When coaching pee wee football, the overall purpose of the practice is to educate the players about the game and understand the fundamental skills they’ll need to play effectively.
These basics include blocking, tackling, running with the ball, catching the ball, taking a handoff and handing off, reacting to what’s happening on the field, and even running on the field. Most importantly, you want to make sure you allow the kids to have fun.
Teach them how to become sound football players… but remember that it is still a game and should be fun for the kids.
Practice should be divided into segments. You can begin with a warm-up, then individual skills, then group work, then special teams, an offensive period, a defensive period, and finally cool-down and conditioning.
In this article we’ll focus on 3 drills for building fundamental skills in players 10 and under. (NOTE: If you’re looking for more practice ideas for youth football, make sure to check out my football coaching book.)
Purpose: This is similar to the children’s game “Simon Says” except you show the players how to move with a football. Much of football is seeing and reacting as the play develops. This drill will help players learn to read and react.
How it’s Run: Players stand facing the coach. They should be spaced out so that they have plenty of room to move. All players need to be able to see the coach. The coach is holding a ball.
When the coach holds the ball to the right all the players move in that direction (to their left as they face the coach). When the coach moves the ball to the left the players should move in that direction.
When the ball is moved to the coach’s chest all the players should move toward the coach. And when the ball is held down low all the players should drop on the ground and immediately get back up.
Result: This drill will teach players to react to what’s happening in front of them on the field. However, coaches need to make sure proper fundamentals are used by all the players.
Players’ feet should not cross over as they slide from side to side. Also, players shouldn’t lose sight of the coach. Their heads should be up at all times.
Ride the Pads Drill
Purpose: This is a very basic drill that will teach players not to be scared of hitting each other. This can be used in the first practice with full pads and any practice beyond that.
How it’s Run: A blocking bad is placed on the ground and 2 players straddle the pad and face each other. These players should be similar in size and age.
The players will get in the read position and explode forward into each other on the whistle. The drill continues this way until the players hit each other a few times. The coach should continually repeat that the players’ pads protect them and they shouldn’t be afraid to hit each other as hard as they can.
Result: This drill will teach players not to be afraid of contact. Coaches should look for players that shy away from contact and encourage them to continue the drill until they are exploding into the other player.
Ready, Set, Hut
Purpose: This drill will help players to get in the proper stance pre-snap. It will also help them explode on the snap of the ball.
How it’s Run: Players get in lines across the field. Each player needs to be able to have the space to explode forward. (The quarterbacks will need room to go backward.) The coach will yell “Ready” and the players will plant their feet and prepare to get into their assigned stance.
Then the coach will yell “Set” and the players will get into their specific stance that corresponds to their position. Finally, the coach will yell “Hut” and the players will explode forward three steps. (The quarterbacks will go into their drop back.) This drill should be repeated several times.
Result: On each command coaches should be walking around and looking at all the players. Coaches should correct any stances that aren’t correct. Also, any players that explode too late or without energy should be corrected.
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