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hollad6636 posted a topic in Youth FootballWhen it comes to coverage schemes many youth football coaches have very strong opinions. They are and always have been man coverage guys while others think it should be a capital offense if you don't run zone. Or maybe you like to run man free, man underneath a deep zone safety. What's the right answer? Maybe it falls a little into the middle. No matter which approach I take in teaching coverage, I always team man first. Because once the ball is in the air, the defender is going to in essence be in man coverage. Another reason I like man coverage in youth football is many youth coaches will try and overload a team by formation or with shifts and motion. When in man, you are not going to be the victim of formation overloads, shifts or motion. I've never had a problem teaching even my youngest age players the 7-9s to man up correctly on trips, twins, double slot, motion etc. Rapid rep team defensive recognition drills with 11 players in and 11 out every 15 seconds solve for that pretty easily. Man also allows you to match up. Many spread teams think the spread helps them create mismatches. The problem with that is if they have a "dude" I can match my "dude" on his "dude." They can't just have their "dude" run to my weakest zone player and whamp us all day long. Now if the other team has many more "dudes" than you do and the matchups are overwhelming, you have a problem no defensive scheme is going to do very well with. But man allows you to match up where you want. At the youth level MANY youth coaches will split out a weaker player to draw a defender out with him. They have no intention of throwing the ball to that Receiver. Many youth coaches use this approach to get players their required snaps in minimum play rule leagues. Better coached teams simply won't cover these kids and play 11 against your 10. We do this using our "Igor" call. It helped us win a semifinal game in 2013 when the other team lined up in double slot and had a minimum play player to both sides. We played 11 on 9 football most of that day.When you are in man you can do this, zone, you can't, So you are thinking I'm a man guy now right? No, I'm a fan of winning, I bear no allegiance to any ethical approach that is suboptimal to my team winning games. I've played man, zone and both. As most of us know, when we are in man, sometimes it is difficult to play the run well. With eyes on the receivers to give cues to the Defensive Backs and Linebackers, run support is often times not as good as it could be as in zone. In zone the cues are usually first from the Quarterback, run support can be immediate. All eyes are usually downfield or into the backfield at the start. It's simply easier to play run support from zone. In man, well coached teams will often times just run off a Linebacker or Defensive Back. They will take your defenders out of a play without even having to lay a finger on them. We've all seen teams go 5 wide, send everyone deep and then run the QB on a designed delayed run. I do this in my offense with our "Paul" calls, it's a very successful approach against man teams. There are other ways to gain advantages on man teams. We saw that a lot in the Oregon, Ohio State National Championship Game. OSU on the Jet Sweep Powers and Counters with the faked "smoke" screen to the edges which were holding 2 defenders. Man definitely has it's pluses and minuses. Against man, well coached teams will run rubs (slant/arrows), slant/wheels, smoke screen/wheels and shallow crosses to rub off your man defenders. Are those play legal? They rarely get called, so they become an issue. Sure the better coached teams are going to find soft spots in your zone or just flood the zone. But in youth football, those throwing windows and areas are a bit more compressed due to the fact most youth players can't throw the 20 yard out. Spacing isn't as wide, which makes zone a bit more palatable, especially at the younger age groups. In the end it comes down to what you believe in, what you can teach, what you have for players and what you are up against as far as competition. Read up on my "Worst to First" coaching experience in Reno, Nevada this year and see why I went to zone. I lived in Reno 5 days a week and commuted from Nebraska. This team had won something like 6 games in 6 years. Our equation required we play zone. Winning Youth Football
What is mental toughness? In youth football mental toughness is the ability to consistently perform to the upward boundaries of your potential regardless of competition or game circumstances. You can judge how mentally tough your team is by seeing how they react when they get behind very early in a game or when one of your key players gets hit real hard and has to come out of the game. How do they respond when they have a 3rd and 1 and a player jumps off-sides so you are in 3rd and 6? How does the team respond to poor or unfair officiating? How do your players respond after they make a big mistake? Does your team or players "choke" when put in pressure packed situations? Are your teams known for losing tight games? Or are your teams one of those who always seems to get "lucky" and pull out games at the end or make big plays just when you need them most? If your players or team didn't do well in these scenarios, they lack mental toughness. How do you develop mental toughness in your players? Well it isn't going to happen on its own. It takes a commitment from the coaching staff to hold kids accountable to achieving to a standard of achievement that stands in the face of mediocrity. Yes, that means you aren't happy with 38-6 wins, when your team and players play to less than potential. It is a battle against underachievement that you must be committed to and willing to invest time and frustration to win. Needless to say, you aren't getting anywhere with that until you've won their trust and established those relationships as shown how in our "Developing Team Chemistry" e-book. In order to develop mental toughness in your teams you have to design training to push players beyond their comfort zones. This isn't just pushing kids beyond what they could do physically in drills, it's mentally as well. Want to see a player stretched mentally? Do 20 yard offensive team plays on air with 11 in and 11 off every 15 seconds and have the goal of 20 perfect plays in a row to exit. That will put both mental and physical pressure on your team. You have to do your best to create game type situations in practice that push your kids limits. Some of the things I've done in practice is tell the kids that if we make the next field goal kick, we are done with practice. If we miss we run 12 minutes of full speed deep kick return covers on air which is basically a bunch of 30 yard sprints, 20 second apart. I do the same thing on completing our "Hail Mary" desperation pass. Some of the highest performing teams I've ever coached I pushed beyond what anyone thought was possible. These were non-select, no cut, no selective recruited teams, the first 25 kids who signed up were on the team. We had kids of all shapes, sizes and abilities, nothing special at all, not a single DI kid in the bunch. One of the ways we pushed these kids beyond where any of them thought they could go was by scrimmaging bigger, better and in some cases even older teams. We would scrimmage or even play select teams in games, where these teams would choose from over 120 players. We would at times even scrimmage our first teamers against teams that were an age group older in limited scrimmages. Make sure you don't push your kids over Niagara Falls, but letting them struggle a little in the deep end of the pool can push them to compete at their full potential. They learn that if they do effort to full potential and use the techniques as taught, that they can actually compete with teams that most think were far superior than them. Always approach and "sell" to the kids the notion that practice beyond perceived limits and scrimmaging up is an opportunity to play and to improve, not something that is being forced on them against their will. If you think your team or players aren't mentally tough, they probably aren't. It's something you will need to invest some time in as a coach to get better with during the offseason. While this facet of the game will seperate the good teams from the great teams, when I attend or teach clinic sessions that discuss this all important subject the rooms are pretty empty. That's like a bunch of hungry kids at the dinner table passing up the plate full of pork chops, it leaves more for the rest of us who understand how important this facet of the game really is. Winning Youth Football
Hello, My name is Michael Hudak and I am a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach and I am currently researching concussion prevention rules and regulations of different youth football organizations. The purpose of my study is to examine the concussion prevention in the youth football programs from the referee’s perspective and I am looking for where coaches, parents, and/or referees' are learning the most about concussion prevention measures. If you could please take a few moments (no more than 5 minutes I promise) of your time to complete my survey that would be greatly appreciated. Your time and consideration are important to me and thank you in advance for taking the survey and please forward this survey to any friends or family who might also be interested. Any feedback is greatly appreciated as well. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/concussionprevention Michael Hudak Sport Management Master's Candidate firstname.lastname@example.org