Unlocking the Air Raid DNA

AirRaidIf you are intested in learning about the Air Raid Offense, we highly recommend our CoachTube course “Unlocking the Air Raid DNA” by Coach Slade Singleton.  In this course Coach Singleton breaks down the Air Raid Offense and how to keep defensive players in constant conflict.  Coach Singleton covers in detail Building and Calling the Offense, Formations, Pass Protection, Attack Zones, Pass Concepts, Screen Game, Run Game, RPOs, Motions, and Tags.  Here is what some coaches are saying about the course:

“This Air Raid video by Coach Singleton is great. He goes over his offense in incredible detail. I have picked up some passes, runs, and RPO tags I’m going to install in the upcoming season. Great work coach, and can’t wait to see what you release next.”

“This course is a must buy for any Airraid enthusiast. Whether you are a seasoned coach or just starting your coaching journey there is something that everyone can take away from here. Coach is very clear on what each play is trying to do and where the read man is. It does a good job of breaking the Airraid down to the core plays and showing you how to work out after that. Overall a great buy!”

“Great course for anyone looking into the Air Raid. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to install this as there base offense or someone just trying to add a few wrinkles for the upcoming season.” 

“Excellent job. A lot of information!”

“Coach Singleton’s Unlocking the Air Raid DNA is an incredible coaching tool for any coach who is studying or wants to study the Air Raid offense. I highly recommend this Course!!!”

“Coach Singleton has created a masterpiece. Unlocking the Air Raid DNA is a comprehensive dive into the world of an Air Raid OC. Coach Singleton explains his concepts very clearly. Making even the most conservative “run first” coach confident that he can air it out using these concepts. Thank you coach for all that you do for the Air Raid and Spread community.”

If interested, you can register for this Course at the following link:

Unlocking the Air Raid DNA – Coach Singleton

Rule of 4

Rule of 4We just published a new Course on CoachTube from Coach Slade Singleton called the “Rule of 4“.  In this course Coach Singleton will describe a simple offensive system he has used successfully at the High School level.  Using this system he has simplified the learning curve for his players helping them to execute at a fast pace.  Here is what some coaches are saying about the course:

“What Coach Singleton has done with his “Rule of 4”, can help any coach improve their offensive output. This is a great way to streamline your offense and tailor your offense around what your team can be successful with. With any no huddle tempo offense you want the ability to have your players play fast but also be able to window dress what you do. The “Rule of 4”, is a tool that can make this happen. The detail that is being spoke on in this course is worth every penny and I will incorporate the “Rule of 4″ into my system moving forward. Thank you coach for putting together a great product!”

“Coaches, this is a MUST!!! It’s simple and concise. Installing your offense doesn’t have to be complicated. Your kids, your offense and your program will benefit from this course.”

“Coach Singleton does a great job explaining the hows & whys of his system. Clear and concise. Best $ I have spent on football in a long time. Keep up the good work Coach!”

“Coach Singleton has done it again. He has created a course that simplifies your offense while increasing your points. This course shows you how you don’t need 1,000 plays in order to be successful. All you need is a couple of plays that you need to rep and your scoring will go through the roof. This is an amazing course that I think everyone should get.”

“Love how Coach Singleton made all concepts simple to understand. Whether you have coached for 1 or 10 years it is easy to follow. Keep up the great work Coach!”

“Coach Singleton does a great job of simplifying spread concepts. His rule of 4 is helpful in trying to simplify your offense for your kids in order to play faster, but also gives you answers to what the defense is trying to do. I would recommend any coach looking to simplify their offense in order to play faster check out this course. Nice work Coach!”

If interested, you can register for this Course at the following link:

Rule of 4 – Coach Singleton

Youth Football Playbook

Youth Football Playbook

(Must have Youth Football Plays)

 

If you are a frequent visitor to our site you may have seen our article about Essential Youth Football Plays where we described both the Power and Counter plays and why we believe they should be a part of any youth football playbook.   We later followed that article up with a post describing ways to use formations to get more Power in the Power Running Play.  Recently we watched as several coaches shared their favorite Power and Counter plays on Twitter and we thought it might be worthwhile to gather all their tweets in one place and share with other coaches.

If you are interested in learning more about the Power and Counter concepts, you should take a look at our Multiple Ways to Run the Power Concept and Counter in the Youth Game clinics.

More Fun with Youth Football Formations

More Fun with Youth Football Formations

(Using Formations and Adjustments in Youth Football)

 

If you have visited our site before you know we like playing around with Youth Football Alignment Rules and Nuances, as well as Formation Adjustments to try and gain an advantage over the defense.  You will also know that we are big believers in understanding the advantages a formation or adjustment gives you while maintaining the ability to run much of your base offense.  In this blog posts we are going to explore a Single Wing formation adjustment that we stumbled upon when watching Ishpeming High School in Michigan a few years back that we believe will give youth football defenses fits.

Ishpeming

If you are a fan of Single Wing football, you might notice that this formation looks very similar to Coach Dave Cisar’s Double Formation with the Quarterback/Blocking Back moved onto the line of scrimmage.

Formation Advantages

Besides having some of the inherent advantages of the Single Wing Formation/Offense, we believe the formation gives you these additional benefits:

  1. Is it Balanced or Unbalanced?  Many youth football defenses struggle to recognize unbalanced formations and we believe this further adds to alignment recognition challenges.
  2. There is now an additional gap to be defended between Q and the left (E)nd position.
  3. For leagues where the end man on the line of scrimmage must be under a certain weight limit (ball carrier weight), we can get a larger player at the left (E)nd position since we are covering them with Q.  This allows us to get a little more push on (F)ullback Powers or ISOs than we would get otherwise.  More about ISOs later.

Ishpeming

Formation Disadvantages

When using a formation to gain a certain advantage you typically also introduce some disadvantages:

  1. Because Q is covering the left (E)nd position they are no longer an eligible receiver.
  2. Because Q is typically a blocker on strong side plays in our base formation, we are losing a blocker at the point of attack.

Ishpeming Power

Run to the Bubble

So we’ve seen some of the advantages and disadvantages of this formation, but how Ishpeming School appeared to use this formation is what really intrigued us.  What Ishpeming seemed to do with a great deal of success was have the (T)ailback and (F)ullback look for bubbles in the defense and run ISO to those gaps with either F leading for T or vice versa.

ISO

For those teams already running No Huddle with a Single Wing Offense/System this looks be a simple yet powerful add.

If you are looking for more information concerning the Single Wing, we highly recommend that you visit winningyouthfootball.com.  In our opinion there is no better or more complete Single Wing system for youth football than you will find there.  We also suggest that you take a look at our Single Wing Clinic recordings.

If you are interested in checking out some of our past posts concerning youth football formations, see the links below:

 

 

 

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:

Beating the Press in Youth Basketball

Beating the Press in Youth Basketball

7 Tips for Youth Basketball Coaches

 

The Press in Youth Basketball can be both devastating and demoralizing for your team if not properly prepared for.  Below are some Coaching Points we use when teaching our Youth Basketball teams how to handle the Press:

Tips for Beating the Press in Youth Basketball

Tips for Beating the Press in Youth Basketball

 

  1. The best way to beat the Press after a made basket is to attack it before it can set up.
  2. The Press is beaten with the pass and not the dribble.
  3. Teach the inbound passer to avoid initiating the Press Break from behind the backboard.
  4. Teach the inbound passer that after a made basket they can run the baseline if needed.
  5. Teach your players to face the Press and not turn their backs to the defense.
  6. Show your players where the Danger Zones are on the court and teach them to stay out of them.
  7. Don’t fear the Press, but rather see it as an opportunity to score.

If you would like to learn more, we encourage you to take a look at our Youth Basketball – Attacking the Press eBook 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.

Youth Basketball Drills – Rebounding

Youth Basketball Drills

(2 on 1 Rebounding Drill)

 

In our previous Youth Basketball Drills blog post we shared our tweak to the 6 Shot Circuit Shooting Drill called the 10 Shot Circuit.  In this post we are going share a simple Rebounding Drill that over the years has become a staple in our practices.

Youth Basketball Drills - 2on1 Rebounding Setup

Youth Basketball Drills – 2on1 Rebounding Setup

Drill Setup

  • 1 basketball
  • Line up players in a single file near half court from the shortest to tallest player.
  • First player goes to the rebounding position in the middle of the lane.
  • Second and third players line up on the elbows as shooters.
  • Coach is on the wing with the basketball.
  • Rotation is rebounder to end of the line, shooter to rebounder, shooter to shooter, next player in line to shooter.

Youth Basketball Drills - 2on1 Rebounding

Youth Basketball Drills – 2on1 Rebounding

Drill Execution

  1. Coach passes to one of the shooters who then takes a shot.
  2. Rebounder blocks out the opposite shooter who is trying to get the offensive rebound.  Note: If the shot is made, just treat it as a miss.  
  3. If the shooter/offensive player gets the rebound, the rebounder must do 5 push-ups on the side of the court prior to rotating to the end of the line.
  4. To make the drill more challenging require the rebounder to let the ball hit the floor before securing the rebound.  This will put an emphasis on the rebounder moving their feet.

 

Coaching Points

  • Rebounder should find the player first, block out, and then go get the ball.
  • Emphasize proper spacing from the basket.  If the rebounder is too close to the basket, the offensive players has the advantage.
  • Teach the rebounder that if they get pushed under the basket to spin putting their rear-end on the offensive player’s rear-end pinning them under the basket.

If you need more drill ideas, please take a look at our YouTube library of youth basketball drills.

Youth Basketball Drills – 10 Shot Circuit

Youth Basketball Drills

(10 Shot Circuit Shooting Drill)

 

In our previous Youth Basketball Drills blog post we shared a simple drill to help your players develop their weak hand.   In this post we are going share our tweak to the 6 shot circuit drill outlined in the YouTube video below:

 

 

Youth Basketball Drills - 10 Shot Circuit

Youth Basketball Drills – 10 Shot Circuit

Drill Setup and Execution

  1. We add 4 cones to the 3 used in in the 6-shot circuit above.  2 in the short corner and 2 on the wing.
  2. Execute the 6 shot circuit as normal.
  3. After the 6th shot, the player sprints to the short corner for shot 7.
  4. After shot 7, the player sprints to the opposite corner for shot 8.
  5. After shot 8, the player sprints to the wing position on the opposite side of the floor for shot 9.
  6. After shot 9, the player sprints to the opposite wing for shot 10.

We like this drill for a number of reasons:

  • The variety of shots being practiced.
  • Weak hand development with both the drop step layup and hook shot.
  • Works on shooting on the move.
  • Practicing shots when fatigued.

Coaching Points

  • Have a player or coach rebounding each shot and passing it back to the coach on the foul line.
  • Make sure players are going around the cones and not short cutting the paths.
  • Emphasize using the weak hand on both the drop step and hook shots.
  • On jump shots players should be catching the ball and squaring up prior to taking the shot.  By squaring up we mean get their shoulders and feet pointing to the basket.

If you need more drill ideas, please take a look at our YouTube library of youth basketball drills.

Youth Basketball Drills – Weak Hand

Youth Basketball Drills

(Weak Hand Development)

 

To be a good basketball player it is critical that a player learn to shoot and dribble with both hands.  A simple youth basketball drill for Weak Hand Development is what we call the Weak Hand Layup Drill.  The purpose of this drill is to work on dribbling and shooting layups with our weak or non-dominant hand.

Youth Basketball Drills - Weak Hand Layup

Youth Basketball Drills – Weak Hand Layup

Drill Setup

  • Place a cone on the wing 4 feet outside of the 3 point arc.  Note:  For very young players you can move the cone closer and for older players you can move it out a little more.
  • Players line up behind the cone with a basketball.  Note:  You can split your team up onto multiple baskets and turn this into a competition to see which team/group makes the most layups in a given time period.

 

Drill Execution

  1. On Go the first player in line dribbles to the basket with their non-dominant hand and executes a layup with the same hand.  They then get their own rebound and dribble with their non-dominant hand back to the end of the line.
  2. As soon as the player in front shoots their layup the next person in line goes.
  3. This drill should be done for a set period of time like 2 minutes with the coaches counting each made layup.  If you choose to make this a competition, losers can do 5 pushups or sit ups.

Coaching Points

  • Head up when dribbling.
  • Try and get to the basket with as few dribbles as possible.
  • Go above the block to get a good angle to the basket.
  • Make sure the player is going off the correct foot when shooting the layup.  Left hand layups should be off the right foot and right hand layups should be off the left foot.
  • Aim for the top corner of the square on the backboard.
  • Dribble all the way back to the line.

If you need more drill ideas, please take a look at our YouTube library of youth basketball drills.

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