You Can Do More!

You Can Do More!

 

youcandomore

We are always on the lookout for quality Coaching Resources to share and recently we came upon youcandomore.net.  Below is a brief introduction of Coach Jeff Floyd and his site.

Jeff Floyd has been a teacher and coach for over 30 years with experience at all levels, coaching Pop-Warner to Professionals.  He has been an assistant middle school coach/teacher, and a head college football coach…. and pretty much everything in between.

Coach Floyd has experience training men and women athletes in all sports, including swimming soccer, football, wrestling, basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, and track and field.

Here is how he explains his blog….

“In all my years coaching, I cannot recall a single time, that when asked, coached, and motivated, an athlete I was working was not willing to do more…. Another rep, another lap, a faster split, etc. I, we, as coaches, are more likely to ask, to demand too little rather than too much. Hence the name of this blog… You Can Do More!

Coach Floyd uses his forum to share systems, knowledge, tips, techniques, data… essentially everything that is at his disposal …to assist interested athletes and coaches.

Several of Floyd’s posts have garnered national attention, including his series on defensive game planning, and the college recruiting process.

Zone Blocking in a Youth Football Option Offense

Zone Blocking

(Youth Football Option Offense)

By Coach Jim Adam

Youth Option FootballFor the very first time this past season I taught zone blocking to offensive linemen running an option-based system. I was pleased with the results, and coaches-clinic.com thought it would be a good blog topic. Some of this post is in the nature of How We Did It. But I will use the beginning of the post to take you through some Why We Did It – and that takes a little background information.

 

Background

I’ve taught option football to many different teams, in a few different offensive systems, and for a variety of player ages.  My youth football coaching curriculum vitae is getting longer by the year, and probably depressing for my wife. But it’s all been great fun for me.

In all the years previous to 2015, offensive linemen that I coached would learn ‘rules per play.’ For example, the left guard learned that for Midline Left he had to

  • identify the ‘dive key’ (being the first defensive lineman to the left of our center) and then
  • block the dive key down if
    1. the dive key lined up in the A gap OR
    2. the dive key crossed his face into the A gap
  • OR, if the dive key was head up or wider, to rip past him to the middle (or closest playside) linebacker

Those have been our rules – we always “protect the mesh”. Not everybody does it quite that way, but that has worked for us pretty well for fourth graders and older.

Last year I was asked to coach a group of 2nd graders, and this fall I just finished up my second season with them. As 2nd graders, they were the absolute youngest kids I’d ever coached in tackle football.   I’d spent the fall of the previous year (2013) introducing a couple of 8th grade teams to the flexbone offense they would be running in high school. That was really fun, because those 14-year-old kids could grasp new ideas very quickly. It was a humbling experience to suddenly start over with 7-year-olds in 2014.

I did my best to simplify things in the backfield that year by running from wishbone formation instead of flexbone (no motion necessary); and running far fewer plays. The only option play we really tried to run for 2nd grade was midline. In spite of those changes though, we really didn’t have much success running the option.  We were able to execute a good outside pitch option in practice a few times – but I was never confident enough to have us try it in a game. Our team was OK – we were about .500, though no scores were officially kept for that grade and the games were more like controlled scrimmages. But we certainly wanted to be better.

As I examined the season after the end of 2014, I noted three offensive problems.  First, neither of our QB’s were quite proficient enough to run an option system. The first was a really good athlete that turned the wrong way from under center too often. The other kid wasn’t quite courageous enough to run with the ball. Those are both pretty important qualities for a QB.

Our second problem was a general lack of athletic athletic ball carriers. We had only three. In a wishbone or flexbone system for kids, you need four to six athletic runners – four that start for you, and at least two more for depth.

Finally, I was not satisfied with the way our linemen were getting off the ball. I thought that some of that problem was due to the complexity of the rules that the linemen were expected to follow. There were just too many conditional statements to process for a young kid before the snap. I knew that all our offensive linemen were actually pretty good, and that they should have been better than they were. So that really disappointed me, because that meant their struggles were really MY fault.

In the spring of 2015 I started planning how I would do things differently. Specifically

  • What would I do if I had only two good runners? Both the QB’s I’d had I knew were moving out of our area, so that was an open position and we were down one athletic runner to start – would we have new guys that were athletic enough for all the backfield spots? Or would we need to run from an I formation? I planned for that eventuality, re-aquanting myself with Power, Blast, ISO, and Speed Option from I formation.
  • How could I get our offensive linemen to be faster to their blocks at the snap, and more sure of their responsibilities?

Pre-Season Thoughts

I found out during the summer of 2015 that of our sixteen 2nd grade players, three had moved out of the area, and four had chosen to do other sports (three soccer, one fall baseball.) It isn’t unusual to have some turnover from first year football players, but having 20% move out of area was pretty bad luck.  In addition, three of our four assistant coaches were now out of the area or otherwise unable to coach. However, we added eight new kids to roster, and two of them came with dads that would help coach. In e-mail exchanges and at the pre-season meeting I held, we all talked about our goals for offense, and my desire to get our O linemen faster to their blocks and more certain of their assignments. We determined that our backs would likely be better than they’d been.

In our meeting I told the assistants about an e-mail conversation I’d had with another youth coach about zone blocking. He’d written to me because he’d always taught zone blocking because it was so relatively easy, but he wanted to run the option. He was going to give it a shot, using some of my system and some of his.  The easy part he described intrigued me, so I had started reading as much as I could about zone blocking. I looked here. And here. And here. And probably a lot of other places that I can’t remember now.  Lots of the ideas I took away were great, but most of them were still too complex for my purposes.

So I did what I usually do, and simplified it down to make up my own system. I wanted our linemen to be sure of what they were supposed to do, and get there quickly and aggressively. From day one we began describing just four blocks to our third grade linemen:

  • Zone Right, which we would call Zorro
  • Zone Left, which we would call Zulu
  • Outside Right Zone, which we would call Oreos
  • Outside Left Zone, which we would call Olives

Instruction During the Season

Teaching these blocks would require our guys learning four general topics: Direction, Responsibility, Step, and Target.

The Direction for the block was pretty simple, because we used the direction in the words for the blocking assignment itself. In the huddle in the early part of the season we’d say “Zone Right, Zorro.” Later on we were able to shorten that to just “Zorro.” The direction part is in the name, and the kids picked up on the left and right aspects of the naming pretty well. None of the guys had any problem with the left and right direction of the blocking, even later on when we used only the shortcut words.

Responsibility (which man to block) was taught using pictures, repeated instruction from ready stances on the line, and drilling. Below are the pictures that we used that showed the responsiblity priorities. Our players were told to imagine themselves as the filled in circle player, and that their teammate on the line would be the open circle player. We drew that teammate just as a landmark.  The numbered boxes represented where opponents might be lined up, or might show up in the first step after the snap. The most important opponent to block would be #1 – but if no one was there, and no one suddenly showed up in that space at the snap, then the opponent to block would become #2, then #3, and then finally #4.

Zone Left PictureZone Right PictureZone LeftZone Right

Outside Zone LeftOutside Zone Right

Outside Zone Left PictureOutside Zone Right Picture
The drawings are pretty close to what we taught. The only added information had to do with the third and fourth options on each style of block. First, if on Zorro or Zulu our blocker has only #4 to block, then he is encouraged to combo on from there to any linebacker that shows up in the 1 or 3 area.  For the Outside Zone Blocks, if the teammate stepping in front of you gets to #3 first, OR you can’t get to your target in four steps, then climb to the #4 area and cut someone off.

From ‘ready’ stances on the line, we’d put defenders out in all the places they might block, call out the block (i.e. “Zulu”) and then see if the linemen could point out to the coach who they’d be blocking. We did these ‘identification’ drills at each practice. Those would be followed by live drills – the same exercise, but step and block on the snap count.

Each block had a different style of first Step. The drawing below is from one of the articles I linked earlier.

ZBS footwork
Zone Blocking Footwork Image
For our purposes, we only used the B step and C step. The Zorro and Zulu blocks used the B step. The Oreos and Olives blocks used the C step. We worked on the two B steps and the two C steps at every practice. When we did the step and block drills at practice, we’d start with one step, then go to two steps, then go to live blocking. During the one-step and two-step drills we would work on stances, get off, and body position at the step. We worked on six inch first steps, and how wide to open that first foot. For Zorro and Zulu, the distance of the second step would vary based on the Responsibility. For Oreos and Olives, our second step could cross over if we hadn’t reached our responsibility yet.

Target means our aiming point for blocking contact. For Zorro and Zulu the target is the Direction half of the defender (as we look at him) struck with the opposite hand. For example, in Zone Left (Zulu) if our lineman identifies based on Responsibility that he will probably be blocking jersey #61, he aims for the 6 on the front of the player’s jersey, and tries to get it with his right hand. For Oreos and Olives, our linemen are trying to get the far side shoulder of their opponent with their own near side forearm, make contact, and then (in most cases) climb. So for Oreos (Outside Right Zone) if our right tackle has identified a six technique to his right as his likely block, then he is trying to get his own left forearm on the 6 tech’s outside shoulder to pin him inside. We teach that if he can’t get to him in four steps to pin him, then to just drive him on in the direction that he is running away.

Putting It All Together

By teaching these four blocks as the basis of what we were doing, I could shorthand every lineman’s responsibility for every play. For 3rd grade we ran Midline Lead, a couple of different off tackle Power plays, and a couple of different Sweep plays as our most prevelent plays. We had a lead ISO dive for the fullback that hit the B gap that we called Bazooka, which used a split zone concept and a lead A back blocking through the split. We ran an Outside Veer Triple option out of pistol successfully several times as well, though didn’t use it as much as we eventually will. The matrix below shows each lineman’s responsibility on each of those plays. The slight variations of the normal zone blocks have an asterisk and are described below the matrix.

Play / Player Left Tackle Left Guard Center Right Guard Right Tackle
Midline Lead Right Zorro Zorro Zulu Zulu * Zulu º
Midline Lead Left Zorro º Zorro * Zorro Zulu Zulu
Power (16, 36) Right Zorro Zorro Zorro Zorro Zulu
Power (17, 27) Left Zorro Zulu Zulu Zulu Zulu
Sweeps (Rocket 38, Jet 38) Right Oreos Oreos Oreos Oreos Oreos
Sweeps (Rocket 29, Jet 29) Left Olives Olives Olives Olives Olives
Bazooka Right Zulu Zulu Zulu Zulu Zorro
Bazooka Left Zulu Zorro Zorro Zorro Zorro
Veer Right (OSV from Pistol) Zorro Zorro Zorro Zorro Zorro **
Veer Left (OSV from Pistol) Zulu ** Zulu Zulu Zulu Zulu

* Playside Guard’s first Step for Midline is toward the center, but he dips shoulder to skip a head up dive key if possible. If head-up crosses inside we block him down.
º Playside Tackle has a Zone block inside – but skips the B gap player if he is the dive key.
** Playside Tackle’s has a Zone block on any head up player, but he skips the closest outside overhang, who is the dive read for this play.

There’s much more to all of this, but I was pretty pleased with the results. We had better backs this season, but our linemen improved a lot. Of 13 teams in our league, only two were better than us, and one other was about even with us. We ended up 6-2 on the year, and we’ll be getting better!

Below is the first of two planned videos about some aspects of our season:

2016 Clinic Season

Coming Attractions

 

Below are tentative dates and times (Eastern) for our 2016 Youth Football Coaching Clinics:

Note:  We are currently working to add additional clinics and will be opening up registration to all of our clinics very soon.  

If you are a Coach interested in presenting a clinic or just have a question about a clinic, email Coach Rob using the form below:

 

Youth Football Drills – Offensive Line

Youth Football Drills

(Offensive Line – Fast Get Offs)

 

One of the difficulties Youth Football Offensive Line coaches face each year is getting their young Offensive Lineman to fire off the ball.  A youth football drill that helps address this challenge that has been a staple in our practice plans through the years is the tennis ball drill.  Another drill that we recently came across comes to us from Coach Kyle Mlinek on the Dumcoach.com forum.  The name of the drill is the Topple Drill and much like the tennis ball drill its purpose is to help players quickly come of the ball.

Youth Football Drills - Topple Setup and Execution

Youth Football Drills – Topple Setup

Drill Setup and Execution

  • 1 Standup Dummy
  • Create 2 lines with players on either side of the Standup Blocking Dummy about 1 foot way.
  • On your Cadence, each player will try and topple the Dummy first.
  • Once done, each player rotates to the other line.

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for additional youth football drills for your team, we encourage you to take a look at the CLYFL Youth Football Drill Book.  It consists of 85 drills covering many aspects of the game.  If you need more drill ideas, please take a look out our YouTube library of football drills.  Our library includes drills for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.  We have even included some Flag Football drills.

5-3 Defense

5-3 Defense for Youth Football

 

One of the most popular Youth Football defenses is the 5-3 Defense.  Oddly enough there is very little material available covering the 5-3 Defense in any great detail.  If this is a defense that you are interested in, we highly recommend that you take a look at Coach Hickey’s 5-3 Defense clinic. In this clinic Coach Hickey goes into great detail covering his version of the 5-3.  See below for a brief clinic preview.

5-3 Defense Clinic Preview

 

Youth Football Drills – Linebackers

Youth Football Drills

(Linebackers)

 

In our previous Youth Football Drills blog post we shared a Defensive Line Swim Move Progression Drill that we have used in past seasons to help our Defensive Lineman.  In this post we are going to share a Drill we call Fill the Alley that we use with our Linebackers to help them execute their run fits.

Youth Football Drills - Linebackers

Youth Football Drills – Fill the Alley Setup

Drill Setup

  • Plenty of Cones to define Alleys.
  • Blocking Dummies to define Line of Scrimmage and “A” and “B” Gaps.
  • 1 Football
  • 1 Line for Runners
  • 1 Line for Linebackers

 

 

 

Youth Football Drills - Linebackers

Youth Football Drills – Fill the Alley Execution

Drill Execution

  1. Linebacker aligns at his proper depth to the line of scrimmage and alignment relative to the “A” and “B” gaps.
  2. Coach designates Alley 1, 2, or 3 for the Runner.
  3. On “Go”, the Runner will run through his designated Alley.
  4. The Linebacker should take his read step and attempt to tackle the Runner.

Note:  To make the drill more difficult you can add a Blocker on the line of scrimmage so that the Linebacker must shed a block and then attempt to make the tackle.

For additional drill ideas for your team, we encourage you to download the CLYFL Youth Football Drill Book, as well as visit our YouTube library of football drills.  Our library includes drills for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.  We have even included some Flag Football drills.

Youth Football Drills – Defensive Line

Youth Football Drills

(Defensive Line)

 

 

In our previous Youth Football Drills blog post we shared a Defensive End Box Drill we developed several years back to help teach our Defensive Ends how to properly box.  In this post we are going to share a Defensive Line Swim Move Progression Drill that we have used in past seasons to help our Defensive Lineman.  Below is an example of a Swim Move:

 

 

Youth Football Drills - Defensive Line

Youth Football Drills – Defensive Line

Drill Setup

  • 2 half round dummies.
  • 1 Ball
  • 1 Cone
  • 2 lines facing the coaches with 1 player standing upright 3 yards behind the ball.

 

Drill Execution

  1. Demonstrate Swim Technique:
    • 3 Point Stance
    • First step with inside foot.
    • Outside arm to midsection of the dummy.
    • Inside arm comes over the top and propel past the dummy.
  2. The Defense gets into a 3 point stance and on ball movement, executes their first step, then brings their outside arm to the midsection of the dummy, then bring their inside arm over the top and propel themselves to the offensive player where they execute a form tackle.  Note:  All movements are half speed until the coach is satisfied with the players form.
  3. Once satisfied with Step #2, repeat going full speed.  Note:  Switch out the player in the backfield every 5 to 6 reps.

For additional drill ideas for your team, we encourage you to download the CLYFL Youth Football Drill Book, as well as visit our YouTube library of football drills.  Our library includes drills for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.  We have even included some Flag Football drills.

Youth Football Drills – Defensive Ends

Youth Football Drills

(Defensive Ends)

 

In our previous Youth Football Drills blog post we turned our attention to the defensive side of the ball with the DB Read and React Drill.  In this post we are going to share a Defensive End Box drill we developed several years back to help teach our Defensive Ends how to properly box.  If you are not a fan of boxing your Defensive Ends and prefer the Spill and Kill technique, we highly recommend you take a look at Coach Wilkins’ X’s and O’s of “Spill and Kill” Contain clinic.

 

 

Youth Football Drills - Defense End Box Drill

Youth Football Drills – Defense End Box Drill Setup

Drill Setup

  • 8 Cones
  • 1 Ball
  • Setup up cones and players to represent a Double Tight, 2 Back Split Formation.
  • Setup up cones to designate the Sweep Alley/Spot on each side of the ball.

Drill Execution

  1. Defensive End turns their back.
    • Coach tells the blocker and runner which hole to run to (Off-Tackle or Sweep) and snap count.  Note:  Run away from the Defensive End from time to time to make sure that they are pursuing through the backfield properly.
  2. On the snap count the blocker and runner run to the designated hole with the Coach handing or pitching the ball to the runner.
    • The runner must stay between the cones (Off-Tackle or Sweep).
  3. The Defensive End gets to the Sweep Spot, meeting the lead blocker, shedding the block, and tackling the runner.
    • They need to fight to force the runner deeper than the “Sweep Alley” or squeeze him inside the Off-Tackle hole.
    • When shedding the block, they position themselves where their outside arm is kept free to make a tackle and their inside foot is splitting the feet of the blocker.
  4. After cycling through several reps, switch to the other side.

For additional drill ideas for your team, we encourage you to download the CLYFL Youth Football Drill Book, as well as visit our YouTube library of football drills.  Our library includes drills for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.  We have even included some Flag Football drills.

 

Youth Football Drills – Defensive Backs

Youth Football Drills

(Defensive Backs)

 

In our previous Blog posts we shared a couple of youth football drills that we like to use with our Offensive Line and Running Backs and Receivers.  In this post we are going to turn our attention to the Defensive side of the ball with a drill we call DB Read and React.  The purpose of this drill is to teach the Defensive Backs how to read the play to determine whether to execute their run fit or to defend the pass.

Youth Football Drills - DB Read and React

Youth Football Drills – DB Read and React Setup

Drill Setup – Tight End

  • 6 Cones
  • 1 Ball
  • Use 4 cones as Offensive Guards and Tackles.
  • Designate 1 cone as a Defensive End and another as a Defensive Tackle.

Note:  The Drill is setup for a defense that uses boxing Defensive Ends and the Defensive Back is playing Off Man coverage with their run fit being inside the Defense End.  However it can be adapted to other Defensive Systems.

Drill Execution

  • With the Defensive Player’s head turned the Coach instructs the Tight End to either Down Block on the Defensive Tackle cone, Stalk Block the Defensive Player, or run a pass route.
  • On “Go”, the Tight End executes the Coach’s instruction:
    1. If Down Block, the Defensive Player executes his Run Fit between the Defensive End and Tackle.
    2. If Stalk Blocked, the Defensive Player uses his hands to make a Swim Move keeping outside leverage and executes his Run Fit between the Defensive End and Tackle.
    3. If Pass Route, the Defensive Player covers the Tight End trying to break up the pass from the Coach.
  • After several reps, flip to the other side.
Youth Football Drills - DB Read and React

Youth Football Drills – DB Read and React Setup

Drill Setup – Split End

  • Designate 1 cone as a Defensive End and 1 cone as a Defensive Tackle.
  • Offensive Player lines up as a Split End.
  • Defensive Player aligns on the Split End per their alignment rules.

 

Drill Execution

  • With the Defensive Player’s head turned the Coach instructs the Split End to either Stalk Block the Defensive Player or run a pass route.
  • On “Go”, the Split End executes the Coach’s instruction:
    1. If Stalk Blocked, the Defensive Player uses his hands to make a Swim Move keeping outside leverage and executes his Run Fit between the Defensive End and Tackle.
    2. If Pass Route, the Defensive Player covers the Split End trying to break up the pass from the Coach.
  • After several reps, flip to the other side.

If you are looking for additional Defensive Back drills for your youth football team, we highly recommend, that you take a look at Coach Mahoney’s  Less is More Approach to Defense and Training up your Cornerbacks clinic.

For additional drill ideas for your team, we encourage you to download the CLYFL Youth Football Drill Book, as well as visit our YouTube library of football drills.  Our library includes drills for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.  We have even included some Flag Football drills.

Youth Football Drills – Offensive Line

Youth Football Drills

(Offensive Line)

 

In our last blog post we shared a drill we call Slow Stalk Block that we are planning to use this coming season to help teach our Running Backs and Receivers how to properly execute a Stalk Block.  In this post we are going to share an Offensive Line drill we like to use for our Power Plays called Block the Backer.  The purpose of this drill is to make sure that our Pullers are finding Linebackers and making contact.

Youth Football Drills - Blocking the Backer

Youth Football Drills – Blocking the Backer Setup

Drill Setup

  • 6 Cones
  • 1 Stand-up Blocking Dummy.
  • Line 4 cones slightly angled downfield with a lineman in front of each. Place two cones 3 yards deep in front of center representing a Linebacker. The Linebacker stands in between the cones.
  • 1 Line. Rotate LB to Drill Line. Drill Line to Center. O-Line shifts one position to the right with PT becoming the LB.

Note: This drill is setup for an unbalanced line with the playside Guard pulling.  It can easily be adapted to a balanced line with the backside Guard pulling.

 

 

Youth Football Drills - Block the Backer

Youth Football Drills – Block the Backer Execution

Drill Execution

  • At the snap of the ball the Puller (G) must pull down the line.
  • The linebacker must try and tackle the dummy and the Puller (G) must get around the corner to block the Linebacker.

    Coaching Points for Puller

  • 6 inch first step with right foot at 2 o’clock.
  • Good rip with outside arm.
  • Low sprinter stance finish.
  • Spy the linebacker getting head to touchdown (outside) side.

If you are looking for additional Offensive Line Drills for your youth football team, we highly recommend, that you take a look at Coach O’Gorman’s How to be the Coach Your O-line Deserves clinic.

For additional drill ideas for your team, we encourage you to download the CLYFL Youth Football Drill Book, as well as visit our YouTube library of football drills.  Our library includes drills for Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.  We have even included some Flag Football drills.

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