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Basics of Football vs. Scheme Specific Topics (6-8's)


bdjackson
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What's Up Everyone,

While prepping and planning for this upcoming season, a question popped up that I do not have the experience to answer confidently. 

When your scheme/philosophy differ from the "NORMS" what do you take time to teach kids that have never stepped foot on a field. This year, due specifically to COVID and the loss of last season, my U9's (6-8) will be all brand new to the game of football. However, being a DW coach, and slightly contrarian one at that with my X-Men blocking style, I am struggling with how much time to dedicate to basics that while are important for watching it on weekends may not benefit us at all considering what we run and how we do it.

 

In order to narrow it down, below are some of the areas of concern. 

Pass Blocking

Hands Blocking (THIS WILL NOT BE TAUGHT)

Hole Numbering (Typically I don't use holes with SAB)

QB/WR Drills (Pass VERY Infrequently)

Pass Routes (Minimal/As Needed)

Field Goals/Punting (Not Allowed in our League)

Back Numbering (We use Jack's AB, BB, and CB)

 

On-Field Fundamentals that I will absolutely take time to teach. 

Ball Security

Handoffs/Pitching

Blocking

Tackling (Varying Styles/Angles)

Turnovers (Stripping/Punching)

Fumble Recovery

Aggression

 

Basics of the Game (Often taken for Granted):

Downs/First Down, Touchdowns, Scoring, Clock, Penalties, Possession, Turnovers, etc. 

 

I know this is not all inclusive, but I hope it can at a minimum get the conversation going. 

 

--Brian

 

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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gumby_in_co
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The best thing about a kid who has never stepped onto a football field is that you don't have to "unteach" anything. Seems counter-intuitive to teach something you don't plan on using. As a recovering former DW coach, I can tell you first hand that you will have your hands full teaching AB Power Right/CB Counter Left.

If you're worried about getting them ready for HS, forget it. Mahonz and I have bunch of kids who are playing varsity HS and I guarantee you that the HS is not using ANYTHING that Mahonz and I have taught. One of my favorite examples is an all-conference WR at the University of Colorado. He played 4 years of HS as Phil Bravo's Double Wing Fullback. I doubt Coach Bravo spent much time teaching this kid the subtleties of a WR option route.

You've got limited time. Don't waste it by teaching stuff you won't use. It will also confuse them. We go team scrimmage every night, yet I still have kids who don't understand that we are running another team's offense/defense for scouting purposes. This is despite the fact that I start every scout session with "THIS IS NOT THE OUTLAWS OFFENSE! WE ARE PRETENDING TO BE THE BEARS!"

If you teach kids hands blocking in an X-Man system, you will see kids hands blocking on film. 

There's value in teaching "basics of the game". We used to give it 2 minutes and have a topic of the day/week. 

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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bdjackson
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

As a recovering former DW coach, I can tell you first hand that you will have your hands full teaching AB Power Right/CB Counter Left.

What about the use of AB, BB, CB would leave me with my hands full. Do you mean just teaching power at this age group, or using monikers like A-Back and so on?

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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Coyote
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Hi Coach,

We’re a rec league 3rd – 4th grade team that only practices 2 nights / week, 2 hr each.

For us…

 

Pass Blocking    -    HC and I have had long discussions this off-season and decided to only use Play Action passing this season.   In which case, we SAB w/out going 2nd level, and our OG’s kick out DE’s.  No plans to teach pass blocking this season, we’ll see how it goes.  We expect to save some time this way, which we intend to invest in Defense.

Hands Blocking (THIS WILL NOT BE TAUGHT) – We’ve shoulder blocked (except for KO) exclusively for yrs.  Pros bench press Buicks, NCAA bench Harleys, HS bench Dirt bikes, our kids can’t even bench their bicycles.  So for us its all about head placement, proper form and keeping the legs moving.  “Move Your Feet” is the most common thing you’ll hear us yelling all season.

Hole Numbering (Typically I don't use holes with SAB) – Several yrs ago, one of our kids asked How come, since we always run Buckshort at the 6 hole (when running right) do we say 6.  Its always at 6.  We thought about it, and stopped calling hole numbers since the plays are always at the same assigned holes anyway. 

QB/WR Drills (Pass VERY Infrequently)  since we’re only going play action this season, we’ll work the mechanics out early, then just review them in practice.   BTW: we have a parent assist by holding a second ball, after the hand-off the qb carries out his fake for 3 steps, then takes the 2nd ball from the parent and passes to a spare receiver who is pre-aligned where the ball is to be thrown.  The parent is taught the mechanics and watches for it.

Pass Routes (Minimal/As Needed) just going over what we’re planning to run.   Mostly outs, drags and posts, in various combinations.   We do have a 2 minute offense, that once its installed we spend about 10 minutes a week on.

Field Goals/Punting (Not Allowed in our League) – we have our kickers work on it before practice.

Back Numbering (We use Jack's AB, BB, and CB) Our plays are series based so we call each series by a number.  The backs are not numbered.  

I.e., Bucksweep series for us is 40.  We run 40 trap, 40 blast, 40 Buckshort, 40 Bucksweep, 40 waggle, 40 waggle pass, 40 HB option pass.   The backs all run the same first 3 steps.   The number identifies the backfield action, and they know by the play called who is getting the ball. 

So our call would be "Green 40 Buckshort".   “Green” is the formation. “40” backfield action.  “Buckshort” indicates who gets the ball and what hole, and the OLine’s blocking scheme.    

Hope this helps 

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Coyote

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @bdjackson

What about the use of AB, BB, CB would leave me with my hands full. Do you mean just teaching power at this age group, or using monikers like A-Back and so on?

Just teaching Power at ANY age group. Then teaching Sweep, 2 counters, Reverse Wedge, a pass or two and maybe a trap.

Kent (Co_coachKC) and I had this experience:

Tight RIP AB Power Right - Okay, everyone seems to be moving in the right direction. So far so good.

Tight RIP CB Counter Left - Train wreck. Run it again. Another train wreck.Run it again. Ah. I see the problem. LG is pulling and running smack into RG/RT. Us: "Why did you pull?" LG: "You said 'RIP'". Okay, straighten this out. RIP means nothing to linemen. Pay attention to "Counter Left". Run it a few times and it's looking good.

Next day: 

Power looks "okay". Run Counter. LG pulls and runs smack into RG/RT. Again, "You said 'RIP'".  Fix it again. Run it again. Looks okay.

Nest day:

Run counter. Both WBs go in motion.

The next season, we renamed the following plays:

Tight RIP AB Power Right >> Toss

Tight LIZ CB Power Left >> Flip Toss

Tight RIP CB Counter Left >> WB Counter

Tight RIP BB Couner Left >> FB Counter

Tight RIP AB Sweep Right >> Sweep

Tight LIZ CB Sweep Left >> Flip Sweep

That was just our challenges with the naming convention. I'm not saying you will experience this, but we sure did. It's hard to guess which problems you'll run into, but each of them will take time to solve. It gets easier and faster the longer you coach it.  

That's not even mentioning the precision choreography that takes place between the TEs. Running Toss, we noticed a traffic jam. FB is waiting for his path to clear, which makes the pullers wait for the FB to clear. Total mess. We started filming practice. Film revealed that our C was stepping with his right foot. This put him in the LGs pulling path. To compensate, LG started using the "lawnmower" pull method, which put him in the QB's way. QB was then in the FB's way. 

Those are 2 out of 2000 little problems that we had to fix in our "Fabulous Five" plays. Then, add on defense and special teams, you will have zero time for teaching hands blocking. Or, if you do decide to teach hands blocking because it's something you think they ought to know for watching college/pro football, you are stealing time from teaching/fixing things that you MUST have to run the DW.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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bdjackson
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co
Posted by: @bdjackson

What about the use of AB, BB, CB would leave me with my hands full. Do you mean just teaching power at this age group, or using monikers like A-Back and so on?

Just teaching Power at ANY age group. Then teaching Sweep, 2 counters, Reverse Wedge, a pass or two and maybe a trap.

Kent (Co_coachKC) and I had this experience:

Tight RIP AB Power Right - Okay, everyone seems to be moving in the right direction. So far so good.

Tight RIP CB Counter Left - Train wreck. Run it again. Another train wreck.Run it again. Ah. I see the problem. LG is pulling and running smack into RG/RT. Us: "Why did you pull?" LG: "You said 'RIP'". Okay, straighten this out. RIP means nothing to linemen. Pay attention to "Counter Left". Run it a few times and it's looking good.

Next day: 

Power looks "okay". Run Counter. LG pulls and runs smack into RG/RT. Again, "You said 'RIP'".  Fix it again. Run it again. Looks okay.

Nest day:

Run counter. Both WBs go in motion.

The next season, we renamed the following plays:

Tight RIP AB Power Right >> Toss

Tight LIZ CB Power Left >> Flip Toss

Tight RIP CB Counter Left >> WB Counter

Tight RIP BB Couner Left >> FB Counter

Tight RIP AB Sweep Right >> Sweep

Tight LIZ CB Sweep Left >> Flip Sweep

That was just our challenges with the naming convention. I'm not saying you will experience this, but we sure did. It's hard to guess which problems you'll run into, but each of them will take time to solve. It gets easier and faster the longer you coach it.  

That's not even mentioning the precision choreography that takes place between the TEs. Running Toss, we noticed a traffic jam. FB is waiting for his path to clear, which makes the pullers wait for the FB to clear. Total mess. We started filming practice. Film revealed that our C was stepping with his right foot. This put him in the LGs pulling path. To compensate, LG started using the "lawnmower" pull method, which put him in the QB's way. QB was then in the FB's way. 

Those are 2 out of 2000 little problems that we had to fix in our "Fabulous Five" plays. Then, add on defense and special teams, you will have zero time for teaching hands blocking. Or, if you do decide to teach hands blocking because it's something you think they ought to know for watching college/pro football, you are stealing time from teaching/fixing things that you MUST have to run the DW.

I believe it is Lar, correct?

Ill start with I agree with and have run into all of the same problems my first year with 7-8 running DW as a new HC. Actually, like you the problems were so bad that we renamed them Power Left/Right, Counter Left/Right, BB/QB Wedge, TE Pop Pass. 

We also flipped our line because of the confusion. So the lineman heard the direction and that is where our strong side went. This alleviated most of our problems. My hope was that by eliminating everything that is NOT ESSENTIAL to our DW/33 scheme and philosophy that we would have the time to allow for more adjustments through playcalling. But then again, maybe it is easier to get kids to understand Rhino Power Right then to call in Tight Rip Over AB Power Right. And I wouldnt teach hands blocking if you gave me a free practice to do so. The thing that drove me nuts my first year as a header was seeing kids stand up and reach out like they were giving out free high fives. As soon as we went X-Men they had no choice but to get out and off the line.

As always, overthinking when I should be simplifying, and oversimplifying when I should be overthinking.

I think the dilemma I am having is a moral one. However, when I was 7-8 years old, if doing somersaults down the field would have won us games, that's what I would have done. 

 

--Brian

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @bdjackson

 

 

 

I believe it is Lar, correct?

Lar/Larry. I sign all my emails "lar". 

Point is, DW is a time intensive offense. Not much free time to teach anything that isn't part of the DW, but you know that because you've coached it before. Same on the defensive side of the ball. 

Funny you mention cartwheels. I had a few coaches when I was 7-8 who thought "monkey rolls" would win us football games. 

Going back to your specifics:

Pass Blocking - As I recall, Jack/JJ taught Wedge blocking without the forward push for pass pro. That seemed to work for us just fine. Tricky part was FB remembering to block the edge defender.

Hands Blocking (THIS WILL NOT BE TAUGHT) - Good plan. I teach hand blocking because shoulder/elbow does not work with mega splits. Why not shrink the splits so they can block with their shoulders? For us that would be putting the cart before the horse. Teach your X-man and watch them own it.

Hole Numbering (Typically I don't use holes with SAB) - Then don't teach it. Mahonz believes that kids suck at remembering numbers. I'm not so sure, but it doesn't matter to me. We have a dozen ways at identifying points of attack in a way that we can shout it across the field and the defense is none the wiser. Funny story: one year, we used numbers to identify motion. "95" meant our Z would start at 9 and motion to 5. So we called "Ace 95, Snake Whiskey". MLB from the other team yelled, "Watch the 9 back through the 5 hole!". I was like "what offense has 9 backs?". 

QB/WR Drills (Pass VERY Infrequently) - Do you even have a WR? In DW, I would look at my QB's raw ability and make a decision whether to bother with a passing game. If he meets a certain baseline, go for it. If not, heck with it. If he's good enough on his own to try to pass, work with him just enough to get him to 50% completion rate. 50% at the youth level is a pretty good QB. If he can get air under his 9 route and your WB has a shred of athleticism, that's probably all you need.

Pass Routes (Minimal/As Needed) - Assuming you run Flood, rep those routes (TE Out, WB Go, FB Hitch) as many times as it takes to be as good at it as you need to be. 

Field Goals/Punting (Not Allowed in our League) - Then don't waste time on them.

Back Numbering (We use Jack's AB, BB, and CB) - Teach them what they need to know to run the play. Anything more is burning practice time.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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ZACH
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With the young guys, less scheme is more productive.  More fundamentals equals better results on game day with better player experiences.  

 

Drills like 12 perfect blocks, and various contact drills paid off a lot my last go around with youngins.  Getting kids comfortable with contact first will allow them to be more confident when the real things happen.

 

Scheme wise we didn't pass, we ran 4 plays for the majority of the season and focused on blocking fundus and ball security.  Our plays were one word "philly/eagle" and "perk/viking".   The snap count on the town was on 1 (philly/perk) , 2 on mascot (viking /eagle).  We called the play by subbing a back in similar to dumcoach and his wr rotation in dcwt. 

 

Take your time and enjoy the process.  Players win games, coaches win at practice.

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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Bob Goodman
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Posted by: @bucksweep58

With the young guys, less scheme is more productive.  More fundamentals equals better results on game day with better player experiences.  

 

Drills like 12 perfect blocks, and various contact drills paid off a lot my last go around with youngins.  Getting kids comfortable with contact first will allow them to be more confident when the real things happen.

Of course, it's what they come for.  I just hope organizations allow it.


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gumby_in_co
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Posted by: @bucksweep58

The snap count on the town was on 1 (philly/perk) , 2 on mascot (viking /eagle).  e.

Zach, you inspired me. We already call a state to signal, "The next word out of my mouth is 'HIT!'". So I figured, "Yeah, we can do this." I figured it was a novel way to call a varying snap count. The stranger it is, the more likely a kid will remember it. I thought to myself, "It's just like 'Simon Says'". I silly kids game with silly rules. It just might work.  Then, I thought of our guys. I texted Mahonz, "I bet our kids absolutely suck at 'Simon Says'". 

Practice starts and I huddle the offense. "Hey guys. Want to play a game and have some fun?"  Everyone nodding enthusiastically. "If I call a state, it's on 1. If I call an NFL mascot, it's on 2." Just to be sure, I limited it to Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders and Seahawks. Kids were smiling, so I allowed myself a glimmer of hope. Broke the huddle and called the play, followed with "BRONCOS!". QB repeats "BRONCOS!" . . . . HIT!

Everyone stood still except the slot receiver. He was running a corner route on that play and was 50 yards downfield before he even turned his head to look. I yelled at Mahonz, "Okay, I give up. We can't do it!"

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Bob Goodman
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co
Posted by: @bucksweep58

The snap count on the town was on 1 (philly/perk) , 2 on mascot (viking /eagle).  e.

Zach, you inspired me. We already call a state to signal, "The next word out of my mouth is 'HIT!'". So I figured, "Yeah, we can do this." I figured it was a novel way to call a varying snap count. The stranger it is, the more likely a kid will remember it. I thought to myself, "It's just like 'Simon Says'". I silly kids game with silly rules. It just might work.  Then, I thought of our guys. I texted Mahonz, "I bet our kids absolutely suck at 'Simon Says'". 

Practice starts and I huddle the offense. "Hey guys. Want to play a game and have some fun?"  Everyone nodding enthusiastically. "If I call a state, it's on 1. If I call an NFL mascot, it's on 2." Just to be sure, I limited it to Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders and Seahawks. Kids were smiling, so I allowed myself a glimmer of hope. Broke the huddle and called the play, followed with "BRONCOS!". QB repeats "BRONCOS!" . . . . HIT!

Everyone stood still except the slot receiver. He was running a corner route on that play and was 50 yards downfield before he even turned his head to look. I yelled at Mahonz, "Okay, I give up. We can't do it!"

Reminds me of 2010 when we were doing a multiple Oklahoma style scrimmage and I was coaching a shall-we-say-backward kid whom I'd taught to shoeshine.  I told him to remember the signal for him to do it was "shoeshine", and when I called it as we came to the line, he remembered to do it.  After that I told him, "Now the signal is `Superman'," and he shook his head eagerly.  But when I did call "Superman" he didn't do it.  Apparently he thought that by telling him the signal would be Superman, that meant not to shoeshine, since the signal to do that was "shoeshine".


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ZACH
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co
Posted by: @bucksweep58

The snap count on the town was on 1 (philly/perk) , 2 on mascot (viking /eagle).  e.

Zach, you inspired me. We already call a state to signal, "The next word out of my mouth is 'HIT!'". So I figured, "Yeah, we can do this." I figured it was a novel way to call a varying snap count. The stranger it is, the more likely a kid will remember it. I thought to myself, "It's just like 'Simon Says'". I silly kids game with silly rules. It just might work.  Then, I thought of our guys. I texted Mahonz, "I bet our kids absolutely suck at 'Simon Says'". 

Practice starts and I huddle the offense. "Hey guys. Want to play a game and have some fun?"  Everyone nodding enthusiastically. "If I call a state, it's on 1. If I call an NFL mascot, it's on 2." Just to be sure, I limited it to Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders and Seahawks. Kids were smiling, so I allowed myself a glimmer of hope. Broke the huddle and called the play, followed with "BRONCOS!". QB repeats "BRONCOS!" . . . . HIT!

Everyone stood still except the slot receiver. He was running a corner route on that play and was 50 yards downfield before he even turned his head to look. I yelled at Mahonz, "Okay, I give up. We can't do it!"

Thankfully no one figured out plays to the right were on 2 lmao

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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