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Transitioning from 8-9 to 6-7. Advice?

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Not sure how active this forum is these days, but I've gotten a lot of great advice from these pages, so thanks for that to all who've contributed. 

I coached in our 8-9 division for the past two seasons, and now my 7-year-old son is interested in playing, so I'm about to coach in the 6-7 age group. It's a 5-on-5 league, QB can't run, defense can blitz from 7 yards back, etc.

I'm looking for some advice on how to handle this younger group of kids. I know variety is the key to keeping them focused in practice, and I also want to really simplify the playbook for games, but would love to get some specific examples in those areas from anyone who's had experience coaching this age group: any drills that work well for them (sharks and minnows is already down) in practice, any playbooks specifically geared toward that age group, etc. 

I'll be searching for some more info on the site archives as I await any responses. 

Thanks in advance!

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Hi, I wish the forum was still more active too.  I'm starting my first year coaching 3/4 graders and was going to start posting to try to reactivate the page.  As for your question,   I haven't coached those ages but my son played in the 6 year old division recently.  From what I saw they kept things simple.   

Running was definitely what the offense were built around. Dives, fake dive with an end around, end around with a reverse.   You can probably do some center drags from Oranges playbook as it's not a far throw.  Then run a center drag with a  delayed handoff  to a end around. 

On defense,  kids had to be able to pull flags.  Most scores are from big plays.  So I would run a zone, focusing on the kids staying in their area until the ball crosses the line then everyone swarm to the ball.   I'd start 4 kids 4-5 yards off the line of scrimmage 5 yards apart, so they can see the play.  Then a safety a couple yards behind them as a safety valve.   Then practice staying home as you show them reverses and sweeps, then swarm to the ball.  Hope that helps.

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Thanks, great advice. Since my original post, we've gotten toward the end of the season and are doing well. Currently 4-1-1 with one game left before our playoffs. It's definitely more run-oriented, but we have been abusing teams with that center drag play all year. It works almost every time. Last week, we won by a point, and we must've run that play every time we needed something big. 


Flag pulling is definitely a constant work in progress. Seems like almost all the TDs are just kids getting to the sidelines and sprinting downfield. We work on flag pulling in practice for about 70-80 percent of the practice time, but it still requires coaching patience at this age, lol. 


Anyway, been a fun season, and my best reward is when I can see the kids really enjoying themselves and feeling good about themselves after they've learned something and improved their skills. 

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