The Trap Play, the Giant Killer of Youth Football Plays

Written by Dave on June 21st, 2007

The Trap Play can be a Giant Killer for you when Coaching Youth Football

Many coaches and even one long time writer in the field of Coaching Youth Football don’t think you can teach youth football players to pull and trap effectively. Back in the 80′s and early 90′s I didn’t think you could either, heck we could barely do some of the basics back then, how was I going to teach kids to pull?

After doing more research I found there were plenty of youth football teams that successfully pulled and trapped. We added the trap in 2002 and that football play is now the mainstay of my offense as well as many others.


The mistake many of us coaches make is we stop asking questions or doing research once we get a so called answer to a question. Most of us take the easy way out, especially if it validates our preconceived notions. I’m here to tell you there are hundreds if not thousands of very successful youth football teams all across America pulling and trapping all the way down to age 6. I personally coached an age 6-8 team and we pulled and trapped very well. Not as well as Ross LeGrande, Ross is from Ohio and his age 7-8 team was the best looking trapping team I had ever seen. His team was the master of running the off-tackle and blocking back trap. In many of the games I saw of his Championship teams, they ran just 3 plays, the off-tackle, trap and counter and by golly the trap made up about 40% of their snaps.

Many of the guys that e-mail me tell me that the Blocking Back trap out of the Single Wing Offense, what we call “31 Trap”, is one of the best if not the best football plays they run. Don S in Maryland averaged nearly 20 yards a carry with it last season for his age 8-10 kids. It is one of my all-time favorite football plays, yet many people think you have to have a bunch of Einsteins on your youth football team to run it. That is simply not true. I’ve seen film of hundreds of youth teams pulling and trapping well as well as have personally coached 5 different youth football teams that had zero problems doing so. Keep in mind, I’m the offensive line coach and I never played offensive line at any level and we probably practice less than you do.

The trap is a great football play for a whole variety of reasons. In our offense we like to double team block defensive tackles. We rarely have the size or athleticism on our offensive line to move anyone very well one-on-one, so we like to use double team blocks and wedge blocks. Once that defensive tackle starts getting moved backwards with double teams and wedge blocks, he starts coming real hard, real fast and real low, if he doesn’t we are going to steam roll him all day. Once he starts coming hard, we just let him come through free and BAMMO he gets clobbered by a pulling guard coming out of nowhere and it usually means a huge gain for us.

SO WHAT DOES THE Defensive Tackle DO NOW?

Should he play it slow and get blown back by double team and wedge blocks all day long or should he charge in real low and fast and get blindsided by a pulling guard with a full head of steam, hmmmm, quandry. This has been a great tactic for us when we play a team that has a very dominating defensive tackle that is eating our lunch, we trap him a few times and man oh man does he slow down, the brakes come on. Then when he slows down to “read” the play he gets steamrolled by our double teams and wedge blocks, what’s the poor kid to do? He ends up playing tenative and our problem is solved.

Think about it, last season was there a team you faced that had a defensive lineman that was dominating your team? Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a series of football plays that would have neuturalized him? I get sick of youth football coaches saying ONE PLAYER beat them, good football coaches figure out ways to stop one player.

Pulling is very simple to teach and is covered with 3 simple coaching points starting on page 218 of the book. Dave Rimington the former Outland Trophy Winner and College Football Hall of Famer said we were teaching it just right, he wouldn’t change a thing. Our trap scheme is on page 167 of the book and can be run out of nearly every football play series you run. Don’t exclude the trap from what you run at the youth level because you have never run it before or have not taught kids how to trap block in the past. The trap is simple to teach and is a very dangerous football play. The trap works better the better the team you are playing is.

Unlike the reverse or counter,  the trap hits much quicker and can work even against  very fast teams. The reverse has little chance versus very athletic teams that can run plays down. The trap hits quickly and gets the ball upfield much faster than any reverse plays, it is a low risk, high reward play.

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Posted In: Offense

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