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Thanks from New HC


olderdog
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I want to start by thanking so many of you for sharing your experience in coaching youth football. I have coached as an assistant for two years at 7U level, this is my first as 7U HC.  I found this site after I had a really bad practice where the kids could not seem to tackle, and displayed no heart. I got frustrated and took that out on kids. 

 

I realized that their poor performance was because I didn’t teach them properly, not because they couldn’t get better. I was the problem. Not the kids. They were confused because most have never played football before and I needed to be a better teacher. I spent a long weekend searching for a better way to teach, and spent several hours here at this site. I have learned a lot about how to be a better teacher. 

 

I showed up to practice this week with a plan to address our weaknesses. Each segment of practice was planned to address a particular problem.  We worked nothing but drills to improve our skills for particular positions. The kids stepped up and we had the best practice we have ever had. They showed fire and heart. They had fun and so did I. Their tackling improved tremendously. 

it was just one practice, but there was a positive attitude shift, and the kids felt it. We’re going to work now with new emphasis on toughness and execution. I know I have a long way to go, but we have taken a step in the right direction. 

Thank you. 


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @olderdog

 I realized that their poor performance was because I didn’t teach them properly, not because they couldn’t get better. I was the problem. Not the kids. 

--Wow, that's refreshingly honest.  The #1 excuse is "I have all these kids who've never played before."  Understanding that it's the teacher who prepares them has probably already made you the best coach in your conference.  I also applaud you for trying to get better instead of trying to come up with excuses.

Each segment of practice was planned to address a particular problem.  

--Smart approach.  Just by eliminating your weaknesses you become so much stronger. 

The kids stepped up and we had the best practice we have ever had. They showed fire and heart. They had fun and so did I. Their tackling improved tremendously. 

--Interesting how kids respond and improve once the teaching improves.

We’re going to work now with new emphasis on toughness and execution.

--I'd say that's the smartest approach to take.  And toughness is as teachable as execution.

I know I have a long way to go, but we have taken a step in the right direction. 

--A step?  You've taken SEVERAL steps...

--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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gumby_in_co
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^^^

All of this. As Dave said, very refreshing. I help a number of coaches and the first thing I do is tell them about Dumcoach.com. Maybe they are here but lurking, but I've never seen a single post.  

Please document your progress and ask any questions. Not saying the answers are here necessarily, but it's always good to get a discussion going, especially on "new" issues/problems. Also we can all learn from you. New minds means new ideas and none of us on this forum are above "stealing" a good idea.

Welcome aboard.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @gumby_in_co

I help a number of coaches and the first thing I do is tell them about Dumcoach.com. Maybe they are here but lurking, but I've never seen a single post.  

--Well,  a LOT of coaches say they want help, when what they want is quick & easy answers incorporating a plug-and-play approach.

Not saying the answers are here necessarily, but it's always good to get a discussion going, especially on "new" issues/problems.

--You sure won't find the answers on Facebook. 

Also we can all learn from you.

--Yep.

New minds means new ideas and none of us on this forum are above "stealing" a good idea.

--I'm always on the lookout to build a better bicycle.

--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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gumby_in_co
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Olderdog:

Couple of intro questions:

1) where about in the country are you coaching?

2) what offense are you running?

3) what defense are you running?

4) what are you doing for special teams?

5) how does your team stack up against your competition?

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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olderdog
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Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been studying a lot this week so I’m just getting back here after our game today. 

1) I am in Virginia, but we are in the rural western part near WV. Our league is a rec league, not big city or travel.  

2) Good question! First off, I’m not an offensive guy. As an assistant, my job was offensive/defensive line and team discipline. Scheme is new to me. So, I inherited an offense the last head coach ran that we adapted to our players the last 2 years. We ran split backs and a wing as a base. Basically a pro set.  The play calls are mostly dive, power, And sweep with some misdirection. I have added a single wing formation to get strength on the outside in some situations and to get my QB more touches. My line is also small so it needs help.  I’m realizing that my talent may dictate a different solution. I’m wondering if I can transition to wing t or Double Wing to better utilize personnel. Still trying to figure that out, or if I have time to install this year.   I like the idea of a single back, but want to utilize the QB as a runner too. 

I have a very strong running back that is smart, strong, and never quits. Today I watched him drag four tacklers ten yards downfield because he wouldn’t quit. His speed is above average, but not blazing. If he breaks the tackle he doesn’t get caught from behind usually.  Running up the gut with him is our bread and butter because he’s so tough, especially because there is no NT per league rules. It sets us up for the outside run. 

My QB is fast and runs well in space. Reliable and smart.  I can run him on sweeps and reverses to very good yardage. He is my counterpunch on the outside. Probably my best athlete, but not quite as tough. 

The other running back in the split is a good blocker, but has not stepped up on the run game. This makes me one sided. My wing is a great runner and fast in space, but mentally is not reliable yet. I really want to get him involved on the counter, but he needs more discipline. Again, another formation may benefit here.

My line is very small, and I have them running basic Angle blocks L/R and wedge. no traps or pulls yet but I hope to get there. 

Of note, my center is great, and we have a very clean and fast exchange. That’s a big deal to me. We don’t fumble under center and can run shotgun also.   

I’m thinking of tweaking the formation to better fit what I have, but have not decided on a scheme. frankly don’t know them all that well. What I like right now is that things are simple, and we execute well. 

3) We are running a 4-6 defense. League rules prohibit anyone lining up in A gap or over center, and safety is a required position. My philosophy is to keep things in front of you, know your responsibility, rally to the ball. Take good angles and gang tackle. I don’t want to give up home runs. I’m trying to blitz and twist my LBs when I identify the weak player on the offensive line to create problems in the backfield at key moments. They are starting to get it. Otherwise it is just playing your gap responsibility and tackling well.

 

the two best teams in our league run SW, and some jet sweeps so I need to prepare for that. 

4) we do not have special teams in our 7U division 

 

5) we will be upper half. We are 2-0 after today. We won 20-19 in the first game. It should not have been that close, but we could not tackle when we were in the right position. Two TDs of 60+ yards should have been stopped for loss!  This week we won 20-0. We made those tackles today. No play went longer than 12 yards. This is due to the changes I talked about above in practice. The kids did exactly what they were asked to do, showed discipline, took good angles, and wrapped up low (mostly), just like practice. 

They also played with heart. I know it’s just one drill, but Whose ball really flipped a switch in them. I ran it as an elimination drill, and a mid-pack kid won the drill. He let out a primal scream when he realized he was the champion. That kid is now different, and was a beast this morning in the game. He lived in the backfield on defense. His confidence skyrocketed. Another kid had always been timid, but went deep in the drill. We got to have a talk afterward about the definition of courage, “being nervous or scared but doing your duty anyway.”  He flipped a switch too today and dominated his position on the line. 

These are just data points, but I like where we’re headed. We will be small, but disciplined. Physical, hitting above our weight. There are a couple teams that are very physical and well coached that we haven’t played yet. It will be my job to prepare them for that part.  But we have time to build. I think we will be in the playoffs if we continue to improve.


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @olderdog

As an assistant, my job was offensive/defensive line and team discipline.

--"Team discipline?"  What did that entail and how did you get that job?

The play calls are mostly dive, power, And sweep with some misdirection.

--How are you running Power if you aren't pulling?

I’m realizing that my talent may dictate a different solution.

--Talent dictates what you feature within your scheme.  It shouldn't dictate scheme, unless you're already a whiz at several different schemes.

I’m wondering if I can transition to wing t or Double Wing to better utilize personnel.

--At 7u, you don't need a scheme.  (Doesn't hurt to have one; you just don't need one.)  What you need are an inside play to both sides, an outside play to both sides, a misdirection play and perhaps a Wedge.  We only ran 3 different plays today (ages 10-13) and won 49-0.

I like the idea of a single back, but want to utilize the QB as a runner too. 

--If you have a single back, how many wide-outs do you want (or need) at 7u?

Running up the gut with him is our bread and butter because he’s so tough, especially because there is no NT per league rules.

--Wedge will exploit a stupid rule like that.

we do not have special teams in our 7U division 

--Without Special Teams to steal your time, you'll have more time for offensive and defensive fundamentals.

Two TDs of 60+ yards should have been stopped for loss!

--That's par for most youth football teams.

I know it’s just one drill, but Whose ball really flipped a switch in them. I ran it as an elimination drill, and a mid-pack kid won the drill. He let out a primal scream when he realized he was the champion. That kid is now different, and was a beast this morning in the game. He lived in the backfield on defense. His confidence skyrocketed. Another kid had always been timid, but went deep in the drill. We got to have a talk afterward about the definition of courage, “being nervous or scared but doing your duty anyway.”  He flipped a switch too today and dominated his position on the line. 

--That sounds like one crazy drill.

--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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olderdog
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I got the team discipline role because the coach had 19 kids and no help! I was a dad who volunteered to corral kids. Now I’m a dad who is trying to learn to be a coach. Very different. 

To me, Discipline involves teaching a skill, seeing that it is done, and making it repeatable. Kids need to both understand expectations and have the self control to implement. In practical terms, They need to know what their gap responsibility is, and to be able to consistently fill that gap when it is attacked in order to effect a tackle. Fundamentals, applied consistently, for a repeatable outcome. This creates confidence.

A confused player is a timid player. A timid player hangs back and gets crushed. A player who knows his responsibility can be aggressive. Action then beats reaction. Results then bring more confidence. This is how we improved our team. Not all kids got it, but enough did to make a huge difference. 

I’m glad I don’t need an offensive scheme now, because I’m not there yet. But I want to grow in this area because there is a lot of great stuff out there, and I would be a fool ignore it. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel when there are things out there I can learn from. I just need to put in that effort if I’m going to progress.

I’m probably misapplying the term “power” frankly. I have some of my best blockers in wing and fullback positions. This way my best blockers are mobile, and I can pull them to the point of attack and they don’t get stuck in traffic. We have a very small team and I am not able right now to dominate up front. This allows me to control the point of attack, direct my blockers to the defense’s weakest players, and break my ball carriers loose. We are not running any wide outs or passing at this time. 

You said it well, we have lots of time to work fundamentals, and that’s what we are doing. I have started the focus on defense. We score points right now so that’s not the Wolf that’s going to eat me first, but I’ll get there.  Poor tackling will get us beaten faster than anything.  We have benefited from several drills I found here that focus on goal line tackling, tracking ball carriers, angle tackling, form, and general aggressiveness. We practice how to get in the right position in different situations, and how to make an effective tackle when you get there.   I look forward to learning more as I read more posts. 


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CoachDP
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Posted by: @olderdog

Fundamentals, applied consistently, for a repeatable outcome. This creates confidence.

--True.  I'm glad you understand this.  Many don't.

--Most coaches believe that kids are either confident or lack confidence simply because of the type of kid they are.  They have no understanding that confidence is a RESULT of what's taught and how it's taught; not just a personality aspect of the player.

Action then beats reaction.

--THAT is something you can put on a t-shirt.

I’m glad I don’t need an offensive scheme now, because I’m not there yet. But I want to grow in this area because there is a lot of great stuff out there, and I would be a fool ignore it. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel when there are things out there I can learn from. I just need to put in that effort if I’m going to progress.

--If your players know what to do, and they've been taught the correct fundamentals for executing each play, then they can be successful.  You can teach a Dive, a Power, a Sweep, a Reverse, a Bootleg and a Pass without having to teach a specific scheme.  You just have to teach your kids to part, down, reach, double and pass pro; the specific blocking rules that are made for each play.  That's true of whether you run a scheme, or just teach plays.  One size does not fit all, where blocking rules are concerned.  You will have to do this with a scheme, as well.  Just because I run Double Wing, doesn't mean my blocking assignments are the same for Power, Counter and Trap; they aren't.  There are differences:  On Power, the BSG pulls (lead through).  On Counter, the BSG kicks out.  On Trap, the BSG traps the first defender on or outside of the PSG.  But your playside can be blocked the same (Down, GOD, GOA, etc.)  But a scheme allows you certain similarities with each play and options to build on them.  For instance, in the Double Wing, once Power is taught, Counter comes along quickly because of its similarity in look.  And faking Power to run Counter becomes more successful because one play resembles another in this scheme.  Having systematic blocking rules within a certain scheme will also allow to you adjust to various defensive fronts when you face different looks.  For example, when a defense changes from an even to odd front, or aligns in gaps, instead of head-up.  But "block the man in front of you" is generally the weakest approach to offensive line play because it gives you virtually no advantage that the various systems do.

I’m probably misapplying the term “power” frankly.

--To run "Power," you need to have two things: a lead-through block and a kick-out block.  Anything else isn't Power, regardless of what it may be called.  It doesn't matter who is making those blocks, but those are the two blocks you must have to meet the definition. Otherwise, it's like calling something a Pass play, where you're running the ball.  Running the ball is not a pass play.

I have some of my best blockers in wing and fullback positions. This way my best blockers are mobile, and I can pull them to the point of attack and they don’t get stuck in traffic. We have a very small team and I am not able right now to dominate up front.

--You can dominate the point of attack is various ways: the most conventional way is simply by having bigger/stronger/more aggressive blockers up front; that's how you're using your Wing and Fullback.  The other way is through numbers at the point of attack.  This is why our Wedge is so effective.  I am bigger than any Nose Tackle most of my youth teams would face, yet they could drive me down the field on Wedge even though they were my slowest, weakest and least athletic players.  We had strength through numbers.  The same can be applied to other plays.  Running a ball-carrier behind 4-6 players will get you plenty of positive yards.  Try it in practice: overlap 5 blockers and add a ball-carrier behind them.  Tell the ball-carrier to stay behind the blocking and have them attack a group of defenders.  Don't allow the defenders to cheat the play by running around the group and tackling from behind.  There's strength to be found in that wall.  Many defenders will run with the group looking for a gap to attack instead of trying to penetrate the gap.  (At least at the younger levels they will.)  If you want more detail of how to implement this, feel free to give me a call.

We are not running any wide outs or passing at this time. 

--Your statement of "I like a single back..." confused me.  With just one Back, that usually makes for at least 3 other wideouts.

Poor tackling will get us beaten faster than anything.

--This ^ X 100.

--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: @olderdog

1) I am in Virginia, but we are in the rural western part near WV. Our league is a rec league, not big city or travel.  

--If you're near Bluefield, let me know.

The play calls are mostly dive, power, And sweep with some misdirection.

--Can you elaborate on how Dive differs from Power; Power differs from Sweep?

I’m wondering if I can transition to wing t or Double Wing to better utilize personnel.

--You can.  But you will have to implement pulling, which is "The Great Youth Football Fear."  Somewhere around here, I think there's a pinned thread about pulling.  MOST youth coaches (mistakenly believe) that you have to have a certain type of player to be able to pull effectively.  That's one of the most common misconceptions.  EVERY team I've seen that doesn't pull, never practiced it.  But their coaches will tell you it can't be done.  It can.  I've been pulling linemen of all shapes and sizes for 20 years.

I’m trying to blitz and twist my LBs when I identify the weak player on the offensive line to create problems in the backfield at key moments. They are starting to get it. Otherwise it is just playing your gap responsibility and tackling well.

--That's one approach.  However, I'm willing to bet that all of their players on the offensive line are "weak."  It's from a combination of trying to find a "place" to put those kids, in addition to not having a competent knowledgeable teacher to coach them.  Instead of trying to identify where they are weak, attack them with your strength from wherever you are strongest.  Identifying their weakest link takes much longer than already knowing where you are strongest.  Chances are you could identify them as "LT-Average" "LG-Weak" "Center-Average" "RG-Weak" "RT-Weakest."  Why go through all that?  You could attack them through their best linemen at LT or Center with your strength and still blow them up.  My point is, focus more on what you do than what your opponent does.  I used to prepare for every opponent like it was the Super Bowl (even the mediocre and winless teams).  When I realized the less I focused on them and focused more on us, we became much better.

the two best teams in our league run SW, and some jet sweeps so I need to prepare for that. 

--Only if they run them well.  

Two TDs of 60+ yards should have been stopped for loss!

--The big play is the primary touchdown in youth ball.  Stop that, and you stop an offense.

--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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