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tbuzz50

5/6, 5 V 5 No Run League

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First off, this is my first post and I really appreciate all the great advice you all have for a first year coach.

So back to the topic. Am I crazy or is having a pass only league for 5/6 year olds a little silly. All passes must be forward but do not have to cross the LOS. Should I be setting up my offense for a lot of shuffle passes to the running back or center? We have found at practice that really only 2 of the boys can even throw the ball a max of 10 yards but not with much accuracy. Any help you "vets" could offer would be greatly appreciated.

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First off, this is my first post and I really appreciate all the great advice you all have for a first year coach.

If you're coaching 5/6 y/o's, get the book "Herding Cats 101" by Orange. Seriously, you'll have your hands full keeping them focused so being organized for practice with drills/games with several options will help. If one drill isn't working you can move to the next. Incorporating more mini games that teach skills works well at that age (e.g. Sharks & Minnows - a few kids in middle, others trying to make it through without flag pulls). Breaking up in small groups of 3 and moving from station to station also helps.

If you can find a like-minded person to be your assistant that will be a huge help. Also find parents willing to help with practice, equip checks, stats, tracking ball touches in games, etc.

Am I crazy or is having a pass only league for 5/6 year olds a little silly.
Yes. Maybe you could talk them into having no run zones instead? 5 yds before each end zone and 5 yards on either side of mid-field.
Should I be setting up my offense for a lot of shuffle passes to the running back or center? We have found at practice that really only 2 of the boys can even throw the ball a max of 10 yards but not with much accuracy.
Wouldn't even attempt long passes at this age. Short center drags where QB actually moves parallel with receiver type passes. My Flood pass play works well (see attached).

I'm sure others will chime in.FLood.doc

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Yes, it is crazy. I might argue that they are too young to play football in general but certainly they are too young to be in a passing only league. My strategy would be to bunch them in the middle of the field in a zone, like a 3-2 but tight towards the middle. On offense I wouldn't throw more than 3 yards very often and most passes will be behind the los.

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Thanks Coach Rob and Orange. I really appreciate the ideas and advice and that I will certainly take all of it into account. The plays are great, simple and I should be able to teach them. I did manage to find two other fathers to help me out. I will keep you posted on how we are doing.

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I think an advantage of this type of setup is that it might limit the one breakaway player who can score at will. This is the fastest kid, who usually asks older than the others. I've coached this age for a few seasons and there's usually one on every team. Most plays at this level on run/pass teams are runs (90%+).

That said, I would also execute most (or all) play behind the LOS. The flood type plays described earlier work well too. I wouldn't pass more than 2-3 yards all season.

Can the defense rush? Seven yard rule? If so run fast breaking, simple plays. Misdirection plays work well at this age.

Coach Fun

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Also, Orange where can I find your book?

I think Rob was kidding you when he said to get Orange's book. There has been a lot of posts in these forums on "herding cats" so if you do a search for those terms you will find lots of posts on flag football for the younger ages.

I too think a pass only league for 5-6 yr olds is ridiculous. Most kids can't pass or catch at that age...

But, here's an idea that came to mind that I would try if I were in your situation:

  1. I know you cannot run, but you can still fake the run. Kids at that age bite at just about everything, so here is an idea. Run an option type offense where the QB never actually runs. Have the RB run right next to but just ahead of the QB, and have the QB shuffle pass it to him right before he hits the line of scrimmage. This will be a sweep type run, so it will draw the defense with the QB. You could also do something like sweep to the right, and throw a short pass to the center or WR who runs a couple steps in the opposite direction of the sweep (to the left). The tiniest fakes will do wonders at this age.

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Having just coached a 5/6 year old team, I know a 5/6 passing only league will be challenging. We use rules Coach Rob references (5 yd no run zones before midfield and the end zone) and it works really well. The Center drag play was our go to passing play and worked every week 4-5 times a game. Just practicing it increased our passing and receiving skills. I found that the sharks/minnows drill was a big hit, but save it for the end of practice as a treat for the kids listening and paying attention...they love it that much !! The kids loved to run 10-15 yd "bombs" even though we rarely completed one. Rotate the kids and give them all a chance to play center, qb and wide receiver, and you will keep their interest and have a blast !!

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Rob, I found your "Flood" plays interesting.

A few quick questions for ya...

1. Do you still find these plays effective at the age group you are coaching, or did you use them mainly when you coached 5/6?

2. On the flood passes that go to the Center, how to you handle it if he is covered? Do you have one or more of your receivers break off their slant routes?

3. How far up field do you have your Center run on these plays (F1 and F3)? Do you just send him to the flat? Do you allow the play to develop, or is it a quick-strike pass?

4. We have to have at least one player on the LOS each side of the Center. Thus instead of having the receiver run a fade I'm thinking of assigning him a short In route as a secondary option (I've attached it).

I'm thinking of giving this play a try. I'll let you know the results if I do. Thanks!

Flood_Center Pass.doc

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1. Do you still find these plays effective at the age group you are coaching, or did you use them mainly when you coached 5/6?
I've used them all the way through including this current season. Works well if your QB can sell the look left first and wait to throw back right. Teams in the older division start to see that formation and figure it out though. So, we'll take the C and send them on an out route left, then take the RR sending them towards middle with a sharp break back right at a sharp angle. Sometimes we'll throw to one of the guys taking a slant across the middle, then run the pass to our C next play.
2. On the flood passes that go to the Center, how to you handle it if he is covered? Do you have one or more of your receivers break off their slant routes?
Honestly, it's rare that the center gets covered unless their D coach tells someone to cover him specifically. Even then with a good sell by the QB the play usually works.
3. How far up field do you have your Center run on these plays (F1 and F3)? Do you just send him to the flat? Do you allow the play to develop, or is it a quick-strike pass?
I use that play if I'm in the 5 yard no run zone, need short yards for a first down or for the XP. Usually the C takes step back then straight across los or at an angle headed up field. Rushers are coming pretty fast in our league, so the hope is our receivers slow that down a bit giving the QB time to look opposite way of target.
I'm thinking of giving this play a try. I'll let you know the results if I do. Thanks!

You'll be pleasantly surprised, especially if your QB can sell it and wait for the rush to dump it off. That's the key to making it work.

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