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CoachM

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  1. To all: What size football do you guys use/recommend? Again, ages 6-8. Does anyone know when the size changes based upon age group? - Thanks!
  2. Thanks John and CRob. Excellent stuff. CRob you are right, if we can keep the teams small and give the kids a LOT of playing time then that is our advantage. And, the Y director will have a huge impact on the success. I also agree that we need to coach "blocking" as it relates to this age. I think your pick idea is pretty close to what will happen (intentional or not). I was going to see how that goes. Looks like we will be playing 5 on 5 with 1 sub. The one thing is with such a few amount of kids is I don't want them to get tired (or more likely bored) running dummy routes every play. The one challenge we will have is if the kids are playing basically every play then we really need to mix it up or I will have a lot of kids quickly wondering why they are funning full speed every play when they know they aren't getting the ball. It will be a good lesson for them. First practice is today- supposed to be 90 degrees! The other coach isn't available for 2 weeks so it is just me! Thanks for everyone's input - advice.
  3. Haha, depends on the location. Seriously though, where are you located? If you were nearby I'd help. With regards to the rush versus no rush, I can speak from experience having coached in both types of leagues. I believe that you should allow a rush. The standard is upon the snap from 7 yards back from the los. It forces the offense to execute quickly. A new team or players will be overwhelmed by the speed the rusher reaches the QB but the players and coaches will adapt. Having no rush allows too much time for the qb to sit back and just wait. It's annoying watching the defenders do a good job of covering for 3,4,5,6 seconds which seems like forever. Most no rush leagues have a 7 second or loss of down time limit to get the pass off. Another thing your league will need is a solid set of referees. Pay a little extra to get some good ones. I've seen the Y or other leagues use teens or staff members who have neither experience, knowledge or ability to take charge. These are things a good ref should do. Actually a good ref will be a teacher also to the kids, helping them through the game with the rules not just throwing flags. You want ones that can teach, take charge and know the ages of the kids and let minor infractions slide. We had these Y refs that would call it so strict by the book and it bothered me so much. My 8 year olds would flinch over the los and jump back, not effecting the play, and get flagged. That really irked me. Again, I would raid the local I-9 or NFL flag league for them. If you play on a different day they'd probably give you some references. I think all expenses paid wouldn't be enough to entice you to NJ! I agree with both. The toughest point will be the refs. Not sure it is in their plans to hire them but if us coaches have to do both it will take away either from the coaching or the officiating. My kids soccer league (non-Y) did the coach-ref combo and it worked OK but football is a different beast and should have separate refs. I will have to look into it.
  4. Since you only have two teams your biggest challenge will be keeping it interesting for the kids. Any chance of recruiting some more players last minute? Is this an established Y with other programs like basketball, soccer, and baseball or is this entire Y starting from scratch? I'm guessing the football league is new and they already have other programs running. I like 5 vs. 5. More room on the field and more ball touches. Monitor the field size and increase if needed depending upon what you see during the games. I'd allow interceptions to be run back; it teaches the offense to be careful when throwing and gives the defense something to celebrate. Personally, I like the rush from 7 yards out. No experience with vests, normal flag belts seem to work fine. Curious if you'll have competition from other flag football programs? If I was starting a flag league, I'd have a clear mission statement/philosophy and recruit like-minded folks (e.g. coaches, parents, refs, etc.). What is going to make your flag program unique so people hear about it and want to sign up?In any league the coaches make all the difference, hopefully you can find good ones that agree with your philosophy. I bet Orange and Rush would be willing to come out and help for an all expense paid trip. Thanks for the reply. Not sure an all expense paid trip to NJ is really that enticing ( I just moved here so no ownership yet!). You are correct in that this is an established Y but new Flag "league". Yes, the fact the same 2 teams playing each other every Sunday will keep pushing us coaches to be as creative as possible. I look back when I was a kid and think about the pickup games we played with the same friends every Sunday. We had a blast so I think at this age the kids will too. It would be nice to play some new kids but we don't have that luxury. I assume that by the 3rd game or so we will be really familiar with the "other" team - especially since we will be practicing with them, too. We could practice separately but I think with only 6-7 kids at practice it will limit us in scrimmaging properly during practice. I think this is a really good opportunity for the kids but you are right, the amount of success or failure will fall on the coaches. I believe that repetition of essential skills builds a strong foundation so I think the kids will really be anchored before the league becomes larger and, unavoidably, more competitive. The other leagues in the area have 19 - 22 kids on a team, 4-5 coaches per team and are really organized, playing on a field with scoreboards, stands, concessions, PA system, etc. The other league kids only average playing about half the game and many only get a few real touches the whole season, unless they are the stars. Our field, however, is a lawn area with spray paint and cones. But, I think our advantage right now is the ability to really coach the kids, give them ALL the chance to play pretty much the whole game and really try some fun things. I'm sure we will look at some things we try and wonder what we were thinking! I think we will institute the rush once they get to the point where they can execute the plays. If that is the first game then great. Thanks again. Good points.
  5. Good point. I would expect the rules to be ironed out well before the end of this first season but I really can't control that. With only 2 teams it probably won't matter as much now but I can see consistency being an absolute necessity after this first go. I already downloaded the I-9 rules - good stuff. Thanks!
  6. Born in Colorado, lived in PA and now reside in NJ. Played contact football for 12 years and played coached flag/touch for 6 years with adults. Was assistant coach for pee wee contact for 1 year. First time Head Coach for youth flag football. For kids I believe in sportsmanship first, fun second, learning third and finally food fourth. At this age I believe in every kid having a chance to do what they want - they as long as they try their hardest. The kids will have plenty of time for tryouts and competitive ball down the road. See you other coaches in the pros!
  7. Hi Everyone. I spent the last few nights reading through dozens and dozens of pages of posts regarding youth flag football. I have to concur with the repetitive response that this forum is an unbelievable resource! I am humbled to be posting my first post when so many of you have offered and helped with hundreds of posts and spent so much time not only coaching the youth but then typing these valuable topics and replies. Maybe you can help us. I (we) have a unique situation (somewhat) in that I signed my 7yr old son up for Flag football and it turns out that this is our local Y's first go at this program. On top of that, I decided to be an assistant coach to help out but found out that I am the only coach period for sixteen 6-8yr olds. I met with the Y program director and basically he and I are starting the program from scratch. Neither of us have coached youth flag football before but we both know football and I have played both flag and contact for more than a dozen years. So, I wanted to ask the question to all of you coach veterans out there - how would you setup a flag football league if you could do it from scratch? Here are our basics parameters: 1) There will only be two teams of 7-8 kids per team. There will be no score kept and since there are only 2 teams, no standings. The expectation is that we will practice one night per week and then play games against the other team. I think this is a great opportunity for each kid to play A LOT and learn each position. We will have to adjust as we go to make sure that playing the same team every week (for 7 weeks) doesn't get monotonous. However, I believe this will give us a lot of 1-on-1 time and really work on the basics over and over and over.... We just need to be creative in how we dress the same thing up. 2) Depending on how many kids show up, we can play 5 on 5, 6 on 6 or possibly 7 on 7 (which might be tough assuming a kid or 2 may not show up each weak). Thoughts? 3) The field will be 50 yards long with a 10 yard long end zone at each end and 25 yards wide (this can be adjusted so I'm interested in your thoughts). To start the first few games, the offense will start at the 5 yard line and they will have 4 plays to get over the mid field line to get a first down. If they do, they get another 4 downs to score. If they don't make it then the teams switch but start the offense always starts at the 5 yard line. Fumbles are the same as incomplete passes. Interceptions are the only way you change field position at the spot of the interceptor being tackled. Thoughts? 4) To start there will be no pass rush and the QB cannot cross the line of scrimmage. Thoughts? 5) We have vests with flags on them. Not sure if the belts can be removed with the flags like a tradional flag belt. If they cannot, these may be harder for the kids to tackle. Any experience with these? Sorry for the long post but that is basically it. I appreciate any comments or suggestions. We want to creat a huge foundation for the fall program where we hope to get at least 6 teams to create a "real" league. Thanks a million. CoachM