Speeding Up No-Huddle When Coaching Youth Football

Written by Dave on March 17th, 2014

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drill--players checking wristbandsdrill--players checking wristbandsIMG_0645One of the greatest things I get out of speaking at over 160 Coaches Clinics over the last 7 years is I get to listen and learn from other speakers. This past weekend I was in Racine, Wisconsin working with Tim Murphy and Rick Stewart. I got to ride with Rick to and from the Chicago airport, so I got 2 hours of uninterrupted time from him. He then proceeded in buying my lunch, so I got another 90 minutes from him there. Rick has turned around a bunch of different High School programs over the last 20 years and has done it with limited talent, he has yet to have coached a DI scholarship player.

Rick also spoke at the clinic and I was able to sit in on three of his topics. While a lot of what he spoke about wouldn’t make sense to apply to my teams, how he got his offense to play fast did. Have you ever been doing something for a VERY long time and found out a better way of doing things and felt like a complete idiot for doing it your own way when there were MUCH better and maybe even obvious options? Well that was me this weekend.

Rick times his kids when they are running offensive fit and freeze play reps. His teams goal is to run 4 perfect plays in under a minute. Perfect means all the linemen come off the ball together with the correct foot and freeze at their assigned blocked imaginary defender. The backfield action has to be tight and perfect, that means correct attack angles, correct foot/pad/hip levels on the blocks frozen on players or coaches holding bags. Ball exchanges and ball security has to be perfect otherwise it doesn’t count.

drill--players checking wristbands drill--players checking wristbandsRick’s goal is 4 perfect plays in 60 seconds or less. After every play the line of scrimmage is moved up 10 yards and a coach has a ball set in place. The backs run the play out 10 yards. His best result so far? 38 seconds.

I’ve run no-huddle for the last 18 seasons and we pride ourselves on being perfect and fast. Back in 2010 my 10-11 year old team had an opening drive of 11 plays in about 1:52. We had an 11 play opening drive that took 2:12 and we won a game in the last minute by covering 80 yards in 8 plays in the final 2 minutes with no timeouts.

Our goal is one offensive team fit and freeze rep every 15 seconds and we rotate 11 in and 11 out on every rep. This helps us with our subbing and conditioning. While our backs run the play out 10 yards, we don’t follow the ball down the field. What we ARE going to do next year is time our reps.

Kids LOVE and crave competition. When they play games by themselves like bouncing a ball off the garage, they are counting to see if they can set a new record for catches in a row. They all know their best video game scores, beating and setting standards are innate things kids like to do. Since my Organization has 4 teams we can even compete against each other as to who can get 4 perfect plays done in the shortest time.

Thanks to Rick for this very obvious but overlooked method I should have been using all along. This is going to help our team get even better at the no-huddle and give them something to shoot for as the season progresses.

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One Response to “Speeding Up No-Huddle When Coaching Youth Football”

  • Clint Schumacher says:

    What a great idea! That also combats the late season boredom from doing the fit and freeze reps.

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