So it's that time of year again! The pads went on this week and the hitting started in earnest. It's always kind of cool to watch the transition happen, especially with the kids who have never played contact before. I teach line techniques that are developed specifically to keep the head out of contact. On base blocks I have the kids get a double under fit, drive the hips up in a swinging motion the helps pull their head away and transfer upward force into the opponent. I've got this kid who is only 10, but weighed out of the smaller division. He's learned the fits pretty fast and is a hard worker but a real gentle kid. I wasn't sure how he'd handle the contact. On one of our first full speed/full contact goes at the toss sweep that is our bread and butter, our boy launches (and I do mean launches) his DT assignment. Poor kids freaks when the other kid unceremoniously comes crashing down and gets his hand stepped on trying to help the kid up as the play is still happening downfield due to the backside TE and DE being in a dog fight of a block away from the play and crashing down on top of them. Lesson learned. I also got my first friendly fire wound of the season. When we do full speed walk throughs we have coaches simulate the key defensive assignments so everyone can get used to identifying who they have regardless of how the defensive lines up. In youth football most often you get a 5-3 Double Eagle - but some coaches get...creative. ???? Anyway, we sim the alignments so the boys can pick up them up and understand when to chip or let a sucker go etc. So on the aforementioned toss our FB delivers a kick out to the play side end who we either chip or let go depending on his alignment. We were working at it from different alignments with yours truly simming the end using a shield. Our FB was throwing some halfhearted kickouts, and being that it is not his first year I decided to lovingly chew that tail a bit. He got it together and was soon popping me outside with authority. Unfortunately he missed the announcement that I was now moving to simming the play side corner or 1-man in our counting system. On the play our backside pulling guard is responsible for knocking this typically smaller, less skilled player into oblivion. My guards just love this play. So QB snaps and I start to move to contain the sweep pulling guard executes perfectly but I see too late the FB on a collision course with me as well. Guard contacts the shield, FB contacts my unprotected arm. It was a hell of a pop too. He wheels around after the whistle with the "that was a great one, huh coach look on his face." He was pretty crestfallen when I told him I wasn't still the end. It's a good sized bruise.