Couple of fun stories from a middle school football team's first days in pads

Discussion in 'Main Sports Forum' started by 5-Star Finger, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. 5-Star Finger

    5-Star Finger Apex predator of the political forum biome
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    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.

    upload_2019-8-10_9-16-48.png

    ????

    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.
     
    • Jbossgator8

      Jbossgator8 Senior Member
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      The second coming of Hitman!
       
    • Double Gator Dad

      Double Gator Dad Senior Member
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      I had no idea that middle schools in Florida have football teams. I attended junior high (before the snowflake insanity started resulting in middle school) in Brooksville and I played junior high football. Everywhere else I lived in Florida people looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned football at that level
       
      • Bait'n Gator

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        Do you mean because they are playing tackle that young? My oldest son played his first season of tackle last year, he's going to 2nd grade this year.
         
      • Double Gator Dad

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        Not because they were playing tackle, we all started playing little league tackle football at 8 or 9.

        I meant due to the fact that several of the local junior highs had school sponsored teams. We traveled to New Port Richey, Dade City, Zepher Hills, and a few other smaller towns and played a schedule of games and everything was run by the school system. I lived in north Florida during high school and I don't recall hearing anything about junior high football.

        I imagine that the insurance risk would be too high today but I really have no idea.
         
      • Swamp Donkey

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        Good Lord.
         
      • NVGator

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        In Fallon today for the SYFL Football Experience. This is the official weigh in and proof of age with your original birth certificate on file, no a photo copy doesn’t work. They will have 2 scrimmages today as well. First official game is next Saturday.

        This is full on tackle football. Our grouping is considered the Bandits League ages 5-7.

        @5-Star Finger do you go through the USA Football certification process/training? I just had to complete a 5 hour, 9 course online training to be certified so I can get my badge. It was actually some really good training.
         
      • 5-Star Finger

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        Yes, everyone that steps on the field has to get the certification. I renewed mine this summer. It would basically be impossible to get insurance if it wasn't mandated that all the coaches go through the training. As is, the insurance is still disgusting. They have some great resources especially if you haven't done it before. Check in at the website often as well if you aren't signed up for the notifications, because occasionally there are some pretty sweet discounts on clinics.
         
        • stephenPE

          stephenPE Senior Member
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          About ten years ago middle schools started a sports program to compete with other local middle schools. We now have cross country softball baseball. basketball for both football volleyball. Alachua County was slow to follow and not sure they have football yet. I am speaking about all the counties around Bradford.
           
        • NVGator

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          Well... Experience came and it was all that, a face full of experience. I don’t think we have a single player that’s ever played tackle football. Again, these are 5-7 yo.

          We had 2 scrimmages, half field, 10 min on offense and 10 minutes on defense. We could barely snap the ball and hand it off without getting blown up in the backfield or fumbling the exchange. On the flip side, on defense, we were smoked, every snap was a run away TD.

          This is night and day. We only have 17 players while bother the other teams had 25+. Obviously rotation is going to be an issue but we lack fundamentals. That’s my focus right now. The basics.

          Any suggestions are welcome.
           
        • stephenPE

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          :law: all you need is 5*s..........
           
          • 5-Star Finger

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            Heh, I have actually been asked to move down to coach in the youngest division next year and that is where my seven year-old is playing his first year this year. What little football experience I have at that age group indicates that the beginning of the season is going to look something like this:
            [​IMG]

            I've coached some even younger for teeball. Exchange this past season:
            Player: "Can I play pitcher?" (They all want to play it because it is the most active position)
            Me: "Sure, but you've really got to pay attention and do you best. You want to learn this position?"
            Player: <nods>
            Me: "Okay so come to the middle here and you going to stand on this little hill in the middle, it is called a mound. Put your feet right her..."
            Player: "The moon is pretty."
            Me: Uh...
            Player: <Pointing up> "See, look!"

            Best advise I can give you is keep it simple. They will not understand "play side" they will understand "We are going this way." They won't understand "kick out the end" they will understand "Nobody but Jeremy block the guy on the end of the line."

            As far as general offensive organization goes, start with teaching the kids counting. It will need to be a a simple system that is easy for everyone to remember and account for the fact that you're probably never going to see a defense that looks anything like what it is "supposed" to look like. Generally I'd start at the far outside of the playside and call that guy 1 - and work your way in giving numbers as simple as possible. Since your numbers are low have guys align in defenses you've seen other teams run. Run everyone through a drill where a coach tags a player in that defense and the offensive player being tested has to shout his number. You can make it fun by having that kid then try to evade just that one defender who starts running as soon as his number is called. If the kid yelled the wrong number both the guy tagged and the guy who is the correct number come after him. Learning experience and fun for everyone. When you pass out assignments, use the numbers and teach everyone that counting starts as you walk to the line out of the huddle.

            Just remember to keep it really fun at that age. In our big job of saving this game you are in the coaching spot that is probably the most important. Make them love coming to practice! Do fun things in addition to the teaching stuff. Try not beat yourself up if the youngest of them doesn't seem to be learning a lot. Get them to love the game and stick with it. We had 18 seven year-olds go into the team that feeds the middle school team I coach. That is the highest in years. The team is going to be terrible due to the age imbalance they'll face. But if those kids stick with it....you know? That coach does a great job of making sure the kids love being there. It's a good thing you're doing! Focus on the relationships more than the results at your level and try to see this as putting them path to love the game the way we do.
             
            #12 5-Star Finger, Aug 19, 2019 at 8:29 AM
            Last edited: Aug 19, 2019 at 9:07 AM
            • 5-Star Finger

              5-Star Finger Apex predator of the political forum biome
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              One other thing - and it is something I do with my guys that works wonders and I think will translate down well.

              I realize you're already in the thick of the things, but try coaching contact backwards. What I mean is start with the moment of impact and show them where they want to be. What are the hand fits? Where your shoulder is supposed to be? Where is my head supposed to be? How are my feet aligned? Literally do this them from a couple inches away just practicing getting this position perfect. Then progress backwards. A few steps into breakdown, coil or whatever terminology you like to use then impact. Then progress to your transition steps, etc. It really helps the guys visualize what the are supposed to do
               

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