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bdjackson
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Hey Coaches,

So as the title says, I am going to use this as a full season blog of everything that encompasses my return to the 6-8 year olds this season. It will include the good, bad, ugly, lesson learned, best practices, etc. I do not intend to hide any aspect of what we do to make myself look like I know what I am doing as the point is to give new or veteran coaches a look at a full season, and maybe even provide some feedback to help along the way. I hope to get in length reports of yesterdays and todays practice added after practice this evening. 

Cliff Notes for yesterday: I forgot how much effort and coordination it takes to get the little guys, especially those that have never played due to COVID cancellations to complete simple tasks like organize for warmups, run eval drills (3 cone specifically) and give maximum effort when there is no apparent reason as to why they are doing it. Primarily all things that are on me as the coach and that we intend to fix today. Ill let everyone know how the changes go today. 

 

--Brian

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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bdjackson
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Got a quick break in the day so I’ll try to get practice one uploaded. 

While I should have expected to spend the first 15 minutes adjusting helmets and chinstraps I never could have planned for 37 kids needing adjustment. Previously I’ve never had more than 24 kids, so this was a shock to say the least. 

Then while we were finishing up helmets I realized that I apparently set up where our parents are used to being for practice, so off we went to another side of the field. 

Of course that didn’t stop some parents from sneaking in an out of my practice, because why not. It’s way easier than committing to what is required if an actual coach. This was immediately address in an email and will be followed up on during our parents meeting tomorrow.

This could have been avoided with a day one parents meeting, but that’s a problem to solve next year. 

Warm ups was like hurdling kittens, but we got through and moved on to teaching form running through dynamic excercises. High knees, butt kickers, and sprints. I skipped backwards sprints and shuffles due to time, and the fact that backwards sprints would have been a nightmare at that point. It will get out in probably next week once we have had a couple days to grasp the form running concept. Biggest issue is arm form, keeping the L and using the ear to pocket technique. 

Once we fought through warm ups, we moved on to our Route 55 conditioning which is conditioning drills at 55 yards. Due to time we did our Army Crawl, Bear Crawl and Frog Hops. Army crawl was hell on some of them as our fields were less than dry. Everyone finished even though I sent quite a few back to the start for not using proper form and giving the effort we expected. 

Bear Crawls we’re almost as bad, with frog jumps being the easiest as I learned I can’t watch 37 kids frog jump at once. 

The correction we’re putting in place for today’s conditioning is having two coaches up front controlling the pace and motivating kids while the two trailers will pick off the kids cheating the drill by pulling them to start over. My hope is that this will help control the drill and get the most out of the conditioning. I expect a majority to keep up with the coaches pace while some will fall way behind. But every player is required to finish no matter if they are in drill one while everyone else is on drill 3. 

After conditioning we went into evals which was the most unorganized disastrous part of practice. Instead of dropping some evals for the night or going to something that was less “waiting” intensive we spent 20 minutes struggling through speed and agility drills., 3 cone being by far the worst. Not to mention we fell into lines which I’m generally a big proponent against and will be fixed tonight. 

We did salvage some of practice by closing out with the towel drill. I left them in there three groups and had one from each grab the towel and the two losing groups had to sprint to the fence and back (about 15 yards). We ran this for about 5 rounds. It was good as we got to see a lot of fight in the kids that had been missing during evals.

But that’s because we ran evals with 0 competitive sprit. Tonight all evals stations will have two players competing against one another for time. 10yd dash, 25yd dash, 5-10-5, and a pulling station.
To add to that I am going to bring some blank realtor/yard signs and write the fastest time and name for each drill to give the kids extra incentive to be the best. 

Ill leave it here for now and post day two once we get done with practice. 

— Brian

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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bdjackson
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Day Two:

Had to cancel practice due to rain turning our field in to a swimming pool, so we decided to have the kids come back in to correct ill-fitting helmets and pads. Having been in a fairly organized and volunteer heavy Pop Warner org previously, equipment pickup and fitting was generally well done and we had experienced coaches fitting players. Unfortunately that is not the case here and it showed day one of our practice. Chin Straps all over the place

Lesson learned: Ensure you have well trained assistants to help or take the time to fit them yourself. Bigger picture, ensure that as an organization you put an emphasis on ensuring that every coach is taking some form of equipment training as it is the tip of the spear in player safety. 

On to day three and our first parents meeting. 

--Brian 

 

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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CoachDP
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"Tip of the Spear?"  What's with the USAF reference...? Ugh.

It's better to work with a fractured org than a sharp one when learning how to run things.  These are all lessons that will help you, if you take note and remember to resolve them in time for next season.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Dusty Ol Fart
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SO you have 37 kids with no help at all??  Are they all on one team?  

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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bdjackson
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@coachdp more of a military reference for me than a USA Football one. 

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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bdjackson
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@youth-coach

 

as of today I have 4 assistant coaches that seem well put together. Time will tell how things work out. 

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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Coyote
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Hi Coach,

How are you using your 4 assistant coaches?   With yourself (#5) that just a fraction over 7 kids per coach.  Some drills you may be able to run with just one or 2 coaches, 3 - 5 stations at a time may relieve some of your long waits in line.  This means you have to trust your assistants, and let them run the skills and drills.  

You've likely already addressed this, but meet with your coaches and walk them thru - step by step - what you want them to do.  

Might write some drill cards (small enough to tuck under a ball cap) as reminders. Laminate against sweat, or, use clear contact paper like you'd use on cupboard shelf, which is what I do. 

With that large a group, you'll need to utilize your assis't coaches to the max.

Good luck. 

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


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @coyote

Some drills you may be able to run with just one or 2 coaches, 3 - 5 stations at a time may relieve some of your long waits in line.

Long waits in line?  Good grief, I hope no one still does that.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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coachmiket
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Just a thought....and I know it is early in the season.....but you seemed to mention more than once that you had to cut something out due to time constraints.  My question would be how much of what you are doing is truly necessary for 6-8 year old football players?  Like some of the evaluation stuff like a 3 cone drill, most 6-8 year old football players I recall were pretty clumsy physically.  Can you evaluate them in another way that also incorporates the skills and schemes you need them to learn?

I'm a basketball coach and one of the big schools of thought these days is to try to combine skills drills into your scheme work to maximize your time on task.

Again, just my thoughts from the outside looking in.


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @coachmiket

Just a thought....and I know it is early in the season.....but you seemed to mention more than once that you had to cut something out due to time constraints. 

That's a good point and you ask a good question.  In my case, I took the entire week for evals, so what didn't get evaluated on Monday got evaluated on Tuesday.  What didn't get evaluated on Tuesday got evaluated on Wednesday.  And if everything was evaluated by Thursday, there were always latecomers that needed evaluation, as well.  I knew I didn't have to get it done in a day.  I had a week.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @coachmiket

My question would be how much of what you are doing is truly necessary for 6-8 year old football players? 

And while I've never coached a 6-year-old, I did coach 7-9s for five years.  (1 as an AC and 4 as a HC.  Had an absolute blast as I tried to figure out things.)

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Prodigy
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I coached flag players for a year, kids as young as 5 and I ran many of the same evaluation drills.  If memory serves, our evaluations were:
sumo, three-way-tug o war, short sprints, pulling left / right, 2 board, whose ball, deer hunter.

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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bdjackson
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Posted by: @coyote

How are you using your 4 assistant coaches?   

My plan is to coach them up so that they could run a full practice successfully in my absence. I have made the mistake of not "coaching" my assistants and explaining my expectations before and it always ends in disaster.

With yourself (#5) that just a fraction over 7 kids per coach.  Some drills you may be able to run with just one or 2 coaches, 3 - 5 stations at a time may relieve some of your long waits in line.  This means you have to trust your assistants, and let them run the skills and drills.  

As I mentioned, this is my plan moving into this week. The only thing we do that mirrors, Dave but not many others is getting away from lines.

We are having a coaches meeting tomorrow to discuss everything from drills and schemes to verbiage and dress attire. 

You've likely already addressed this, but meet with your coaches and walk them thru - step by step - what you want them to do.  

Got it scheduled. 

Might write some drill cards (small enough to tuck under a ball cap) as reminders. Laminate against sweat, or, use clear contact paper like you'd use on cupboard shelf, which is what I do. 

Got some cards next to me. Got to let go of my perfectionism and just get them done. Ugly instructions are better than no instructions. 

With that large a group, you'll need to utilize your assis't coaches to the max.

Agreed!

Good luck. 

 

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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bdjackson
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Posted by: @coachmiket

Just a thought....and I know it is early in the season.....but you seemed to mention more than once that you had to cut something out due to time constraints.  My question would be how much of what you are doing is truly necessary for 6-8 year old football players? 

For us, a big part is the long game. Right now, things as simple as warm ups take away longer than I had planned for. So I have had to make active adjustments during practice. However, after the second practice, we started to get a better feel for times, and my after tomorrows meeting they will have a much better idea of what, why and how we run our drills/warm ups at practice. 

Like some of the evaluation stuff like a 3 cone drill, most 6-8 year old football players I recall were pretty clumsy physically.  Can you evaluate them in another way that also incorporates the skills and schemes you need them to learn?

Exactly what we started doing Thursday. 10 yard fight, Towel Drill, Board Drill (dropping until Indy's/Player placement), Gauntlet, 25 yard dash. 

I'm a basketball coach and one of the big schools of thought these days is to try to combine skills drills into your scheme work to maximize your time on task.

Again, just my thoughts from the outside looking in.

Absolutely appreciate the feedback. Genuinely what I was hoping to get out of sharing these experiences. 

 

Being Capable, first begins with being Confident.


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