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Youth Flag Football

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Tough break but it sounded exciting and you also said all the kids had fun so it was a success. Good job on that. Regarding your distraught player, that's one of those lessons that he's going to have to learn. If it were one of my kids I'd take the opportunity to teach him and explain how he can't let that effect him and so on. I'd also talk with his parents and let them know what your expectations are, they could probably help. The bigger problem I see is that you seem to rely heavily on him which as you found out can come back and bite you. You have to have multiple options.

Regarding the runs and short passes you need to explain what's going on. I found that towards the beginning of the season and up to the middle my plays were OK and we managed to win but barely. I analyzed what was going on and I figured out that we just didn't run everything very crisp and efficient. So, I reemphasized the patterns, the speed, the execution over and over. My guys were running sloppy patterns and my plays which had been designed for a 2 yard drag over the middle was drifting out to a 10 yard down and in. My clear out patterns were getting lazy, etc. My runs are designed to take a handoff full speed and we were stopping or slowing down. Once I got the kids refocused we were unstoppable. That could be whats going on with you guys.

Yeah, I am already going to first speak with my players parents about how he handled things, then of course have a little talk with him. You are right as well, I did kind of "pencil" him in as a go to guy when I need it, so maybe I did rely on him to much. Not anymore though.

As for the plays..... you hit it right on the head! Our route running was atrocious. My kids were stopping on the routes right in the middle of the field instead of running through, we just werent running crisp routes and like you said, my 3 yard In routes turned to 8 yard Ins. It looked like my kids got tired in the end as well. The emphasis on the next practices will be flag pulling and route running, no doubt!! I may need to learn to read the defense more and adjust too, our end arounds werent really paying off because their 2 corners who contained the outside for them who were good flag pullers.

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Yeah, I am already going to first speak with my players parents about how he handled things, then of course have a little talk with him. You are right as well, I did kind of "pencil" him in as a go to guy when I need it, so maybe I did rely on him to much. Not anymore though.
Sportsmanship, probably the most important concept to teach at this age. I've had my fair share of upset kids over the past several years, it's a great opportunity to teach about sportsmanship if they'll listen. Might also be a good opportunity to emphasize/reward good sportsmanship on your team. We taught our kids after pulling a flag to go back and hand it to the player. I played several teams where the kids would pull the flag and slam it to the ground or throw it off to the side. Dunno, I felt it was better to go back and hand it to the player.
Our route running was atrocious. My kids were stopping on the routes right in the middle of the field instead of running through, we just werent running crisp routes and like you said, my 3 yard In routes turned to 8 yard Ins. It looked like my kids got tired in the end as well. The emphasis on the next practices will be flag pulling and route running, no doubt!! I may need to learn to read the defense more and adjust too, our end arounds werent really paying off because their 2 corners who contained the outside for them who were good flag pullers.
I think all coaches go through the 3 yard in/out turning into 10 yd fly patterns at this age. It's one of those tell them, show them, watch them, show them, watch them, show them kind of deals. I enjoyed throwing in some cool plays like a fake end around with a pitch or center drag, they usually worked and we'd gain big yards or score a TD. Funny thing is, the other team would turn around and run a simple handoff, our kids would miss a few flags and the other team would score or turn it into a big gainer. I found myself working on a few basic key fundamentals each pratice like flag pulling, running simple short routes, clean handoff/pitches, over and over again.

Sounds like you're doing fine, congrats on getting that "first one" out of the way. The rest is cake. ;)

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Orange and Coach Rob,

I will be coaching flag football for the first time this year. 9-10 year olds in a 6x6 format. The draft is this Friday so hope to start practicing next week. I was really nervous at first, but after stumbling upon this thread I feel much better. The information you provide just cannot be found anywhere else. Thanks for all your help. I hope you won't mind if I ask some questions along the way.

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Orange and Coach Rob, I hope you won't mind if I ask some questions along the way.
Welcome to the boards! Fire away with your questions, we're all learning along with the rest of the coaches on here. Vegas and Husker should be able to help also.

CRob

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Yeah, I am already going to first speak with my players parents about how he handled things, then of course have a little talk with him. You are right as well, I did kind of "pencil" him in as a go to guy when I need it, so maybe I did rely on him to much. Not anymore though.

Sportsmanship, probably the most important concept to teach at this age. I've had my fair share of upset kids over the past several years, it's a great opportunity to teach about sportsmanship if they'll listen. Might also be a good opportunity to emphasize/reward good sportsmanship on your team. We taught our kids after pulling a flag to go back and hand it to the player. I played several teams where the kids would pull the flag and slam it to the ground or throw it off to the side. Dunno, I felt it was better to go back and hand it to the player.
Our route running was atrocious. My kids were stopping on the routes right in the middle of the field instead of running through, we just werent running crisp routes and like you said, my 3 yard In routes turned to 8 yard Ins. It looked like my kids got tired in the end as well. The emphasis on the next practices will be flag pulling and route running, no doubt!! I may need to learn to read the defense more and adjust too, our end arounds werent really paying off because their 2 corners who contained the outside for them who were good flag pullers.
I think all coaches go through the 3 yard in/out turning into 10 yd fly patterns at this age. It's one of those tell them, show them, watch them, show them, watch them, show them kind of deals. I enjoyed throwing in some cool plays like a fake end around with a pitch or center drag, they usually worked and we'd gain big yards or score a TD. Funny thing is, the other team would turn around and run a simple handoff, our kids would miss a few flags and the other team would score or turn it into a big gainer. I found myself working on a few basic key fundamentals each pratice like flag pulling, running simple short routes, clean handoff/pitches, over and over again.

Sounds like you're doing fine, congrats on getting that "first one" out of the way. The rest is cake. ;)

Thanks for the vote of confidence! I agree 100% sportsmanship is #1 in my book as well and I will be addressing that issue. Didnt mean to go off subject to much in regards to my player. We get back to practice today and wont have our next game until 2 weeks due to the holiday weekend, so I'd imagine we'll work out a few kinks in that time. Flag pulling, defense and route running will be the emphasis!

One thing I am noticing in this league and its hard to not get caught up in, is that its very competitive! I mean in our age group we have 28 teams alone, they keep track of standings and we have a playoff at the end. I already notice alot of coaches emerged into the "win at all costs" philosophy! Also, Did any of you coaches "condition" your players much at all at this age group? Reason why I am asking is it seemed my kids got tired in the second half, which is one reason I believe they gave up the 2 big scores. By conditioning I dont mean doing laps all practice or push ups, lol. Maybe some drills that promote conditioning, however can be fun. Did you notice your kids get tired anytime?

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Did any of you coaches "condition" your players much at all at this age group? Reason why I am asking is it seemed my kids got tired in the second half, which is one reason I believe they gave up the 2 big scores. By conditioning I dont mean doing laps all practice or push ups, lol. Maybe some drills that promote conditioning, however can be fun. Did you notice your kids get tired anytime?

No, I never did but I'm thinking about it this next go around. Although I have to say I keep them running and moving during the regular practices. We played 6-on-6 and had 11 kids so everyone played roughly one half. That's not enough time to get too tired. If ever during the game one of my assistants or myself notice someone getting tired or not keeping up we'll pull him for a few plays to get some water and catch a breath.

In December we're entering into a weekend tournament with a minimum of 3 games on the first day, I'm sure conditioning will be an issue at that point.

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Did any of you coaches "condition" your players much at all at this age group? Reason why I am asking is it seemed my kids got tired in the second half, which is one reason I believe they gave up the 2 big scores. By conditioning I dont mean doing laps all practice or push ups, lol. Maybe some drills that promote conditioning, however can be fun. Did you notice your kids get tired anytime?

No, I never did but I'm thinking about it this next go around. Although I have to say I keep them running and moving during the regular practices. We played 6-on-6 and had 11 kids so everyone played roughly one half. That's not enough time to get too tired. If ever during the game one of my assistants or myself notice someone getting tired or not keeping up we'll pull him for a few plays to get some water and catch a breath.

In December we're entering into a weekend tournament with a minimum of 3 games on the first day, I'm sure conditioning will be an issue at that point.

Yeah, we felt the kids were getting alot of running in during practices and the such because we really keep things moving. I have 10 kids, with 5-5 every kid played about half the game as well. I just noticed they werent as "into it" the last 10 minutes of the game or so, could be do to lack of us coaches motivating them as well. It was 100 degrees when we played our game, so I would imagine that had alot to do with it too. I'll probably just throw in a couple more little drills like bear crawl races to help them. I want to find a good "swarm" drill to teach as well. I havent used the idea I saw earlier in this thread about holding the ball out left, right, forward and back, then the kids move to that. I will try that.

Orange, 3 games in one day I am sure those kids will be tired by that last game. Probably just have to keep them as motivated and interested as possible, then it should be alright! The other teams will be in the same boat too.

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One thing I am noticing in this league and its hard to not get caught up in, is that its very competitive! I mean in our age group we have 28 teams alone, they keep track of standings and we have a playoff at the end. I already notice alot of coaches emerged into the "win at all costs" philosophy!
That was/is the number one challenge for me, staying competitive, but somehow keeping this whole thing in perspective (keeping it fun for the kids). Some would argue that winning is a big part of the fun and they're right. However, if you find that Jimmy has touched the ball 5 times and Joe only once, therein lies the problem. The league I play in keeps track of all the standings with the option of tracking each players stats online for all to see. Personally, I'd stay away from the stats/standings at this age as much as possible. I think there's a time for more serious competition, just not sure when that is. Might start another thread on the boards to ask that question.

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One thing I am noticing in this league and its hard to not get caught up in, is that its very competitive! I mean in our age group we have 28 teams alone, they keep track of standings and we have a playoff at the end. I already notice alot of coaches emerged into the "win at all costs" philosophy!
That was/is the number one challenge for me, staying competitive, but somehow keeping this whole thing in perspective (keeping it fun for the kids). Some would argue that winning is a big part of the fun and they're right. However, if you find that Jimmy has touched the ball 5 times and Joe only once, therein lies the problem. The league I play in keeps track of all the standings with the option of tracking each players stats online for all to see. Personally, I'd stay away from the stats/standings at this age as much as possible. I think there's a time for more serious competition, just not sure when that is. Might start another thread on the boards to ask that question.

I hate that the "grown-ups" get so competitive at this age. In our league we "dont keep score" BUT, scores are posting on the web with standings and the option of playoffs and a State Tournament. WHAT!?! Either say we're going to keep score or dont, but anyways.

I just had my draft and I think I got a pretty good group of 6 7 and 8 year olds. Will start my first practice on Thursday of this week and will let you know how it goes.

My practice plan is to keep moving between drills and "stations". I am going to start off with some sprints, to see who on the team is going to be the speed, then move to backpedals and then shuffles to get the kids used to moving in every direction.

Then I am going to slow it down a bit and run some relays incorporating snaps then handoffs then pitches.

Then I plan on flag pulling drills and pursuit angle drills.

After all that I am going to work out the throwing QB's of the group by having everyone throw the ball in various stances (kneeling standing running).

If we have time then we'll run some plays and scrimmage. This was not as important to me being the first practice.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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Hi Coaches,

I have coached basketball, but never football. By process of elimination (nobody else would), I am coaching my boy's 10-11 year old 6 man flag football team and am needing all the advise I can get. I have spoke to coaches at the high school and college levels about some of the basics, but am really looking for help with the specifics of flag. I have a good understanding of motivating/encouraging the boys and how to handle practices. I have four boys on the team that are making the transition from soccer to football. Before the first practice they did not want to play. After the first practice they told their parents they couldn't wait until the next practice two days later... so far so good.

I will start the boys in a zone defense, and hope to use it for the first game on September 8th. I will use man to man as a fall back if they have issues with zone coverage. What are your thoughts on this?

My main issue is offensive plays.... I found a site, contacted the individual, and did make the purchase. They are very good plays and have worked really well in practice. My only problem is that they are only passing plays.... Where could I find some good running plays for a 6-6 format???

I appreciate any advice or help you can offer.

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Hi Coaches,

I have coached basketball, but never football. By process of elimination (nobody else would), I am coaching my boy's 10-11 year old 6 man flag football team and am needing all the advise I can get. I have spoke to coaches at the high school and college levels about some of the basics, but am really looking for help with the specifics of flag. I have a good understanding of motivating/encouraging the boys and how to handle practices. I have four boys on the team that are making the transition from soccer to football. Before the first practice they did not want to play. After the first practice they told their parents they couldn't wait until the next practice two days later... so far so good.<br /><br />I will start the boys in a zone defense, and hope to use it for the first game on September 8th. I will use man to man as a fall back if they have issues with zone coverage. What are your thoughts on this?

My main issue is offensive plays.... I found a site, contacted the individual, and did make the purchase. They are very good plays and have worked really well in practice. My only problem is that they are only passing plays.... Where could I find some good running plays for a 6-6 format???

I appreciate any advice or help you can offer.

Welcome to the Board, just joined myself. Also doing a 6x6, but with 9-10 year olds. I can't help too much with the plays as I am new to flag myself, but in reading the previous posts it seems simple end arounds work very well.

I am wondering how you ran your practice since it seems to have gone so well. My first practice will be next week and my plan is to cover the following:

1) Start with 4 cone drill where kids backpedal, karaoke, sprint and shuffle,

2) Then onto the drill we used to call up-downs where the kids move left/right/forward/back based on where I point the ball.

3) 20-30 yard sprints (so I can see which kids have what speed and figure where they might play best).

4) Flag-pulling drills

5) Break-on ball drill

6) Hand-offs

7) Scrimmage

I would appreciate any thoughts.

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Just positive coaching I guess. I try to make sure that they stay involved in all drills. I also keep practice moving as quickly as possible so they aren't standing around and don't get 'bored'. I have found as soon as they start standing or are waiting for the next drill to start is when they start goofing off and causing distractions. Keeping things moving keeps their attention...

Those drills and schedule look like my first two practices. I only have three practices left before our first game, so will be focusing on offense, defense, and the kicking game. Basically scrimmaging with the boys rotating to different positions and from offense to defense.

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Just a thought on the conditioning question. I don't run any specific running drills strictly for conditioning but that is always a side benefit. I'll run the four corner drill (backpedal, karoeke or shuffle, sprint) at the begining of practice to work on footwork. Also run a drill where they work on sprinting and then spinning left then right several times. I try and keep them moving and running while working drills and then during any scrimmage. At the end of practices, I like to have some type of relay races, which the kids really enjoy and typically give it every bit of effort possible. I try and mix things up to keep it interesting (e.g., backpedal down, sprint back, with or without a ball, etc.)

For defense, tried something new at practice since we had a couple long runs against us because a player stopped or slowed instead of pursuing the play. I would have two defensive players lime up against a QB and runner. Both defensive players had to pursue the runner after the handoff and after the flag was pulled by one player the other player had to do a two hand touch to emphasive continued pursuit. Also helped the runner to keep running and not stop to early.

The team we played Saturday split their recievers all the way to the sidelines, which really spread our defense. They would typically run and with a shifty back there was some room and setup some 1 on 1 situations where a missed flag was huge. We adjusted by putting a defensive player over the center to eliminate any room to get started, but not before they had some good runs.

Husker

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Just a thought on the conditioning question. I don't run any specific running drills strictly for conditioning but that is always a side benefit. I'll run the four corner drill (backpedal, karoeke or shuffle, sprint) at the begining of practice to work on footwork. Also run a drill where they work on sprinting and then spinning left then right several times. I try and keep them moving and running while working drills and then during any scrimmage. At the end of practices, I like to have some type of relay races, which the kids really enjoy and typically give it every bit of effort possible. I try and mix things up to keep it interesting (e.g., backpedal down, sprint back, with or without a ball, etc.)

For defense, tried something new at practice since we had a couple long runs against us because a player stopped or slowed instead of pursuing the play. I would have two defensive players lime up against a QB and runner. Both defensive players had to pursue the runner after the handoff and after the flag was pulled by one player the other player had to do a two hand touch to emphasive continued pursuit. Also helped the runner to keep running and not stop to early.

The team we played Saturday split their recievers all the way to the sidelines, which really spread our defense. They would typically run and with a shifty back there was some room and setup some 1 on 1 situations where a missed flag was huge. We adjusted by putting a defensive player over the center to eliminate any room to get started, but not before they had some good runs.

Husker

Exactly the samething that happened to us. Played a wonderful first half shutting the team out 12-0, however in the second half my kids looked like they began to fatigue and gave up 2 big long runs, hence the conditioning question earlier. I've just decided to add a couple more drills to help with the conditioning and as coaches we try and just preach finishing every play. After stretching out, we go into our 4 corner drill also to work on footwork. Then after that I line them up in 2 lines and we do Bear Crawls about 10 yards then turn around and Bear crawl back. We do this a few times. After that we do a few up downs and wind sprints. We have a couple kids who excel at Bear crawling and such, while a couple others hate it. I know its helped overall though, because after that we go into our normal drills and practices just seem to have gone much much better.

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The team we played Saturday split their recievers all the way to the sidelines, which really spread our defense. They would typically run and with a shifty back there was some room and setup some 1 on 1 situations where a missed flag was huge. We adjusted by putting a defensive player over the center to eliminate any room to get started, but not before they had some good runs.

Husker

Also, don't be fooled into spreading your defense out when the other team moves their receivers so far out. Kids in the 8-9 range can't make that kind of throw to the outside so you can effectively ignore them. My corners moved closer and closer to the center as the season progressed. Now, if you're man-to-man and not zone, that's a different story.

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Hi Coaches,

I have coached basketball, but never football. By process of elimination (nobody else would), I am coaching my boy's 10-11 year old 6 man flag football team and am needing all the advise I can get. I have spoke to coaches at the high school and college levels about some of the basics, but am really looking for help with the specifics of flag. I have a good understanding of motivating/encouraging the boys and how to handle practices. I have four boys on the team that are making the transition from soccer to football. Before the first practice they did not want to play. After the first practice they told their parents they couldn't wait until the next practice two days later... so far so good.

I will start the boys in a zone defense, and hope to use it for the first game on September 8th. I will use man to man as a fall back if they have issues with zone coverage. What are your thoughts on this?

My main issue is offensive plays.... I found a site, contacted the individual, and did make the purchase. They are very good plays and have worked really well in practice. My only problem is that they are only passing plays.... Where could I find some good running plays for a 6-6 format???

I appreciate any advice or help you can offer.

Welcome to the Board, just joined myself. Also doing a 6x6, but with 9-10 year olds. I can't help too much with the plays as I am new to flag myself, but in reading the previous posts it seems simple end arounds work very well.

I am wondering how you ran your practice since it seems to have gone so well. My first practice will be next week and my plan is to cover the following:

1) Start with 4 cone drill where kids backpedal, karaoke, sprint and shuffle,

2) Then onto the drill we used to call up-downs where the kids move left/right/forward/back based on where I point the ball.

3) 20-30 yard sprints (so I can see which kids have what speed and figure

where they might play best).

4) Flag-pulling drills

5) Break-on ball drill

6) Hand-offs

7) Scrimmage

I would appreciate any thoughts.

I think you have the right idea and are on the right track. I would add working on QB/Center exchange as that is such a simple detail yet if not practiced will not go smooth. Maybe incorporate it in with the handoff drills. Also if time allows for it, try and work in a little route running/catching. Start them off with one simple route like a 5 yard Square In and you throw the ball to them. Emphasis the basics of catching the football with their hands and also Emphasis on proper route running, where to cut and dont stop running your route! Really spend time critiquing the route running.

Not sure how much practice time you have, we practice for 1:15 and we have to totally sqeeze everything in! Time is of the essence. One last thing is the flag pulling! While I myself am a new coach, flag pulling cannot be ignored. You'll find plenty of emphasis in this thread over and over on drilling flag pulling every practice. I try and teach the kids that flag pulling is just as important and good as making that touchdown or catching that pass! At the end of each practice I talk to the kids and I try and point out a kid or two who did exceptionallly well that day hustling with effort and pulling flags. Flag pulling, Flag pulling, Flag pulling! Some of my kids now keep count of how many flags they pull that practice.

Hi Coaches,

I have coached basketball, but never football. By process of elimination (nobody else would), I am coaching my boy's 10-11 year old 6 man flag football team and am needing all the advise I can get. I have spoke to coaches at the high school and college levels about some of the basics, but am really looking for help with the specifics of flag. I have a good understanding of motivating/encouraging the boys and how to handle practices. I have four boys on the team that are making the transition from soccer to football. Before the first practice they did not want to play. After the first practice they told their parents they couldn't wait until the next practice two days later... so far so good.

I will start the boys in a zone defense, and hope to use it for the first game on September 8th. I will use man to man as a fall back if they have issues with zone coverage. What are your thoughts on this?

My main issue is offensive plays.... I found a site, contacted the individual, and did make the purchase. They are very good plays and have worked really well in practice. My only problem is that they are only passing plays.... Where could I find some good running plays for a 6-6 format???

I appreciate any advice or help you can offer.

I think zone is the way to go at this age. In man-man what happens is your kids get so focused on staying with their "man", they get turned around and wont see simple handoffs and/or sweeps which will turn into big gains. Plus teaching a good zone concept will be solid because 9 year olds usually dont have the arm strength or QB smarts to pick a defense apart and at the sametime your kids will be facing the LOS and can defend the run still. As for running plays, I agree end arounds have worked good, just try and incorporate misdirection. Kids this age over pursue all day.

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I just had my first practice and let me tell you, I didnt have hardly enough time to squeeze in everything I wanted to. Actually I only got to half of what I intended to. I only had about 40 good minutes of practice between kids arriving and water breaks (it was hot!).

I only covered movement drills, flag pulling and a few handoff/snap drills. It seemed like we didnt get anything done, but after practice the parents seemed very pleased.

I think we are going to have a lot of talent between the 6 7 and 8 year olds I got so it should not be too much of a problem to get everyone playing everyposition.

All 11 kids showed up, i was surprised. :blink:

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Remember, a good rusher will cause confusion and reduce the QB's ability the get off a good pass. If your league allows a rusher use it a lot. I always talked to my rusher before the play went off, trying to pump him/her up about flying in towards the QB as soon as the ball was snapped.

CRob

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Hi everyone. Great post. I am a first time coach of 6-7 year olds. I have used a lot of your recommendations and after our first scrimmage today (we have 7 on 7 and I only have 7 players so we can't scrimmage in practice) I am encouraged. Thanks for your generosity. Couple of questions though. Defense starts 10 yards off the ball. I have hesitated using the drag plays because I am not sure how they will work since the defense will have time to disrupt the pass as they attack the 10 yard interval. We also cannot block so I am not sure how I can slow the rush on a drag play. I have several sweeps and reverses which work well, but with the defense sitting back I am having trouble with pass plays. Any suggestions? Also, hand-offs are a problem, I tried teaching the basic hand off but I don't think my kids are old enough. They kept getting the wrong arm up and down or put them too low etc. Finally, anyone with plays for 6-7 year olds who wants to share, I'd be most appreciative. Again, thanks for helping with all of us "rookies." My wife thinks I'm taking it all a little too seriously, but like you all, I just want to do right by these kids and parents who are trusting me to teach their kids the basics and have fun.

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Hi everyone. Great post. I am a first time coach of 6-7 year olds. I have used a lot of your recommendations and after our first scrimmage today (we have 7 on 7 and I only have 7 players so we can't scrimmage in practice) I am encouraged. Thanks for your generosity. Couple of questions though. Defense starts 10 yards off the ball. I have hesitated using the drag plays because I am not sure how they will work since the defense will have time to disrupt the pass as they attack the 10 yard interval. We also cannot block so I am not sure how I can slow the rush on a drag play. I have several sweeps and reverses which work well, but with the defense sitting back I am having trouble with pass plays. Any suggestions? Also, hand-offs are a problem, I tried teaching the basic hand off but I don't think my kids are old enough. They kept getting the wrong arm up and down or put them too low etc. Finally, anyone with plays for 6-7 year olds who wants to share, I'd be most appreciative. Again, thanks for helping with all of us "rookies." My wife thinks I'm taking it all a little too seriously, but like you all, I just want to do right by these kids and parents who are trusting me to teach their kids the basics and have fun.

Scrimmage 4 on 3. I don't know if you have this luxury but several older brothers usually come to our practices and end up hanging around or forming their own pick up games. When I'm short handed I'll round them up and use them as extras in scrimmages. I even get them involved in drills kind of like little assistants. They love doing it too.

Does the entire defense have to start 10 yards from the line of scrimmage? Typically only the rusher has to start that far back. You might want to clarify that as that's a big difference.

If your runs are working why do you need to pass? As long as you're moving it you should be fine. When the defense adjusts to try to stop your runs then the passing should open up. Take what they give you.

At 6-7 you can expect most of the kids to get the handoffs correctly. Some will not but you can keep working on them. Personally I try to help them with technique but at this age I'm more interested in results. I'd rather see them take a handoff going full speed than worry about which hand is up or down. Repetition is the key, have them do it again and again in succession. If they're dropping the ball or slowing down on the handoffs that's when you have a problem.

FYI, mine and Coach Rob's playbooks are for the same age range. Actually mine was 7-8 and his was 7-9 I believe. But they should work well. Let me know if you want to see them.

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Hey coaches,

I'm a rookie coach in Flag Football. I'm coaching 7 on 7 for 12-13 year old boys.

Anyone have any good plays and drills they would like to share with me, that have been successful for you.

Any info would be very appreciated!

Thanks in advance

Hey Coach V,

There are actually some great drills to run. If you scroll more towards the middle of this forum, Orange, and a few others lay out some great drills. I actually have used them at practice over the past few weeks, thanks to Orange, and I'm telling you, they are great drills and the kids have a lot of fun with them!

On a different note, does anyone put in "plays" for defense? Other than, Zone or Man to Man? I know its tough, but in your league, do you cheat over a linebacker to one side or the other, if you think the play is coming there way? Have you had your kids on the line, not rush, but rather just peel down the line, rolling the dice that the play will be going one way or another?

The reason I ask, is that as the season goes on, and the kids are more comfortable with the line up and their responsiblilty on defense, there really isn't much more I can do, other than make sure they "stay home" for linebackers, "Rush" the qb for the lineman, etc.

I just wondered if anyone has any ideas regarding this. Do you take chances on Defense?

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Hey Coach V,

There are actually some great drills to run. If you scroll more towards the middle of this forum, Orange, and a few others lay out some great drills. I actually have used them at practice over the past few weeks, thanks to Orange, and I'm telling you, they are great drills and the kids have a lot of fun with them!

On a different note, does anyone put in "plays" for defense? Other than, Zone or Man to Man? I know its tough, but in your league, do you cheat over a linebacker to one side or the other, if you think the play is coming there way? Have you had your kids on the line, not rush, but rather just peel down the line, rolling the dice that the play will be going one way or another?

The reason I ask, is that as the season goes on, and the kids are more comfortable with the line up and their responsiblilty on defense, there really isn't much more I can do, other than make sure they "stay home" for linebackers, "Rush" the qb for the lineman, etc.

I just wondered if anyone has any ideas regarding this. Do you take chances on Defense?

Thanks for the kind words. I wish there was a better way to organize this thread so that information could be easier to find. The longer it gets the harder it is for people to find things.

On defense I certainly coach them up all the time. I have a basic formation but if I think it'll be a run or a pass or whatever I'll shift them around so they can best be in position to stop the play. If the other team is doing something over and over and/ or having success I'll change on the fly. I know some kids who can adjust more than others. I don't try to overburden the ones that have enough just playing their spot. But others I can say something like, "OK, you're the mlb but I think they are going to run. On the snap run to the line of scrimmage and bust it up." I've taken a player out of the zone and had him go man-to-man if they keep throwing to the same one. Halfway through the season I switched from coaching the defense to coaching the offense but I still instruct my def coach when I want him to make changes. I probably tinker with the formation 3-4 times per half.

It's funny, I really enjoy coaching defense more than offense, I just had to change because my offense wasn't getting it done. My defensive coach and I joke because our kids were so good at defense we'd say you just have to stand out there and they make you look good. It's more than that though and placing them in the right place to make the plays makes a big difference. Of course as with any football, if you guess wrong you could get burned but that's the way it goes sometimes.

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Hi everyone. Great post. I am a first time coach of 6-7 year olds. I have used a lot of your recommendations and after our first scrimmage today (we have 7 on 7 and I only have 7 players so we can't scrimmage in practice) I am encouraged. Thanks for your generosity. Couple of questions though. Defense starts 10 yards off the ball. I have hesitated using the drag plays because I am not sure how they will work since the defense will have time to disrupt the pass as they attack the 10 yard interval. We also cannot block so I am not sure how I can slow the rush on a drag play. I have several sweeps and reverses which work well, but with the defense sitting back I am having trouble with pass plays. Any suggestions? Also, hand-offs are a problem, I tried teaching the basic hand off but I don't think my kids are old enough. They kept getting the wrong arm up and down or put them too low etc. Finally, anyone with plays for 6-7 year olds who wants to share, I'd be most appreciative. Again, thanks for helping with all of us "rookies." My wife thinks I'm taking it all a little too seriously, but like you all, I just want to do right by these kids and parents who are trusting me to teach their kids the basics and have fun.

Scrimmage 4 on 3. I don't know if you have this luxury but several older brothers usually come to our practices and end up hanging around or forming their own pick up games. When I'm short handed I'll round them up and use them as extras in scrimmages. I even get them involved in drills kind of like little assistants. They love doing it too.

Does the entire defense have to start 10 yards from the line of scrimmage? Typically only the rusher has to start that far back. You might want to clarify that as that's a big difference.

If your runs are working why do you need to pass? As long as you're moving it you should be fine. When the defense adjusts to try to stop your runs then the passing should open up. Take what they give you.

At 6-7 you can expect most of the kids to get the handoffs correctly. Some will not but you can keep working on them. Personally I try to help them with technique but at this age I'm more interested in results. I'd rather see them take a handoff going full speed than worry about which hand is up or down. Repetition is the key, have them do it again and again in succession. If they're dropping the ball or slowing down on the handoffs that's when you have a problem.

FYI, mine and Coach Rob's playbooks are for the same age range. Actually mine was 7-8 and his was 7-9 I believe. But they should work well. Let me know if you want to see them.

Hi everyone. Great post. I am a first time coach of 6-7 year olds. I have used a lot of your recommendations and after our first scrimmage today (we have 7 on 7 and I only have 7 players so we can't scrimmage in practice) I am encouraged. Thanks for your generosity. Couple of questions though. Defense starts 10 yards off the ball. I have hesitated using the drag plays because I am not sure how they will work since the defense will have time to disrupt the pass as they attack the 10 yard interval. We also cannot block so I am not sure how I can slow the rush on a drag play. I have several sweeps and reverses which work well, but with the defense sitting back I am having trouble with pass plays. Any suggestions? Also, hand-offs are a problem, I tried teaching the basic hand off but I don't think my kids are old enough. They kept getting the wrong arm up and down or put them too low etc. Finally, anyone with plays for 6-7 year olds who wants to share, I'd be most appreciative. Again, thanks for helping with all of us "rookies." My wife thinks I'm taking it all a little too seriously, but like you all, I just want to do right by these kids and parents who are trusting me to teach their kids the basics and have fun.

Scrimmage 4 on 3. I don't know if you have this luxury but several older brothers usually come to our practices and end up hanging around or forming their own pick up games. When I'm short handed I'll round them up and use them as extras in scrimmages. I even get them involved in drills kind of like little assistants. They love doing it too.

Does the entire defense have to start 10 yards from the line of scrimmage? Typically only the rusher has to start that far back. You might want to clarify that as that's a big difference.

If your runs are working why do you need to pass? As long as you're moving it you should be fine. When the defense adjusts to try to stop your runs then the passing should open up. Take what they give you.

At 6-7 you can expect most of the kids to get the handoffs correctly. Some will not but you can keep working on them. Personally I try to help them with technique but at this age I'm more interested in results. I'd rather see them take a handoff going full speed than worry about which hand is up or down. Repetition is the key, have them do it again and again in succession. If they're dropping the ball or slowing down on the handoffs that's when you have a problem.

FYI, mine and Coach Rob's playbooks are for the same age range. Actually mine was 7-8 and his was 7-9 I believe. But they should work well. Let me know if you want to see them.

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Hi everyone. Great post. I am a first time coach of 6-7 year olds. I have used a lot of your recommendations and after our first scrimmage today (we have 7 on 7 and I only have 7 players so we can't scrimmage in practice) I am encouraged. Thanks for your generosity. Couple of questions though. Defense starts 10 yards off the ball. I have hesitated using the drag plays because I am not sure how they will work since the defense will have time to disrupt the pass as they attack the 10 yard interval. We also cannot block so I am not sure how I can slow the rush on a drag play. I have several sweeps and reverses which work well, but with the defense sitting back I am having trouble with pass plays. Any suggestions? Also, hand-offs are a problem, I tried teaching the basic hand off but I don't think my kids are old enough. They kept getting the wrong arm up and down or put them too low etc. Finally, anyone with plays for 6-7 year olds who wants to share, I'd be most appreciative. Again, thanks for helping with all of us "rookies." My wife thinks I'm taking it all a little too seriously, but like you all, I just want to do right by these kids and parents who are trusting me to teach their kids the basics and have fun.

Scrimmage 4 on 3. I don't know if you have this luxury but several older brothers usually come to our practices and end up hanging around or forming their own pick up games. When I'm short handed I'll round them up and use them as extras in scrimmages. I even get them involved in drills kind of like little assistants. They love doing it too.

Does the entire defense have to start 10 yards from the line of scrimmage? Typically only the rusher has to start that far back. You might want to clarify that as that's a big difference.

If your runs are working why do you need to pass? As long as you're moving it you should be fine. When the defense adjusts to try to stop your runs then the passing should open up. Take what they give you.

At 6-7 you can expect most of the kids to get the handoffs correctly. Some will not but you can keep working on them. Personally I try to help them with technique but at this age I'm more interested in results. I'd rather see them take a handoff going full speed than worry about which hand is up or down. Repetition is the key, have them do it again and again in succession. If they're dropping the ball or slowing down on the handoffs that's when you have a problem.

FYI, mine and Coach Rob's playbooks are for the same age range. Actually mine was 7-8 and his was 7-9 I believe. But they should work well. Let me know if you want to see them.

Thanks for the suggestions, I am going to try 4 on 3 scrimmage. The entire defense starts 10 yards back. I guess the league wants the ball moving forward. The play starts with the defense in a prevent already. You are right about going full speed. From reading your previous posts, I have emphasized that aspect and I saw a big difference between our team and the team we scrimmaged. I do want to try some passing to teach the boys how it is done and because I expect when we face some better teams they are going to do everything to shut the run down. Also, I have a couple of kids who can really catch and run. I'd appreciate any plays you want to divulge. Thanks for the tip on the using the older boys; I know a couple of dads I can use as well.

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Hi guys,

I have enjoyed reading all of your posts. I have coached my sons 5-8 year old flag league the past 2 years (this is my third) and have had various degrees of success. Mostly it depended on the athletes on my team. But this year, my core group of kids are all 8 and I have one or two who can throw and a couple who can catch on the run, so I am excited about putting in a good offense based upon the pass. Orange and Coach Rob, I would love to get a copy of your playbook. I will email both of you and just send what you will. Thanks.

The other comment I had was on the positive focus on sportsmanship from this board. The leagues (both football and baseball) in which I have coached the past few years have been far too concentrated on winning rather than having fun. I will admit that I sank to their level. The first year I coached flag, I would go home at night and have to walk around the neighborhood just to calm down from the game. Eventhough we won every game, I could not help but dwell on "what can I do better?" Needless to say very few kids touched the ball.

However, this spring my attitude changed. I could talk the talk ("this is just little league, so we are just out here to have fun") but could not walk the walk ("COME ON ALEX, GET IN FRONT OF THAT GROUND BALL"). Then out of the blue, my secretary gave me Cal Ripken Jr's book, "Parenting Young Athletes the Ripken Way". What an eye opener. I would suggest that it be required reading for all parents of athletes. After the first 45 pages I was able to walk the walk. We had a great baseball season, where everyone played every position and the kids loved me for it. I got the greatest joy out of making baseball fun for those kids who lacked the ability to be the superstar and most likely always played outfield. Now, I did have a few arguments with my asst. coaches when we were up or down by a run and I pulled all the good kids to the outfield and moved all the poor athletes to the infield. But it never hurt us, we always held on to win. I am glad to see that same attitude here.

I look forward to carrying over that attitude to flag this year and I appreciate the suggestions on keeping track of the touches. I will let you know how it goes.

Once again, I am glad I found this board and appreciate all of your comments so far.

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