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youthballer

New To Coaching, First Time Players, 5-6 Years Old

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Actually, I'm just planning on helping when/where I can.

First practice Thursday night. What do I do?

Have them run so I can see who is fastest and should carry the ball?

Have them throw to see who can throw/catch? Can't really see much passing happening at this age.

What can I do for an hour or so to keep their attention, and make some progress?

Shall I draw some plays up? Will they even "get it" at this age?

Shall I scrimmage some?

Zone defense? Man?

My 6 year old has the attention span of a, well, a 6 year old. I imagine the rest are about the same.

What am I in for?

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What am I in for?
Welcome to the forums. You're in for Herding Cats 101. ;)

Your topic description says 6-6 yr olds, thinking you meant 6-7 yr olds? Are you going to be the head coach or just offer help to the head coach?

Everyone should get a chance to carry the ball. I'd suggest tracking ball touches, have a mom or dad do that during a game and remind the coach who needs ball touches.

Defense = zone, maybe a 3-2? Tell them to swarm the guy with the ball like a bunch of angry bees after someone messed with their nest.

You'll need to keep the practice moving, avoid long lines, and make it fun. Use their names constantly so you start to remember them. Encourage them a lot.

Come up with a goofy team name if the league will let you. Come up with a cheer and get all the parents/kids together at end of practice and before games to do the cheer.

I've attached some sample drills.

Drills_Plays_4-6_yos.doc

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Welcome to the forums. You're in for Herding Cats 101. ;)

Your topic description says 6-6 yr olds, thinking you meant 6-7 yr olds? Are you going to be the head coach or just offer help to the head coach?

Everyone should get a chance to carry the ball. I'd suggest tracking ball touches, have a mom or dad do that during a game and remind the coach who needs ball touches.

Defense = zone, maybe a 3-2? Tell them to swarm the guy with the ball like a bunch of angry bees after someone messed with their nest.

You'll need to keep the practice moving, avoid long lines, and make it fun. Use their names constantly so you start to remember them. Encourage them a lot.

Come up with a goofy team name if the league will let you. Come up with a cheer and get all the parents/kids together at end of practice and before games to do the cheer.

I've attached some sample drills.

Drills_Plays_4-6_yos.doc

Awesome! Thanks!

My typo was that the kids are 5-6 years of age. I'm starting to feel better about this already.

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Actually, I'm just planning on helping when/where I can.

First practice Thursday night. What do I do?

Have them run so I can see who is fastest and should carry the ball?

Have them throw to see who can throw/catch? Can't really see much passing happening at this age.

What can I do for an hour or so to keep their attention, and make some progress?

Shall I draw some plays up? Will they even "get it" at this age?

Shall I scrimmage some?

Zone defense? Man?

My 6 year old has the attention span of a, well, a 6 year old. I imagine the rest are about the same.

What am I in for?

Hi Youth,

You've asked the right questions. One thing though, defer to the head coach. If he knows what he's doing, he'll help direct you.

As far as your questions, I'd focus on three things:

1. You need to know the rules. Kids want to run along with the kid who has the football (not allowed). Kids will all want to rush, like the pros (you can't unless you're 7 yards back in my league). How many downs, etc etc. I'd read the league rules before the first practice. The head coach may not know them all either, and you can contribute right away.

2. Teach them three or four offensive plays. One pass play. There are some great play books posted on this site. Keep it super simple. Two end arounds and a center-drag for the pass play.

3. Flag pulls. The kids can never get enough practice on this. Coach Rob posted some good flag pull drills. Try to make it fun, but don't underestimate how hard this is.

Keep positive. Don't get frustrated.

Coach Fun

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Hey coach,

I hope your practice went well. One piece of advice is to end every practice with "Sharks and Minnows". The kids all love it and it has good coaching points. Feel free to ask if you don't know what that is.

As was stated, spread the ball around. You'll most definitely have one or two players that are much more physically gifted then the rest. Many new coaches feel the pressure to win games from the parents, but I can assure you the best way to truly win is to give all the players equal attention. The parents will respect this much more!

Eliminate talking in the huddle, if you haven't already seen this problem, you will. ;-)

Teach fake hand-offs at this age. It's not difficult for the players to learn, and will definitely get the defense at this age to lean in the direction of the fake.

Don't be afraid to challenge the kids. Part of your charter is to teach them skills they will carry the rest of their football career. i.e. Don't go too basic. If you feel your players are up to learning more things, add additional plays/responsibilities as the season progresses. Keep them wanting to learn more.

Finally, just have fun and enjoy the experience. Once again, do not feel any sort of pressure to win. It's ALL about player development at this age. The best feeling you'll experience is seeing your lesser-skilled players cross the goal-line! You'll probably face some teams where they dish it to their best player(s) over and over again. That's the easy way to coach--any chump off the street can do that. Instead, ensure you walk into each game as a true team and give each player equal opportunity, letting them know the importance of his role.

Good luck and please keep us posted!

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