Teaching kids about the positions on a football team is one of the first jobs a youth football coach will face. For kids, learning about each position, the skills required to play it and how it relates to the team as a whole provides a base for developing an appreciation of teamwork and the sport itself. It can be challenging but rewarding to teach even kids who are absolute beginners about football positions.
- Skill level:
Explain verbally to the kids on your team what each position is and what basic skills are required to play each position. The end of an early workout session is a good time to do this. Start with the basics, explaining the difference between offence and defence. Verbally go through the name of each major position and what it means.
Demonstrate the fundamentals of snapping the football, playing out of the shotgun formation, handing off, laterals and throwing and catching passes when you are focusing on the offensive positions. Explain how the quarterback communicates with the other offensive players, including the linemen, in designing and running plays.
Explain that the primary job of the defensive positions, particularly on the youth football level, is to stop the inside run. Do not worry about stopping the big play, or outside plays such as the sweep, until the kids have mastered the fundamentals of defence. Stress how the various defensive positions work together so the kids learn about teamwork.
Run scrimmages at full speed to mimic the action of an actual game. This will help the players understand the roles of all of the positions and how they work together during a game. Halt the action of the scrimmage as necessary to make points with the kids about the jobs of various positions on the field. Do not neglect special teams positions such as kicker, punter and kick returner.
Rotate your players through multiple positions on both offence and defence, allowing them to experience the feeling of lining up and playing nearly every position on the field. This will enhance their appreciation of the position they end up playing primarily. It will also increase their respect and understanding of their teammates playing other positions.
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