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PSLCOACHROB
(@pslcoachrob)
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And many times, it's a championship game where special teams are the difference.

--Dave

You had to remind me. We lost the 2010 NC by a 2 point conversion We made 2, they made all 3.


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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With all that is said about not teaching specials not hurting the kids, we do stress specials ourselves. We use specials as a weapon. But that is a different conversation. So I'm ok with the op's position from an inividual pov but disagree with it from a game stand point. Specials have won and lost us more than one game.

R

True. We lost a big game vs a rival this season 7-6. We were very good at kicking PAT's but missed a big one.

I learned my lesson about punting many years ago. A 9 year old team....we were good enough where we never punted during the Regular Season so we practiced punting very little. In the Conference Championship Game we had two punts blocked in the first quarter and were down 14 points in no time. Never recovered.

Since that game we practice 5 punts every single practice even with the little dudes....and punt return and KO and KOR and PAT kicks once we get old enough to feasibly make them. 

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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preparing your players for high school is not really your responsibility - maximizing their experience THIS year with THIS team is,

Not surprisingly, I disagree. 


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PioneerCoach
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Despite what I said earlier, we do everything we can to make special teams a weapon for us.  This year we had one punt return TD, one KO return TD, multiple XP blocks, many XP kicks (which are worth 2 points in our league) and half a dozen recovered kickoffs (some traditional onside kicks, some "pooch" style kicks).

ST's are part of our game week practice plan.  We spend 15-20 mins on Punt Return every Defense day (Tues), 15-20 minutes on Punt coverage every Offense day (Thurs).  Every Friday night, the first 40 minutes after warm-ups is set aside exclusively for the rest of our ST's (KO/onside, KOR/onside, XP/FG, XP/FG Block).  Every Saturday morning during walk through, we go through all six of our our ST's one more time to make sure there are no questions on what we want that week. 

We don't do it to prepare them to play ST's at the high school, we do it to give our team their best chance to be successful this year.

"February: I want to run triple option from the single wing, but with a pass option, too. Should the end run a post or a corner?
September: Any advice on how to get my center to snap it properly?"


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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Not surprisingly, I disagree.

A

Why?

Im a here and now coach so Im curious why you disagree even though about half the kids I do coach that play HS ball typically play the same general positions as they did in youth ball.

There is a team in our Division that is LOADED with talent but they cant get over the hump. On both sides of the ball they run a bunch of stuff. I spoke to their Header about it at a League function and he told me he was trying to run a little bit of everything for his kids because his kids will feed into 3 different HS programs.

I didn't really say how I felt about it because if he stopped doing that he would beat my team into oblivion.  😛 Currently we can hang with them because they really are not proficient at any one thing in particular. So...there is a good example why coaching for the here and now seems....logical.

Thoughts?

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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PSLCOACHROB
(@pslcoachrob)
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Not surprisingly, I disagree.

I think we have a responsibility to teach them to perform the fundamental skills properly. Beyond that, let the hs guys do their jobs. Nobody locally runs the sw or dw so am I doing them a disservice because we aren't running a zone read spread option? Not imo. I think it is important to maximize the players experience so that when hs rolls around they still want to play.


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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A

Why?

Im a here and now coach so Im curious why you disagree even though about half the kids I do coach that play HS ball typically play the same general positions as they did in youth ball.

There is a team in our Division that is LOADED with talent but they cant get over the hump. On both sides of the ball they run a bunch of stuff. I spoke to their Header about it at a League function and he told me he was trying to run a little bit of everything for his kids because his kids will feed into 3 different HS programs.

I didn't really say how I felt about it because if he stopped doing that he would beat my team into oblivion.  😛 Currently we can hang with them because they really are not proficient at any one thing in particular. So...there is a good example why coaching for the here and now seems....logical.

Thoughts?

Good question.  I think it is a balance.  Certainly, fundamental blocking, tackling etc. is universal and for the most part, the most important piece.  I certainly get that.  However, once the kids start getting older, their skill development/knowledge for the future should be a part of the equation as a coach.  I coach several kids right now that have dads that coach D1 basketball.  They are soooo much less on the "winning" side right now than any other parents.  For example,  I could run "plays" at the age I'm coaching and probably score more buckets, but that does nothing for their development and basketball IQ.  What they want is skill development and basketball knowledge.  If we win, so be it - but that is secondary.  I agree whole heartedly with this philosophy.  In baseball, for example, you see coaches that will have their kids play "games" on the base paths to take advantage of the defense at younger ages.  This does nothing but teach them bad habits through a win at all costs mentality.

Back to football (sorry).  For example, if you have a kid with a great arm and some athleticism (i.e. - a possible future at QB), running the single wing, in my opinion, is doing him a disservice.  If they enter the 9th grade (in my neck of the woods anyway) and don't know how to 3 step drop, move in the pocket, read defenses (read the safety on a give/pull read) for example, they probably won't ever get the shot to play QB.  If you run an offense that never throws (particularly if you don't even practice throwing/catching), future possible wide receivers are going to be behind where they would be otherwise.

Running something where the boys learn why you are doing something in response to the type of defense, etc. gives the kids a big head start.  My son just played 8th grade football for a coach that coached in college for years and has strong ties to our local D1 football program.  He told me flat out, there are things that he could do to give them a better chance to win, but he wants them to be "ahead of the curve" when they hit high school.  That was his goal, and I agree.

NOW, that doesn't mean that you don't try to win.  I'm just saying that it should be PART of the equation.  Skill development should be right up there, if not the number one goal.  That can mean different things to different people (and rightly so).

This long a** email somewhat explains why I am such a fan of the DCWT.  It makes you work on ball skill development with a lot of kids, teaches the kids why you call a certain play given the defense, makes them read the defense on passes, options, etc.  After 4 years, it was very cool to have my kids talk about what we should run and why against a certain team.  I can tell you (argue with me if you want) that those kids were way ahead this last year when they moved on (even though they were running a different scheme).

I could go on, but hopefully you get the gist, M.  I know guys will respond with "I ran the SW and one of my backs was the HS starting QB."  I get that, but that isn't the point. 

You asked!  😛


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PSLCOACHROB
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I don't completely disagree with the points Malibu makes. I get it. One of my best friends is a hs oc/qb coach. I promise you he can develop a qb that has never played the position to be ready to start varsity as junior. His starting qb this season just started playing qb last season. The hs guys have sooooo much more time than we have with them and usually have much more qualified coaches. On the flip side a winning experience is more often than not a positive experience. Kids on perennial losing teams tend to abandon the sport. I have also had kids that I thought would of been great hs players but ended up being poor players or just stopped playing. You can't predict the future so you need to prepare for now. It's a balancing act really.


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Malibu
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I don't completely disagree with the points Malibu makes. I get it. One of my best friends is a hs oc/qb coach. I promise you he can develop a qb that has never played the position to be ready to start varsity as junior. His starting qb this season just started playing qb last season. The hs guys have sooooo much more time than we have with them and usually have much more qualified coaches. On the flip side a winning experience is more often than not a positive experience. Kids on perennial losing teams tend to abandon the sport. I have also had kids that I thought would of been great hs players but ended up being poor players or just stopped playing. You can't predict the future so you need to prepare for now. It's a balancing act really.

I get those points too.  And, yes, there is no doubt HS coaches CAN turn a kid into a QB.  But, you don't think he would be better if he had learned those things growing up?  If so, then it doesn't matter at all if you know how to block, tackle, etc. correctly when you get to the HS because they can teach that too!  And, if there was a kid that already knew how to do those things and was talented, that other kid would never get a shot. 


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PSLCOACHROB
(@pslcoachrob)
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I get those points too.  And, yes, there is no doubt HS coaches CAN turn a kid into a QB.  But, you don't think he would be better if he had learned those things growing up?  If so, then it doesn't matter at all if you know how to block, tackle, etc. correctly when you get to the HS because they can teach that too!  And, if there was a kid that already knew how to do those things and was talented, that other kid would never get a shot.

That is why I say it is a balancing act. On one hand you want to teach what will be successful at the youth level and on the other hand you want them to succeed in hs. You(I wouldn't but following the train of thought one might) could also argue that any skill used by any position in hs should be taught by the youth coaches. Just do the best you can in the time you have. QB is a special position so the argument probably holds more water with that position but not so sure about the others. 


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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That is why I say it is a balancing act. On one hand you want to teach what will be successful at the youth level and on the other hand you want them to succeed in hs. You(I wouldn't but following the train of thought one might) could also argue that any skill used by any position in hs should be taught by the youth coaches. Just do the best you can in the time you have. QB is a special position so the argument probably holds more water with that position but not so sure about the others.

I'm with ya.


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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Good question.  I think it is a balance.  Certainly, fundamental blocking, tackling etc. is universal and for the most part, the most important piece.  I certainly get that.  However, once the kids start getting older, their skill development/knowledge for the future should be a part of the equation as a coach.  I coach several kids right now that have dads that coach D1 basketball.  They are soooo much less on the "winning" side right now than any other parents.  For example,  I could run "plays" at the age I'm coaching and probably score more buckets, but that does nothing for their development and basketball IQ.  What they want is skill development and basketball knowledge.  If we win, so be it - but that is secondary.  I agree whole heartedly with this philosophy.  In baseball, for example, you see coaches that will have their kids play "games" on the base paths to take advantage of the defense at younger ages.  This does nothing but teach them bad habits through a win at all costs mentality.

Back to football (sorry).  For example, if you have a kid with a great arm and some athleticism (i.e. - a possible future at QB), running the single wing, in my opinion, is doing him a disservice.  If they enter the 9th grade (in my neck of the woods anyway) and don't know how to 3 step drop, move in the pocket, read defenses (read the safety on a give/pull read) for example, they probably won't ever get the shot to play QB.  If you run an offense that never throws (particularly if you don't even practice throwing/catching), future possible wide receivers are going to be behind where they would be otherwise.

Running something where the boys learn why you are doing something in response to the type of defense, etc. gives the kids a big head start.  My son just played 8th grade football for a coach that coached in college for years and has strong ties to our local D1 football program.  He told me flat out, there are things that he could do to give them a better chance to win, but he wants them to be "ahead of the curve" when they hit high school.  That was his goal, and I agree.

NOW, that doesn't mean that you don't try to win.  I'm just saying that it should be PART of the equation.  Skill development should be right up there, if not the number one goal.  That can mean different things to different people (and rightly so).

This long a** email somewhat explains why I am such a fan of the DCWT.  It makes you work on ball skill development with a lot of kids, teaches the kids why you call a certain play given the defense, makes them read the defense on passes, options, etc.  After 4 years, it was very cool to have my kids talk about what we should run and why against a certain team.  I can tell you (argue with me if you want) that those kids were way ahead this last year when they moved on (even though they were running a different scheme).

I could go on, but hopefully you get the gist, M.  I know guys will respond with "I ran the SW and one of my backs was the HS starting QB."  I get that, but that isn't the point. 

You asked!  😛

A

Makes sense with the older kids. If you have some players that are talented at something in particular then make an attempt to progress them before HS.

We are blessed with 3 QB's right now. Gonna be 6th graders next season.

#3 is Tebow but accurate. Phenomenal dual threat.

#2 is P. Manning old man fragile but deadly accurate. He was our #1 3rd grade season and crushed it.

#1 is a version of Farve early in his career. Has all the tools necessary but cant seem to stop throwing picks at the worst possible times.

I really dont know what to do but will certainly adjust the offense to suit the best passer of the bunch. So I get what you are saying. I agree...the DCWT philosophy is top shelf when it comes to an Offense. No matter what type of skill sets you end up with year to year...it continues to work. I just wish I understood Wing T Speak. I've had to invent my own language.  :-

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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A

Makes sense with the older kids. If you have some players that are talented at something in particular then make an attempt to progress them before HS.

We are blessed with 3 QB's right now. Gonna be 6th graders next season.

#3 is Tebow but accurate. Phenomenal dual threat.

#2 is P. Manning old man fragile but deadly accurate. He was our #1 3rd grade season and crushed it.

#1 is a version of Farve early in his career. Has all the tools necessary but cant seem to stop throwing picks at the worst possible times.

I really dont know what to do but will certainly adjust the offense to suit the best passer of the bunch. So I get what you are saying. I agree...the DCWT philosophy is top shelf when it comes to an Offense. No matter what type of skill sets you end up with year to year...it continues to work. I just wish I understood Wing T Speak. I've had to invent my own language.  :-

I have Wing T books sitting on my shelf.  It is like reading the books of the bible before they were translated.  I read it and have no idea what the he** it means!


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mahonz
(@mahonz)
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I have Wing T books sitting on my shelf.  It is like reading the books of the bible before they were translated.  I read it and have no idea what the he** it means!

LOL...I've had a few really smart guys explain it to me. Problem is....Im not a smart guy.  🙁

What is beautiful, lives forever.


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coachdoug
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Not surprisingly, I disagree.

Malibu - I'm a little confused.  You say, "Not surprisingly," but to the best of my knowledge you and I have never had a disagreement, so I don't understand your comment.  Having read through this entire thread, I get what you're saying, and I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree to a certain extent, although I think we're far closer in our thinking than you probably realize.  Every year, I tell my players (and more importantly, their parents) what my goals & objectives are for the season - and they're always the same:

  • Have Fun - having said that, we will do very little with the explicit end of having fun - rather, having fun will be a natural by-product of doing everything else that focus on well.  Even though it won't always appear that way, the kids' fun will always be our number one objective.
  • Learn life lessons.  We will focus on a day-to-day basis on making sure the kids learn things like commitment, discipline, hard work, perseverance, teamwork, integrity, etc.  Our primary aim is to help our players become better young men.
  • Be Competitive.  While winning is not the primary objective, the will to win is near the top.  Our players don't need to win every game to be successful, but they do need to strive to win every game and give everything they have towards that goal.  If they can learn that type of commitment in our program, they are almost certainly destined to have a lot of success in life.
  • Develop of Love for the Game.  This is something of a personal goal of mine.  I love the game of football and I want to share that love with as many people as possible.  Not everyone can play this game, but even for those those kids that decide that playing this game isn't for them, I hope that they'll enjoy their experience enough that they'll want to continue being a part of this glorious game as fans.
  • Prepare for the Next Level. The next level is whatever is next for each individual kid - if a kid is playing Jr. Pee Wee, we want to make sure he's ready to move on to Pee Wee by the end of the season.  I usually coach the 8th grade level, so most of my kids are going on to high school each year.  Yes, I want them all to be ready to compete and do well at the high school level, and that's the reason this item is on my list.  However, I understand that a significant portion of my players will never play a snap at the HS level , so that's why this item is the lowest priority on my list. I do take this goal seriously, and over the years I have had tens of dozens of players start at the high school varsity level, and dozens more more on to the college level.  Heck, my QB from 2012 is a Soph in HS now and he's started on varsity since day one in high school, just won a CIF championship (a sectional championship in California, roughly equivalent to a state title in most other states) and has offers from Florida and Arizona and just recently made a verbal commitment to Arizona. Over the years, I have had players move on to play college ball at USC, UCLA, SDSU, Cal-Poly, CS-SLO, Colorado, Colorado State, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Idaho, Idaho State, Stonehill College, and Stevenson University, just to name a few.

Anyway, I get it - I really want my kids that are going to play at the next level (whatever that is) to excel there, but I also realize that a lot of kids are never going to get there - I don't want their experience to be less than it could be because I didn't see them as "next level" players.  Every player we coach is important - we don't know how these kids are going to develop or what's going to happen with them in the future.  They signed up NOW for THIS SEASON and our primary responsibility to is to make THIS SEASON the best it can be for all the kids.  That doesn't mean to win at all costs - hell, that doesn't necessarily mean to win at all.  What is means is that we take each kid's participation in our program seriously and do everything we can maximize each kids' experience THIS YEAR.  We don't disregard kids that we don't think can be contributors at the high school or college level.  We don't push kids to the side so we can spend extra time trying to prepare star athletes for HS or even college at the 7th or 8th grade level because we feel it's our responsibility to feed our local high school programs.

There are a whole bunch of other (common sense) reasons why making HS or college prep your primary goal at the youth level is a bad idea, but they've been discussed here and elsewhere ad naseum - if you don't get it yet, you're probably not going to get it.

DISCLAIMER - every situation is different - if you're in a situation where your youth program is part of your local school system and your program feeds a single high school, then you are, de-facto, part of the local varsity program, so  this equation is completely different for you.

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