Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays
Orange

Youth Flag Football

440 posts in this topic

Ok, a couple of weeks have passed since my last post and here are a couple of udpates..

Special needs child - He is the 2nd fastest kid on the team and possibly the best flag puller, he tunes out every now and then buT has made a great deal of progress, the variable is...DRUM ROLL...his father for some reason stays in the car while we are practicing. The kid behaves WAY better without the father around for some reason. He still has hitting issues and we punish him with a 2 minute time out and he's back to his best behavior.

Team progress - We run 10 plays on offense and basically 3 on defense (we cant rush the qb - league rules)

Scrimmage 1 - We won 35-0, We had 2 rushing td's , 2 passing td's and an interception for a td.

Defense - We stayed in position , 4-2(zone)and did a great job swarming and pulling flags, I guess all the pursuit and flag pulling drills really paid off. We intercepted the ball 3 times.

Offense - We went 5-6 passing, most were 5yd curls Td's were on a 15 yard fly and a 3yd center drag. Rushing, we ran all over them, I spread the field with my formation and literally every run broke for 10+ yds. We run alot of misdirection plays.

Scrimmage 2 - We won 42-0, 2 passing td's, 3 rushing td's and a int for a td.

Defense - They hit us quick with a 35yd run that must of woke my guys up because they maybe had 35 total yards the rest of the game. We only had one int but seemed to always be in position to break up the passes.

Offense - I knew we could run so I made it a point to pass more, we went 13-21 (3 qb's). Again, the majority of the passes we 5 yard curls/outs.

Special thanks to everyone who has ever posted on these forums, before logging into this site I literally knew nothing about flag football, this site is amazing....I have another scrimmage tomorrow at 6:30...stay tuned.

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I found this thread like most people did, while digging for drills and plays. So allow me to introduce myself. I'm an assistant coach on a YMCA team in Dallas. 6/6 3rd grade boy's flag, 1 rusher 8 yards out, kid QB, no-run zones, 3 downs to get a 1st. About 15 teams in the uber-competitive league. Min 7 kids on a team, max 9. Somehow, we ended up with 11 though.

Thanks to everyone here who is so supportive!!

george

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KWILSON -

Congrats on a great start, keep up the good work!

Thanks, we have scrimmages today (Tuesday) and Thursday then our first game on Saturday. We look pretty good, the thing I learned early in these forums is to keep it simple, I see alot of these other teams practicing double reverses and other plays that are too complex for kids this age.

Here's a link to a video I took, the Cleveland Browns invited us (101 kids) to their 2nd preseason game, we got to go on the field and be a part of a guantlet as they came out of the tunnel, we also stood with them for the national anthem. The vid is short because I wasnt sure I was allowed to film.

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We had our first good practice, so I have several questions for this esteemed group. I started with Orange's plays, limited to only end-arounds, center drags, and added a basic halfback handoff. Left/right for each of those for a total of 6 plays. For the first practice, I tried to rotate through each player touching the ball, QB, center and catching. So let me fire away some questions...

When lining up, per the Orange plays, I'm spreading the kids out by about one yard. Is that about right? It does give space for the one defensive rusher. Do you tighten up or spread out more, depending on the play. I'm going on the philosophy of same formation each play.

The kids did pretty well understanding those 6 plays. We have one more practice before our first game. Would you add more plays or practice on executing those 6 to perfection? My other coach is concerned that we don't have a deep throw to keep the defense "honest" and we don't have a screen pass (to dink over the rusher). Note: I took the idea that I read somewhere here and printed up the plays in color and laminated.

How much do you rotate which kid gets to be QB? I understand and wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy of ensuring that each kid gets his touches. Before the season begins, do you generally know which kid plays which position and stick to that? Once the quarter begins (assuming no substitutions), do you stick with the assigned position throughout the quarter?

Thanks. I'm sure I'll have more.

George

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I have several questions for this esteemed group.
George, I'll throw up some answers under this thread, but for future questions/comments, you may want to start a new topic under the Youth Flag Football Forum just so it doesn't go unnoticed in this older thread.
I'm spreading the kids out by about one yard. Is that about right? I'm going on the philosophy of same formation each play.
Sounds like your spacing is fine, going with the same formation makes it easier on the kids to learn and keeps the defense guessing. I use different formations depending upon what I'm seeing on the field (trips, twins, etc..).
Would you add more plays or practice on executing those 6 to perfection?
I'd make sure the kids have those plays down, then start to add variations on those plays.
My other coach is concerned that we don't have a deep throw to keep the defense "honest" and we don't have a screen pass (to dink over the rusher).
Look for a play called FLOOD on this forum under the plays section, works well against a rush. For the deep pass, I like a trips formation, especially against a zone. I have one of the WRs run a smaller route as a safety valve and send the other two WRs long in the same zone. Play action works really well for deeper passes if you can suck in the defense on a fake handoff. Some of our play action plays are in the first minute or so of this vid (you can also see FLOOD at 2:05):

How much do you rotate which kid gets to be QB?
We’ve bounced this around a lot on the forum. I settled on having 2-3 main QBs. The reason I stick with 2-3 is it reduces the fumbled snaps, poor handoffs, bad passes, etc. and increases everyone’s chances for more successful ball touches. Having said that, I have a parent (my wife) track times at QB for the entire team,it helps me get everyone in at QB throughout the year, even if it’s for only a few plays.
Before the season begins, do you generally know which kid plays which position and stick to that? Once the quarter begins (assuming no substitutions), do you stick with the assigned position throughout the quarter?
Some coaches teach the kids positions and stick with that, I tend to switch everyone based on who needs touches and what plays work better for that individual.

Hope this helps!

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Thanks Rob. I spent about 2 weeks each lunch reading through this particular thread. It was interesting watching the progression of discussion from 2007 until now. I'll dig further and start posting questions in the main forum. The video was very helpful. Thanks.

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How much do you rotate which kid gets to be QB? I understand and wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy of ensuring that each kid gets his touches. Before the season begins, do you generally know which kid plays which position and stick to that? Once the quarter begins (assuming no substitutions), do you stick with the assigned position throughout the quarter?

I am one (maybe the only one) ;-) who keeps his kids in the same position. In past seasons I would give them a primary and secondary position, but since switching to 6-6, I now have 10 players in primary positions, and two are utility players (who can play any position).

It has not been a problem for us, and in fact I've had the same players for 5+ seasons, and they ALL enjoy playing their defined position.

The KEY to this, is to create your playbook so that each position has equal number of plays to touch the ball. I've listed what I feel are the benefits to this many times on this forum, but the short version is:

1. Kids are able to learn more plays because they focus on one position.

2. Players have a sense of ownership at their position and enjoy fine-tuning their responsibilities on each play.

3. If you switch kids in an out of the RB position (as an example), chances are you are doing so because your playbook is designed to give the RB a lot of touches. By going the other way, the defense will never know who is getting the ball on a particular play because your playbook can get the ball to any position at any time. Frankly I am amazed at how many teams use their RB as their top ball-carrier.

As mentioned, the key is to ensure design your playbook so that everyone gets equal touches from their position. You will be surprised how creative you can get when deciding how to get your X receiver five different hand-offs. ;-) Also, be sure to let the players know no position is more important than the other. Make a big deal about of each position and explain how each position is accountable on every play.

Finally--I also agree that you want to fine tune your plays (it's extremely important to do so), but also keep tweaking/adding plays after each game. Once the season begins, I cannot keep my mind off ways to improve certain plays, adding new plays, etc. It consumes me. I can honestly tell you I don't care about winning--all I care about is how we execute. If we execute, everything else will fall into place.

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One more thing, concerning the QB position (because I've always found this an interesting topic). My son has played QB for us for every season I've coached. I know a lot of dad's thump their chest about their sons, but my son was without a doubt the best QB in our league last season (although I doubt he will be when we move up to 10-12). He has one INT over the past two seasons (he went this past season with zero picks)--and we throw 40% of the plays. We've one two championships in the past three seasons and were in the championship game one of those three---so the numbers are there to justify him as our QB.

However--we know some kids want to play QB. We also know that not all kids can play QB (frankly without embarrassing themselves). I've had backup QBs who threw INTs nearly every time they passed--and it was not fun at all for him or his family.

As mentioned, the QB on our team has a plethora responsibilities on every single play. So much so, my son gets 95% of his "QB coaching" at home. I rarely work with him at practice as he walks on the field knowing what to do. This allows me to spend quality time on the other positions.

Each season, however, I always challenge any player to beat out my son at the QB position. The ONLY caveat is that the parents must work with him on learning the assignments, as I simply have too much to cover in practice and can only spend so much time on the QB position. I will work with him on the basics, but provide the parents with the responsibilities for each play and if the player wants to learn them, then I will give him time at the QB position. The way I figure it, I am coaching all the kids, AND coaching my son at QB at home. If I can do that and a parent wants their son to play QB, then he (or she) can put in the same time as I do. I know I would if I weren't coaching and wanted my son to play QB.

So....whether this approach is right or wrong, it's the one I believe in. I can say that I've been very fortunate in that I've yet to have a parent question why I don't rotate players in and out of the QB position.

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Hey Coaches,

Need some insight on slowing down the game, FOR ME. I am having difficulty getting players a play on offense and who goes where during the game. We have only had two practices and are limited to about 40 min. of practice before we play our games. It is a bit kaotic for me and the kids don't get a chance to rotate so each has a chance to contribute on offense (should I design a play for each kid?). I have only two QB's per game, 1 each half. But are different each game. This being said we are 2-0 but I feel like I am failing at getting each child a pass to catch or run to execute. This is important to me and THEM.

Thanks

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Hey Coaches,

Need some insight on slowing down the game, FOR ME. I am having difficulty getting players a play on offense and who goes where during the game. We have only had two practices and are limited to about 40 min. of practice before we play our games. It is a bit kaotic for me and the kids don't get a chance to rotate so each has a chance to contribute on offense (should I design a play for each kid?). I have only two QB's per game, 1 each half. But are different each game. This being said we are 2-0 but I feel like I am failing at getting each child a pass to catch or run to execute. This is important to me and THEM.

Thanks

How old are your players? I would recommend designing a few plays for each position. Assign each player to a primary position, and you won't have to worry about rotating them--they will always know where to go. Also, because your playbook has plays for each position, you just call those plays--which ensures you spread the ball around. As an example, the Center has the same number of running plays as the RB. As long as you go through your play sheet, the position itself is a moot point--and you have to express this to the players.

Regarding QB, I imagine it's pretty difficult to get all players embedded into that position. It sounds as if most of them will only play it once or twice during the season--is this correct? Not sure how much responsibility you give that position, but I've always had two QBs. For one, it's his primary position, and the other it's is secondary position. However, if you've promised the kids/players that each one will get a crack at QB, then I like the way you are doing it.

Some coaches on here track "touches" during the game (or have their assistant or a parent do it). This helps to ensure you get all kids the ball.

Hope this helps.

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Need some insight on slowing down the game, FOR ME.

Here is what we do, for what it's worth. I was really concerned about the 25 seconds to get the play off. My playbook is in Powerpoint. Each of the positions is color-coded. The day of the game, I come up with my roster and print it out. All of the kids get to see what position they are playing. When we start the first quarter, I show them again to make sure they know what position that they are playing and what color they are.

Per another suggestion in this thread, we always line up twins formation.

And using another suggestion from this thread, I have my playbook printed out and laminated. I print 4 to a page.

And more suggestions from this thread: In the huddle, the kids all line up in the same position that they are going to be in. They can look at the play, they know what color they are.

We've got 11 kids and we use three of them as QBs. I rotate them with the wide receiver position, generally a series at a time. With this color-coding scheme, I can pretty easily rotate kids and they know what to do.

We do keep track of touches on the sideline with one parent helping. If one kid hasn't had his share, we'll inject a play to call his number.

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Thanks Guys,

The color code assignments is the way to go here. I have also reduced the number of plays we will be using for the rest of the season. Last week was exciting although we lost. We actually would have beat an undefeated team if the winning touchdown wasn't called back due to offsides by our wideout. (refs never saw it but the kids dad was yelling at him to get behind the LOS). We play 5 on 5 and only seven kids showed up so I had some confusion due to the re-aligning of my roster plan and two kids wanting a "break" in the middle of play. However having two plays per position allowed me to assure each kid got a shot at touching the ball on offense without having to concentrate on that too much.

With the loss this week and the struggle in a win last week allowed me the opportunity to speak to these kids about a persons character. They never got discouraged and just kept their heads up and the effort was awesome. A chance to see first hand that a best effort doesn't always provide the desired result but one can always walk away with their head up knowing they gave thier all. I told them effort is always easy when your winning, how you respond to difficulty shows your real character and theirs was very strong. Great lessons for 3rd - 5th graders.

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there are a variety of ways to call plays. depends on what is most important to you. i have a friend who does the color thing - he gives each kid on the field a different color wrist band so everyone remembers who is what color. other guys have a large laminated play card with every play diagram shrunk down.

i have a playbook but i find it hard to use in the huddle. instead i draw up the plays with a white board each time. instead of drawing an O for each offensive player, i draw their initials and an arrow of where the play goes for them. we generally run the same small number of plays each time, but with minor tweaks. i find it easier to draw up the play than to find the right page in the playbook. also, the kids seem to focus more as i draw the play.

i like the whiteboard because you have to be flexible. if the other team is doing one thing, then you have to do another.

also, i'll run a play and keep running it until the other team defends it. then i'll draw up a play that looks just like it but is very different. so i might run a pass play by lining all my receivers on the left side of the ball. then i'll run an end around out of the same formation. its hard to pull that off with a playbook or a color coded system unless you are changing players colors on the fly, and if you are doing that then you are losing most of the benefit of the color.

I generally have 2 squads and 2 QBs but rotate everyone else.

i don't focus on per game stats but i do try to even it out. if someone didn't get many touches in a game, in the next game they get the ball first and they get it alot.

i do keep stats and watch film, and i'm often surprised to see kids on film or on the states page contributing that i didn't quite notice in the game.

as for rotating players, in my experience i have always had a big spread between the best and worst player. I'm mindful of that, and have found ways to get a score for everyone or nearly everyone. but I try not to put a kid in a position where he can't succeed. so the slow runners don't get many handoffs but when its time for a short pass for a FD or TD or XP i design the play to go to them. or ill let the best runner run a handoff say to the right, then i'll run the same play with a fake to the best guy to the right and actually give it to a lesser player to the left.

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Hello folks, first off thanks for the insight. I've been reading these threads for a few weeks and finally decided to sign up.

I'm two games into coaching my first flag football season.

On to the specifics:

- I am coaching my sons 5-6 year old, 8 on 8 flag football team.

- as stated, this is my first time coaching any sport, ever.

- two weeks in, we are 0-2. First game we lost 14-0 Second game we lost 28-7.

Needless to say, it's been an awesome experience thus far. Although we lost by more the second game, I thought we played much better even though the score doesn't reflect that. I must point out we are supposed to track plays so a kid can't run/catch it before every kid has had the opportunity to do so once. I have been sticking my that routine, I do know the other coaches have loosely abided by this rule, with their star players taking a couple extra runs out of turn..whatever.

I feel my defense has improved tremendously, even though we gave up 4 td's last game. Despite that, I felt we made many more defensive stops than we did week 1.

I guess my reason for posting this is my offense needs work.... :)

Our snap to the qb is much improved, and even the handoff isnt taking that long, but too often our backfield is blown up as soon as my kid gets the handoff without any room/time to run. Granted we had a nice drive last game in which we connected multiple runs together to score our first td of the season. But beyond that, our gains were few and far between.

Obviously I need to get them blocking better, maybe put them in a better position/alignment, but I am looking for any suggestions on this.

I must say, I do believe for this age group(5-6 yrs. old) 8 on 8 is just too many kids on the field. Most plays I have about 4 kids that will set up and stay in position while the other 4 are uninterested, goofing off, pulling their own flags off their jersey..

I have a 12 kid roster, so I usually have 2 to 4 kids on the sideline, rotating them in/out.

The other teams look much better prepared and more disciplined(not sure if they are sticking to the 2 day/1 hour max practice rule or not)

Quick note, I've mostly been running with just a single back in the backfield. I was going to try a wishbone formation to use the extra back as a blocker but we are getting confused rb's on who's running, who's blocking.

anyways, any suggestions would be welcome.

thank you in advance!!!

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