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Greetings everyone,

I am a volunteer for the local Y and I will be coaching my first flag football team. It will be a 7 on 7 or 8 on 8 games for 4 & 5 year old kids. Can someone help me with some useful tips for this age group? My main goal is for the kids to have fun and allow them to play all positions; but I am new to american football and also to coaching this age group. My goal in the practice is to teach them to:

1. pull the flags

2. avoid getting their flags pulled (without guarding)

3. line up after huddle

4. Snap the ball (down, set hike)

5. possible three plays (left, center, right)

Any suggestions or ideas will be greatly appreciated... you can email them to me also at leo@infralap.com

Regards,

Leo

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those are good to start with.i would teach them 2 running plays and 1 passing play...i referee this age groups and coaches try to do way to much at this age.

teach them basics:

flag pulling

catching

how to take a handoff & how to throw the ball

make sure they run to the right endzone and make sure they dont pull there own teammates flag

these are probably the biggest mistakes i see.

also for defense please line the kids up in a zone in a 3-2.dont do man defense.this will lead to the other team getting a lot of long runs on you.

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Any suggestions or ideas will be greatly appreciated
The best suggestion I can give you is to read through some of the threads that are "pinned" in the Flag Football forum under Important Topics.

If you're dealing with 4-5 y/o's I'd recommend getting the book "How to herd cats". ;) Seriously though, you'll be dealing with some very basic stuff at that level. Rushbuster is correct, finding a handful of basic concepts and going over and over and over them is your best bet.

Flag pulling- look at the kids belly button area, not the head or legs. we teach our kids to scrape across the belt instead of trying to finesse a flag pull or look like a matador trying to pull flags. they'll need to be agressive. everyone swarms around the person with the ball.

Running (avoiding flag pulls)- don't stop until you hear the whistle and NEVER look down to see if your flag was pulled. Run north/south, don't stutter step or run east/west.

Handoffs- give the QB a big target to put the ball in. QB make sure you put the ball in the target.

Passes/Catching- wouldn't throw any long passes at this age. I'd go with short shovel passes or simple center drag type routes real close to the los.

Fakes- teach your kids to be good actors on fake handoffs it will come in handy with misdirection plays.

You can check out some of the playbooks under the youth flag football forum. Any misdirection plays you can run at this age will probably be your best bet for long runs or scores.

CRob

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I think if you can somehow teach them to run end arounds and fake end arounds, you will be unstoppable. Throwing will be almost useless. This won't resemble football very much. Still, I'd be very tempted to fake the end around and try a center drag.

On defense stack the kids close to the middle, I watched a 6 & under team playing once and I was amazed at how the coaches spread out the defense. You can virtually disregard anything more than 6 yards to either side of the center. I'd place them in a zone, 4 right on the los, 2 and 6 yards on either side of the center. The other three I'd place in the gaps about 3 yards off the los, one directly over the center the other two maybe 4-5 yards out. Place the kid that is most likely to make an interception in the middle and make sure your ends are solid flag pullers. That defense will be almost impossible to move the ball on.

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I think if you can somehow teach them to run end arounds and fake end arounds, you will be unstoppable. Throwing will be almost useless. This won't resemble football very much. Still, I'd be very tempted to fake the end around and try a center drag.

On defense stack the kids close to the middle, I watched a 6 & under team playing once and I was amazed at how the coaches spread out the defense. You can virtually disregard anything more than 6 yards to either side of the center. I'd place them in a zone, 4 right on the los, 2 and 6 yards on either side of the center. The other three I'd place in the gaps about 3 yards off the los, one directly over the center the other two maybe 4-5 yards out. Place the kid that is most likely to make an interception in the middle and make sure your ends are solid flag pullers. That defense will be almost impossible to move the ball on.

Thank you all for your input, but like I said, I am very new at the sport - what is run end arounds and fake end arounds?

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Thank you all for your input, but like I said, I am very new at the sport - what is run end arounds and fake end arounds?

A typical run is a handoff to a running back who lines up behind the quarterback. The quarterback will take the snap from the center and then turn and hand it to the running back who is moving towards the line of scrimmage (los). The running back will go left or right depending on the play.

An end around is a handoff to one of the receivers who begins the play lined up at the los. You might line the kids up all on the los. This will look like a pass play. When the qb snaps the ball the designated receiver will turn and run down the los and slightly back so he passes behind the qb who hands him the ball. His momentum will be going towards the sideline which allows him to get to the outside quickly. Normally the defense bunches in the middle so getting to the outside is a good way to make a gain. The receiver heads outside and then turns up towards the opponents goal.

A fake end around is simply an end around where the qb pretends to hand the ball to the receiver but does not. This results in tricking the defense into thinking he just received the ball and they will all go after him. Then the qb does something else in the complete opposite direction. When it works, the half of the field that the receiver came from should be wide open. You can have the center snap the ball and turn and wait. After the fake end around, the qb can get the ball to the center who then goes in the other direction.

Check out the playbooks and you'll see what I'm talking about. My earliest playbook was for 6 on 6 and it was for 8 and under if I recall correctly (look in the thread called Orange playbook in the playbooks forum.

But maybe I'm making it too complicated. 4 & 5 year olds won't be able to do much, too young to be playing football in my opinion anyway.

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My best advice to you is work on getting in and out of the huddle daily at least 10 min.

Time is a killer with this age group.

In our league no matter the age group you have 30 sec. to call the play and snap the ball.

The bulk of the teams spend a lot of wasted time with delay of game penalties that can easily be prevented.

One of the 1st things you do every practice is run a huddle drill.

If you do not practice on a lined field find a piece of rope or hose and use this line to simulate the LOS.

Organize your huddle about 5 yards or so behind the LOS.

Your huddle must be uniform and the same everytime.

Spread 3 cones across your practice field and place them at 3, 7, 10 yards down field.

Kneel down to call your formation and snap count (At this age I would only use 1 formation and always snap the ball on hut).

Speak clearly and make eye contact with everyone in the huddle (This will usually tell you two things who is paying attention and if the they understand).

Call the play twice and break the huddle and eveyone sprints to the LOS and finds their postion in the formation.

On hut all players sprint to one of the cones to which they have been assigned stop and wait for the whistle.

At the whistle they sprint back to the coach and huddle up again.

Have one of the parents time you.

Work on mastering this very simple part of the game with time to spare.

Do not have kids standing and watching run mutiple groups if needed.

Always keep your kids engaged in parcatice.

If you can perfect this part of the game the rest is really easy.

You have plenty of time to run your play while most of the other teams are tripping all over themselves.

Simple and organized is best, choatic and complicated and your just asking for trouble (you'll never get a play off).

I have viewed most of the play books posted here and you should be able to find a few plays to start off with that are well suited for the little guys.

Enlist some quality help " Hurdding Cats" can be quite close if you attempt to go it alone.

Find a compitant assistant.

At this age I'm sure coaches are allowed on the field during play

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Thank you all for your input, but like I said, I am very new at the sport - what is run end arounds and fake end arounds?
I'd also recommend checking out a local bookstore or online for "basic football concepts and rules" to help you get an overall understanding of the sport.

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Thank you all for your input, but like I said, I am very new at the sport - what is run end arounds and fake end arounds?
I'd also recommend checking out a local bookstore or online for "basic football concepts and rules" to help you get an overall understanding of the sport.

Thanks... That is the first thing I did. I bought the book and rented an online DVD on youth football fundamentals

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Leo, I started a long reply to this, but accidently clicked a link that led me back a page---and unfortunately my post was not cached on my browser---so . . .

It seems you are new to coaching. My only advice to you is to ensure that you make a BIG production out of everything your players do. Get to know them personally, and have fun with their own, unique personalities. Make it your #1 goal to teach the kids (especially at this age) what it means to be on a team. Ensure that they are all best friends on the field, and they realize each and every one of them is extremely important to the team. You'll be hard-pressed to teach much football at 4-5 year olds, but what you can do is show all the kids they have a coach who gets psyched at everything they do on the field. Encourage picking teammates up when the fall down, congratulating one another when they do something good, etc.

Keep the parents involved as well. Let Mr. and Mrs. Jones know what little Johnny is doing on the field, how he interacts with others, etc. Your least-skilled player might be the most-fun kid---so don't let that go unnoticed.

Again---teach TEAM first. This is something 4-5 year olds will remember more than anything. Tout their greatness. If you have a Center who does not muff a snap in a game---let he and his parents know how proud you are of him---these are the things they will remember--not winning and losing. Know this.

Regarding football strategies---you have received a lot of sound advice from members in this thread. You will adjust to things as the season progresses, and as long as the kids/parents know that you are genuinely concerned with their contributions to the team--you have done your job. It can take a lot out of you, and in the end you will know how you fared.

Good luck and please let us know how you do! I say that all the time, but new members never seem to come back and let us know how things are going---so please keep us informed. We take time to help, so it helps us to know how our advice is succeeding or failing. :-)

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Greetings everyone,

I want to thank you all for your input and feedback. We had our first "successful" practice and I am looking forward to the next. I made a few mistakes like, I had the center call down, set, hike instead of the QB. I believe that this can be fixed and I hope this does not discourage the parents from the team. Also, I learned late that the best way to end a drill and make everyone stop is to use the whistle. Although, I wanted to rotate players in order to give all a chance to play, I am starting to think that it will be better to play the kids in the same position all the time. Still, I will try another strategy that I hope will allow me to rotate players in position. I will be using colors for positions. Example, red will be the right RB, Blue the left RB and yellow the QB. Placed the colors in the grass and teach the kids that position and rotate players, so all kids can play using colors. Will see if this works and share back later the results

Regards,

Leo

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