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There has been some great stuff in here, so first thanks to everyone who posts. I have a question for the group though. Im coaching in a 5 on 5 league. Which has a first down at midfield and only allows 3 downs to make a first. None of the kids on my team have a "cannon" for an arm and running plays only net us 10 yards max. I've got a great bunch of kids that know how to run routes, the problem is at QB. None of the kids are very good at reading defenses. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to improve my QBs vision and passing abilities? Do i just need to run more reps in practice for him. I've tried to break down on the playbook (which i also got from you guys, THANKS!!) which receivers to look to first. But its not helping. Any thoughts from anyone?


Brett Russ

At this age (8-10) some kids can read defenses and find the open man and some just can't. You have to adjust your offense to the kids you have. If your QB is not good at reading defenses, use plays that misdirect the defense the other way so that there is a high percentage possiblity that his #1 option will always be open for him. My #2 QB is like that, so when he's in the game, I run short crossing routes that are easy reads and easy throws for him. They are the blue drag and green drag in my playbook posted n the playbook section.

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If a kid only has a 15 ft wide path to run through, dancing and juking isn't going to cut it, the best way to get by the flag puller is running full speed. I would also suggest taking the kids that stop, juke, look down and working with them independently. Every time they stop or slow down, start the drill over again. Once they blow by the defender without getting their flag pulled make a HUGE deal out of it. I've had several of my smaller 8 yr olds score TD's this year simply because they took off running and didn't look back.

Coach Rob,

I used the gauntlet drill for the first time last night in practice. The kids really liked it and I really liked the flag pulling results. I think I may have made the alley a little too narrow though (about 10 feet wide), because nobody was able to make it past the second flag puller with getting a flag pulled. Do you ever have anyone make it all the way through? I also used this drill as an optimal time to work on spin moves as that seemed to be the best way to get past the defenders in such a narrow space.

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Do you ever have anyone make it all the way through? I also used this drill as an optimal time to work on spin moves as that seemed to be the best way to get past the defenders in such a narrow space.
You could scoot it out to 15 yards, but I'm looking for kids to get bumped around a bit so we don't make it too wide. Yes, some kids do make it all the way through, we'll have a contest to see how far each kid can make it. To make it through you're going to feel 3 kids tugging, pulling and scraping - so if you don't look down, keep the legs moving and run hard, you have a chance. We go nuts when a kid does that to reinforce the basics of running.

We use the drill to:

1) Get the kids pumped up right before the game

2) Get some success at pulling flags

3) Teach the runners not to stop and juke - run hard fast north/south

4) Teach runners not to look down even if they think their flag was pulled

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Sounds like you're allowing your QB to choose who is open on pass plays? If you have a rusher coming in full speed that will be a daunting task for 8-10 y/o's.

I'd say 80% of the time, my QBs know who the primary receiver is in the huddle. Most of my pass plays are play action or misdirection with the intention of our primary receiving being open. I have a few plays where I tell the QB to pick someone, but even those have play action or a hard roll out in a trips formation.

In our league you can send multiple rushers from 7 yds out upon snap. Also, the QB has 7 seconds to get rid of the ball, so scrambling around doesn't work so well. The teams that execute quickly on offense seem to be the more successful ones.

I am coaching 11-14 kids who are just starting to learn football because, around here, (Portugal, Europe) the game is absolutly ignored. :( We play 5 on 5 but since we have only ... 5 kids :( they have to practice against the older guys (17-23).

My QB was an interception machine but started to get it right as soon as we designated a receiving order and organized the routes to create always a two-receivers-in-the-same-visual-area situation with the near one being the primary.

We expect him to capitalize on the confidence the higher completion will generate to start working with more agressive routes.

Our sessions start with 15 to 20 minutes physical with the last ones focusing on speed and explosiveness. Then we move on to agility drills without ball (10 minutes). We keep on doing agility drills but with the ball (10 minutes), We then do offense and/or defensive game situation drills, like routes and flag pulling (up to 20 minutes). We always try to end with a game (maximum 30 minutes).

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I'm happy to share what I do, and I'm certain each situation is different.

I have 6-8 year olds. First, we have three practices per week (1 to 1.5 hours each). I script what I want to cover the night before.

We have 12 players on the team, with eight on the field during the game. I don't have any assistant coaches (although I encourage parents to help if they want---but they rarely do). This is fine, however.

I try to stress "team dynamics" so we usually start in circle, where we lightly toss the ball around, and just talk about whatever is on our mind. As an example, in tomorrow's "circle" I want to talk to my team about congratulating each other when we make a great play (I want to see high-fives everywhere) and helping players (on both teams) get up in a game when one falls down. We did not do a good job at either in our first game.

I incorporate a "Player of the Week" award, which goes to the player who worked the hardest in practice, listened the best, and left everything he had on the field both in practice that week and in the game. Not necessarily who played the best, but who played the hardest. This player gets to wear a special jersey that I had designed during practice that week. He also gets to "autograph" the jersey, and will be our team captain for the week. Thus in the first practice of the week, we congratulate our POW.

Next I'll run some quick drills (Jingle Jangle, Mini-End Zones, etc). Something to get their juices flowing.

Next I'll line up all the kids and we go over the passing tree. The kids know all the routes now, so it only take 3-5 minutes.

Then we will begin going though our plays. Here is where it gets tricky. As mentioned we have 12 players and eight on the field. So I take eight of them, and we run plays, (with the remainder on defense) then I sub in and out. We do this for about 30 minutes.

We will then do another drill or two, and then go over plays again.

We end practice playing "sharks and minnows". This is where we start with one person on the field (the shark) with the other kids (the minnows) having to run past the shark without having their flag pulled. Whichever minnow(s) get their flagged pulled become sharks and we keep going. If you have not tried it you ought to, it is a lot of fun.

I then end practice with a quick pep-talk and we do our team cheer. I guess it sounds boring, but the kids (and I) really have fun at practice. As you know, it's merely a balancing act of teaching while keeping it fun.

I've tried to reach out to the different coaches in the league to scrimmage with us, but have not had any takers. One coach said he would, but then when I told him I had 6-8 year olds he changed his mind (he has 11-13 year olds). I told him we could "hang" with the big-boys, but he still declined.

I hope this helps some. If you want specifics on the drills I do, I am happy to send them to you. I have about seven or eight (but we don't do them each practice). I'm curious as to how you other coaches handle your practices.


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hey coach im interested in the your practices . I coach 5on5 flag football 6-8 flag football my kids cant seem to keep there head in practice focused how do you do it . I seem to blame myself for the practice going bad and think i could do a better job i try to organize as much as possible im interested in some of your flag football drills if i can get them thanks

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hey coach im interested in the your practices . I coach 5on5 flag football 6-8 flag football my kids cant seem to keep there head in practice focused how do you do it.

If you haven’t checked out this thread, it might give you some general tips on 6/7 yr olds, not sure if there’s much in the way of actual practice plans/drills though.


A few suggestions:

-Come to practice prepared with a written practice plan

-Have backup drills on your plan to use when the current drill isn’t going over w/ the kids

-Avoid having the kids stand in lines (unless they move quickly)

-Keep the practice moving (if a drill isn't working - move on)

-Get help during practice from your assistant and parents to keep the kids focused

-Keep it fun

-Use drills that are more like mini games (see below)

Start practice off by telling a few goofy riddles:

For example: What do you call cheese that’s not yours? Nacho Cheese.

(10 min) Sharks and Minnows – use cones to block off a mini field, pick two players to be in the middle (sharks), rest of the players (minnows) try and run from one end to the other w/o flag being pulled. if flag is pulled, that player is in the middle to help others. coaches can jump in middle if needed to keep drill moving.

Good for: emphasizing proper flag pulling techniques – look at belly button area & running hard (north/south), not looking to see if your flag was pulled, and not stopping until you hear the whistle.

(5 min) Swarm drill – players are about 5 yards away facing coach. Coach has a ball and points to the left, players should go left, if he points right they go right, if he looks like a pass – they yell “Pass!” and back peddle. When he yells “Swarm!” every single kid should come charging at him. You can zig zag a bit and make them work. Every kid has to touch you or if you have enough flags that fit, wear them. Tell the kids to think of an angry pack of bees and someone just messed with their hive. They need to work as a team and swarm. Remind them in a game about being bees and swarming.

(5-10 min) Leap Frog – Teams of two. One is center, one is QB. Center snaps to QB, center stays put, QB runs around and becomes new center, snaps and they continue to destination. Make a relay race out of it. Emphasize good snaps, no drops.

(5-10 min) How many?. Coaches playing catch with kids emphasizing watching ball into hands. Two coaches, kids spread out in a line. Form two teams. Have kids try and catch call with their hands. Could see how many they can catch in a row as a group and make it a competition.

(5 min) Simon Sez- Break up practice with a quick game of simon sez.

(5 min) Tunnel of doom. Kids lines up behind each other, give out as many balls as possible. Have all the parents, sibings, uncles, aunts, grandparents; line up in pairs opposite the kids about 5-10 yds away with their hands out (forming a small path for the kids to run through). Object is to get the kids used to feeling some contact and not looking down to see if flag is pulled. You don’t want people trying to pull flags, just loose hands and let the kids bust through. One coach keeps the line moving and another is encouraging the kid to run hard and not look down. Kids love it, parents can even yell at them as they go through the tunnel.

(5 min) Handoff line. Tougher with the younger kids, it can be done if you try it slow at first. Split up kids in two lines facing each other. One line starts with the ball and is handing off to the other line. Walk it through at first and speed up as they get it. They need to give a big enough target for hand off. The lines keep moving b/c you hand off, go in back of receiving line, etc.

(5-10 min) Fake out the parent. Can split up into two groups for this one have assistant take one group. Coach is QB, players are running backs. This works better with a smaller nerf football. You’re teaching the kids to fake or take (use a signal if you’re going to fake it or give it to them). The parent is on defense trying to guess if the runner has the ball or not. The parent really isn’t trying to guess; just more there to be “wowed” by the amazing fakes that are taking place (if you catch my drift). Teach the kids to be actors and roll their shoulder, not looking back but continuing to run hard, but not show if they have the ball or not.

Breaking up into smaller groups and rotating through stations is another possibility. One station could be learning to throw, another catching, one running, one flag pulling. They stay at each station 3-5 min and then switch.

With drills (this seems to work for all age groups) giving a time reference works well to keep them focused:

"All I need is 5 minutes on this one, just give me 5 minutes"

"Only two more minutes, work hard"

"90 seconds left"

Using time references helps the kids realize the drill isn't going on for eternity.

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