Coaching 5V5 First Time Ymca
Posted 02 September 2011 - 02:24 PM
Now for the question(s). I am looking for some advice on how to manage the team based on the YMCA rules in my area (which I have no problem with, I am just having difficulties conceptualizing how I am going to implement them) I have 11 kids on my team and I need to have equal playing time for each child. I was going to try to implement a ‘color armband’ approach and have two offensive teams each child with one assigned position/color armband per game and have them rotate back and forth for both offense and defense, (that was when I have 10 kids, I was just told yesterday I have another one joining my team to give me 11). The goal is also to have each child get a chance to play every position, so I am looking at having 2 QBs per game, each getting to play one half of the game. Then for the next game I will have to get two new QB’s ready and switch around my players positions/colors. As you can see, I am up for a very ‘interesting’ season, but I guess if everyone play by the same rules things should even out over the year. I am open for any advice anyone may have regarding the best way to approach this both from a readiness/practice perspective, and from a game management perspective. Thanks to everyone in advance for your advice.
Posted 02 September 2011 - 04:30 PM
You are on the right track w/ 2 squads....divide them as evenly as you can.
I would advise you to ditch the everyone plays QB concept. Kids have fun scoring touchdowns and you do that (for those that aren't the top athletes) by putting in a set of plays that get the ball to a player in a position where they can be successful according to their skill level. Having a QB who can't pass throw a pass is no fun...for the QB and the other 4 players on the team.
I would also ditch the everyone plays RB,WR and C. Design a playbook that gets the ball to all 4 position's equally and teach each kid that position.
I had 11, it's not that big of deal (at least to my parents) if the playing time wasn't exactly equal. Plus you will have kids absent for various reasons. I had one squad of 5 and another of 6. I didn't rotate everyone on Offense but did on Defense. I think on O I had a rotation of about 3 players on each series. QB and Receiver (my most athletic position) stayed on the field.
To be clear, am advocating that you make sure that all 11 players get a carry in each game. In the Y games, this goes quick so look for oppurtunities to get your players there carries and in a position where they can be sucessfull. Handing the ball 5 yards deep backed up in your own end of the field to a timid kid will not go well. Giving him and inside hand off on an end around, from the 7 yard line gives him a chance to score a TD (Never got mine one, tackled once on the 1 and flag pulled on the 1 yard line on his 2 attempts from inside the 10).
Posted 03 September 2011 - 02:41 PM
1. Assign each player to a position--either C, RB, Left Receiver, Right Receiver, QB. Thus you will have two players at each position.
2. Now, you'll need to let the kids/parents to NOT get caught up in assigned position, because every position in this model is fairly equal when it comes to involvement.
3. By doing this, you can have your players master their specific position, get all the reps at practice in that position, etc.
4. You can also add more plays. It's much easier for a player to remember what to do as Left Receiver for 10 different plays than it is for him to learn five plays at five different positions. Thus in this model, he only needs to learn TEN things as opposed with 25 things...and you are able to roll out more plays.
5. The key here is that you design your playbook so that each position has equal ball-touches. It's easy to do, and we can give you examples if you need them. Additionally, by doing this, you simply "open up" your offense. Said differently, instead of switching players in/out of the RB position and handing it to the RB on each running play (where a defense will eat that up), you spread the ball around by position, and the defense never knows which position is going to get the ball on any given play.
With respect to playing time, I just have "team one" and team two". It is NOT broken down by skill set, but instead based on chemistry I see among the players (and you want to have a balance of skill, anyway). I sub "teams" at each quarter.
So what's the downside? Example: You have two Centers. Freddy and Nathan. They are the only two that know the position of Center and its responsibilities. Little Nathan suddenly does not show up to a game (you find out 20 minutes before--if you are lucky). What do you do? Keep Freddy in the whole game since he knows the assignments? Or do you chance it and put a kid in who does not know the plays, and just go through the motions? Either way it is not good. The way to combat this is to have one or two "utility" players, those that know each position. Typically get your smartest players to do this. That way they can fill in at any position needed during a pinch.
Hope this helps. Let us know how you do!
Posted 03 September 2011 - 04:13 PM
So what's the downside? Example: You have two Centers. Freddy and Nathan. They are the only two that know the position of Center and its responsibilities. Little Nathan suddenly does not show up to a game (you find out 20 minutes before--if you are lucky). What do you do? Keep Freddy in the whole game since he knows the assignments? Or do you chance it and put a kid in who does not know the plays, and just go through the motions?
Keep Freddy in the game @ Center for the entire game.
Also, before your 1st practice, finalize your plan.....communicate it to the Parents/Players and set expectations. Over Communicate it...then follow through on your plan. If you go with the series concept as opposed to everyone rotates, explain that all positions are important and that you have a plan/set of plays to get all the positions the ball. That every kid will see 1 carry with the rare exception. Ex. you rip off 2 straight TD runs....the other team takes for ever in and out of the huddle, you don't get the chance to run 5 or 6 plays in a half...it happens. You will do your best to get the kids their carries.
Actually when I had 11, I rotated one kid each game in with a different group. So Game A the "Blue" Team had 6 players assigned, Game B, the black team had 6 players assigned. How you rotate depends on your skill level on the team.
Generally speaking on a 10 Kid team you will have:
1 Stud - Receiver/Reverse Guy
2 Above Average Athletically and Mentally. RB-Receiver/Reverse Guy
2-3 Above Average Athletically but not so mature in the head. RB and or Receiver or Center
2-3 Average Athletically (hopefully mentally mature, but not always). - HINT in the lower age levels the mature ones are your QB's. Once you start passing, you will need high skill.
2 Below Average and/or Immature - Centers/ 2nd Receivers.
1 Basket Case. - 2nd Receiver or if he can hold it together Center.
The make up of your team will help determine how you rotate.
Posted 04 September 2011 - 01:54 PM
I am amazed at how much I have gotten wrapped up in this. I played football back in high school, but coaching my son and a team is really exciting. Thanks again for the the advice, it is much appreciated.
Posted 04 September 2011 - 03:53 PM
Thanks for the input guys it is awesome to hear from those who have been there done that. My challenge is that during the coaches meeting with the YMCA they made a point that every child should get the chance to play every position. I really like your ideas, and it would be a so much easier to coach for sure. We only have two practices before the first game and only get one practice a week. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me. The age group is 5-7, of the 11 kids I have this is the first year for 6 of them.
"Should"....is the key word there. I assume what this means is everyone should get to play QB....that is fine, I assume 8 game season, you have 2 main QB plus 2 backups (you use these to get your QB's carries). That gets you to 7 more kids, let one kid run 1 or 2 plays each game (Teach them your dive). If you design an offense that gets the ball to all 4 men on the field, then why would it really matter if a kid lines up at WR or RB they are both getting carries....the league is not mandating formations are they?
FYI...I always tried to get 4 practices in before the 1st game, installing 1 play per practice that got the ball to each position. Most parents are okay with this, it is an "extra free hour of babysitting". Make it optional and if you get 7 great, it will pay off and make the season better for everyone.
I've attached my playbook for this age group. I would install the following in this order.
1.) Green Ghost - RB dive.
2.) Blue Rocket - WR End Around - Put the ball in the RBs belly.
3.) Center Sneak or Dark Knight. Our league allowed a wrap around into the belly hand off.
4.) Orange Juice for your weakest or most timid player - If you have 2 good Receivers you can run Orange Pop with PA to the RB on the dive.
You will also need to either put in a pass play for no run zone or teach your QB to kneel out of the no run zone. I would recommend rolling the QB out to their throwing side and working on them setting their feet, pointing their front shoulder at the target and throwing. One target at the back "flag", 2nd target just across on in front of the goaline.
3 Seasons at this age group.
0-7-1 - I had no plan and just rotated through the RB position really - (Had very good talent looking back on it).
7-4 - Had a blast...most fun I've ever had coaching a sport. Doesn't top my 14 year old summer baseball season but close.
5-2-1 - Should have been 7-1, bad coaching on my part in our 1 loss & the tie game.
Posted 08 September 2011 - 04:20 PM
1. Be prepared to take your lumps. I'm going into (I think) my 11th season, and only once have I seen a "new" coach have a team that competed well.
2. You'll run into some teams that have played together for a few seasons...and you'll be amazed at how crisp a team can become playing together for a while like this. The good news is with your age group 5-7, you won't find any that have played together for more than 3-4 seasons.
3. Oppossing coaches. Unfortunately, during the season, you will run into at least one coach who thinks his team is playing for a chance to go to the SuperBowl. It's amazing what happens to mature individuals when they find themselves in situations where they competing in public. Frankly, be prepared to see some things that disgust you. The best thing to do is remember that 99% of the people watching are most likely rolling their eyes at that type of behavior, so just take the high road and ignore it.
4. Attendance in practice. Nothing will doom your team more if you don't get full participation in practice. Be ready for a few parents who will probably simply stop bringing their kids to practice around mid-season. You'll want to deal with this swiftly yet tactfully.
5. Talking in the huddle. Make that your #1 rule. No talking in the huddle. ;-)
I'm sure other coaches can provide some sage advice from a non x's and o's perspective.
Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:37 AM
Posted 09 September 2011 - 07:45 AM
1. Get an assistant coach. My biggest focus coaching 5-7 year olds is keeping the boys engaged. Some boys will watch birds or play in the dirt whenever it's not their turn to carry the ball. Lots of standing around = things can turn into "Lord of the Flies" real quick. Have someone help you run the sideline (manage substitutions, maintain decorum, etc.). Separate the team during practice to maximize touches and minimize standing around. Etc.
2. Minimize unnecessary variables and put the kids in the best position to win. And by "win," I don't mean win games, but put kids in the best position to execute and gain confidence. This may mean rotating positions less frequently early on, especially at QB and/or center. However, good ball exchanges will go a long way to reducing the learning curve and maximizing carries to distribute among 11 kids. I also do things like call "Ready" and "GO!" instead of the QB. I take the reins on anything that commands (and focuses) their attention in order to create an environment of consistency (or at least as close as I can get).
3. Make a big deal about defense. Chasing things and catching them is in the DNA of little boys. However, defensive success is less obvious to kids than offense. I also think it's more intimidating. I have no problem getting every kid in the endzone during the season (a goal), but it's sometimes a struggle to get every kid at least one tackle at that age (also a goal). Get the boys fired up about defense and this will help them focus.
4. On offense, keep things simple and make sure each kid has something to focus on. We've had a lot of success at the pee wee flag level, and our "secret sauce" is to have the team memorize --at most-- two or three plays. I've found it's hard for kids that age to visualize plays. It's twice as hard for them to visualize plays if they're required to know them at multiple positions. It can be done, but we only practice 1 hour each week and I don't waste time trying. Consequently, I don't coach my kids to know plays. I coach them to be coachable on the field and in the huddle. The kids do this by memorizing 2 running routes and 5 points on the field relative to the LOS ("A, B, C, D, etc."). That's it. That's the offense. I line the kids up and whisper each boy's route assignment into his ear. "Johnny -- run to A." "Billy -- run to C, then B." "Sammy - run dive 1 and take the handoff." It doesn't work as well in the huddle, because the kids can't visualize it (e.g whiteboard) or they forget it / get distracted on the way back to the LOS. However, they can visualize it from the LOS. The result is, when the ball is snapped, a visually complex play HAPPENS, although no one actually knows the "play." This allows us to orchestrate complex plays on the fly and confuse the holy ###### out of 5-7 year olds playing defense. It also gives me the freedom to rotate positions freely since "run to A" is easy to do from anywhere on the field. Feel free to disagree with this.
5. I impress on the kids that we want to have fun, but it's not okay to be silly. I also impress on them that it's okay to make mistakes, but it's not okay if the reason is they're not listening or not trying. No talking when others are speaking. Look people in the eye when speaking / listening. Etc. This creates the culture I want and sets the standard for behavior.
Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:27 PM