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Strategic planning for youth football. What coaches should be thinking and planning during Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Gary McCulley The Football Academy. Coaching Materials. ALL MATERIALS MENTIONED IN THIS PRESENTATION ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE @ www.thefootballacademy-llc.com

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strategic planning for youth football

Strategic planning for youth football

What coaches should be thinking and

planning during Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter

Gary McCulley

The Football Academy

coaching materials
Coaching Materials
  • ALL MATERIALS MENTIONED IN THIS PRESENTATION ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE @ www.thefootballacademy-llc.com
  • Click on youth coaching material link for
    • This presentation
    • Practice plan templates
    • Game day plan templates
    • Sub package templates
    • Business Card Templates
    • Sample playbooks
    • Introductory Letter to Parents and Players
    • Example Team Rules, Expectations, and Consequences
    • And other materials for youth coaches
agenda
Agenda
  • Introductions – What is the GFA Coaching Committee and why are we here?
  • Youth Football Strategic Planning
    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Fall
      • Regular Season
      • Playoffs / Post Season
    • Winter
introductions
Introductions
  • Who are we? GFA Coaching Committee
    • Rob Michael – Coordinator
    • Jim Weybrecht
    • Terry Mahan
    • Howard McMurphy
    • Gary McCulley
  • What are we doing? Recruit, interview, assist, and mentor GFA coaches
  • Why are we doing this? To optimize the overall quality of the program and to prepare kids for High School Football
advanced planning
Advanced Planning
  • Why do it?
    • Success thrives with advanced planning
      • Prepare to be successful
    • Avoid crisis management later on
    • Brian Kelly example
      • Coach Kelly plans the entire year - to the minute
        • Including walking to practice field, using the restroom, etc.
    • “Plan your work, work your plan”
    • Everything should have a purpose
      • Don’t do something “just because”
      • Practice like you want to play
        • Huddle dynamics
        • Conditioning vs 2 minute drill
spring planning

Spring Planning

Jan – May

spring jan may
Spring (Jan – May)
  • Jan - March: Prepare for Head Coach interviews
  • March - May: HC candidates to be interviewed
  • March -June: Head Coaches selected
  • Once selected as a head coach
    • Head Coach to interview, select, propose and agree on roles and responsibilities for assistant coaches and business manager(s) – see next slide
    • Entire staff to discuss and agree upon philosophies (offensive, defensive, who will coach coach’s sons, etc.)
      • Decide on how to get offensive plays in the game
        • Wristband, hand signals, messengers, etc. – buy early
    • HC should arrange pre-season scrimmages for mid to late August vs. quality opponents (suggest picking last year’s champion and/or runners up – ideally 2 scrimmages before the regular season starts – this will be the forcing function to get your team prepared for the regular season)
select recruit assistants
Select / Recruit Assistants
  • Best if done early, prior to registration(March-April)
  • Clearly establish responsibilities
    • Offense, defense, play calling, special teams, etc.
  • Establish team rules together
  • Establish team “philosophy”
select recruit assistants9
Select / Recruit Assistants
  • Establish/Discuss Offense and Defense
    • Suggestions
      • Pick an offense and defense that plays to your players strengths
        • Difficult to do prior to being assigned a team
      • Talk with High School coaches in the area
        • Pick an offense that kids will see when they attend high school
          • If most of the kids on your team will attend WFHS…
            • E.g. Talk with Coach Campbell - Implement Blackhawk offense/defense – (adjust for youth kids)
offensive play call format
Offensive Play Call Format
  • When selecting an offense, select an offense that kids can easily and quickly learn – play call should speak to every position
    • Example Pass Play: “PRO - FLANK – LAKE – VEGAS”
      • “PRO”: Back formation: Tells Running backs where to line up
      • FLANK: Receiver Formation: Tells Receivers (X, Y, Z) where to line up
      • LAKE: O-line Pass Protection Scheme: Tells Offensive Lineman which protection
      • VEGAS: Route Package: tells Receivers which routes to run
  • Example Run Play: “GUN – FLANKER – 26 POWER”
    • “GUN”: Back formation: Tells Running backs where to line up
    • “FLANKER”: Receiver Formation: Tells Receivers (X, Y, Z) where to line up
    • “26 POWER”: TELLS BACKS/RECIVERS/O-LINE WHERE BALL IS GOING AND WHATAT TO DO
pro flank lake vegas
PRO - FLANK – LAKE - VEGAS
  • Instruction: 3 step drop - QB reads SS - He can’t be two places at once
  • If SS goes with Y, hit Z
  • IF SS goes with Z, hit Y
  • Must be “bang-bang” – ball needs to be airborne in less than 3 sec.

Example

FS

CB

SS

B

M

LOS

X

Y

T

G

C

G

T

Z

QB

3

2

  • “Vegas” Route Package
    • X and Z run 5 yard posts
    • Y runs 2 yard arrow
spring jan may cont
Spring: Jan – May (cont.)
  • Get to know Players (March-July)
    • Stay within the rules (i.e. draft, boundaries, etc.)
    • Attend baseball, basketball games, other football leagues
    • Do not over promise / over commit
      • All players will be evaluated fairly – no favorites
      • Everyone plays, but the best players play the most
    • Once parents begin coming to you…
      • “My son plays QB – I’ve watched you coach QBs and I want him to play on your team…”…
        • “That’s great – he will be given every chance to play QB, just like the other 2 QBs that played for us last year.”
summer planning

Summer Planning

This is the most active planning phase: May – Late July

summer may july
Summer: May - July
  • Plan/Hold Informal working sessions with previous & prospective players to go over offense and defensive concepts, formations, QB/WR/RB timing, etc.
  • Advise players of summer football camps that are offered in the area
    • Youth Speed camps / strength / conditioning offered by High Schools in the area
    • Premier Camp and Combine – weeks of 6/11 and 6/18 (M thru Thurs.)
    • Passing leagues
    • ASU/UA camp(s)
  • Be an ambassador of the GFA where appropriate
    • Talk to parents, potential players
    • Business cards? (see thefootballacademy-llc.com)
may july continued
May-July (continued)
  • Begin preparing introductory packet that will be sent to the team (once team is finalized)
  • Items to include
    • Tentative practice August practice schedule (including 2 scrimmages vs. quality opponents, once scheduled)
    • Tentative regular season practice schedule (M-W-F, or Tu-Th-F, or Tu-Th, etc.)
    • Fundraising commitments
      • Poker night, t-shirts, etc.
    • Team rules and expectation
    • Consequences if rules are broken
    • Playbooks (if appropriate)
dates to remember
Dates to Remember
  • 3/24/12: Future Pro Camp @ Mountain Pointe High School
  • 3/27/12: CHS night camps (every Tuesday thru May 1st)
  • 5/11/12: TFA Youth Camp – 6p-9:30p @ WFHS (TBD)
  • 6/5-6/8: ASU Youth camp
  • 6/11 – 6/21: TFA Premier™ Camp and Combine @ Gilbert High (TBD)
    • Mon thru Thurs over two weeks
    • Combine: speed, agility, player evaluations
  • 7/28/12: Saturday: Team Fundraiser: Poker Night @ HC house
  • 7/30/12 Monday: First Day of AYF Practice – helmets only
  • 8/2/12 Thursday: Thurs: shells
  • 8/6/12 Monday: full pads - no contact
  • 8/7/12 Tuesday full pads - live on dummies
  • 8/8/12 Wednesday full pads, full contact
may july cont
May – July (cont.)
  • Formalize month of August schedule – this is important – significant potential to get ahead of the curve if you plan ahead and plan smart
    • Think through Pre-season Practice Milestones
      • 1st Day of practice – have a very crisp practice plan for this day:  start slow, don’t try and install your entire offense on this day – go slow, explain your offensive and defensive philosophies, start with the basics, etc.
      • 1st Day of pads - Think through 1st day of pads – have a very crisp practice plan for this day:  start slow, work up to full speed contact – keep distances close
may july cont19
May – July (cont.)
  • Think Through Pre-season August milestones (cont.)
    • “Get tough” practice to determine what you have: 
      • Have a signature “get tough” drill
        • Oklahoma drills
        • 3 cone drill
        • Etc.
        • typically late in the 1st week of pads or early in the 2nd  - this may vary team to team – head coach should know team and know when to have this – keep it close
    • 1st Scrimmage
      • Plan on having at least 50% of your 1st game offense and 75% of your 1st game defense installed by the time you have your first scrimmage
    • 2nd Scrimmage
      • Usually the last week of August – Suggest scheduling on a Thursday before 1st game week, give the team Friday off. 
      • Plan to have the majority of your offense and defense installed at this point.

These are the forcing functions to get your team prepared

importance of down days
Importance of Down Days
  • Plan “down” days after the 2nd or 3rd week of full pads
    • Examples
      • schedule a walk through in shells
      • hold barbecue and/or hold dodge ball game in lieu of practice, etc.
      • even consider canceling practice if team needs a break
buy equipment early
Buy Equipment Early
  • Football Equipment hits stores in May/June
    • Wristbands for QB
    • Water bottles
    • Pads
    • Etc.
late july
Late July
  • Once assigned a team,
    • Send introductory email to team with packet info described previously
    • Ideal if you schedule informal ice breaker for team, (e.g. barbecue, dodge ball at Freestone Rec center, etc.) – work with Team Mom(s)
    • Decide on any apparel preferences so parents can buy before sold out
      • Seek Uniformity in Game and Practice Uniforms
        • Black socks, mid calf?
once players are assigned to you continued
Once players are assigned to you (continued)
  • Once players are assigned to you
    • Send letters addressed to players and parents
      • Set expectations
  • Encourage summer football camp/summer league/summer conditioning (attend if possible – take notes)
    • Passing leagues
      • Implement passing game
    • Encourage Development camps
    • Encourage College camps
      • ASU, UA, NAU
    • Encourage High School Camp attendance
  • Send out playbook? – send electronically to players if possible (once registered – see example next slide)
pro flank lake vegas25
PRO - FLANK – LAKE - VEGAS
  • Instruction: 3 step drop - QB reads SS - He can’t be two places at once
  • If SS goes with Y, hit Z
  • IF SS goes with Z, hit Y
  • Must be “bang-bang” – ball needs to be airborne in less than 3 sec.

Example

FS

CB

SS

B

M

LOS

X

Y

T

G

C

G

T

Z

QB

3

2

  • Vegas
    • X and Z run 5 yard posts
    • Y runs 2 yard arrow
once team has been selected cont
Once Team Has Been Selected (cont.)
  • Fundraising
    • Hold fundraising even once team has been selected but prior to first game
    • Everyone hates fundraising – try and have fun
      • Suggestions
        • Have it the Saturday night before practice begins
        • Parents only – no football talk
        • Poker night, etc.
          • Parents only
          • Great way to meet the parents in non-football environment
          • Food/drink/poker
        • Bowling
late july early august pre season practice
Late July, Early August Pre-Season Practice
  • Always Prepare and have well defined practice plans
    • Have a lesson plan for each and every practice
      • Prepare practice plans the weekend before
    • Plan down to the minute, but allow for flexibility
    • OK to deviate from practice plan, but have to have one to start
    • Early season practice will look different than late season / playoff practice – plan appropriately
    • Be organized – have a strategy for each opponent
first week of practice
First Week of Practice
  • Get to know / Assess the team (pre-season, if possible)
    • Be honest and impartial
    • Have a “tryout” day if required
    • Use measurables to help
      • 40 yd dash, pro agility, catching, throwing, “hitting", previous tackle history
      • Keep a record (for parents..)
role of hc
Role of HC
  • Lead Assistants by example
    • “Coach the coaches” – if warranted
  • Establish Offense and Defense (with staff input)
  • Be the interface to parents and league
  • Be a good steward with equipment
  • Spokesperson for fund raising
    • Set expectations early
  • Settle disputes
  • Lead by example – be selfless, own your mistakes, and move on
role of hc continued
Role of HC (continued)
  • Not a dictatorship, but HC has final say
  • Value everyone’s opinion, say “thanks” allot
  • Set good behavior examples (especially when things “go bad” in a game)
  • Solicit their staff input – let them do their job
  • Always set a good example
    • Don’t lose control – maintain composure, always
    • NO CURSING IN FRONT OF THE KIDS (tough to do)
avoid parent issues by setting expectations
Avoid Parent Issues by setting expectations
  • Set clear expectations from the start
    • Fund raising
    • Player evaluations
    • Playing Time
  • Be honest regarding their son’s
      • Talent
      • Work ethic
      • Attitude
      • ….All of which will give a good indication of playing time
  • Open Line of communication
    • If there is a problem, come talk to me – let’s work it out
hc s relationship with kids
HC’s relationship with kids
  • Plan, plan, plan – kids can recognize when you know what your are doing compared to “faking it”
  • Earn their trust, win their hearts
    • Keep it positive, upbeat, up tempo
    • Have well defined practice plans
      • No standing around in practice (2 drills vs. 1 drill once technique is established – max reps)
  • Coach by the Golden Rule
    • Be honest and fair, in all circumstances
  • Have patience, especially with low/medium talent kids
  • Do not favor, over coach, etc., your own kid(s)
  • Give written tests – “extend learning time” – see next slide
game week preparation
Game Week Preparation
  • Sunday
    • WATCH GAME FILM FROM SATURDAY IF YOU HAVE IT
      • EVALAUATE THE GOOD/BAD/UGLY
    • WATCH UPCOMING OPPONENTS FILM (IF YOU HAVE ACCESS)
    • IDENTIFY OPPONENTS DEFENSIVE FRONTS/SECONDARY
    • PUT TOGETHER YOUR GAME PLAN BASED ON IDENTIFIED OPPONENT WEAKNESSES AND YOUR TEAM’S STRENGTHS
      • Create NEW PLAY/GADGET, if desired
game week preparation36
Game Week Preparation
  • Offensive Practice Plan
    • PRE PRACTICE-SKILL (PASS GAME): 15 minutes
    • GROUP FUNDAMENTALS: 20 MINUTES
    • PASS GAME FUNDAMENTALS: 20 MINUTES
      • OL PASS PRO FRONTS
      • SKILL ROUTES 
    • IMPORTANT: SCRIPT PLAYS (WRIST BAND FOR QB)
    • 9 0N 9 INSIDE RUN VS ALL FRONTS (NO WR’S-CORNERS/CARDS): 10 MINUTES/12 PLAYS
    • 9 ON 9 OUTSIDE RUN VS ALL FRONTS (NO WR’S- CORNERS/CARDS): 10) MINUTES/12 PLAYS
    • 11 ON 11 PASS (BLITZ/CARDS): 15 MINUTES/ 12 PLAYS
  • See next slides for example level of detail
game week preparation40
Game Week Preparation
  • Friday Practice Plan Suggestions (if scheduled)
  • SCRIPT FIRST 10 PLAYS
    • FORMATIONS/RUN GAME/PASS GAME
    •  LET’S YOU SEE HOW DEFENSE ADJUST TO YOUR FORMATIONS WITH FRONTS & SECONDARY
    • After 10 plays, call plays based on what the defense is showing
    • Think at least 1 play ahead
      • QUICKLY THINK ABOUT:
        • DEFENSE, DOWN, DISTANCE, & FIELD POSITION
        • GET PLAY INTO QB QUICKLY
          • GIVE HIM ENOUGH TIME TO CALMLY CALL THE PLAY TWICE IN HUDDLE
        • THINK ABOUT THE NEXT PLAY
          • IF THIS PLAY IS SUCCESSFUL, WHAT SHOULD WE CALL NEXT
          • IF THIS PLAY IS UNSUCCESSFUL, WHAT SHOULD WE CALL NEXT
game days
Game Days
  • Have a game day schedule – minute by minute, just like in practice. 
  • You don’t want to be late or in a hurry before a game (warm-ups, offense, defense, specials, sub packages, etc.)
game week preparation43
Game Week Preparation
  • GAME DAY
    • COACHING RESPONSIBILITIES
    • ASSIGN POINT OF ATTACK RESPONSIBILITIES TO STAFF
      • IMPORTANT: CAN’T HAVE ALL EYES ON THE BALL!!!!
      • WR COACH-SECONDARY
      • RB COACH-DEPTH OF BACKS/BLOCKING ASSIGNMENT
      • OL COACH- DEFENSIVE FRONT/ BACKSIDE
      • OC-POINT OF ATTACK
    • NOTE: FIND THE FREE SAFETY
      • HE WILL TELL YOU WHERE TO ATTACK ACCORDING TO YOUR FORMATIONS
sub package strategies
Sub Package Strategies
  • You may not have the luxury to have all the best kids on the field at the same time
    • Red Squad: 6 - #1s, 5 -#2s
    • White Squad: 5 - #1s, 6 - #2s
  • Once everyone has their plays:
    • Gold Squad: 11 - #1s – best players on the field
    • See www.thefootballacademy-llc.com for sub package templates
play calling 101
PLAY CALLING 101
  • HAVE ONLY 1 PLAY CALLER!!!!
    • CAN’T HAVE TOO MANY CHEFS IN THE KITCHEN… IF OC IS NOT THE HC, REMEMBER, YOU WORK FOR HIM…
  • USE FORMATIONS THAT BALANCE YOU TO RUN BOTH TO AND AWAY FROM A TE
    • SLOTTER/ACE FORMATIONS: 4 PLAYS/8 FORMATIONS/MOTIONS (PITCH OUT OF FLKR & DLR)
  • ALWAYS ATTACK A 3 MAN SIDE… OPEN SIDE LEAD/POWER
    • YOU HAVE A NUMERICAL ADVANTAGE – 4 GUYS TO BLOCK 3
  • HAVE A PLAY PASS FOR EACH POWER RUN PLAY (ISO/POWER/LEAD)
    • EXAMPLE

SLOTTER F 24 LAKE Y CK ME

play calling 101 cont
PLAY CALLING 101 (cont.)
  • 5. EARLY PASSING GAME SUCCESS – OPENS UP RUNNING GAME
  • 6. CALL PLAYS THAT PUT YOUR TEAM IN POSITION TO WIN THE GAME
    • DP/SD/JEFF TEDFORD
  • 7. SCRIPT
  • 8. ID WHAT PLAYS GET YOUR OFFENSE OFF THE BALL WHEN HAVING A TOUGH TIME
    • EACH YEAR IS DIFFERENT
  • 9. KEEP CALLING WHAT THEY CAN’T DEFEND, IF YOU WANT TO WIN
    • “COULD BE A 3 PLAY GAME”
  • 10. PLAY PASS ON 1ST / 2ND DOWN
  • 11. HAVE A FORCEFULL O-LINE ON 1 SIDE / 2ND UNIT ON OTHER SIDE/TOP RB’S WITH BACKUPS
    • HAVE A “GO TO” SIDE OF THE LINE WHEN YOU NEED TO GET 3 YARDS
game week planning summary
GAME WEEK PLANNING SUMMARY
  • Game week planning: Have a plan for the week
    • Be organized: think through every day of the week
    • Prepare an offensive and defensive practice plan
      • Share with assistants at least 1 day before practice
      • Script out first 10 plays of the game, based on tendencies
    • Prepare for Game Day
      • Script out pre-game activities to the minute, just like practice – never be caught off guard – stay cool, calm on game day – do not “blow-up” on game day
  • Play calling
    • One play caller – play caller should have studied opponent’s defense
    • Prepare a QB wrist band and a coaches play sheet
    • Utilize a Balanced attack/formation
    • Practice the plays you will call in the game
    • Attack weakness
    • Know your “go to plays” – don’t be afraid to call them consecutively
post season cont
Post Season (cont.)
  • Eliminate plays that have not been successful, install plays that play to your strengths (not too many new plays)
  • Playoff logistics
    • If you get to travel
      • Enlist help of parents
      • May have to hold supplemental fundraiser(s) to cover costs of travel
  • Hold end of year team dinner/banquet after last game
    • Enlist help of parents
    • Charge a nominal fee to cover costs
    • Make it nice, with structure and organization – not just a “Chucky Cheese party”
      • Collared shirts, respect, well behaved
off season december february
Off Season (December-February)
  • Rest
  • Re-assess
    • What worked, what didn’t?
  • Talk to other coaches
  • Encourage participation in other sports
    • Jeff Tedford / Mike Belloti
    • Attend other sporting events (win their hearts)
dates to remember52
Dates to Remember
  • 3/24/12: Future Pro Camp @ Mountain Pointe High School
  • 3/27/12: CHS night camps (every Tuesday thru May 1st)
  • 5/11/12: TFA Youth Camp – 6p-9:30p @ WFHS (TBD)
  • 6/5-6/8: ASU Youth camp
  • 6/11 – 6/21: TFA Premier™ Camp and Combine @ Gilbert High (TBD)
    • Mon thru Thurs over two weeks
    • Combine: speed, agility, player evaluations
  • 7/30/12 Monday: First Day of AYF Practice – helmets only
  • 8/2/12 Thursday: Thurs: shells
  • 8/6/12 Monday: full pads - no contact
  • 8/7/12 Tuesday full pads - live on dummies
  • 8/8/12 Wednesday full pads, full contact
summary
Summary
  • Plan Ahead
    • Success is a cruel master
  • Think Through everything you will do
    • Does it prepare your team to do well?
      • If not, eliminate it
    • Practice like you want to play
      • E.G. During team phase, don’t walk to the huddle and tell the QB which play to call – stand away from huddle and give plays like you would in the game
    • If you don’t know, ask!
      • No one knows everything (Urban Meyer, Chip Kelly, etc.)
    • The best coaches are always learning and asking

Best Wishes for a Productive Season