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Guest godawgs0367

Play Calling Help

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Guest godawgs0367

I am getting ready to be a first time head coach. I have been an assistant coach before. My team is 6-7 year olds. We run 6 on 6. We have to alternate in players and rotate positions. Our first scrimmage is in 2 weeks. I am going to have 2 practices before then.

My biggest problem is how to keep the offense simple but yet not waste time drawing up the play and getting players in position during every huddle. I did not like how the previous head coach ran the offense. It was mass chaos. Trying to get players in the huddle, getting them lined up, who was the rb this time, who is the qb, etc.

My game plan is 3 offense plays (with variations) but how do I tell them run this play and you are center, qb, rb etc. Easily. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Hope what I am asking makes sense. Thank you!

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Congrats on volunteering to become a head coach.

What are your rotating requirements? Everyone plays QB (and all positions for that matter)during the game or everyone needs to get the ball during the game? If it is the latter you can design an offense to get the ball to each player(or 2 or 3) using the same backfield action. Then teach each player 2 positions and their assigned backfield action. Are you required to sub in players during a series? If so good luck with 6/7's. You will need a good assistant coach to help manage it.

That being said, with only 2 practices that probably will not happen. Start with 1 play and get it working before moving on. Last season (80% new team same age group) it took me 4 practices to get 4 plays in (all with the same backfield action). Keep the end in mind.

We use colors to designate the ball carrier Green RB, Blue Receiver, etc. Seems to work pretty good for most the kids. Getting kids back to the huddle just takes practice and reminding you need to be loud to get their attention after a play. In time they will come back. 1 thing, my kids are always better (more focused) during the games than at practice in getting back in the huddle.

With 6 kids you may want to go with a 2 back set, run scissor action in the backfield, this might let you get 2 plays in rather quickly, you then just need to remind the each back which way to run and the QB who to give the ball to during the games. You could then run end around action behind it with one of your receivers giving you a third option once the base play is being running okay.

The kids will mess up, stay positive and remind them of what to DO RIGHT, not what they just did wrong.

The key to your success will be getting this age group to run aggressively with the ball not worrying about getting their flags pulled or reversing their field when they see a defender. During practice if a kid runs hard but gets their flag pulled praise the player.

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We have to alternate in players and rotate positions.
It appears the spirit of this league emphasizes playing time and ball touches, good for them. Keep that in mind as you go through the season.
My game plan is 3 offense plays (with variations) but how do I tell them run this play and you are center, qb, rb etc. Easily.
You are definitely on the right track here, let the kids get use to a few formations and run the variations from there. If you have to rotate QBs each time, that will probably make your plays pretty simple.

Ball touches:

Tell the parents you're tracking ball touches and doing your best to get everyone touches, have someone do this on the side during the game. Have that person hand you a slip of paper with kids names that still need touches, that way you know who to have in on the next series. Tell the kids you're tracking touches to make sure everyone has a turn, no talking in the huddle.

Calling plays:

I'd have positions color coded, have a good assistant on the field to help with kids not direcly involved in play (big key), have kids line up behind you as you hold up plays, deal with the primary players first by telling what color/position. Then point out any keys to the play, John you need to give me a good fake here, make it look like you still have the ball, be sneaky. Things like that make the play work. Tell the kids not directly involved in the play to run their routes fast and be ready to get a pass just in case. Have your assistant line up the kids not involved directly in the play.

QB rotation:

I'm not a huge fan of having to switch QBs every play, some kids just aren't cut out for QB and it can limit the amount of successful ball touches for all the other kids. I am cool with making sure every kid gets their turn(s) at QB during the season though. Not sure if you have any wiggle room there.

Royal already touched on these but your plays will run a lot smoother if:

-you have a good assistant, teach the kids to run north/south, not to look down to see if flag was pulled, not to stop until you hear the whistle, learn what a good fake looks like.

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In addition to Royal and Rob's comments, other good stuff that I've learned from this forum:

- line up the kids in the huddle as they will line up at the LOS

- color code and print your plays. then, they just have to look at their color: "johnny, you are yellow. Joey, blue. Wilbur, orange, etc...".

- keep it simple. from a poor season last year, I learned to have just a few well-executed plays. this season, we have 50% fewer plays than last season.

- one of the coaches somewhere here suggested kneeling with the kids looking over your shoulder (with you facing the LOS). It didn't work for me, though, as I wanted to be able to look the boys eye-to-eye.

- get a "stats keeper". Check in with them occasionally to ensure that everyone is getting an equal number of touches.

good luck!

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I don't think it's right to force coaches to rotate positions. I know leagues do this because they want to ensure coaches keep all players involved, but from my experience, any coach adamant about keeping his lesser-skilled players in the background--will always find a way to do so, regardless of the rules.

With that off my chest...:-)

You'll have your work cut out for you. Full disclosure: I assign my players to a position and that is what they play all year. Thus I am unsure as to what would work best. I imagine that in your league, the RB gets the ball a LOT. I imagine most coaches are thinking, "I want to get each kid two touches, so I will rotate them into the RB position for their touches". Consequently 90% of the running plays go to the RB (use that to your defensive advantage).

If I were forced to to do this, I'd design my playbook so that the RB gets lots of fakes, but not many hand-offs. If they don't really care how you rotate (as long as you rotate), I would advise rotating at the quarter. Meaning give the QB all the snaps for a quarter. If your league is forcing you to ensure every player plays every position in a given game, then I would challenge them on that. The intent is good, but I think it's the wrong way to enforce it "equal opportunity."

Finally, regarding the playbook---I am not one who believes in keeping it simple. Of course you have to know what you are working with (6-7 year olds), but the key is to challenge them. Scrap what does not work in games, and then try new things. Every season I've added a play each week until the final game, simply because I might see something that would work--and we try it. Players know we have a one and done rule. Meaning if we develop a new play, we might practice it 10-15 times in practice. If it is not executed well when we run it in the game--I won't ever call it again.

Good luck. You've received some great advice from the other coaches!

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We play 5 on 5 and what I do is each position is numbered.

1 QB

2 RB

3 Center

4 Slot receiver

5 Ouside receiver

I am allowed to be in the huddle for my 7-8 team and have all my plays and in each position is numbered and it shows there route. All the kids know before getting in the huddle what position number they are playing. All I have to do is point to the play we are going to run and all the kids know and understand it. It is such an easy concept the kids understand. For the older teams I can call out the play to the QB from the sideline and the QB shows the players what the play is from there wrist band.

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We play 5 on 5 and what I do is each position is numbered.

1 QB

2 RB

3 Center

4 Slot receiver

5 Ouside receiver

I am allowed to be in the huddle for my 7-8 team and have all my plays and in each position is numbered and it shows there route. All the kids know before getting in the huddle what position number they are playing. All I have to do is point to the play we are going to run and all the kids know and understand it. It is such an easy concept the kids understand. For the older teams I can call out the play to the QB from the sideline and the QB shows the players what the play is from there wrist band.

That's a great idea. I do something very similar in that all my guys are numbered 1 through 5 but I have a small white erase board and can write the play with assignments very quickly. These guys at that 7-8 age (and even when they were 5-6) really respond to a visual instruction. Makes it real simple.

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I use to draw plays up on the fly on a dry erase board, that didnt work as well as I liked. I honestly have 5 formation sets (1RB, 2RB, Tight, Spread and Trips) and have multiple variations in those formations. I designed within excel my plays so they print landscape with 1 play on a page. Similar to what I see in power point here. I laminated them with a play front and back and punch a three ring hole in them and tabbed them by formation. Took the key chain rings and bound them. So, I can flip through them quickly.

I typically only have 1 QB and 1 (maybe 2) centers. This is the most important exchange in football. Cant lose one of my 4 precious plays to a dropped snap. I do rotate RBs and WRs through positions.

I spend a lot of practice huddling and kneeing down and telling each boy where he is on the play and the route. I would run simple routes like flys, slants and curls and go from there. For example, handing off to a RB, all WRs go fly to clear out the D.

After a few practices, the kids know the plays and I just go "Kevin fly, Jason curl, Matt slant, fake hand off right, hit the fly or curl." As I use my figure to trace the route as I tell the kids. BREAK!

If you have to rotate all positions, rotate after a series or half. Oh, I do hand off to RBs and have them throw, so I effectively use any one as a passer if I see it will trick the D. But, I keep 1 QB and 1 center and rarely change.

Also, for simplicty, I use straight lines for my routes. I dont have 2 yard cuts, elbow shaped routes that criss cross all over the place. Outs are 90 degree angles, etc.

Way too much information, but I think the simpler the better at the younger age. Having letter size plays to see in the huddle helps!

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I typically only have 1 QB and 1 (maybe 2) centers. This is the most important exchange in football. Cant lose one of my 4 precious plays to a dropped snap.

Absolutely!! This is the reason I have not nor will not institute the shotgun. I can't justify the risk/reward.

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