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Well...I am stumped...  

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spidermac
(@spidermac)
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August 19, 2019 7:22 am  

Okay, one of the things I have always prided myself in being able to do is move boys past their fear of contact...but this season I have two that I have not been able to get there...granted, we are only 5 practices in...but generally by now I have seen some progress with "fearful" players in this regard....so far...I can't get anything to work...

Player 1 - We will call him Kevin...Kevin is a little guy, he is fast in a straight line...but lacks core strength and doesn't change direction well. After noticing his "shyness" in drills with only bags...I decided he was a DT. One job, slant to B (rookie tackle in our league doesn't allow penetration in the A). During the first practice I discovered he is a diagnosed asthmatic...and he had an "attack" during the first practice when another boy blocked the bag he was holding...I put attack in quotes because dad didn't have an inhaler with him, and I later learned he has not had an attack in two years, until his first practice. He has yet to get a full practice in, and he has had "attacks" in all of the practices...including one less than an hour of having a breathing treatment, while we were in warm ups. While working on a blocking drill (he was a bag holder) he would turn and run away once the ball was snapped. I have tried everything I can think of to get the boy past his fear...we give him matchups against boys of similar size and experience...all drills are close, limited space so he can't get "blown up" we teach in progression, so air, then bags, then fitting bodies, we have not graduated the team to live contact yet. First day in pads the fastest we went was Thud...no one on the ground...

Player 2 - We will call him Joey...Joey is also a little guy...and gosh he is slow, and lacks any kind of core strength and athleticism...he played spring flag with us...and we made great strides with him...teaching him how to run....etc. When mom told me she was thinking about putting him in tackle football in the fall, I warned her that tackle football was much different than flag...she signed him up anyway...we have him at Guard...so we can surround him with a Tackle and the Center...we are using angle concepts and combo blocking with either the T or the C...because he is doing everything in his power to avoid contact. I matched him and Kevin up in a blocking drill on Saturday...it was the most bizzare thing I have ever seen...there was absolutely no movement from either boy, we started the drill with them fit...and they just stood there...

I have spoken with both of them, both set of parents, parents and the boys...encouraged them, given them the hard hat after practice to try and motivate...talked to them about trusting me and their equipment...hit them with bags to show them it doesn't hurt...hit their pads to show them they do work...they refuse to engage...

I am not going to hold back the progress of the team for these two...we are going to do some full speed contact tonight...blocking and tackling, we are still going to control things with matchups...but I am concerned for their safety, and the safety of their team mates...I don't want to run them off...but for the life of me, these two have me stumped...

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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August 19, 2019 5:03 pm  

I’ve coached this age group twice. In my experience, this is way too early to worry. I had a few who didn’t get it until game 4.

If it were me, I’d double down. If you can survive our practices, games will be easy. Safety? Please. They are 7. The only thing in danger of being hurt is their feelings and/or what little confidence they have. Sounds like you are doing a great job of making sure that doesn’t happen. I wouldn’t put them against each other, but I wouldn’t match them up with a beast either.  They will learn that none of this will kill them.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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spidermac
(@spidermac)
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August 20, 2019 4:55 am  

I have to update my profile...they are actually 8 now 😛

But I get your point...force is equal to mass times velocity....that said...back in 2008 I had another little boy just like Kevin...he was also 8, terrified of contact, mom and dad were forcing him to play...he was at DT so we could surround him with a NT a DE and LBs...and just like Kevin...he would run away when the ball was snapped...3rd game of the season, first snap on defense...he runs away...the kid who was supposed to block him didn't care that he ran away, he chased him down...and buried him...kids head smacked the ground...we thought he had a concussion, but we never knew for sure...he left the field that day and never returned...wouldn't return calls from the head coach...

On the way to work this morning, one of my other coaches and I were talking...about how we are going to try and coach these boys up...we are running an Oklahoma type drill we call "W", one olineman, one dlneman, one LB and a back, one db and a receiver...and a ball carrier that has to get through the drill with the offensive players blocking and the defensive players trying to stop him...he asked what I was going to do with Kevin and Joey...said they are going to be in the drill...he asked if I was going to let them run with the football in the drill...I told him probably not...they would just stand there and get blown up...but I am going to ask them to block, and I am going to ask them to play defensive line in the drill...gotta start somewhere...

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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August 20, 2019 6:39 am  

Chris, don’t put them in 1-on-1 situations.  Put them in 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 drills.

—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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spidermac
(@spidermac)
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August 20, 2019 6:58 am  

Chris, don’t put them in 1-on-1 situations.  Put them in 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 drills.

—Dave

Dave...I would ask why...Joey for example...I have him playing Guard, and on pretty much every rep...he is letting his guy slip him, resulting in someone else having to pick him up...If I "force" him to confront his guy...he really doesn't have a choice but to fight or not...he cannot "hide" behind his team mate...

None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet.


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Wing-n-It
(@robert)
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August 20, 2019 7:03 am  

Chris I had a kid about 10 years ago that was a little timid to say the least. We were in a 2 on 1 drill and he helped the other player tackle, it wasn't a huge hit or anything but I acted like he just took the kids head off because it was progress. I lifted him up and swung him around made a big deal on the "now that's how you hit" and after that he wanted more. he became a very good player

Just my 2 cents

2 Things my offense will always have is a Wing and a Wedge


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coachmiket
(@coachmiket)
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August 20, 2019 7:55 am  

Dave...I would ask why...Joey for example...I have him playing Guard, and on pretty much every rep...he is letting his guy slip him, resulting in someone else having to pick him up...If I "force" him to confront his guy...he really doesn't have a choice but to fight or not...he cannot "hide" behind his team mate...

Not sure what Dave's reasoning is, but I'll add my two cents...

In a 1on1 he might feel like everybody is watching and waiting for him to mess up, fail, wuss out, whatever.  If he's 2on2 maybe he'll feel like there's less pressure on him to perform and he'll loosen up and hit even the tiniest bit.

Also, I like the idea of putting with a buddy in a 2on1 blocking drill and praising the heck out of the smallest attempt to block.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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August 20, 2019 7:55 am  

Dave...I would ask why..

Give me a call, it shouldn’t take anymore than 10 minutes.

—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
(@coachdp)
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Posts: 16876
North Carolina
High School
August 20, 2019 8:37 am  

I have him playing Guard, and on pretty much every rep...he is letting his guy slip by him

because he is doing everything in his power to avoid contact.

Sounds to me like he's playing out of position.  Guard is a position where contact MUST be made if a block is going to occur and you said he doesn't like contact.  On the other side, one reason we have had so much success teaching defensive linemen (who didn't like contact) to gap-shoot is because in successful gap-shooting, I don't want contact with an o-lineman to be made.  With this approach, we were coaching to our players' "strength" by teaching players who didn't want to make contact, not to make contact with an offensive lineman.  When they understood that non-contact was not only our preference, but an advantage, we taught them a quicker get-off.  The quick get-off made them more successful in their attempt to not make contact because they were into the gap and passed the o-linemen before a blocker could lay a hand or a shoulder on them.

We have a drill called "Torpedo" where our gap-shooters would all leap across the LOS seeing who could leap the furthest, while landing on their belly.  We didn't use pads or half-rounds the way USAF teaches their cloth grab tackle-thing and have players land on a half-round.  Our guys just got used to leaping from stance, landing hard on the ground and seeing who could get across the furthest.  We'd measure and make a contest of it.  Then we'd use other drills like our squeeze drill that would help them with splitting double teams and a hip-twist to get skinny.  At that age group, with the limited time you have it's better to give them assignments that are already within their talents.  Add to that, teaching them to go with the snap, instead of after the snap and you will have a substantial advantage over your opponents.

The entire foundation of successful gap-shooting is to not get blocked.  The best way to not get blocked is to not make contact.  When you teach gap-shooters that this is the way they're supposed to play, as opposed to "hiding them" on the defensive line, then you will get a far more successful and happier football player, in return.

Remember, someone once said, "None of them suck, they just haven't found what the kid is good at yet."

--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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JustPlay
(@rjbthor)
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Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 524
August 24, 2019 3:57 pm  

Dealing with 10's this year and a bunch a first years i have 3 low impact 7 kids. They dont enjoy contact or competition. But little by little I am chipping away at their fear and replacing with confidence about football other than contact.  - good movement - good reads. I am not shy about discussing with them that this is a contact sport and that our goal is to get them to be able to play anywhere on the field. We are in week 3 and we had one player think he could take the next step. Put him in our linebacker pursuit drill and he made his first tackle. The other 2 players saw what a big deal we made of his effort they jumped in line and gave it a shot.

There is no rush to get players tackling, as long as they know that they cant be on the field on game day unless they are ready to tackle. I had a dad come up to me and ask me why his son is not playing.  I asked him if he asked his son. He when over and asked him and his son told him he was not ready yet but thinks he is getting there. Then dad comes over to me and says just "make him". My response to him - " You want me to ruin the next 20 years of you and your son enjoying football  because he is not ready at 10? Long term dad!

nothing replaces effort. nothing replaces the mind. One with out the other is a waste of time.


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