Finally back to football season. Can’t wait to get that first practice in and meet and see our new team.
This year I am coaching 8-9 year old’s in 4 vs. 4 flag football. Here are some tips when coaching this age group:
1) Keep it simple
Make sure you keep it simple with coaching and teaching this age group. This age group will tend to have some players whom have played flag football before and you will also have some rookies. We start off with the basics such as: how to pull a flag, how to run, how to stop running and positioning. It might sound like you should omit this, however great fundamentals and form are keys to success. Just because you know how to run, doesn’t mean your team does.
2) Macro to Micro Format
When you first start a new fundamental technique, take a macro approach and coach the entire team first. If you see a player whom does not seem to get it or needs additional coaching, take that player off to the side or assign one of your assistant coaches to help work with that individual player.
3) Ask for help
Ask parents to help out in practice. Assign them to simple tasks like handing off the ball to players, retrieving footballs and helping out in drills. This will help you spend more time coaching and less time managing the drill.
4) Make it fun
The first practice must be FUN!!! You will need to get your team hooked and hooked on flag football quickly. We run a couple of fun drills in the first practices to keep it fun for the kids / players. One game we play we call “River Monster”. In this game you start with 1-2 defenders and the rest of the team has only flags on (no footballs in hand). We simulate a catch to the players (with flags on). These players are to act like they are a wide receiver and catch the ball and turn around and run 30 yards to the endzone without getting their flags pulled by the 2 defenders. We will run this drill until all flags are pulled. If a player gets their flag pulled, they become a defender.
5) Find your quarterback
Your quarterback in flag football is your most important position. We try to find 3 QB’s in the first couple of practices. Knowing that if we develop 3, we can rotate them and find plays that are best fit for their capabilities.