10 Tips On Coaching Young Kids

These tips were given to me by Robert Olide several years ago … Just found it in an old email and thought I would pass it on …

1. Have a series based offense, we use a Double Wing. The formation is not important, the important thing is that each play has a purpose and builds or sets up another play and you can attack all areas of the field.

2. Best 11 start on Defense. We use a 4-2-2 Defense and a 6-1-1. The only place we rotate players at is our D tackles.

3. Best 11 play special teams, you would be surprise how important it is and this alone can win you or lose you games. For the most part we look for a young kid that can kick. Even though they kick about 5 yards shorter kicks than the older players. It is a great place to start getting a young player involved in quality play.

4. Be strict.  If kids do not listen or start messing around … PUSH UP POSITION IMMEDIATELY. Take a few seconds to punch out 5 push ups or have them get set in the push up position with their heads up while you transfer information to them.

5. Keep drills fast paced and short. If you feel that you are losing their attention, we quickly line up into 5 lines and have a relay race. This only takes 2-3 minutes but gets kids back into learning mode. Immediately after the relay race get back into teaching offense/defense/special teams. I noticed that this tends to happen while repping offense.

6. After Dynamic Warm-ups & Indy Drills, go immediately into offense. With the young teams teaching or polishing offense at the beginning of practice while their minds are fresh will insure you get them when their attention span is at the highest peak. It is nice to break up offense or any new learning by a water break.

7. After learning something new, it helps to do a highly active and instinctive drill. We like to line kids up in 2 lines facing each other and practice down blocking and man on blocking.

8. Keep practice consistent but give the kids some variety by learning and teaching more than one style of drill.

For example, if you need to practice your offense. You can do that vs. air at high rates. You do this by splitting kids in half into 2 offenses. You tell them that the team that gets in the huddle, breaks the huddle the loudest, lines up and doesn’t move until the ball moves and they run the play the best gets a point. We give the team that gets into the huddle the fastest after the whistle blows 2 points. Look around and you will notice that many coaches at your level have a hard time getting kids in and out of the huddle. That is where a lot of practice time is lost.

Another example is to rep it vs. bags or plastic trash cans. Kids love hitting the trash cans and bags.

And last but not least live vs a Defense. That is 3 examples that will let you rep your offense. Mix it up. You do not have to go live all the time to be effective. Fit and Freeze drills works great as well.

9. Make sure to have fun and be patient. I said “PATIENT” not soft. Demand their attention and make sure you have it. On that same note do not freak out if they do not understand something or you have to re-explain a drill a couple times.

10. Last but most important, be organized, have a practice plan every practice, also have one for pre-game and halftime.

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