Youth Football The First Week of Practice What Do You DO!

 The First Week of Football Practice


For many youth football coaches they reserve the primary week of practice for "conditioning" with no pads. for a few this is often a league rule, for others this is often a standard preference.


Why Many Do What they are doing 


For many youth football coaches, what they are doing during this first week features a lot to try to to with what they did as a child once they played youth football or even how they practiced in highschool 20 years ago. i do know once I first started coaching I just used an equivalent practice drills and approach I had used as a youth footballer 25 years prior. We did all the items I had suffered through, monkey rolls, hills, crab drills, grass drills, firemens carrys, butt rolls, laps, pushup, sit-ups, squat thrusts, gassers, line drills, etc etc We were a team that was never getting to be out-conditioned we were getting to win that 4th quarter, blah blah bah.


Why We Changed


That all changed about 10 seasons ago after I had the pleasure of coaching with a former highschool coach, Jay Smith that had coached at Canyon Springs highschool in California. His teams had won two USA Today National Championships. This coach did things significantly different than most folks had been wont to , no grass drills, no monkey rolls, no crab drills, no gassers, if it wasn't football related he didn't roll in the hay . This coach took a 2-8 team and turned them into a 10-0 team in one season within the best division within the league I had teams in. While most folks were initially very skeptical of his methods, the results couldn't be argued with. He took the exact same kids and had very different results than his predecessor employing a totally different approach to football practice.


The Results


It made me examine everything we were doing. We checked out our practices to work out exactly how each and each drill or activity was helping us reach our goals. within the end we gutted about 80% of what we were doing in favor of a completely different practice methodology that focused on developing football skills and youth football teams, not pushup or monkey roll champions. within the first year of getting to this at the time revolutionary process, the aggregated winning percentage of the program went from the 30-40% area to 61%, within the following season it rose to 81% and our program won the "A" League Championship altogether 3 age groups ( had never been done before or since), ages 8-10, 11-12 and 13-14. additionally , our "B" programs did extremely well also, with several division and League Championships else .


Your First Week Goals SHOULD be:


Consider doing things a touch differently this season if you're trying to find different results than you've had within the past. These are our goals for the primary week of no pads practice:


Evaluate players for positions and put them into the right position on offense and defense that matches the players abilities and therefore the teams needs best.


Teach the players the way to interact properly with the coaching staff and other players. this is often what many of us ask as learning the way to be "coachable".


Develop an enthusiasm within the youngsters for enjoying football and playing on our team.


Teach the elemental building blocks of base blocking and tackling (yes without pads and without contact)


Teach the bottom numbering system and play calling system for the offense.


Teach proper stances and splits.


Teach the explosive initiative and for the offensive linemen their explosive first 2 steps.


For backs (we determine who our backs are at the primary practice), seating the ball and ball security. Learning proper body lean and accelerating through contact (dummy contact).


Teach the bottom defensive formation, the goals and base philosophy of the defense.


At the top of week 1 all players are going to be in their offensive and defensive positions, know what positions they're in and what it's called.


Key Concepts wont to Accomplish These Goals


Some of the items we do to form sure we accomplish these goals:

Keep all movements within the 6-7 second range with maximum effort. Allow 30-50 seconds (depending on strenuousness of movement) for recovery. For things like fit and freeze reps that need just a few of steps there's no reason for going at a pace slower than 1 rep every 12 seconds for linemen. For first 2 step drills, you ought to be ready to do a team rep every 6-10 seconds. The keys to the present methodology may be a in no time practice pace, no wasted time or movements, small groups, many technique perfecting form instruction/drills and much of fit and freeze reps. to show all the above we do not have the time to line aside to try to to traditional conditioning. Like many Colleges and highschool teams we condition within the fast paced confines of our regular practice or within the context of a fun evaluation or team building game.


The first year we visited this system we were a touch nervous, we had always been conditioning fanatics. We were always getting to win through better conditioning, but our results were mixed. Our first game using this system was Labor Day weekend 8 seasons ago and it had been about 95 degrees out and about 80% humidity, it had been a steam bath. We were really concerned about our youngsters having the ability to play 4 quarters of football in those sorts of conditions as we had not run one gasser or lap within the 4 weeks leading up to the present game. the top result was our youngsters won that first game during a blowout after leading by just 2 touchdowns at the half. because it clothed the team we beat ended up in 2nd place at seasons end behind my team. i'd add we are a no-huddle team and therefore the game goes that much faster for us and typically leads to about 30% more offensive snaps in most games.


Kids Need More Conditioning? Really?


The thing that basically impressed me from this game was what happened after it. Many of the boys on this team had older brothers playing within the following game, therefore the kids stuck around. What did these kids do after this game in 95 degree heat? The went behind the sport field within the warm up area and were playing full speed American football including kickoffs and punts on a 60 yard field. These kids weren't sitting under a tree exhausted from the sport , they were going all out for an additional hour , almost non-stop in 90+ degree heat!


While our competition could also be practicing 5 nights every week and conditioning their brains out, we are practicing just 3 nights every week and our youngsters weren't only having fun, but they were learning the sport .


The moral of this youth football story is to significantly consider everything you are doing in practice to ascertain if there's anything that ought to be cut out so you'll consider developing great fundamentals also as a love and appreciation for the sport in your players.


All of those drills and games also as daily minute by minute practice plans for your entire season are within the book "Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan" by Portal Cripto.


Portal Cripto

Portal Cripto features a passion for developing youth coaches in order that they can successively develop teams that are competitive and well organized. he's a Nike "Coach of the Year" Designate and speaks nationwide at Coaches Clinics. His book "Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan" was endorsed by Tom Osborne and Dave Rimington.

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