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Teaching Defense To Stay Home - A Possible Concept?

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I am getting ready to coach 5 on 5 for 6 and 7 year olds. I know there will be lots of running, with occasional fakes and reverses. I was thinking of playing my defenders 5 yards off the LOS. Then telling them to count to 2 or 3 before they move once the ball is hiked. I thought this would be a good way for them to see how the play was developing. I was wondering what others thought about this. Thanks everyone!

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We just worked on this last night.

I took a big white board (3' x 4') to our practice with some dry-erase markers and did Xs and Os. With a couple of colors, you can show them where they are supposed to be and then show them with big ovals what their zone is. Draw it up in powerpoint, PDF it, and send to the parents to spend 5 minutes of "homework" with it.

In practice, I got everyone in their positions and used the two leftover kids and myself to make up plays to run at the weak spots. I used a lot of "FREEZE!!!!" to get the kids to stop. You can then praise those who have stayed home and those who got sucked out of their zone. Either start over or reset the defense to where they should have been and then "unfreeze" them to continue the play.

Swap the leftover kids who are playing offense with two on defense to get everyone some good practice time.

It is also a good time to teach some offense fundamentals, because you are trying to make the defense work hard and think. So work on fake handoffs in order to draw the defense, then FREEZE ... praise the guy doing the fake handoff and show the defense how his faking drew them up, leaving the open pass.

good luck.

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At this age level, the teams that can stop the Sweep/Counter/Reverse will have the most success. Some concepts I use, we play a 2-3 Zone. I am a firm believer that zone is the way to go until passing becomes more prevalent. Playing zone allows you to defender the sweep/counter. When I'm calling "O" I love to see them in M2M as the Counter/PA game really open up.

The "2" are called Defensive Ends, the align 2/3 yards deep and 3/4 yards wide of the Center. I repeatably tell them their only job is containment. The target point on the BC (Ball Carrier) coming toward them is the outside hip...in fact if they make a flag pull on the inside hip I get on them. If the ball is flowing away from them they are to think counter/reverse and not pursue the ball until it crosses the LOS.

The MLB in the "3" is free to flow aggressively to the ball.

The OLB in the "3" have secondary support on outside containment when the ball is flowing toward them. If DE contains we then have the BC cutting back inside the DE with MLB and Playside OLB filling in, it gets very crowded in there.

The OLB in the "3" when the ball is flowing away from them looks for Counter/Reverse. Once he determines not Counter/Reverse then he is instructed to but a "Cap on the Run" pursue hard at a 45 degree angle and get behind the MLB and playside OLB and in front of the BC.

You basically hear 3 things out of me during the game.

1.) DE's "Outside Hip"

2.) LB "No one gets behind you for a pass".

3.) Trust your teammates, do your job, stay in the zone.

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Thanks guys.

Royalflush - Ok the zone defense makes sense as a base defense especially if the offense comes out in a balanced formation. What if they come out in twins right or tripps right. Do you adjust or stay in the base zone defense?

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We stay in the 2-3 zone.

I am always in Twins or Trips on Offense especially against M2M...why it leaves the counter/reverse wide open.

At this age passing is hard, even when they complete it often it is not "in stride" and there is plenty of time for the Deep Zone Defenders to recover and close in for a flag pull.

Even running Trips to one side you have a short zone defender and 1 deep plus the middle LB helping out. It stays pretty crowded in that zone with that many receivers and defenders. Tough for a 6,7,8, or 9 year old to be that accurate. Key to pass defense isn't tight coverage, it is not to get beat deep...thus no one lets a receiver behind them. 15 Yards is about the longest I've seen kids accurately throw it at this age.

I start w/ we are going to stop the sweep/reverse. The weakness in the 2-3 zone isn't a Flood Pass, it's the quick hit (run) up the middle, but most teams just don't try it enough. If it hits quick you get a 1 on 1 situation w/ MLB (be it that is our best flag puller) and once you get a missed flag pull it is a foot race.

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