 and up because the parents are sucking wind after 3 minutes! PF
  4. How Do You Come Up With Your Team Names?

    We play NFL Flag, so we're limited to 32 names. Since I'm an Eagles fan, I figured it was one way I could finally get them a Super Bowl!
  5. Coaching By Example

    Just about every coaching course I've taken (admittedly mostly soccer), and at every level, the instructor has made the point several times that coaches need to make effort at physical fitness, even though they don't need to be able to run marathons or play their sport at a high level. I don't think you necessarily need to perform all the skills that you're getting your kids to learn, but you need to be able to describe them and get another player to demo them. But, a coach that spends some of his/her time on fitness, looks the part at practice and on game day, and is prepared, will be taken much more seriously than one who is wheezing after 8 steps and doesn't have his/her practice/game planned out. A bonus to coaches participating in fitness, is that your players get to see that yes, games are a lot of fun, but in order to get better there will be a time as they get older when you have to do fitness work outside of practice on your own. I do triathlons (I'm not great at them - I just try to finish and not die), and I'm constantly talking with my players about how much time I put in at 0500 at the pool so that come race day I can do the whole race. Not that I expect 10 y/o's to run 3 miles a day, but letting them know that as they get older, the fitness side of the game becomes more their responsibility, especially in high school and beyond. Personally, one of my goals as a coach is to get kids to love the sport to the extent that they play it on their own time and will enjoy physical activity so much that they'll do it for the rest of their lives. I'd like to have kids that are playing flag football in college and beyond, or playing indoor soccer in an over-40 league when they get older. I think when kids see a coach that enjoys playing the sport they're coaching, that enthusiasm is contagious. One HUGE recommendation for those of you that are wound a bit tighter than others (like me). I try and make sure to always do a workout the morning of gameday (which is just about every Saturday & Sunday), for at least 30 minutes. A run, bike, swim, etc. Something that is tiring, but allows your body to shed some stress. It's worked wonders for me, especially in that I don't let the small things bother me as much during games (ref no-calls, parents, etc.). PF
  6. Sideline Shenanigans

    If you're lucky! I agree. Personally, as long as it doesn't get crazily out of control, I don't stress about it. I've seen coaches who demand their 9y/os "sit still, get serious and pay attention" for 10-15mins. Considering the kid's heard that all week during school, at home while doing homework and other functions, it's no wonder they want to goof off a bit during a game. When they get a bit older, that's when you can start expecting more of them. Another option is to make your "instigators" be the receiver that clears out the safety each time (i.e. runs 25 yards at full speed) until they are winded a bit. That'll settle them down.
  7. Do You Punt In Your League?

    Same here. Although, I'd love it in a way b/c my team is mostly soccer players.
  8. How Do You Guys Sub?

    We play 5v5, roster max size of 10, and each player is supposed to get 1/2 of the game. Last year I had a roster size of 9, which worked out perfectly as I could move players around more freely during the game. Basically I set the lineup before the game, and then I don't change it a whole lot, unless it's a blowout or there are obvious mismatches (in our disadvantage) that need a player swap/move to fix.
  9. Flag And/or Tackle?

    For my wife and I, we made the decision after going and watching one tackle football game. The coaches, players and fans (esp. the fans) were horrific. Only kids that looked like they were having fun were the 2 kids that scored all of the points (and got 90% of the touches). To me it was one step below abuse. Add to that that I've had many chances to observe that league's practices and they barely teach any fundamentals, especially to non-starters. Obviously not all tackle leagues are like that and, truth be told, they are working on making it better locally. But that takes time. The time committment, as Orange mentioned, is huge. Around here it is 5x per week until school starts, and then 3x per week, plus a game on Saturday. Considering the average 4th grader (10yr old) has 45minutes of HW a night, there isn't a whole lot of time in there for other activities when practices are 1.5-2 hours long. Not sure what others think, but I think younger players are much better off playing multiple sports which have less commitment per sport until they are in middle school and then maybe being a bit more "serious" about 1-2 sports if they want to try and excel in it/them.
  10. General Coaching Advice

    Double post - sorry.
  11. General Coaching Advice

    I definitely agree that coaches and coaching clinics emphasize practice time, both individual and team, but why do they emphasize it so much? There are coaches in my division of FF that have three 1.5hour practices a week, for 10-12 year olds. That's tough to keep it fresh/realistic for 30+ practices in a season at that age, at least for me. I'd sooner have 1 practice and 2 games a week.
  12. Late For Practice

    Great answer. I mean, we're talking about kindergartners here. If they have to run laps because their parents worked late, couldn't get supper cleared up, etc., they won't stick with the sport long. I too do similar to what Charlie mentions in every sport I coach. For football, I might let them play touch rugby; for soccer I just let them play small-sided games (first two players at practice are captains). Once players know that they are missing out on fun stuff, they'll bug the heck out of their parents. I do like the PPK idea - prepractice is bragging rights time it seems. PF
  13. General Coaching Advice

    Are you running for office?? j/k! To an extent, I agree. But, I think it's because we, as coaches, are trying to get them to perform tasks at a higher level, as quickly as possible, instead of teaching the basics, the rules and letting them go. Who cares if a T-baller can't throw the ball more than 5'? Does it matter if a 7 y/o soccer player can't pass the ball, or if a same aged football player can throw the football accurately. I know who cares. Parents and coaches. We don't want kids to not do well on the pitch/field/diamond and we want them to have a leg up on the other kids. I myself do, and have (and probably will continue to) fall into this trap as both a parent and a coach, so I can't be throwing stones from inside my glass house! I am trying to get better though. In the long run, athleticism and desire will trump parental involvement/hovering/$$ and coaching, IMO. Just look at the poor developmental records of England's Soccer academies as an example. Or at how many NFL players didn't start playing football until middle school (or later). Good on you. What do your kids say when you say, "OK, let's scrimmage!" They probably are totally pumped up for it. It's amazing how many practices I've seen (soccer, football and especially basketball) where there is no game. What young kid wants to go do dribbling/passing drills and then learn plays for basketball for an hour and a half? zzzzzzz Only thing worse than not having a game every practice, IMO, is using it as blackmail. Another thing I've observed in watching practices (I'm always watching other coaches practices to try and learn). "If you guys don't start taking these drills seriously, there isn't going to be any scrimmage!" ugh Cheers, PF
  14. General Coaching Advice

    I understand your point, but it's also kind of supporting what I am saying as well. The reason kids don't get as many touches in a game is why? Structured, timed, intense games where score and standings are kept etc. Regarding 6-7 y/o's playing soccer, that's even more reason to advocate small-sided, backyard-type games. If a 6 y/o is playing 6on6 soccer and they aren't very good, they're definitely not going to get their foot on the ball very much. However, if they play some 2on2 or 3on3 games with very small fields, they will almost be "forced" to participate. Our soccer club has 4-5 "Player Development Nights" during the fall/spring seasons. Normally these attract 50-75 players, in the age range of 6-13. Last fall, my wife and I started Pick-up Soccer Nights, on the same evenings, but not when PDN were scheduled. Kids just showed up and were grouped in a 2-3 year age category and started playing immediately. No subs, take breaks whenever they wanted, etc. We averaged 100-125 players/night and the kids were disappointed that we didn't do it this spring. Maybe I'm biased, but they seemed to be enjoying it quite a bit more than dribbling through obstacle courses, playing 2v1, or the like. And, from watching the 10 y/o boys, some of them have learned how to take a shot on goal with an opposition player trying to tackle them. I've read your posts (your approach to FF has been a huge help to myself) and have no doubt that you have the kids best interests in mind. I just think that most coaches I know would have come away from the Bichette talk, thinking that they needed to get their kids to work harder on their own and that they had to always be getting better. My main point is that sports are there for fun and is it so bad if a kid goofs off and learns nothing at a practice, or if he/she just wants to run around and play the game and not learn how to do a technically correct chest trap? I have these questions/struggles of how much players should be "worked" in my own coaching life, as I coach a travel soccer team. There is so much pressure on 11 y/os, and in turn, on me, that sometimes it doesn't even feel like a game. I guess as coaches we have to constantly be aware of what is truly important and try help players learn to love playing the game. This coming from someone who hates to lose at UNO! Again, Orange, I totally respect your coaching philsophy and hope you don't see this as an attack against your coaching methods. Thanks for all you do for this forum! V/R, PF P.S. A good read (might have to copy/paste, didn't know how to post a hyperlink), if 7 years old: http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/6530.html This is from the area my travel soccer team plays in. I'm one of a tiny minority of unpaid coaches (most are foreign-born, ex-pros, etc). I do see the results of the pressure put on these kids whenever we go to games and listen to parents/coaches. If nothing else, food for thought.
  15. General Coaching Advice

    Somehow I missed this thread and just now read it. Maybe I'm a contrarian, and I'm certainly not on his level coaching-wise, but my personal opinion is that until the age of 13-14, sports should be primarily game-oriented. I think effort should be spent on kids playing the actual game(s) much more often, specifically in non-structured settings, instead of coach/parent organized practices. Telling an 11 or 12 y/o he has to take 200 pitches a day might get a LLWS and/or a major leaguer or two, but doesn't it run the risk of taking the fun out of the game for young athletes by making them work at it? I've only recently REALLY noticed how much the actual game can teach the kids by observing my own son. My son (10y/o) started playing basketball at recess during school last year (he couldn't dribble the ball for more than 3 touches w/out losing control) and he will play me in HORSE or similiar at the house. This winter we signed him up for basketball and he has dominated. All without any coaching, just playing the game during recess. When I watch him in basketball practice, I can tell he's all about the competition, but what he really wants to do is play the game. My personal thought is that we should get the kids to love the sport(s) first by playing it with minimal amount of structure, or at the very least encourage assist/encourage backyard games. One hour of a backyard soccer game with various aged kids is significantly better for their development as both a person and an athlete, IMO. Our goal should be to have kids play sports their entire lives and not just to develop winning teams or a few athletes that play at a higher level. I guess the compromise, and what I'd like kids that I coach to do, would be to love to play the game on their own via pickup games and also enjoy some of the things that help them get better, like shooting free throws, juggling a soccer ball, etc. Sorry if I'm way off base or coming across as self-righteous. That was not my intent. My main point is that I don't think we should make youth sports (below the age of 14) the equivalent of practicing the piano (ugh...those bad old days!). PF