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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Posts: 194
Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
October 20, 2020 8:07 am  

GM Coaches,

There's a strong possibility that I will be taking over a 6U team next fall and I was wondering if anybody has experience with the direct snap at this age and experience level?

I will be running a very basic form of the UBSW. I will be simplifying the blocking rules, basically down blocking everything I can and pulling PSG on Power. We will install Power, Counter, Sweep and Wedge. If I am successful, possibly Blast.

My solution would be to move the 1 and 2 back up to 1.5 yds behind center and rep the snap ad nauseum. My center will likely spend most of the practice snapping and stepping. He will not play defense. I realize at this age it must be extremely short sighted to expect an acceptable snap every time, but I would love to here some feedback from past experiences. Thanks in advance Coaches

Ryan


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32wedge
(@32wedge)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 711
Virginia
Middle School
Only / Head Coach
October 20, 2020 11:06 am  

I have done it with 5/6 year olds.  I don't think the snap will be a big problem.  You are a much better coach than I was when I coached that age.  I had the plays in a 3 ring binder with me in the huddle.  I showed them the play diagramed as I called the play.  They understand the picture a lot better than terminology.

 

I think Power, Counter, Sweep and Wedge can be ran with basically the same simple down blocking scheme.  Everyone else blocking down to the puller and the puller pulling tight strong on Power, wider on Sweep, tight weak on Counter and driving straight ahead for Wedge.  Those 4 plays are all that you will ever need.

 

Blast would be a little different.  I don't think you need it.  It might be good to save it for later when everything else is clicking.

 

I have seen pop passes to TEs work great at that age if you have a kid who can catch.  18 Pass might be another play to consider after the base 4 run plays are installed.  

 

THE 6 PLAYS ABOVE ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR THIS AGE.  DON'T MAKE THINGS COMPLICATED.  STAY SIMPLE.  


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 17464
North Carolina
High School
October 20, 2020 12:08 pm  

The requirements of the Center position are such that it does not require athleticism.  As a matter of fact, despite the fact that it's the single, most important position on offense, it requires the least in terms of athletic skill set.  Of course, when you can get a high-IQ, athletic and tough player at that position, that's all icing.  But the core fundamentals (as they are at ANY position) are all teachable.  We aren't asking them to learn to fly.  Or to have ESP.  Or to be able to see through walls.  "Snap the ball, block the defender." (I doubt that you will have him be making blocking calls.)  It doesn't get much simpler than that.  Coaching a successful Center requires two things: Quality instruction and quality reps.  (Note that I said NOTHING about the type kid you get.)  Despite those simple requirements, both are often overlooked (probably because of the simplicity of the position.  However, note that I said earlier that it's the most important offensive position.  Without a snap, you have no play.  And a bad snap is usually worse than a penalty, because on a penalty you get a Down Do-Over.  But coaching the Center position is also overlooked because many coaches don't know what "quality instruction" is, or what "quality reps" are.)  In my view, quality instruction is knowing how to teach the core fundamentals of that position. This is our daily instruction:

Center/QB Exchange (with Footwork)

The Block

Our Blocking Rules and Tags for the Center Position (Wedge, Power Wedge, Reach, MOMA/MOPA, Pass Pro)

The Line Calls (Down/Out)

The Cadences (Default Cadence, 1st Sound, Goose, No Play, Coma)

Keep in mind, that some of these drills could be combined, to save practice time.

Then there are the quality reps.  So we will rep 50/50/50 (150) consecutive exchanges every day.  His snaps aren't just a snap/exchange, but a snap/exchange with footwork.  Then there's his 1on1/1on2 drills.  His Board Work Drills.  His FootFire Drills (Even though he doesn't pull, I want him getting quick feet down, so that he's out of the way for our pullers).  His Fight Club and Drive for 55 Indy drills.  His Perfect Drive group drill.

My challenge is finding enough time for everything I want to do with him, and that's just for the Center.  Yet on many Saturdays, I see a Center who's been overlooked and is an afterthought.  They just snap the football and become spectators.  They are abused by physical 0-Techniques, Double Teams or Blitzers.  This drives me raving nuts because without a good snap, you have no offensive play.  And yet many coaches completely overlook the amount of time needed to invest in a position of such importance.

--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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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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Posts: 22981
October 20, 2020 12:28 pm  

The problem isnt the snap....the problem is will they catch the snap. And then there is the blocking thing. That's pretty important. That age group is certainly entertaining and will keep you smiling.  

 

But as to your thoughts...you are absolutely on the right track. 

 

 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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Posts: 4179
October 20, 2020 1:46 pm  
Posted by: @rpatric

There's a strong possibility that I will be taking over a 6U team next fall and I was wondering if anybody has experience with the direct snap at this age and experience level?

Why, yes I do. Can it be done? I'm certain of it, but after coaching 2nd, then 3rd graders, direct snapper is added to the list of positions I flatly refuse to coach anymore. We tried every single kid on a roster of 22 at least 5 times each. It was bad enough that we didn't run Beast last year. Mahonz and I did not run Beast. Let that marinate.

Seriously, though. Moving the backs up has a downside. Little guys' reaction times are pretty slow. The close they are, the less time they have to react and catch the ball. 

If I had to do it all over again with the same group, I would pick the kid with the right mentality, regardless of whether or not he could snap, then I would exhaust all efforts to teach him to snap. Picking your snapper based on snapping ability alone is a huge mistake, IMHO.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 194
Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
October 20, 2020 2:00 pm  

@gumby_in_co i have been kicking around the idea of running SW from under center so i don't have to leave the snap up to chance. I hate leaving things to chance because once I've made a decision it takes an act of God for me to back track. Probably a fatal flaw, but it's a reality.

Running the SW under center would drastically change the way i run the offense for one. It would also be a waste in my opinion because i wouldn't stay that way in the following seasons. 

I've been told to roll the snap , but to me that sounds like an impending disaster on every single play. If only i could start training one now🤔🤔🤔. I'm sure i could keep a 5yr old excited about centering a football for the next 10 months😂😂😂

 


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Maryland
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Head Coach
October 20, 2020 2:04 pm  

@32wedge I'm all for the simple approach Nathan. Heck, if i can get these kids executing a wedge properly we'll probably just run the other teams over for 40 minutes. That'd be fine with me👍

 


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Maryland
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Head Coach
October 20, 2020 2:06 pm  

@mahonz.  Ahhh yes. The backs will have to catch the frigging thing too. That's a whole other animal in itself. 😂

 


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 287
United States
Head Coach
October 20, 2020 2:54 pm  
Posted by: @32wedge

I have done it with 5/6 year olds.  I don't think the snap will be a big problem.  You are a much better coach than I was when I coached that age.  I had the plays in a 3 ring binder with me in the huddle.  I showed them the play diagramed as I called the play.  They understand the picture a lot better than terminology.

 

I think Power, Counter, Sweep and Wedge can be ran with basically the same simple down blocking scheme.  Everyone else blocking down to the puller and the puller pulling tight strong on Power, wider on Sweep, tight weak on Counter and driving straight ahead for Wedge.  Those 4 plays are all that you will ever need.

 

Blast would be a little different.  I don't think you need it.  It might be good to save it for later when everything else is clicking.

 

I have seen pop passes to TEs work great at that age if you have a kid who can catch.  18 Pass might be another play to consider after the base 4 run plays are installed.  

 

THE 6 PLAYS ABOVE ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR THIS AGE.  DON'T MAKE THINGS COMPLICATED.  STAY SIMPLE.  

And don't run power pass near the end zone 😉

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 287
United States
Head Coach
October 20, 2020 3:16 pm  
Posted by: @rpatric

GM Coaches,

There's a strong possibility that I will be taking over a 6U team next fall and I was wondering if anybody has experience with the direct snap at this age and experience level?

I will be running a very basic form of the UBSW. I will be simplifying the blocking rules, basically down blocking everything I can and pulling PSG on Power. We will install Power, Counter, Sweep and Wedge. If I am successful, possibly Blast.

My solution would be to move the 1 and 2 back up to 1.5 yds behind center and rep the snap ad nauseum. My center will likely spend most of the practice snapping and stepping. He will not play defense. I realize at this age it must be extremely short sighted to expect an acceptable snap every time, but I would love to here some feedback from past experiences. Thanks in advance Coaches

Ryan

While I coach 8U, there are a lot of 6's and 7's on my team.

We run mostly direct snap with the 1 and 2 backs 3 yards deep. Mostly, sweep, blast, and power. We also run some Single Wing from under center (Same alignment only QB is under center). We use this for Power, Dive, and Counter (make sure the QB keeps the ball low... no one will know who has it). This set works very well if you have a short running back with great vision (like My Vikings are fortunate to have).

This season, I've had almost no trouble with long snaps because I borrowed @CoachDP 's approach by making sure I had 50 perfect snaps in a row before putting the QB and C in the other drills. I would also make sure that he's used to contact after the snap unless your league has an "A" Gap rule like mine does.

I hope you end up taking over this team. From the advice you've given over the past few weeks, I can tell that you'd be a great instructor for kids that age!

Coach Terry

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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Coyote
(@coyote)
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Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 195
3rd - 5th
Coordinator
October 20, 2020 4:12 pm  

FWIW, one our Pee Wee teams (7U) sorta direct snaps, they roll the ball back.  

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


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Bob Goodman
(@bob-goodman)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9516
New Jersey
3rd - 5th
Asst Coach
October 20, 2020 6:46 pm  
Posted by: @mahonz

The problem isnt the snap....the problem is will they catch the snap. 

Yeah.  When I set out to revive sidesaddle T, I hadn't realized that form of C-QB exchange had another advantage until Hugh Wyatt pointed it out: that the QB can see the ball coming all the way from the ground.  If he's positioned correctly, he has a view of the ball before it's snapped.  He'll lose sight of part of it behind the snapper's near thigh, but by then he feels it in his own hand, yet without the snapper's having taken hands off it yet.

With kids there's one drawback with any hand(s)-to-hands snap: reticence to put one's hands into another's crotch, especially if one's a girl and the other's a boy.  However, this is not a problem with 6Us!  They don't get like that until later.  9-11 YOs seem to have it worst, then they're getting over it with increasing age.

If you want more deception, then dual (double) T, with two QBs each able to reach under while the other's hands don't break the plane of the snapper's waist before the snap.  (Actually neither one has to have his hands there except to meet the ball as it arrives.)  They can each be sidesaddle, facing each other.

I don't have experience with 5-6 YOs in football.  However, if you're throwing the snap rather than handing it, I'm sure being close is going to pose as much problem in catching the ball as being too far back.  He needs time to watch the ball come.  That's going to be true no matter what form you use to deliver it: 1- or 2-hand, spiral, end-over-end, or "dead".


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
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Joined: 2 years ago
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Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
October 20, 2020 6:46 pm  

@terrypjohnson

Thanks Coach! Not sure what the verdict will end up being. I do have a group of 13 year olds that I was looking forward to coaching, but our rec might get in the way of that happening. The plus side to the 6U is that I can start from scratch without having to make up for poor instruction


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Coyote
(@coyote)
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Joined: 12 months ago
Posts: 195
3rd - 5th
Coordinator
October 21, 2020 8:32 am  
Posted by: @rpatric

The plus side to the 6U is that I can start from scratch without having to make up for poor instruction

Lesson I learned early, and is reinforced every season...  never underestimate the value of not having to break bad habits instilled by poor coaching.   

Caveat; sometimes the kids are coached techniques that may be proper for one style of play, but won't fit well with another.    The guy coaching the All-Stars this season asked our HC what to do with our OG.  "We don't do all that pulling crap".   Our OG is undersized for "Just block the guy in front of you, and beat his brains out" football.   Complaint by the All-stars coaches is that we didn't teach our kids anything.  

This post was modified 1 month ago by Coyote

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


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 17464
North Carolina
High School
October 21, 2020 8:41 am  
Posted by: @coyote

The guy coaching the All-Stars this season asked our HC what to do with our OG.  "We don't do all that pulling crap".   Our OG is undersized for "Just block the guy in front of you, and beat his brains out" football.   Complaint by the All-stars coaches is that we didn't teach our kids anything.  

Out of the mouths of babes.

--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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