pcfountain

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About pcfountain

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    Denver, CO
  1. Thought I would do an update on my progress and give some more commentary. We have now played most of the season, 5 of 7 games. We have lost every game, and really are not very competitive. I'm not worried about the wins and losses, but I feel bad for the kids. Most of them have tried really hard and have good attitudes. I would like them to experience winning at least one game before the season ends. We have some pretty good players, so I feel like we should be more competitive. I think the biggest problem is the fact that I am the only coach about half the time. My assistant coach has been very helpful when he's there, but he can't make it to all of the practices and games. I've asked around with some of the other parents, but no one else has shown interest in helping out. I've also noticed that the best teams we've played have 3 or 4 coaches. This makes perfect sense, of course, it's tough to keep 16 kids organized by yourself (or even with 2 coaches.) I want to do more 1-on-1 teaching for the individual positions, but with only 1 or 2 coaches, we can't split up into more focused groups. To keep everyone engaged in practice, I either have to run basic drills (flag pulling, etc) or just scrimmage offense vs. defense. With only one coach, scrimmaging is tough. I spend all my time just getting them lined up ... we run maybe 10 plays in 30 minutes, and most of those are messy at best. Now don't get me wrong, the kids ARE getting better as the season goes along. We can line up quickly in the game and run plays most of the time. Our QB throws a nice ball, and can throw pretty well under pressure. Our defense has also improved a lot. But as the other teams get better at pulling flags, our offense has ground to a halt. I was encouraged earlier in the season, I think it was the 3rd game where we scored 3 TD's. But in the last two games we have been shut out. We don't really have good coordination between the players, because we practice only one hour per week, and our practice time is on Monday, so the kids have 5 days before a Saturday game to forget everything. Anyway, if you've read this far, I'll try to give some tips to other coaches that may find themselves in a similar age group and number of players. Talk to the parents, try to get as much help as you can. With 3 or more coaches, you can have a much more organized practice that goes according to plan. Keep the offense really simple. We line up trips every time, and either do a run play or pass play. I tell the QB in the huddle exactly who to hand or pass the ball to. Work on snapping the ball and pulling flags from day one, and emphasize these in every practice. Assign the C and QB positions, and let those kids know it's their job for the entire season. The other positions can be swapped out more, so the kids all get a chance to carry the ball. Work on a clean huddle - one person talks, no one begs for the ball, and ready-break. Learn all the kids names as soon as possible. Bring masking tape and a sharpie to the first practice, tape each kid's name to the front of their jersey. Do this for a few practices until you get the names down. This also helps the kids get to know each other. And have some fun - let the kids choose their team name, make up a cheer, sign up parents to bring a snack and drink after each game.
  2. Hey coaches, thanks for your suggestions. My second practice was better, I made a few changes: - Split the team into two groups, and each coach focused with one group. The team is the Sharks, so I called our groups Fins and Teeth. Also worked this into a team cheer. The kids like that a lot. - We just did run-thrus on offense, instead of scrimmage offense vs. defense. This helped them execute the plays, or at least all run the same direction at once. But Coach Rob is right, this is boring for some players. Some kids are just better at paying attention than others. - We picked two QBs for each group, and assigned positions for the most part. This is the decision I have the most trouble with. In this age group, I really want all the kids to have an opportunity if they want it. But 8 on 8 is just too many kids to handle - I have to keep them in the same position, just so they know where to line up. So while I'm not thrilled about it, keeping them in assigned positions makes it organized, and easier for me to handle. Maybe we can branch out later in the season. - Another comment on 8v8 - 3 kids must be linemen on each side. (Not spelled out exactly in the rules, but this is just the way it works.) This makes it a lot harder to get every kid touches. We also have to teach blocking, or else the play is over immediately. It's just really hard for this age group. These kids have trouble getting a clean snap, I'm concerned that most of the plays will be over before they start. I can't emphasize enough - 8v8 is not right for the young kids. - We have one more practice today, then a long break for the labor day weekend, then our first game. I feel like we won't be ready, but I just have to remember the age group, and realize that the first couple of games will be messy. Baseball was the same way for this group. (I was not coaching but watched all the games.) I'm having lots of fun with it, but it's a lot more preparation and work than I was ready for. I really don't care if we win, I just want my kids to learn, compete, and be able to score a few times. The first game will probably be a big relief, as I'm sure the other teams are in the same boat.
  3. I am coaching my son's flag football team, 6-7 year olds, 8 on 8. This is my first experience coaching anything. We had our first practice today and I think it went .. OK. The kids had a lot of fun, and that's my main concern for this age group. But I would like to get things a little more organized, so when we go into a game, we can actually line up and execute a few plays. We started with a simple snap and throw drill, which was pretty messy. I couldn't get the kids to stay in a line. So I quickly went to sharks and minnows, which was a lot better. The kids followed directions pretty well for that drill. After that, I worked on the huddle, lining them up on offense and defense, and running a few plays. Luckily one of the other dads volunteered to be my assistant coach, he took defense, I took the offense. Again, very messy. I tried "only one person talks in the huddle", kids were still yelling over each other. I tried to let most of the kids take a turn playing QB or C, but again everybody was very confused on where to line up, etc. I did have my plays printed out on paper, and showed them on a clipboard in the huddle, which helped a lot. But overall the practice was very chaotic, and there's a lot of yelling. Every kid wants to do everything on every play. We finished with choosing a team name, and the swarm drill, which was a great way to end practice. So I need some advice from the more experienced coaches. My main problems are: - Not sure if I should assign positions, or let the kids trade off so everyone gets a turn. - The kids are all yelling in the huddle, "I want the ball" or "I want to be quarterback" I don't really have their attention. - Getting them lined up for a play is difficult, they all just want to run wild. Forget actually -running- a play, as soon as the ball is snapped everybody forgets what to do and it's total chaos.