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GeorgeC last won the day on July 11 2011

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About GeorgeC

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    Dallas, Texas

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  1. We play in a 7v7 leage, 4th grade boys. We had one last game left, but the other coach couldn't get enough kids, so we delayed a week and had an unofficial game; i.e., no refs. I talked the other coach into experimenting with kicking. Here are our results, and "lessons learned". We did kickoffs only, 1st and 2nd half, and after scoring. No punting. The rules were (safety first): - kicking team takes a knee and let's the designated kicker kick. - if the receiving team catches the ball, it's down at that point - if the receiving team muffs the catch, it moves back 5 yards - if the ball lands on the ground, the receiving team has to let it roll. That's the starting point. - touchback brings the ball out to the normal 15 yard starting point - the coach can, if he wants to, declare a normal virtual kick, where the ball is placed on the 15 yard line to start We had a total of about 8 kicks (start of the halves and 6 TDs). Of the ones I remember, two kicks were caught. One was right on the normal 15 yard line and one was short, so the kid ran up about 5 yards and caught it. One kick sailed past the end zone for a touchback. One kick (we were the receiving team) landed on the 1 foot line and bounced backward to the one yard line. Wow. The rest of the kicks were low and hit the ground short with a lot of momentum. Since they were short, they didn't roll into the end zone for a touchback. They weren't high kicks so they did not bounce backwards. I would change two of our experimental rules if we did it again. - if the receiving team outright catches the ball in flight, give them a 5-yard positive markoff (otherwise, there is not much benefit to catching the ball) - remove the rule that says to let the ball roll if it hits the ground. They should be allowed to stop the ball, but not advance it. All in all, the kids had a ton of fun kicking. We had a tee for the kicker. The kicking team took a knee, so they cheered on their kicker's effort. It was a new skill (kicking and receiving) learned by both teams. Has anyone else here tried adding kicking to their flag football league rules? What did you see?
  2. We just worked on this last night. I took a big white board (3' x 4') to our practice with some dry-erase markers and did Xs and Os. With a couple of colors, you can show them where they are supposed to be and then show them with big ovals what their zone is. Draw it up in powerpoint, PDF it, and send to the parents to spend 5 minutes of "homework" with it. In practice, I got everyone in their positions and used the two leftover kids and myself to make up plays to run at the weak spots. I used a lot of "FREEZE!!!!" to get the kids to stop. You can then praise those who have stayed home and those who got sucked out of their zone. Either start over or reset the defense to where they should have been and then "unfreeze" them to continue the play. Swap the leftover kids who are playing offense with two on defense to get everyone some good practice time. It is also a good time to teach some offense fundamentals, because you are trying to make the defense work hard and think. So work on fake handoffs in order to draw the defense, then FREEZE ... praise the guy doing the fake handoff and show the defense how his faking drew them up, leaving the open pass. good luck.
  3. Consider working on his peripheral vision. In the youth basketball forum, one of the coaches (either Rob or Orange) had a drill to help with that.
  4. Now that our kids have hit 4th grade, we switch to 7 on 7 vs. the previous 6 on 6. I'm looking for input on changing the offense (mostly short passing and end-around running), as well as changing the 3-2-1 zone defense (derived from the many inputs of Johnp2). I've got the same team coming back, except for losing a couple of kids, and gaining just one. I don't want to do big changes, since the kids are somewhat used to the previous playbook. Suggestions?
  5. So I'm going to disagree a little with everyone on this topic. We've got a so-so team that might get to a .500 record on the season. We've been on the losing side of Johnp2's game. Many of our parents and most of the boys would not be happy with the other team taking a knee. A couple of the boys wouldn't understand it at all. I understand what you were trying to do, and applaud it, but disagree with the tactic. With respect to the particular parent, I understand where she's coming from. Of our 10 kids, most interceptions come from 2-3 of the more athletic kids. In this case, if we were up by this much, but one of the non-athletic kids had an interception, let him have some fun that he can talk about all day long. What we've done in the past in this situation: When we were on the losing end .... I asked the refs to just let the clock run. And at halftime, the opposing coach kindly came up to me and said: "coach, I've been in these situations before. What do you want me to do?". Since we are much better in pass protection, I told him to pass every play. When we were on the winning end by a large amount, I had the refs give me a longer than usual timeout so that I could have a "teaching moment" with the boys. One of the refs listened in as I explained that we were up a lot. We were going to win. The other team had never won a game. I told them that we were going to do some funny things to let the other team have some fun. But shhh, just between us. They understood. I pulled my son (the QB at the time) to the side and instructed him to purposely float a ball out under an opponent. A couple of the other team's kids got interceptions and made their day. Our kids had their sportsman teaching moment. And the other coach smiled and understood. Everyone happy, nothing obvious though.
  6. I'll give two answers, one that I tried last year as Dad/Coach, and one that the coach of my son's select league (9-year olds) just tried. The parameters are a bit different than what you have in the original post though. As Dad/Coach, on my son's Y team last year, there is no full court pressure. Defense has to push back to below the half-court line. End of the first half with 3 seconds left. Our kid in-bounds it from the base line by literally rolling it to our best shooter on the half court line. He picks up the ball, turns and shoots a half-court shot and banks it off the backboard. No good. Now the downside. At the end of the game, the score was tied. 3 seconds left. The other team had the ball and the opposing coach copied my rolling the ball strategy. But, his 9-year-old made the half-court shot!! Next example: A couple of weeks ago, my son's select team was behind by 1-point in a 2-min OT with 1.8 seconds to go. They called time and drew up a play. Full court pressure by the defense. While the play didn't work, it was a good idea. They were supposed to inbound it, then the dribbler was supposed to head straight to a defender, grab his arm (i.e., get tangled with him), and hope for a foul call. Good idea, but the kid who got the inbound pass didn't execute.
  7. We have the same rules. We would selectively rush, but usually not. It just depended on the opposition team and QB. If your zone is good, often the QB will get frustrated because everyone is covered and throw a pick. Almost every teams rushes, so the refs are not used to having to count the 7 seconds. If you take this "not rush" approach, you'll need to remind the refs at the beginning of the game. When we do rush, we do not send our fastest player. We want our fastest guy in coverage. Also, the fastest guy tends to overrun a QB who can just do a little sidestep.
  8. I've got a couple of different answers. Yes, I think speed can be taught. It can always be improved. Now I don't think that you can turn Bubba into Carl Lewis. But everyone can be coached up. Particularly at the 6-10 year old range, their are a few things that can be taught about hands, hips, timing, and particularly watching where your eyes are (don't look at the other kid). There is also a question of burst speed vs. long distance speed. Looking at long distance speed, there is strategy involved, and that can certainly be taught. I suspect though, that you are talking more about burst speed on the football field. That sort of on-field-football-speed is different than flat-out-track-50m-dash-speed. We had Spring flag football, and towards the end, our local YMCA had a track meet. My kids who were fastest on the field (and on the basketball court) were clearly not the fastest on the track. However, the football-fast kids have tremendous peripheral vision. They can spot the halls and burst through them. I also think the peripheral vision thing can be coached up. In general, yeah, I think speed can be improved through good coaching.
  9. One of my first posts in this forum was about one of my kids who got full-on pantsed ... tidy-whities pointing to the sky. He hopped up, pulled up his pants, and laughed all the way back to the huddle. Of course that was on top of his nice 20-yard gain. We've taught our kids to rake their hands down and pull the flag, but its ok if you end up with the belt or the kids pants. Just no full-arm tackling. On another topic, I've got two kids who are pretty aggressive about trying to strip the ball from the runner while on defense. Neither has actually done it yet, but they are trying. I'm not sure how the refs would call it if they actually pulled the ball free.
  10. I'd agree with getting rid of the no-run zone. It's just confusing to everyone. The refs don't always know where it is; the coaches don't; and the kids don't understand why they have a no-run zone, but the Dallas Cowboys (or other pro and college) don't have one. We haven't seen the egregious tackling that y'all describe. However, we do have the defense get in front of the runner and pull both flags. This can look like a tackle if the runner doesn't juke out of the way. In basketball parlance, the defense takes a charge. I can't imagine an offensive playbook without pitching. I can't see any risk as long as it is behind the line of scrimmage. The kicking discussion here is interesting. With the proper safety rules, clearly, kicking and punting could be implemented. It might even be fun to include field goals (with a smaller goal), but maybe only in a tournament. A rule that I'd like to see changed is the definition of a touchdown. In our YMCA league the kid's foot has to cross the goal line. I've seen many times where the kid stretches the ball to cross the goal line. It's what the kid has learned and seen on TV. So change the rule and give him/her the TD for the effort.
  11. I wouldn't do it every time. Just kickoffs. There is too much risk of head injury in flag football with the kids diving for the ball. But if there was a way to safely manage it, why not? Perhaps on a punt, there is no return. The ball is placed where it hits the turf. While I'd love to see kickoffs and punts, there would have to be rules in place for safety. On another topic, we only have three downs to get to the first down line. If we don't make it in three, we are forced to do a "virtual punt", which is the 4th down; i.e., a 15-yard step-off. We should at least have the option to "go for it" or have the 15-yard virtual punt.
  12. This is a good question, one that should spur some good suggestions, and one that I'll forward to our league director after lots of input. Our 6/6 league is a local YMCA league. Most teams are pre-formed, meaning we bring the list of our players. We have a maximum of 9 players we can bring, and the YMCA can randomly assign a "free agent" (a kid who wants to play, but couldn't find a team to be part of ... often a new kid in town). Most teams tend to have kids all from the same elementary school; e.g., the Pierce team, the Johnson team, two teams from Armstrong, etc... Many of the changes that I'd like to see are more off the field changes: more timely scheduling of games, re-scheduling (rain makeups), posting the results/scores, ensuring at least two refs are there, games start on time, timely responses to coach's inquiries (rules questions, etc...). The rules book should be complete and based on some nationally recognized flag football set of rules. I'll often have 3-4 issues during the season because of something not explicit in the rules. Plus, we actually have one rule that is "refs discretion". Referees who know the YMCA flag football rules. In our first game last season, we had a ref who was actually using high school tackle rules (10 yards, 4 downs, ball crossing the goal line). I love the refs who don't mind taking 15 seconds when necessary to engage the kids in a "teaching moment". Don't just call the penalty, explain it when its obvious that the kid just doesn't know the rule. I'd like to see a league tournament. The kids (and coaches) work hard each season. Get in more play. Perhaps also an off-season tournament day? Our games feel like they are just too short .... four 8-minute quarters. Would like to see longer. As far as actual play .... this one might sound odd, but I'd like to see the beginning of each half start with a kick-off. The kids love kicking the ball. Inject some fun. That's mine that I can think of off-hand... what else?
  13. I'm in Texas as well, where a lot of parents believe that their kid will be the next Troy Aikman or Roger Staubach. In 1st to 2nd grade, some will start hiring professional private coaches to work on their mechanics. It's almost taken for granted that most kids will move from flag football to tackle football when it is offered through the local YMCA. Our son is right at the age to make the switch. In order to join tackle football next fall, they require three different summer camps: (1) agility camp, (2) intro to tackle football (w/pads), and (3) evaluation. The evaluation camp rates everyone and then they build teams that are all relatively equal. As parents, we took this position. After describing the pros and the cons, if our son really wanted to play, then we would support him. For me, though, I really don't want him to play tackle football. I look at it this way.... is he going to play Pro Football? Naw, no way. Maybe college football? A free ride (scholarship) would be great. But no. No way again. And our school district has many great boys so even if he was there for HS football, he'd likely ride the bench. So for him, he can get the enjoyment from flag football and there are other less injury-prone sports to compete in. In the end, he chose "no" when he realized that his basketball playing time would be reduced because of the football time commitment. That's how we approached it.
  14. If a kid misses a game with no notice or with no explanation, I'll usually send a quick email of concern: "hey, sorry Joey missed today. Is he OK?". In most cases, the parent will respond quickly back with more detail about what was going on. In one case that I remember, the boy had had a bad day of manners and back-talking, and the parent pulled him from the game in the last hour. But in another case, the parent had over-committed the kid and he had conflicting games with la crosse. He was a discipline problem so it didn't bother me. On weeks that he would miss, he didn't get as much in practice. Another case was a divorced couple who couldn't get their act together on who had responsibility for getting Joey to/from practice. There is always the possibility that a kid likes the practices because of the social aspect (fun 'n' games), but he just hates games. I think that you always have to ask the parents what's going on, even after missing one game w/o explanation. But, after three games, it can be a little tougher love: "We spend a lot of time working on our game plan for the boys, ensuring that every kid has equal time. So I need to know in a timely manner if Joey is going to be there or not." And at some point, you just need to cut your losses. If the kid misses over half a season, then email to the league director (maybe blind CC) and parents to terminate his involvement. It's just not fair to the other kids at that point.
  15. It's a little bit on the wildcat side. You could set it up beforehand with a similar shotgun snap to the QB, who rolls left and attempts to hit the streaking LR. Then, on this one, he rolls again while the RB takes off. You can forewarn the refs so that the other team gets the penalty if they rush too many people across the LOS, thinking that you handed off to the RB. Another possibility is to have the QB delay and run parallel and behind to your RB. Your RB then has the option of passing to the right WR or option it back to the QB. This has the effect of further drawing in the defense. The QB, now an option running back, turns and burns up the sideline.
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