Many youth football teams are wrapping things up at the moment of year. Most of us have been in either playoff runs or at the very least want to really make the last game a competitive one. When coaching youth football you usually want your team to progress each week, this means your last game of the season should be your team’s best. At the same time frame, you would like the last week of practice to be special. Most of us want to fill up the season with some fun and hopefully whet the appetite in all the players in the future back and play the following season. How can we accomplish both goals, have a great time, and yet be ready for that last big game?
At this time of year, we are down seriously to two football practices per week. Many youth football coaches either don’t do anything fun that a week ago or they turn that last practice into some type of circus. I’m all for making it fun for the children, but by making the last practice all fun and games you often plant the seed in your player’s minds that the season is over.
We like to accomplish our “fun” practice on that first practice of the week 7m. During that first 30 minutes, we might do such things as play Hawaiian Rules football or do a live scrimmage with running backs playing on the line and linemen playing running back. We often just do things that the children on that specific team have taken to heart, like deer hunter or the towel game. In 2010 our first practice of the last week got rained out, so we were in the gym, We played Dodge Ball and Capture the Flag for the very first 30 minutes of practice, the children had a blast.
During team we discussed our goals for the week and our goals for the individual members of our team. The players realize that the result won’t be noted for 20+ years. Hopefully, by then a seeds we had planted during this year may have sprouted and matured. We let them know they are seeds of persistence, effort, teamwork, sacrifice, accepting criticism, accepting guidance, humility, compassion, respect, and reliability that can help each player be better sons, husbands, fathers and providers, While youth football isn’t a cure-all for each of societies ills, for many kids, it’s an essential part of the development. As an employer, I can always tell if your person has played competitive sports or not. The competitive sports player is usually innately more competitive, they accept coaching better, they work harder, get flustered less and overcome obstacles a lot better than their video game playing counterparts.
While that first day of the week practice can be a bit fun and reflective, we get back into “football mode” the last half that practice. If the parents might like to do something special, this is actually the practice they do it at. Later in the week at that very last practice, we get back off to “business “.In addition to our regularly scheduled individual development periods, we would be repping on-air team offense, team defense and special teams. At this point in the season, you will dsicover many youth football teams pulling out all of the stops. What this means is you need to take some time on aligning and alerting your team about special formations just like the Swinging Gate/Lonesome Polecat or severely unbalanced sets. We also see such things as wall kick returns, starburst kick returns or throwback kick returns at the moment of year. Another thing we often see in this last game are “trick” plays like QB throwbacks as well as illegal plays just like the “wrong ball” play,
One method to prepare your youth football team for these situations is to setup your defense or special teams against a “scout” team of your coaches and remaining players. Align everyone up in positions and have everyone have a knee. Discuss the play and walk your scout team through the play as the defense observes. Then jog your scout team through all the trick football plays you need to prepare against. When you have demonstrated 4-5 of the football plays to your defense, go back and huddle up and run the plays live or to thud (not taking the ballcarrier to the ground). We always have the coaches at the skill positions here to offer quality reps to the defense in a brief amount of time.
While you may never see these “trick” plays or formations, it’s something new for the kids. Quite often football practice is finding a little stale at the moment of the entire year for youth football kids, it’s natural. Doing such things as this keeps the children attention and gives them a brand new and interesting method of learn. It may also be a difference-maker come game time.
We may have a few trick football plays of your personal up our sleeve at the moment of the year. But we do it primarily for the novelty of it rather than depending on the play to score. We do it to keep the children interested and may not run the play at all or run it as an extra point play, simply to be utilized when comfortably ahead.
Nothing is more disheartening to a youth football team than having their super-secret trick play they KNOW will go for a touchdown, stuffed for no gain or even a big loss. What another team is relying on if they run something similar to this really is a lack of preparation on your part. They expect panic, poor alignment, confusion and needless to say success. This happened within the last game of the season for my age 10-11 team. The opponent tried the illegal “wrong ball” play. For more informative data on that play and even a movie clip, do a word search on “wrong ball” with this blog and notice it being run.