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The Sullinator

4 And 5 Year Old Division, Kid Doesn't Want To Run

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I'm 17, and I coach a 4 and 5 year old team under i9 Sports. This season has been sort of, eh rough. I'm just trying to basically teach them the core concepts of the game, because I mean at that age there isn't a whole lot you can do. Their attention spans are so short. And yeah I know four and five years old is too young, I've seen it before in threads like these. I know, but that's how it is and I volunteered to coach it.

I basically just run the same play over and over game. Had one kid snap, one kid was QB, and the other was the running back. This is 5 on 5. I would usually just rotate who did what, and everyone got a turn to run it a few times.

Now a few weeks ago, I'd say about four, my one kid ran it and ended up falling on his hand. I didn't notice because the kid didn't say anything, but after that he didn't want to run anymore whenever I tried to give it to him. So I was like alright, you don't have to if you don't want to. During the week though I got an email from his Dad explaining that he feel on his hand, and it made him a little gun shy.

So I tried to encourage him a little bit the following week. I brought stickers, and put it one on his hand saying it was magical and that it'd protect it. I'm not sure if he is four or five, but it didn't work. No matter how hard I tried the entire game, he wouldn't want to run. I asked him just about every drive we had. He was too gun shy. So after the game I told him to practice running it by himself at home, and we'll work on it.

Finally the following week he seemed ready to run. He ran the ball first play, and seemed fine. I thought awesome we finally got past this, he won't be scared to do it anymore. But after he ran it that one time he just did not want to do it anymore. I praised him for fighting his fears and running it though, and told him next week I want to see if he can run it three times.

So just this last Sunday now, I asked him if he was ready and how many times he was going to run the ball. He told me he was going to run it "199" times, haha. So I was like awesome. So first play of the game we're on offense, and I ask if he's ready to run it. No...he gets scared again and starts backing away. So I sigh, and move on. I kept asking him, and he said he still wanted to run it 199 times not just yet. Then towards the end of the game, he said he'd run it when we got down towards the other end of the field more. Towards one of the last plays I finally got him to run it. So he ran it once again.

He's running it now, so I don't think it's because he's afraid of hurting his hand again. I don't know what is up he seems like he wants to run it, and then when I'm ready to let him run it he backs out. The kid is so fast, and every time he does run it he gets pretty far down the field every time. With i9 we only practice for about 35 minutes before each hour long game, so it's not like I have a lot of time to work with them.

Any ideas as to why he's so gun shy about it? This Sunday is unfortunately our last week, but it would make me feel good if I was able to finally get him to run it regularly in our last game.

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Sounds to me like you are doing the right things, encouragment, giving him plenty of opportunities.

Sorry that I am not all that helpful, but keep up the good work, it sounds like you are doing a great job. Sometimes you can lead the horse to water but can't make him drink.

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First of all, great job for coaching these little guys, that age group is a tough one because of their attention spans. So, good on you for taking this on. It seems like the reason he doesn't want to run is because he's afraid he'll get hurt again.

Couple of thoughts:

-Don't get your expectations too high on this kid running for you. Like mac said, you've done a great job and there's only so much you can do to get him over this fear.

-Let him (and others) take hand offs against no defense during practice. Maybe he needs to get used to just taking the hand off and running up the field. Use that as encouragement. "Man, you really fly, I bet you could score a TD today" and leave it at that. Add one defender and see how that goes. He might need some confidence builders like that. I'd try and get as many reps in as possible during practice.

-Have all the parents pair up across from each other leaving a space for the kids to come through. The parents stretch their hands out. Have a line of kids at the beginning, hand off balls and let them run through the line. Parents can yell encouraging things as they run through the line. The parents really aren't trying to pull flags and should have their hands loose. You just want the kids to get used to feeling contact and get through the line.

-Last thought. If the QB can run, take 2 of your guys and put them way out on the left side as WR. Take one kid and put him over to the right in the backfield. Let this kid be QB, fake a handoff to the RB over to the right and go with a QB keeper up the sidelines for a TD.

Again, sounds like you've done a great job with these kids. Keep coaching, you have a bright future and these programs need people like you.

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I had a kid break his arm outside of football and his cast came off week one and it was pretty much the same story as yours. I did much of what you did and think you are doing all you can. The only thing I did differently that seemed to work, is what I do with all of my lower talent players on occasion. I set up a play for them to run and stack the odds in their favor. I will put the worst 3 flag pullers on D, then have my kid who needs confidence fake the reverse to our speedster, the kids all bite, fearing our fast kid and then praise the kid for an awesome run. Maybe take them aside and say just for them to hear "Those are the kind of runs I knew you had in you. You're gonna help us win this week".

The moment you see him stop being afraid, don't bring it up again until maybe the end of the year. I had one kid who waved his arms like a bird when he ran and we kept working on breaking the habit and he did. Then I brought up in practice how proud I was that he stopped doing it....and it came back again.

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