Second Practice Report
Our second football practice consisted of us again using our time to evaluate players, teach a few basic skills, while also trying to make sure we had some fun where it made sense. We are still without pads and the practice time is 2 hours. It was in the low 90s with about 80% humidity, so it is pretty hot.
Second Practice Report
We were able to cut our Dynamic Warmups and Angle Form Tackling down to about 12 minutes, we will get it down to about 10 minutes by next weeks end. The short coaching clinic for our coaches really helped, as most of them have a pretty good feel for the drills we are using. Still having a problem keeping the pace up fast enough. At the pace I coach at, I can do 2-3 times the number of reps that the other coaches are getting in during a drill. We have to improve that, but it seems to happen every year, and gets ironed out in weeks 2 and 3.
The coaches also need to do a better job of holding the kids accountable to perfection on the coaching points the kids can control. I’m still rotating from station to station to run each for a few minutes so the coaches understand the correct pace and perfection we need. Like many coaches, some have come from a “practice makes perfect” mentality, when it’s really “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect” that develops good youth football teams.
After our dynamics and angle form tackling, we set up the following stations:
Splatter Blocking (to landing mat): To teach proper blocking technique, acceleration through contact as well as to help us evaluate aggressiveness.
Snap Progression Drill- We didn’t get as far on that as we wanted in Practice 1, so we worked on the handoff portion and “squeeze run” on this repetition.
First Two Steps Blocking Drill- Primarily an Offensive Line Drill, this helped tune our kids into how our base blocking steps work. Also used as an evaluation tool to determine listening skills and quickness for the offensive linemen.
3 Slot Challenge Fit and Freeze Tackling Drill- Just like our regular 3 slot challenge tackling drill but the runner and tackler fit at the contact point. Used to evaluate lateral quickness and aggressiveness as well as teaching the tacklers to attack to the Line of Scrimmage when tackling.
Rabbit Chase Races- To hide some conditioning, have some fun and help us determine the relative speed of our players for position placement.
We then ran everyone through the Gauntlet Drill to help us understand the heart and toughness of those we are looking at for the various running back positions. Of course we want our pulling linemen to perform well in this drill as well. I was disappointed that several players I was looking at for the fullback and blocking back positions did not run with much authority in the younger team group. We don’t have a single descent candidate for the blocking back position and with very low numbers on this team ( 17) not much to choose from with just 3 that have played football before..
The one player that looked like a good candidate for blocking back will not accelerate through contact even after lots of landing mat drills and encouragement. The old “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” moniker may apply to this player, something we often see in youth football. This looks like a very difficult challenge for the younger group this year, very thin on numbers, heart and experience.
The older team is the opposite, but with low numbers and by far the smallest team in the league and just 19 kids poses challenges as well. We usually carry 24 players, unfortunately with our success here over the last 3 years and only losing one game in that time period, many must feel they have to be a descent player to play for us and don’t bother to sign up. That certainly isn’t the case, if anyone would come see us play they would see plenty of weaker kids on the team and getting playing time. While for our younger team, not sure why the lower numbers, this is the first time 3rd -4th graders are separate and we have lots of very small and weak players on this squad. The soccer mom Nazis are having some of the kids playing flag football at the younger ages. We even had a 130 pound kid in the 5th grade that signed up that we were informed will be playing flag football this fall, what a waste.
After the gauntlet drill, we reviewed the offense, base formation, splits, alignment and the perfection that we require on alignment and stances. We put an offense on the field sitting down in their positions. We reviewed and taught the numbering system per the book to the entire group. This included lots of testing for each segment with the players touching the head of the ball carrier designated for the each play, then touching the ground of where the ball carrier would run the ball. As with everything we do, we taught and tested for it in a progression. Our vets were perfect with it and about 80% of the new kids grasped onto it pretty well.
They younger kids got to view our vets quickly run through the Sainted Six football plays of our offense. We were not expecting the new players to know what they were to do just yet, as we have yet to determine positions. I just wanted to give them a 5 minute glimpse of what the offense and Base Series would look like in 2 weeks with some focused football practices.
We wrapped things up with the Slam Dunk game as detailed in the book. We did it with hand shields rather than tackling and put our better players on the shields as “defenders”. This game helps to teach leverage, staying low and constant foot movement. It also helps us coaches evaluate lateral quickness, heart, desire and determine which players have aversion to or a love for contact. We had several pleasant surprises on this drill and a big disappointment or two as well. One of our very small second year players on the older team that has excellent speed, seems to be maturing and has gotten more aggressive. You often see that with second year kids, they seem to make the biggest gains from year 1 to year 2. That’s why teams chocked full of first year players like our younger team, often struggle quite a bit.
We have a pretty good feel for where all the pieces fit together, with a ton of holes on the younger team. My DC for the older team e-mailed me this morning with his depth chart of who would play where and the kids are right where I would have put them with the exception of one backup. He has been studying the book and I was real happy we independently came to nearly the exact same conclusions on player placement. Of course the games and evals we do make it very clear who should play what based on the detailed position requirements written in the book.
We handed out equipment at the end of football practice and we will go 3 days per week for 2 hours each next week in full pads.
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