Author Topic: special teams "to play or not to play"  (Read 2270 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

csxernie

  • Guest
special teams "to play or not to play"
« on: April 20, 2012, 12:10:43 AM »
first of all, i'm new here, so let me me say hello to all. I'm coaching in a junior football league in my area that consist of kids ranging from 2nd grade through 8th. our kids play just kids at their own school. we formed 3 leagues consisting k-1st grade are flag, 2nd- 5th is pee-wee and 6th-8th are little league. we do not play special teams but this year we want to start playing them in our little league program. I have been appointed to be on the  research commitee, so my question to all of you is 1} should we put them in and 2} should they make contact or just free kick. i know the majority of injuries occur during special team plays but i feel our kids need to know how to play these to prepare them for high school.  let me know what you all do.

Offline CoachDP

  • Kryptonite
  • Posts: 17052
  • Total likes: 3234
  • "Want to Get Better Players? Be A Better Coach."
    • Coach Dave Potter
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: GAM
  • Offense: Double Wing
  • Title: Assistant
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2012, 12:48:34 AM »
should we put them in

--Only if you're interested in coaching REAL football.  ::)

should they make contact

--Only if you're interested in coaching REAL football  ::)

 i know the majority of injuries occur during special team plays

--And you know this how?

but i feel our kids need to know how to play these to prepare them for high school.

--"Preparing them for high school" (sigh) has NOTHING to do with it.  But if you want kids to play the game as we know it, then include special teams play.  If you want them to participate in some sort of watered down, pansy-@$$ version of the game, then have "special rules."

--Dave
www.Compassion.com: Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus' Name

The Mission Statement:
"I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go." #BattleReady newhope

Offline Bob Goodman

  • Platinum
  • Posts: 9062
  • Total likes: 292
  • Coaching: 10 & Under
  • Defense: 5-3
  • Offense: Wing T
  • Title: Assistant
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2012, 12:50:56 AM »
first of all, i'm new here, so let me me say hello to all. I'm coaching in a junior football league in my area that consist of kids ranging from 2nd grade through 8th. our kids play just kids at their own school. we formed 3 leagues consisting k-1st grade are flag, 2nd- 5th is pee-wee and 6th-8th are little league. we do not play special teams but this year we want to start playing them in our little league program. I have been appointed to be on the  research commitee, so my question to all of you is 1} should we put them in and 2} should they make contact or just free kick. i know the majority of injuries occur during special team plays but i feel our kids need to know how to play these to prepare them for high school.  let me know what you all do.
6th grade I think should definitely have kick plays.  The only good reason not to IMO would be if your practice time was so limited that you barely had time to work on regular plays from scrimmage.  And I mean honestly that limited, not like you'd just like to have some of that time for non-kick plays.  I realize practice time is always limited to some degree, but unless it's truly severe, having to decide how to apportion your time between preparation for different phases of the game is all part of the game.  I don't think the disproportionate occurrence of injuries on kicking plays applies to children's football, where the distances the players run into each other won't likely be as great, and where you don't actually have special teams but use your regular offense or defense squads, who will be warmed up.

I don't care about preparing them for HS, live for now, I say, and kicking plays are fun, part of the game in general, and therefore should be taught, and preferably fully "live" rather than partially simulated.  If possible I'd do it at your pee-wee level as well and by your flag teams.  I'd even like to see kiddie leagues try Canadian or rugby style onside recovery so they don't let balls roll dead.

Offline jrk5150

  • Administrator
  • Platinum
  • Posts: 7530
  • Total likes: 772
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: 3-3 Stack
  • Offense: Double Wing
  • Title: Head Coach
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 08:59:45 AM »
Well, let's see.

Pop Warner is probably the biggest national "brand", and makes a big deal about their supposed commitment to safety.  Hence the moronic weight rules - even though the way they do it is probably LESS safe, it has the APPEARANCE of being safe to all the unwashed ignorance out there masquerading as parents.   :)

Anyway, my point is that they are very careful about image and the appearance of safety.  And they have live kickoffs starting at least at 7 years old, maybe younger, not sure what they do at the F level.  Their punts and PAT kicks are not live at 7-9 years old, but that's more about the snap/hold/kick than it is safety.  They're trying to develop the actual kicking piece of it, which is hard to do when you also have to snap, block and on PAT's hold, all very difficult skills at that age.  Starting with the next age group up (9-11, some heavy 8's), everything is full on live, regular rules.  That's basically 4th grade.

So one of the more image-conscious national orgs apparently does not feel that special teams presents any kind of safety issue, as they play under regular rules (except the weights) starting in 4th grade, and do live kickoffs younger than that.  And they are, IMO, a chickensh*t outfit, so I sure wouldn't want to pander any MORE than they do... 8)


Offline CoachBrian

  • Silver
  • Posts: 1016
  • Total likes: 42
  • Coaching: 13 & Under
  • Defense: Killer Bee
  • Offense: DC Wing T
  • Title: Head Coach
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2012, 10:14:54 AM »
Welcome to the site.  Yes, I think you should have special teams in your league.  I can see maybe doing a "free kick" if you will with punts at the lower age level, but otherwise I would go full on with them.  The key to limiting injuries and safety is having coaches that teach proper, safe technique.  We rarely see injuries on special teams in our league.

Offline Patriot

  • Bronze
  • Posts: 691
  • Total likes: 15
  • Coaching: 14 & Under
  • Defense: 4-4 Stack
  • Offense: Multiple
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2012, 10:20:55 AM »
I have rarely witnessed a special teams injury.

Offline Bob Goodman

  • Platinum
  • Posts: 9062
  • Total likes: 292
  • Coaching: 10 & Under
  • Defense: 5-3
  • Offense: Wing T
  • Title: Assistant
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2012, 02:13:40 PM »
Are there any organiz'ns where the issue with kick plays is actually concern over injury risk?  Maybe some claim that to be the case, but it's just a smokescreen for the real reasons:

1. Lack of practice time.
2. Lack of ability, leading to no desire to do it.

#2 is not an excuse for not having kickoffs (or free kicks following safeties), because every team will for sure have someone who can place kick a ball 10 yards forward.

Anyway, I was serious about what I wrote above regarding onside kicks from scrimmage.  Coaches would think about allowing even 1st graders in flag football to punt if they could turn it into an attacking play, rugby style.  The only problem then would be keeping it from becoming too much a part of the game with kids if ballcarriers could at any time whip the ball out and grub a little speculative punt or drop kick along the ground for onside teammates to chase.  So you'd probably want to limit kicks as per current USAn rules to originating only in or behind the neutral zone.

Offline CoachMarty

  • Copper
  • Posts: 24
  • Total likes: 0
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: 5-2
  • Offense: Double Wing
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 02:47:02 PM »
Special teams is a key element of the game, so make it a part of your league.  I would agree with the other posters here that there is no more of a chance to get hurt on special teams than any other play of the game.  Our league does "water down" the rules for punts up until 6th grade in that there is no movement at the snap until the punter kicks the ball off. 

Offline ZACH

  • Diamond
  • Posts: 10121
  • Total likes: 753
  • freedom of choice, not consequence - N. Saban
  • Coaching: 12 & Under
  • Defense: 10-1
  • Offense: One Back
  • Title: Head Coach
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2012, 05:31:30 PM »
Ours 7s are the only team with a no special team rule..punt is asked for and is automatic 40 yards, each team starts a half on their 40

Special teams is a big part of the game i promote it , it an element of the game that is crucial to success at any level
"When a coach said hes going back to fundamentals it usually follows...I just got my butt kicked" - random

"Some athletes have division dreams and jv work ethic" - random

Fulldraw

  • Guest
Re: special teams "to play or not to play"
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 08:57:18 PM »
I think its a great idea to start them going with special teams!