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Amount Of Practice

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My first post.

First thing to say is that I think the site is awesome! I enjoy reading all of the posts and find myself shaking my head in agreement to just about everything I am reading. This is my first year coaching 7 0n 7 flag football. We are a church league and have about 6 teams in our 9-11 age group.

My biggest problem is lack of practice time. We only practice once a week. We just had our second game and were held scoreless except for a safety we intercepted in to. We started out with an offensive scheme and then after our first loss we tried to make changes and adapt. Now we are 2 games in to a 6 game season and I haven't even had time to work on defense in practice. I told my other coaches that we need to just teach them the fundamentals and then just let them play because we are wasting time trying to teach 3-4 plays in one hour. What about the rest of the game once we've ran those plays over and over.

Any good advice.

Forgot to mention the next team we are going against is a team that was formed for at risk youths as a afterschool program so they do practice everyday.

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Most rec leagues promote the 1 hour practice per week as a selling point to parents. Tough on coaches, easier on the parents. I used to handle this by sneaking in practices earlier than the season start date. I made them non mandatory, but most everyone would show up. This helped us hit the ground running.

1) You could try throwing out the option of an additional "non mandatory" practice just to work on some fundamentals. I used to try and sneak in a few extra practices early in the season for the reason you're describing.

2) Pick your poison on defense. In other words, emphasize a few things and do them really well. Obviously flag pulling is huge.

3) Same with offense. You'll have to emphasize a few things and do them really well. We were big on executing good fakes.

4) Customize your strengths and weaknesses. I'm not saying hand the ball off to your hot shot every time, but design plays to take advantage of your players who can go long, throw long, or execute quick runs. Set up the more developing players by executing good fakes first to give them a chance to shine. On defense, make sure you have some more savvy players as your, LB's, DB's and safeties. If you have a kid who is pretty athletic, maybe they can be a roaming LB.

It's tough to cover all the fundamental aspects if you're only practicing one day a week. Especially since you probably have different skill levels on your team. Developing a list of things you want them to do every time and then getting stoked when you see it happening. A possible list:

1) No bull fighting flag pulls where the defender looks like a matador with a cape. You want aggressive flag pullers squaring up and using both hands.

2) Run north and south. No sideways running.

3) Don't stop until you hear the whistle.

4) Good fakes. The person executing the fake shouldn't look back, they should act like they still have the ball and run down field.

A few thoughts, hopefully these help. Remember you're hanging in a church rec league, so keep it fun. Maybe throw out some small rewards if your team can execute X amount of flag pulls in a game or X amount of good fakes.

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Good advice. We try to squeeze so much into an hour that I feel like we are just spinning our wheels. I do remind myself that this is a fun league so we make sure everyone handles the ball, I am still very competitive so I want to see those break away runs for scores.

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We started breaking up into groups in practice to focus on individual skills with smaller numbers of players and this has made a huge improvement. With smaller groups you can focus on individuals needs and then after 15 minutes we switch and get a new group of kids from the other station. We had an offense station where we worked on handoffs and securing the ball as well as qb and rb timing. the other station was with receivers and running crisp routes and catching and then defense station. Defense we worked on flag pulling, getting in front of the runner and swarming to the ball. I evens had time to sneak in some zone coverage work.

If you are concerned with amount of time you have then try this and make sure you know exactly what each coach will work on before you even hit the field. Those quick coach conferences are rarely quick and are rarely specific enough to accomplish what you want to.

Stations even work with plays. Most plays have only two to three key players so you can break off with the Qb, Rb, and a specific receiver and quickly run through 4 or 5 plays to get timing and execution down and then rotate them out and you other rb, and wr.

After stations we group up and run a flag pulling exercise to end with.

Hope this helps someone, it has really helped the Broncos.

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