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acsmith7062
(@acsmith7062)
Copper
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 74
Texas
3rd - 5th
Head Coach
July 22, 2020 11:48 pm  

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find the threads.  I am coaching a 4th Grade team and a 5th Grade team this season (if the season happens).  Both teams are small, but very good athletes.  Something I have struggled with is how to reward and set apart the O-lineman.  Almost every kid this age thinks they are a WR and they think playing OL is beneath them.  I am looking for some techniques that can make the OL feel special and appreciated, and make them want to play OL and dominate opponents.  Thanks in advance for all responses!

-Chad  

"You fail all the time, but you aren't a failure until you start blaming someone else."   O.A. "Bum" Phillips


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Coyote
(@coyote)
Bronze
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 131
3rd - 5th
Coordinator
July 23, 2020 9:23 am  

Well, not many kids go into their backyard with a football and dream of the day they throw the block for the RB who scores the game winning TD.   Tho some kids who are quite athletic / physical, don't really want to be in the spot light.   And some come from families that produce and take pride in producing OLinemen.    

Some things we do...

We announce that Olinemen will be chosen for their superior intelligence and good looks. 

We are very loud and frequent in our praise for the Olinemen, and since we have a coach on the field with our age group, "Great Block" is heard from the field more often than "Great Run".   The fans get an earful of OLine Praise from the field.   When ever we have a big play, we're high fiving the Oline, patting them on the head and 'bumping fists" with them.    Key blocks get the kids picked up and tossed in the air for joy, sometimes, even carried off the field on a coach's shoulders after the score.     [we can still do this with 8 & 9 yr olds, the 10 yr olds start getting too big to lift]

When we have a 24 pt lead we start giving OLinemen some carries, incentivizes opening big holes to hurry up and get that lead.

The Concession gives the 'player of the game' from each team an ice cream after the game, for some reason on our team, this always seems to be an Olineman. 😇 

3rd graders on the Oline tend to become Backs in 4th grade...   Our whole backfield this season has played on the Oline.    We have a backfield that can block.  This is well known and parents may not like it much, but folk know the kids won't get pigeon-holed on our team, and the see it as a promotion for good work.

Hope this helps

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by Coyote

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


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
Bronze
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 214
United States
Head Coach
July 23, 2020 9:54 am  
Posted by: @coyote

Well, not many kids go into their backyard with a football and dream of the day they throw the block for the RB who scores the game winning TD.   Tho some kids who are quite athletic / physical, don't really want to be in the spot light.   And some come from families that produce and take pride in producing OLinemen.    

Some things we do...

We announce that Olinemen will be chosen for their superior intelligence and good looks. 

We are very loud and frequent in our praise for the Olinemen, and since we have a coach on the field with our age group, "Great Block" is heard from the field more often than "Great Run".   The fans get an earful of OLine Praise from the field.   When ever we have a big play, we're high fiving the Oline, patting them on the head and 'bumping fists" with them.    Key blocks get the kids picked up and tossed in the air for joy, sometimes, even carried off the field on a coach's shoulders after the score.     [we can still do this with 8 & 9 yr olds, the 10 yr olds start getting too big to lift]

When we have a 24 pt lead we start giving OLinemen some carries, incentivizes opening big holes to hurry up and get that lead.

The Concession gives the 'player of the game' from each team an ice cream after the game, for some reason on our team, this always seems to be an Olineman. 😇 

3rd graders on the Oline tend to become Backs in 4th grade...   Our whole backfield this season has played on the Oline.    We have a backfield that can block.  This is well known and parents may not like it much, but folk know the kids won't get pigeon-holed on our team, and the see it as a promotion for good work.

Hope this helps

I'm definitely borrowing the "Superior Intelligence and good looks"... I never thought of that!

 

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


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COACHDT
(@hawk2018)
Copper
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 17
July 23, 2020 3:51 pm  

@coyote

We hire base on intellignce as well.

RB's clean up the dummies beacause olineman are more important.

Oline takes water breaks first....same reason.

We use cheap plastic chairs instead of garbage cans for fits and defense recognition.  The oline gets to sit in them during water breaks.  RB's have to sit on the ground.

We will have the RB coach send a RB over to the oline when we gets in trouble for something.  We send them right back, and when they have left we tell the oline that RB's are not tough enough to be in our group.

Helmet stickers are for great blocks not touchdowns.

Oline makes their own name for the season.  They were the Angry Birds last season.

These are some of  things we do.

 


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acsmith7062
(@acsmith7062)
Copper
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 74
Texas
3rd - 5th
Head Coach
July 23, 2020 11:11 pm  

Thanks for the responses.  I already praise the offensive line on TD drives and give out helmet stickers for blocking, not scoring TDs.  I like letting them give their unit a name, letting them have water breaks first, not having to pick up equipment, and giving them a bench to sit on (we don't have chairs).  I am going to steal all these ideas.  Thanks again!

-Chad

 

"You fail all the time, but you aren't a failure until you start blaming someone else."   O.A. "Bum" Phillips


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
Platinum
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 3962
July 24, 2020 10:21 am  

Mixed feelings about it. 

I used to do the "linemen don't carry equipment" thing.  Then I watched 2 coaches almost come to blows over it and one of them quit.  

When our current kids were 2nd graders, I really poured on the "we're special" thing.  If we had a good week of practice, I would load up my backpack with toys and snacks from the dollar store and let the "Regulators" as we call them pick something from the "backpack of joy". I made a big display of it and made sure that everyone knew it was for "Regulators only". Over the course of the season, Mahonz and I noticed that this team just didn't seem to "click" like our other teams.

Last season, I quietly stopped the "backpack of joy" as a regular Friday thing. I'd bring it out once in awhile and let it apply to the whole team if we had a particularly good practice.

The point I'm trying to make is that I feel like if you go too overboard elevating the linemen, you risk dividing your team. It's the same when we have a big team and full platoon. We like to pit the offense against the defense because . . . competition. That's great, but you have to take as much care in bringing the team back together when you see them start to really resent each other.  I guess making sure everyone understands this before the competitive session would go a long way to that end.

That said, every day, I make sure the linemen understand:

1) They are the engine that powers the offense. 

2) Their job requires them to be smarter, stronger and give more effort than the backs.

3) I loudly correct any coach who refers to backs/receives as "skill positions".

4) I tell the line that O-line is the only position in any sport in the entire world whose sole purpose is to protect a teammate.

5) Next time I hit the field (whenever that is), I will make T-shirts that say "Will Block for Food"

 

BTW, I suggest you follow @linemanissues on Twitter and encourage your players to do the same if they use social media. That channel is all about linemen.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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chucknduck
(@chucknduck)
Bronze
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 383
July 24, 2020 2:11 pm  

In youth ball I have not really had any problems with kids not wanting to play offensive line.  Initially, there are probably some of them that do not want to be there.  But after they see how practice goes, they really start to enjoy themselves.  There really have fun with all of the competitive combat that is going on.  They pummel one another and get up off the ground with huge grins on their faces.  And with hudl, I'm highlighting the lineman much more than anyone else on game film.  The entire team sees why a play succeeds or fails.  It's almost always because of what the lineman did.  As the head coach, I always coach the offensive line.  Not because I'm trying to show the lineman they're important.  It's because they are extremely important and I don't want someone else to screw it up.

High school was a different story.  I didn't coach the line there.  The coaches had them doing a lot nonsense and a lot of standing around.  We had very few kids in the lineman group, with good reason. 

 


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ZACH
 ZACH
(@bucksweep58)
Diamond
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9356
Coach
July 25, 2020 8:27 pm  
Posted by: @acsmith7062

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find the threads.  I am coaching a 4th Grade team and a 5th Grade team this season (if the season happens).  Both teams are small, but very good athletes.  Something I have struggled with is how to reward and set apart the O-lineman.  Almost every kid this age thinks they are a WR and they think playing OL is beneath them.  I am looking for some techniques that can make the OL feel special and appreciated, and make them want to play OL and dominate opponents.  Thanks in advance for all responses!

-Chad  

Michael always had fun quirky ways to get love for the online position.  In short, you just have to be a good coach. But how? Energy, knowledge, caring, and reinforcement. 

 

You need to make it, them against us most time to kick start online love. Defend them and enforce good oline play.

 

Show them success, defend them from the rbs fans on sideline blaming everything on the front 5 and never praising when something good happens. Be hard on them but fair, oline is the most special position on the field. Lastly, just care. Be their coach, the only coach they want to interact with. 

 

Last year I got into an argument with a dad who's son could find the lanr bc it was "too big". The oline was laughing so hard they got sent on a lap for disrespecting an. adult But boy was I proud. 

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


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