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Vegas Coach

Flag Football Defense!

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There has been numerous discussions and techniques used for coaching up flag pulling and drills used for flag pulling. I wanted to start its own thread on defense and flag pulling because a lot of the information is spread out and frankly defensive flag pulling deserves its own discussion thread. Anyhow, I would appreciate it if all fellow coaches would post their drills they use for flag pulling and coaching points or techniques they use to help the kids get this concept. Also let us know how you approach defense and what alignments you use. One thing also is how you teach the kids to stay in their areas or zones and lanes on defense. I'm looking for more ideas.

For Flag pulling, I use the drill where we set up a cone box about 7x10 yards and have 2 defenders in the box while the runner takes a handoff and tries to run through the defenders in the box to make it to the other side.

Another drill we use is we set up about 5 cones 4 yards apart, like this...... X X X X X

Then we have a defender on one side and the RB on the other side taking the ball and choosing what lane to run through. The defenders job is to mirror the runner and grab his flag as or before he chooses his lane. This drill can be found here for a better picture of it..... http://www.canoe.ca/FlagFootball/Coaching/Drills/16.html

We try and teach the kids to rake at the flag belt rather than swing at the flags and also to watch their hips and belly button.

What do you guys have?

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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

I have a few drills

1 on 1 Straight ahead flag pulling-Oklahoma style drill.Also make a lane about 14 yards long 5 yards wide

Group Flag Pulling-This one is the kids most favorite.Make a 25x25 field.2 people in the inside.The rest of the people have to get from one side to the other without there flag getting pulled

Angle-We line the kids up about 7-8 yards apart with both of them facing north.the line with the ball is about 3 yards back.the ones doing the flag pulling have to grab the flags at an angle.

I definitely say the angle one is boring but it works great.Our past 2 seasons doing it we have had a huge increase in kids understanding how to take an angle on flag pulling and we stress 2 hands like crazy

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Angle-We line the kids up about 7-8 yards apart with both of them facing north.the line with the ball is about 3 yards back.the ones doing the flag pulling have to grab the flags at an angle.

I definitely say the angle one is boring but it works great.Our past 2 seasons doing it we have had a huge increase in kids understanding how to take an angle on flag pulling and we stress 2 hands like crazy

Thanks for this suggestion, we have used this drill the last two practices and while it took the kids a little getting used too... it has been a good flag pulling drill with anticipating angles and pursuit.

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Your flag pulling drills look good. There are a couple of things I would add. One, is that we tell our defenders to physically get in the way of the runner such that you can slow him down. The way I teach it is using the same drill as the old lane in which the runners run, except they don't pull flags. They simply get in the way and try to slow him down. The other thing that I stress is swarming defense. I don't really have a drill per se, but I stress it and go over it time and again. Everyone on defense is running to the ball.

We are going to run a 2 1 2, 1 1 3 and a 3 1 1, all zones. My idea this year is to also disguise the defense with the kids shifting around prior to and following the snap. So far with limited practice the shifting works well.

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I like the disguise thing...I love my 2-1-2 though...Hmm.Maybe i'll start disguising that.I like to just shut other teams down though.

Im the old fashion this is what were gonna due.Now stop us

lol

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I like the disguise thing...I love my 2-1-2 though...Hmm.Maybe i'll start disguising that.I like to just shut other teams down though.

Im the old fashion this is what were gonna due.Now stop us

lol

The weakness of the 2 1 2 is that then center of the field is wide open. I'm hoping to catch teams trying to throw down the middle on us by giving them a 2 1 2 look then sliding a defender into the center.

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I like the disguise thing...I love my 2-1-2 though...Hmm.Maybe i'll start disguising that.I like to just shut other teams down though.

Im the old fashion this is what were gonna due.Now stop us

lol

The weakness of the 2 1 2 is that then center of the field is wide open. I'm hoping to catch teams trying to throw down the middle on us by giving them a 2 1 2 look then sliding a defender into the center.

that depends on if you blitz...i dont always blitz.basically i usually put the smartest person in there.i give them the option.they know not to blitz everytime though.basically depends on the play though.

the way i teach that is the front 3 read for run first then pass second and the back 2 deep safeties read pass first run second.

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that depends on if you blitz...i dont always blitz.basically i usually put the smartest person in there.i give them the option.they know not to blitz everytime though.basically depends on the play though.

the way i teach that is the front 3 read for run first then pass second and the back 2 deep safeties read pass first run second.

That's a good idea. I am a huge proponent of placing pressure on the qb but giving the rusher an option is something I want to experiment with.

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that depends on if you blitz...i dont always blitz.basically i usually put the smartest person in there.i give them the option.they know not to blitz everytime though.basically depends on the play though.

the way i teach that is the front 3 read for run first then pass second and the back 2 deep safeties read pass first run second.

That's a good idea. I am a huge proponent of placing pressure on the qb but giving the rusher an option is something I want to experiment with.

Exactly why we do that.Our i9 gaves us 4 downs for a first.

Basically we had an awesome player.So we stuck them there.They were simply at amazing at reading run and pass.So we had them always look like they were gonna blitz whether or nor they were was up to them.Obviously and 3rd/4th and long we sent the blitz.2nd town was our typical non blitz down but we always changed it up.But I could guarantee you no team could guess if we were going to blitz or not...

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Exactly why we do that.Our i9 gaves us 4 downs for a first.

Basically we had an awesome player.So we stuck them there.They were simply at amazing at reading run and pass.So we had them always look like they were gonna blitz whether or nor they were was up to them.Obviously and 3rd/4th and long we sent the blitz.2nd town was our typical non blitz down but we always changed it up.But I could guarantee you no team could guess if we were going to blitz or not...

I ran a little of this at last nights scrimmage and I like the results. I didn't give them an option but I told them to always line up like they were rushing and I would tell them to rush or rush halfway and play a middle zone. And you are correct, the right kid in this spot would make it much easier (same can be said of most positions).

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Exactly why we do that.Our i9 gaves us 4 downs for a first.

Basically we had an awesome player.So we stuck them there.They were simply at amazing at reading run and pass.So we had them always look like they were gonna blitz whether or nor they were was up to them.Obviously and 3rd/4th and long we sent the blitz.2nd town was our typical non blitz down but we always changed it up.But I could guarantee you no team could guess if we were going to blitz or not...

I ran a little of this at last nights scrimmage and I like the results. I didn't give them an option but I told them to always line up like they were rushing and I would tell them to rush or rush halfway and play a middle zone. And you are correct, the right kid in this spot would make it much easier (same can be said of most positions).

Nice...Luckily i guess with my kids being older they understood situations on whether or not to blitz.yea i love it tho.we also did the half rush to keep that middle covered.

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My team this past year played a modified 2-1-2, with my 2 CBs actually backing off the LOS about 5-7 yards, the front LB playing 1-2 yds off of ball and my rushing LB and safety fairly close to each other at the snap of the ball to add a bit of confusion for the QB. I also mainly play man, as my 9-11 y/o's struggled with playing zone, and to be honest they played man fairly well, so we stuck with it. We also had a rusher about 90% of the time.

Position responsibilities:

CBs: WRs

Rushing LB: QB

Front LB: RB, or if no RB, Ctr

S: 3rd WR or C.

My take on a rusher is that I train the players to do the following:

1) Meet with the front LB in the defensive huddle before each play to decide which side the rusher (RLB) is going to come from.

2) The RLB is actually coached to do a run-blitz.

3) The rusher & FLB always are in communication if there is a handoff or end around. Only time we break away from a man-to-man is if there is an end around to the wide receiver. The CB covering that receiver then stays with the QB in case there is a pass back.

4) Since one LB is rushing from one side and the other LB is covering the other, end-arounds and running plays will at least meet with a slow-down obstacle at the line of scrimmage. CBs and Safety don't come up until ball is past LOS.

5) I tell our RLB to try to push the QB to their weak side as much as possible, never leave their feet to block a pass, and slow down with short, choppy steps about 6-8 feet in front of the QB. Staying between the QB and their receivers is more important then getting the sack, IMO as 9-11 y/o's aren't comfortable with throwing when someone is in front.

Our winning in the playoffs/SB was solely due to having our 2nd most athletic player rush the QB. He was blazing fast, and by the time he was in the QBs face, the other team's WRs were just alongside our CBs.

Not sure who mentioned the fake double rush, but I was thinking of that this past year, and I think that would be a good idea, just to mix it up. Players love rushing the QB (especially with no one blockign them), and if you rushed two players just one time, and then faked it other, I would think you could get some picks from that.

Cheers,

PF

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I like that idea of having really one of your more fast athletic kids rush the QB. I think that is a good point. We had our first game this past weekend and one thing I have discovered last year and so far this year is alternating the rusher. We send a rusher about 90% of the time because I believe in pressuring the QB at this young of an age. But by alternating rushers, it keeps the kids rushing fresh and thus can really get in there on the QBs face without tiring out.

I like the idea of the drill that Orange mentioned by getting in the "way" of the runners in practice. Kind of like a defensive blocking foul in basketball.

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Your flag pulling drills look good. There are a couple of things I would add. One, is that we tell our defenders to physically get in the way of the runner such that you can slow him down. The way I teach it is using the same drill as the old lane in which the runners run, except they don't pull flags. They simply get in the way and try to slow him down. The other thing that I stress is swarming defense. I don't really have a drill per se, but I stress it and go over it time and again. Everyone on defense is running to the ball.

We are going to run a 2 1 2, 1 1 3 and a 3 1 1, all zones. My idea this year is to also disguise the defense with the kids shifting around prior to and following the snap. So far with limited practice the shifting works well.

Orange can you give me some more information on how you shift the kids?

I really want to do this but I'm not exactly sure how to yet

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Orange can you give me some more information on how you shift the kids?

I really want to do this but I'm not exactly sure how to yet

Sure. Basically I'll line them up in a certain formation but tell them when the ball is snapped to shift into a different coverage. That way the offense thinks you are running a certain defense when in actuality you're running something else.

Example: Line up in a 3 1 1, with 2 corners, a mlb, a rusher and one safety. The offense gets to the line and sees only one safety deep so they are thinking they can go long. Initially I'll have the safety lined up in the middle. On the snap the safety slides over to one side and the mlb backpedals to the other safety spot. So the coverage is really a 2 1 2. Of course you can do this one in reverse and begin with a 2 1 2 look and shift into a 3 1 1.

You'll probably want to limit the number of players shifting so as not to make it too complicated. In the above example I only shifted the mlb and safety. The other change I've done which I think you did too was to fake rush. The rusher goes in fast and then covers a short middle zone. Alternatively you could begin in a 3 1 1 and have the rusher maybe take a step or two forward then drop into the safety spot while the other slides over from middle to the other side.

I guess my idea is to confuse the offense into thinking that we have a different defense then the one we lined up in. I think at your age group it would be more valuable because the qbs are going to read the defense and then try to make a play. I'm pretty sure most of our opponents at 10 & under are not as sophisticated but I do hope to confuse their coaches.

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Orange...

Actually thats exactly what I was thinking...I guess we are on the same page lol..For the older kids i'm obviously hoping to confuse the QB

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We've added another flag pulling drill that we have found to be pretty effective and also adds a new twist in our practices rather than going through the same old drills. Let me try and explain...

Basically we set up a square box with the four cones which measures something like 5 yards wide by 10 yeards deep. One kid has the ball at one cone while the other kid is the defender at the other cone diagonal from eachother though. They start on their backs looking up at the sky and on the whistle they must turn over and get up and rundown the line on the outside of the cones in opposite directions and then turn into the "Flag Box". As the enter the flag box they now will be facing eachother. Obviously the runner trys to elude the defender while the defender trys for the flag.

I like this drill because it gets the kids running and turning their way into the box and all at the sametime staying moving thus trying to elude the defender and for the defensive kid he's trying to grab the flag on the move. It helps their explosiveness by getting up off their backs as well. We have 10 kids so we split two lines of five and once they go through the box they will switch in the lines they get in as now the defender next time would be the runner. Hope it makes sense....

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I think that works for younger kids...I tried that with older kids and we were having way to much contact besides going for the flag haha...

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I've been using another flag pulling drill that also teaches angles. I have one kid run in a straight line towards a cone about 30 yards away. another kid is about 15 yards to the side and maybe 10 yards forward. He has to sprint and cut him off before he gets to the cone, and of course pull the flags. It teaches angle pursuit along with flag pulling on the run.

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Orange...

Definitely like that Idea...

I dont know what it is but why is teaching angles hard?I just dont get it lol...I guess I naturally understand how to cut a person off lol

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Found a simple drill online that helps with the angle pursuit on defense. We line up about 4 defenders in a horizontal line along the field several feet apart. Then have a player with a football take off and run straight down the sideline. The object is for all 4 players lined up to touch him before he blows by. Obviously the player closest to the sideline will touch him first, the players further from the sideline will have to run at an angle to even have a chance at touching him. Something like this:

_______________Runner-------------------------------------------->

__________________________________________________1Defender

__________________________________________________2Defender

__________________________________________________3Defender

__________________________________________________4Defender

CRob

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This seems like a cool drill, Rob.

Do you put the first defender closest to the out of bounds line and then the second defender is the next closest, etc? Working angles is something I definitely want to stress this season, and this seems like a great drill.

To all you new coaches out there: one thing I learned last season is that kids seem to really use the sideline as a crutch when running with the ball. Practice turning up field early. I think a good coaching point in Rob's drill for the ball-carrier is to learn when it is time to cut back in and gain those few extra yards.

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Do you put the first defender closest to the out of bounds line and then the second defender is the next closest, etc? Working angles is something I definitely want to stress this season, and this seems like a great drill.
yeah, you have the concept. the trick is to teach defenders 3 and 4 to move at an angle in order to touch the runner. very simple drill to get them running at an angle to cut off the runner vs. chasing the runner.
To all you new coaches out there: one thing I learned last season is that kids seem to really use the sideline as a crutch when running with the ball. Practice turning up field early. I think a good coaching point in Rob's drill for the ball-carrier is to learn when it is time to cut back in and gain those few extra yards.
hadn't thought using that for this drill, but it's a good idea to teach cuts using this drill. i'd run the angle portion first to make sure all the kids had a chance to be the #3/#4 defenders and get a good understanding of angle pursuit. good idea though, i have several kids that need to learn that cut back move.

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. . . good idea though, i have several kids that need to learn that cut back move.

I'd say that was one of the things that really surprised me the most last season--my first in flag football. At first I thought little of it (my bad), but then started noticed (on end arounds as an example) 15 feet holes right in front of the ball-carrier, who would simply keep running to the sideline directly to a defender at the sideline waiting for him. Toward the end of the season, I started making a really big deal of it, and one practice we did nothing but learn how to "turn up field".

I also had some kids who had little concept of out of bounds. It will make a grown coach cry to see his ball carrier sprinting down the sideline (with no one in front of him) only to put his foot on or outside of the out of bounds line simply because he was not paying attention to it. :-)

But again, that "angle pursuit" drill seems great. I'll definitely start with the ball-carrier staying on the sideline (being cognizant of it) to give the defenders proper "angle" training---and then once we have that down start allowing the ball-carrier to cut inside at his discretion (and point out if he misses his opportunity). It'll also be good for the defenders to teach them not to over-pursue.

I've decided to finally "ask" for an assistant coach this year---specifically for someone to run the defense. I'm fairly confident whomever it will be will be somewhat new to coaching, thus keep those great defensive drills coming!

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Hey guys,

So glad I found this site. I've spent most of the day scouring the site and reading many, many of the posts by Coach Rob, Orange and Vegas related to defense(since they also are running a 5 on 5 football team with similar age groups as me 8-9yrs old.

Here's my questions. This is my second year coaching defense for youth nfl flag football. Last year I ran a man to man, and really wasn't happy with the results. I am implementing a 3-2 and 2-3 zone this year which can be converted to a 2-1-2 zone occasionally. We have already played one game and won 18-6. The kids seemed to pick up on the zone scheme fairly quick considering we only spent about 30 minutes on it in our precious 2 practices. I am looking for diagrams that I can use to explain the zone concept to the kids better (what part of the field each kid is responsible for). If anyone has anything like that please let me know or just email them to me and I would be very grateful. If not I will just make them up myself but thought I would check first.

Many thanks to everyone who shares their thoughts and plays here as it is so helpful to us other coaches as we learn and teach the kids.

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