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Coach Fun

Thoughts On Position Coverage

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Hi coaches,

I love this forum, and would not be able to coach without it.

One issue I have that I haven't seen addressed is offensive position coverage and rotation in-game. As a backdrop, my team consists of nine 6-7YOs 5x5. Five returning players and four newbies. Anyway I have been rotating all positions for each play. I do not have set positions for the players, because I like to see them play all positions. Unfortunately this makes the 30 second huddle very tight. Sometimes kids forget what to do our their route, sometimes they want to argue in the huddle (not allowed). Not a problem on defense, but offense can be really challenging.

My question is:

* should I keep it as is

* should I set positions for one game at a time (ie Jimmy is QB when he is in - all game). I think I might try this just for the center/QB positions.

* should I start to set players into positions

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Coach Fun

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We've kicked this topic around a few times. You could do an advanced search for "substitution" or "rotation" under Youth Flag Football and that should turn up some older threads.

I'll throw out a few thoughts though. With 6-7 y/o's, I'd keep it pretty simple. Maybe create two squads and make sure each squad shares some of the weaker players. You could sub a stronger player if needed in certain situations.

I'd find two good centers and two good QBs, those would be the positions I would play the same kids more often than not. Bottom-line: If you sub everyone in those positions, it will make it harder to get plays off and you'll have less chance of success and ball touches. Some would argue that every kid needs to play ever position, however, seasons and games go by fast, so I'd rather shoot for more successful plays which means more touches for the kids.

Have someone track ball touches for you, make adjustments on the fly to try and get all the kids touches.

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Yea at that age I would get 2 kids to play center & 2 to play QB.I move all my kids around from RB & WR but even at 11-13 year olds I pick 3 centers & 2 QB's & thats it.I dont have the time to teach every kid on the team how to snap the ball and every kid how to be a QB.Just doesnt work that way.However every kid can learn how to catch (we do catching drills) and how to take hand offs.I'm up front with the parents about this.As a team with games/practice we just dont have that much time for every kid to learn every position.

As far as routes go I would make a play sheet and give each position a number.Point out what number to each kid his position is.That way they can see there route also.

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I agree with what both Rob and Rush said about QB's. I am a little more liberal with the centers because most of my plays are run from under center. When I run shotgun I do only have a couple of kids I use at center for those plays. Since you only have 9 players it will be hard to field an A and B team (especially if you have kids miss due to illness, etc.) which is often the case. What I like to do is keep the same group of kids in for series of plays. In tight games I will occasionally sub out a couple during a series, but that is usually situational (like if I need a long 3rd down conversion I'll sub in my better QB and recievers). That is rare though.

Whatever you do I would NOT try to sub out every play, it's just way too much hassle and then you have to reassign positions every down. If you keep the same bunch in for a whole series you can assign certain positions to each kid on the first play, and then keep them the same for the whole series. Rush uses numbers, I use colors for position designations. What I do is on the first play I'll say "John you're blue, Fred you're green, Tim, you're red, etc. for all 5 positions). See my playbook in the playbook section and you'll understand better.

To spread the ball around I throw it to different players and hand off to different players as well. Most of my plays have at least 2 options for ball touches so I can spread the ball that way, and also set up plays off of each other at the same time. Then on the next posession you can sub in new players and change up who does each position if you want.

I tried switching up every kid to every position my first season of coaching, but it really didn't work too well. Some kids just cannot catch well and should not play WR in the game. Of course I work on catching with them in practice, but in games I find other ways to get them ball touches. Don't be afraid to be creative in how you get players involved in your plays.

Good Luck!

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Okay I am making a 'major' change. I will use one center/QB combo for the entire game. We'll see how that goes. i can already see some problems with the reduced flexibility, but at least I will be able to keep everyone's name straight by the end of the game. Thanks for the replies.

Kind regards,

Coach Fun

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I have always given players a primary position to play. I'll have one or two players that can step in to any position as needed. At first the kids will all want to be the RB or the QB, but as long as you engineer your playbook so that each position gets the ball, and you spread it around evenly during the game, it becomes a moot point. I've had players return and ask if they can be the Center again. :lol: Thus it's also important to put equal emphasis on each position, and "sell" the position to the player, explaining why it is important.

I personally believe there are many advantages to this approach and have never understand why more coaches don't implement it. It allows the players to really "master" their position, and you a have wider breadth of play-calling because the players don't need to learn multiple assignments for multiple positions.

In the past, I have seen some new parents raise an eye at this approach, but they find out after the first game that it really doesn't matter where their kid is playing because he's getting equal chances to make an impact in the game.

We do this with defensive positions too.

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as long as you engineer your playbook so that each position gets the ball, and you spread it around evenly during the game, it becomes a moot point. I've had players return and ask if they can be the Center again. :lol:

That's my problem. 90% of my plays are to the HB, QB or center. Not sure how old your players are, but half of mine are six. They don't naturally fitting into any offensive position. Plus the parents want to see them playing and trying everything.

Totally agree on defense however. I have set corners, and LBs. The only position I swap out is safety/rushers. Thanks again for the ideas.

Coach Fun

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That's my problem. 90% of my plays are to the HB, QB or center.

Try implementing different formations so that the wideouts can easily take hand-offs. i.e. Simply create a formation where a wide out is in the backfield.

Not sure how old your players are, but half of mine are six.

I coach 8-9, but used the same approach when I coached six year olds.

Plus the parents want to see them playing and trying everything.

Yea, this is where you just have to stick with what you believe and not get caught up with what the parents want. My first year coaching, I told the parents I would be assigning positions after the first practice. I received a slew of emails, "My son wants to play RB". "My son can catch on the run", etc. I let them know positions are irrelevant because each player will get the same opportunities---which is the cool thing about flag football. Once they saw this on the field, all concerns went away. That season our LG was our "Offensive Player of the Year". :D

Of course there is no right or wrong way to do it. This is just my approach, and I've been fortunate enough to have complete buy in from parents, and now I have to turn parents away requesting to be on my team (unfortunately).

Good luck and please let us know how you are progressing this season. Thanks

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Guest hmas

Your league setup is extremely similar to mine. I used to sub alot, but as you mentioned it really messes with the flow of an offense. Here is what we started doing this season. We have 3 personnel packages, Green, White and Black. We split the kids between Green and White (we have 10 kids so it works well). Green plays offense in the 1st half and defense in the 2nd half. White is the opposite. The Black team is our goalline or 2 minute offense, comprised of the kids that really get it on offense. We only use this team sparingly.

Within the position groups we mix up the kids between positions, with the exception of QB - we only have 2. We also keep track of how many times a kid has gotten the ball to make sure we distribute it evenly.

Hi coaches,

I love this forum, and would not be able to coach without it.

One issue I have that I haven't seen addressed is offensive position coverage and rotation in-game. As a backdrop, my team consists of nine 6-7YOs 5x5. Five returning players and four newbies. Anyway I have been rotating all positions for each play. I do not have set positions for the players, because I like to see them play all positions. Unfortunately this makes the 30 second huddle very tight. Sometimes kids forget what to do our their route, sometimes they want to argue in the huddle (not allowed). Not a problem on defense, but offense can be really challenging.

My question is:

* should I keep it as is

* should I set positions for one game at a time (ie Jimmy is QB when he is in - all game). I think I might try this just for the center/QB positions.

* should I start to set players into positions

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Coach Fun

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Update -- We just finished the regular season. I kept the same QB/center combination (mostly) for each game in entirety. This has greatly increased my own enjoyment -- and sanity. We literally pop in and out of the huddle now. This change has really made all of the difference for me. I was also able to play seven different QBs in ten games -- and we finished 10-0.

I may try different "packages" at some point next season.

Coach Fun

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Update -- We just finished the regular season. I kept the same QB/center combination (mostly) for each game in entirety. This has greatly increased my own enjoyment -- and sanity. We literally pop in and out of the huddle now. This change has really made all of the difference for me. I was also able to play seven different QBs in ten games -- and we finished 10-0.I may try different "packages" at some point next season.Coach Fun

Congrats! I'm a big believer in picking a few kids who can do the QB/Center positions. Biggest reason is you give your team more chances for successful ball touches. Even in our league (10-14 y/o's) I saw play after play wasted on bad snaps and kids who couldn't play QB. Big bummer for the kids waiting for ball touches.

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I create two teams - Blue/Red (color of their flags). The teams are equal in talent. One of the teams plays the first half on offense and switches to defense the second half. As far as rotations on offense - I play a forced rotation - moving every player to every position through out the year. So each game, the players have their set position and at practice they get plenty of snaps in their position before the game. The next week they all switch to a new position. Which they know in advance. In practice that week, the QB's and Centers do all the hand-offs in drills and are given plenty of snaps at running the plays. I have a structured playbook that I use the entire year. They plays are easy to learn for everybody. Each kids gets to learn the plays and can execute them regardless of the positon. In our league the QB can not run the ball. Every other position has an opportuntiy to get the ball - either by pass or hand off. I play (2) running backs in a split formation ( or wishbone) and one RC either the left or right side. I move the running backs to the line when the play calls for it. Our plays are designed to be very effective regardless of talent at QB. When we are forced to pass (and the current QB is not good at it) we run the pass of a hand-off to one of the players who is. This rotation last for the first 5 weeks. Going into week 6 and into the playoffs, we finalize the positions based on the first 5 games. The positions stay consistant throughout the last game and into the playoffs. I do not emphysis winning during the year. I focus on teaching all the kids the fundamentals of flag football which includes the positions. The key is to start with a plan and stick with it. I have not had one parent complain about playing time. We are always a better team at the end of the year - playoff time - and always compete for the title. This system has worked with 4-5 yr olds, 6-7 yr olds, and 8-9 yrs. My oldest will be moving to the 9-10 division next year so we'll see what happens.

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