Coaching Youth Football reader success stories, Part 5
“I was asked this season by my son’s head coach (first year) to help coach, something I've never done. Though I was one of your described 'incompetent' coaches, I recognize my limitations and coach accordingly. Three years as a mediocre high-school player and watching NFL is my background. I bought your book to prepare, based only on its obvious title. I was expecting only a basic introduction with lots of drills and play diagrams, and had no idea how much wisdom was really in it.
“At first, the unspoken agreement was that my duties would be largely administrative. But whenever the opportunity arose, I would inject some Reed stuff, like insistence on low hitting and blowing the whistle on lousy tackles. We saw our tacklers improve and our line started beating some much larger lines. When next asked, I suggested walking through plays that were burning us, moving more players up on the defensive line (seven seemed like a lot), and using scrimmage plays to double as hitting and conditioning drills to conserve practice time. I wasn't single-handedly turning this team around or anything like that, but this head coach did begin to think I might know something, and was warm to 'my' ideas. I was reluctant to tell him about Reed, because I didn't think he or the experienced assistant coach would be too hot on coaching out of any book.
“After a couple more weeks of him seeming to like my input, I finally gave the head coach your book. He read the intro about the typical junior coach, then took your self-test, and you gained another fan. He implemented as much as was practicable immediately. Our expansion team, incidentally the lightest in our division, went 4-0 since then, and finished 5-3, which I'm told is unheard of for a new team in our league. These two coaches have a lot going for them, so of course it wasn't all Reed that did it, but you can't argue with the record. I couldn't get my book back until he ordered two more, which was fine with me.
“Other Reed techniques we started working on immediately were: more walk-throughs (real eye openers), less collision and more tackling drills, putting them on the dummy when they didn’t tackle right, 10 minute drill time limits, better use of precious practice time, reducing the number of offensive plays, use of no-huddle offense to help comply with minimum play, kicking tough-to-field kickoffs, gap-8 defense, recognition of the low percentage of pass plays, and weak player strategies (especially the weak wide receiver, who was covered by a decent player most of the time). All had varying degrees of effect, and some obviously take more time to learn than others, but no Reed method we tried was unsuccessful.
“Just wanted you to know your methods are effective and fun to use. Keep writing!” Doug Jones, Elko, Nevada
"I want to thank you for writing Coaching Youth Football. I have used it for all of the three years I have coached my son's Mitey-Mite defenses. Over 2 1/2 seasons we are 22-5-1. The book is a security blanket with tattered edges and dog-eared corners." Thanks again, Jeff Byrd
"I hit over two hundred web sites before I found yours. I bought seven books from Amazon.com (not including the ones I already had). Not a SINGLE book or website I went to had anything remotely useful to me. I read that worthless piece of trash ASEP named after your books, I read Tom Flores's book, I got college drill books, and I was LOST.
To be honest, I made up my mind when I ordered your books that if they were as little help as the other crap I'd shelled out my government-given paycheck for then I was going to write off getting books and just make up my own system. Fortunately your books saved me from that blaze of idiocy. I can see other youth coaches out there who weren't lucky enough to get your books giving up the same as I did.
Most of the books out there on coaching youth football are written with noble purpose and pathetic means. Tom Flores's book "Youth Football, Coaching and Playing" has no plays, no defenses, and little technique advice. Half the pictures of the kids show incorrect three point stances. That ASEP book can't make up it's mind between flag or tackle football.
The other direction is the books on college or high school level. Most of those are too complex even for me. I've got a book on my shelf that might as well be written in Yiddish for all the good it would do me as a youth coach, even if I understood it, because the stuff in it is just too complex for eleven years olds to digest, much less apply in a game.
Web sites almost never have really useful information I've noticed. Probably because few youth coaches want to put their plays and defenses on the web where the opposing coaches can get them. That's part of why I ran the "I": because I couldn't find a reliable play book for youth football and the only offense I thought was simple enough was the "I" formation. I didn't order your "CYFB" book at first because I thought it was that ASEP thing thanks to that incorrect Amazon.com review. (Speaking of which, did they ever fix that? I've been sending emails to their customer support center but I haven't heard back yet.)
It's no wonder that coaches don't trust authors... look at the trash that's out there. I've found ONE author I trust to give me accurate advice, and that's YOU. Thanks!" Derek Wade
"John, I would really like to thank you for your book "Coaching Youth Football". I have been using your ideas for about 4 years now and have had great results. I had previously used the single wing before I read your book and had good results with it, however your ideas enhanced it so much better. Every year I would skim through the book to get ready for the football season. Well last season I moved down to the Jr Mites (the brand new kids, none of them have ever played before, ages 7-8-9), and thought that I knew everything so I didn't read as well as I should have. After last Saturday we lost the game that the winner went on to the playoffs, we were tied 13-13 at half and ended up losing 38-13. Boy was I depressed at the let down by my defense. But after the game when I was watching the video I realized that the boys hadn't let down as much as the coach (that's me) had let them down by not demanding the right technique, I had taught them, however did not do enough REPS for them to learn. I sat down and read your book again and have also ordered your book on defense and realize that you never know enough to stop learning. As I read and realized the details that didn't teach I knew where the problem was. (Isn't reality tough to swallow sometimes.) Thanks for the great book, Rich Adam.
"I am one of your described 'incompetent' coaches. However, I know it, and have nothing to prove. Three years as a mediocre high school player twenty years ago and watching NFL is my background. My son's head coach wanted some help, and I volunteered to fill in the gaps and help with administration while I learn the game from this very experienced player but first year coach. We're in a small league and it is very difficult to get parents to commit to any help at all. I bought your book to prepare. I had no idea how much wisdom was in it. Our head coach is convinced you can't get football from a book. Near the end of the second week, I suggested he work on form tackling drills, and I started blowing the whistle on lousy tackles. Our tacklers improved. Then I said we aren't getting low enough and need to stress bear crawls and low attack. He saw our lines improve and take on some much heavier lines. Recently I asked our head coach walk through defenses for plays we've been getting burned on and reinforce assignments. We need another game to see if we have results, but he loved the idea, and is convinced I have coached before and thinks I know what I'm doing. I guess as long as I know my limitations, it's OK to fool him. If and when he is convinced my "ideas" are helping, I'll give him the book.
Just wanted to let you know your book is effective and FUN to use." Name withheld until after season
"By the way, of the six head coaches in the Kodiak Football League, two of us are using the 10-1 straight from your book, one Junior Division and my team. The other coach is running your single wing (He was smart enough to order BOTH your books before the season began!) We're the only two undefeated teams in the League. Frankly, I think the league SHOULD use your methods, Coach. They work. Just a comparison that you might want to put on your web site:
There are six teams in our league, three in the junior division (9-10 year olds) and three in the senior division (11-12 year
One team in each division uses your methods straight from your books. My team, the Kodiak Lions Club Lions, and the
Both teams using your methods are undefeated.
Both teams using your methods have not allowed a touchdown in their last two games (and the Bears have only allowed three all season.)
Both teams have been penalized fewer times than any other team in their division.
Both teams have made at least one score in their last three games on defense.
Both teams have not allowed a complete pass in their last two games.
Both teams have allowed a total of five first downs in the last games played. (The Bears allowed three, we only allowed the Chiefs to get two yesterday.)"
[Here is a subsequent email from Wade]
"Well, we won our fifth straight game tonight, 20-0. This makes the third consecutive game that our defense has shut out our opponents, which was darn lucky, because we fumbled on first or second down on every one of our first five possessions. The Eagles have obviously been working on stripping the ball, which they did VERY well. They also put four guys shoulder to shoulder in front of my center and nailed him right at the snap on every play. It took a while for the adjustments to take hold and we were then able to get outside on some sweeps that scored in the third and fourth quarter. On the plus side, I made some subbing changes just to give some of the kids a chance, and one of our third string players at halfback took a sweep 60 yards for our second touchdown. We also had some great tackling turned in by one of our players that at the start of the season couldn't tackle his way out of a damp kleenex. Coach, you would have screamed your throat out to see this little guy run a picture perfect DE route and just absolutely smash the running back on a sweep. I don't think I could have performed that play any better. It looked like it was choreographed.
"I need to give you another thank you. After the game we had a pizza party at the local Pizza Hut. I was late because I was talking with the league coordinator about a schedule change. When I walked in my team gave me a standing ovation. It actually brought tears to my eyes to realize how much faith these kids have in me as a coach. Most of that I owe to you. Between your books and this patient dialogue we've had I have learned more about football in the last month and a half than I learned in five seasons on the field. Twenty four of the best kids in the world have had the chance to learn what playing as a team and winning as a team feels like thanks to the help you have given me. Thank you." Derek Wade
"We had our jamboree on Saturday. I thought I would tell you that we did fairly well, scored 4 touchdowns. We didn't score any touchdowns last year. But the main thing is the ball control, we gained good yardage on nearly every play while eating up the clock. If it were a real game and not a 15 minute offense and defense scrimmage, we probably would have had the ball the whole quarter. We ran only four plays the whole day, off-tackle, sweep and crack back sweep, dive, reverse and half-back run/pass option. We ran all plays out of right formation however, we will run out of right and left formation during real games, and we will have an inside trap as well as Dr. Keuffel’s half-back pass and a few more plays that attack the weak side. My hardest hitter on the team, we used him on the crack-back sweep to crack back on the defensive end. He yelled "hey," then the D.E. turned his body and [our crack-back blocker] just rocked his world and it was completely legal. The other coaches were even patting him on the dome and congratulating [him] on what a terrific hit, but they were so geared up about the hit that they forgot that the play went for 10 yards. I didn't run it again all day. Thanks for the books. The head coach wanted your number so he could buy your book. I gladly gave him your number. His wife is going to buy one of your books for his birthday that is coming up soon." Allen Shriver, Modesto, CA.
“We kicked off our season with a hard fought 12-6 victory over a tough team. My tailback scored both TDs one on a two yd off tackle (single wing power right of course) after a 75-yd drive, and on a 94-yd end sweep for the game winner. He ran for nearly 200 yds. My fullback ran for around 50 yds as well. I have also instituted the spinning fullback and it is working very nicely. I wanted to thank you again for your books. GO SINGLE WING!!!!!! Thanks again!!” Greg Laboissonniere, Coventry Rams, Coventry, RI
“By the time I read your book last year, it was too late to implement the single wing offense. So,... I put it in this year. This season we had 12 practices before our first scrimmage and 15 days before our first game. It surprised me how quickly our 8 to 10 year old players picked up the offense. To date, we have had two scrimmages and one game. In those contests our offense has racked up 872 yards of total offense! Our defense has held the three opponents to a combined -49 yards of offense. By the way, our first team defense has yet to step on the field. The concepts in your book have definitely worked for us.”
Yours, Chris Thesing
"My squad is probably similar to your 97 squad in that I do not have any blazing speed at running back. I have better than average speed but, have very quick lineman who can pull and trap effectively. I look forward to using the off-tackle trap along with a blast or seam. The sweep may work also depending on how quick our opposition is.
Thanks again for your wonderful books and spending some time to help a youth coach. Your books are by far the best thing out there for volunteer youth coaches such as myself and I am grateful that you have taken the time to thoroughly document you experiences." John Bova, Dallas, TX
"I just wanted to let you know how much I have used your Coaching Youth Football Books. The insight you provide has been a great reference tool and a confidence builder. I am currently the Director Of Coaches for a Youth Football League in Lake Dallas, Texas. I have recommended your book to all of my coaches and the feedback I have received from them has been very positive.The thing I like most about your book is you discuss your actual use of the ideas you describe. Most books I have read looks good on paper but is not very practical or has not been tested on the field. Keep those books coming!! Thanks and God Bless" Phil Byers
"Mr.Reed I just wanted to thank you four your books about coaching football. Your books have been a major influence on coaching style. My team has exploded on the scene with the single wing offense, most teams are still trying to figure out what we did to them last year, wait til this year....Thanks" Coach Luke J. Hardiman , Warwick PAL Patriots Midgets 11-15 year olds
"Let me begin by thanking you, once again, for your advice." Edward J. Crossley, Oldham, England(Called from England to tell me his team did great using my single wing.) I asked how old his players were. He said, "My youngest is 19 and my oldest is 53." Apparently, they are in a British semi-pro league.
"Great book!" Don Stuck, Fort Rucker, AL
"I was mad that I did not find this book sooner. Your no-huddle offense...is working very well. The kids picked up on things very easily and enjoy the different way to run an offense." Lee Liddick, Duncannon, PA
Second message from Lee Liddick: "Second year running [your] offense and it is still going strong. Our pony squad is now using it." Lee Liddick, Duncannon, PA
"Most of your offensive strategies/philosophies are ringing true for us. We're averaging 34 pts/game, almost 500 yards total offense per game and between 50-60 offensive plays per game. Recently we beat the Steelers 59-20, scoring the most offensive points in the history of the league. We recovered 4 of 7 onside kickoffs. On offense, we're basically unstoppable. I can tell you that I know had I not found your book, I might have done OK, but certainly would not have done as well as we have without it. Keep writing about football. My son can't wait to graduate from college and begin coaching at the high school level so he can try it there." David Garic, Radcliff, KY
"I am using your offense now. My coaching staff is now convinced. We won our only pre-season game 45-0 and are 2-0 in the regular season. In the pre-season game, we recovered five fumbles, returned an interception for a TD, and held the opponent's offense to negative yardage. We didn't even allow a first down. Our last game was played against coaches who were former NFL players. We won 18-12. I did not coach these 10-year olds until this year and previously they had never won a game for two seasons. The 10-1 works." Tom Overton, St. Louis
"This book by far has made this game/sport very easy to understand. Keep up the great job and hope you plan on writing another one. I could use a double dose." Claude Chiasson, Waltham, MA
"I have been involved in football at all levels from youth to jr. high, service ball for over twenty-five years. I must have a library with 100 books, tapes, etc. The most cherished one is Coaching Youth Football by Jack Reed. I have read it several times and get something new from it each time." Dick Bosco, Barstow (CA) Youth Football
"Please send me two copies of the second edition of Coaching Youth Football Defense. I really used and enjoyed your other books!Tim Mitchell, Denver, CO
"I have enjoyed your two books immensely. I have been coaching youth football with the same team, boys 11 + 12, for thirty-five years. I learned a lot from you on your approach to coaching." Kent Buyea, Cheektown, MI
"I found your book, Coaching Youth Football, very informative. Please, keep up the good work in youth football and your good writing." Roger Mathis, Garland, TX
"I would like to thank you for your time and effort in this book. your book helped to bring to the front of my mind many ideas and concepts that I had at one time held important. We often get tunnel vision and lose track of good ideas. You also had some good ideas that were new to me that are of interest, such as the 10-1 defense." Gordon Knopp
" I coached the Jr. Midgets Pop Warner Football Team in Hopewell Junction, PA to a 10-1 season. Your books Coaching Youth Football Defense and Coaching Youth Football were just great. It opened my eyes to a lot of information and know-how of coaching Pop Warner. You are right on the money when it comes to coaching at this level." Al Polidore, Wappingers Falls, PA
"I read your books Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. Both books were extremely valuable. You have managed to cut through many of the myths, half-truths, and misconceptions held by parents, spectators, and (unfortunately) many coaches at the youth level." Victor J. Bierman, Jr., South Bend, IN
"I am a fifth-year football official. Your book, which is well organized and very readable is tremendously helpful, even though it is geared for coaches." Holly Newman, North Bay Officials Association, CA
"Thank you for writing Coaching Youth Football, the overview on page one paragraph one was a true wake-up call. Your book gives an excellent breakdown in all phases of the game." Lawrence Warner, Riverside, CA
"Love your book. Every coach should buy it. It's the basic common sense of the game." Ron Gasper, Metairie, LA
"I have been asked to help coach the junior varsity team of our youth football program. Thu first thing I did was go to the book store. I am glad to say that your book was the one I decided to buy. It was filled with lots of great information on coaching at this level! I urged the other four coaches to read it also and they loved it too. Thank you for putting out such a good book." Marty Malone, Lisbon, OH Little Indians
"I have read both Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. I enjoyed both. You have compiled some wonderful info. I have been coaching youth football for the last 5 years, starting in Colorado Springs, CO and now in Warner Robins, GA. I mainly coach 8 to 10 year olds now but I started with 11 to 13 year olds. I really like your 8-2-1 and 10-1 defenses. Last year I coached the Bandit Mighty mites, we went 8-2 and made it to the championship game where we lost 8-6. I used the Wing-T offense with a 6-2 defense. My 6-2 was actually more like your 8-2-1. The year before (1995) I noticed that the best teams in our league were using a 6-2 with the cornerbacks on the line of scrimmage out wide to stop sweeps. This seemed to be working for them and I tied it. As you can see by our record it worked effectively. This was the best season I ever had coaching. Thanks for all the information in your books. I plan to use as much of it as I can during the upcoming season. Thanks again, and I look forward to your next book." Michael Harvey, Warner Robins, GA
"Coaching Youth Football is excellent. It's excellent for giving insights to coaching YOUTH football players." Bob Brown, President, Eagles Athletic Club, Detroit, MI
"I write to you because I have used your books with great results in coaching the flag football team to 18 consecutive wins, sending them up to the tackle program that just won our area's Superbowl for the first time in over 15 years. The 8-2-1 makes sense at my level, as there is very little successful passing at this age." Ed Blackford, Adams, CO
"I have 2 of your books, Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. The two best books I have. I have been coaching for about the same time as you, and I am currently with Jr. High aged boys." Bud Meech, Aurora, CO
"Very informative" John O'Neal, President/GM, Cincinnati Junior Football Association Panthers
"First let me say I really enjoyed your books on youth football. I am an assistant coach for the Detroit Eagles PAL football team. I showed your book to my head coach, Robert Brown; he enjoyed it so much he told me that he telephoned you about it. I myself would love to meet you to further discuss your opinions on linemen play. I am the Bass Guitar player for the singing group The Spinners. We'll be performing in the Bay Area on July 16, at the Vallejo County Fair. I would like to have you come as my guest. Thanks for your help." Darrell Smith, Detroit, MI
"I've been meaning for 6 months to write and tell you how much I enjoyed and how much I learned from reading your books on youth football. Last fall I decided to form a team of 8th graders who attended (mostly parochial) local schools which did not offer jr. high football. (Our city youth program is only for 10-12 year olds) I read numerous books but I found yours to be uniquely frank, insightful and 'right on' about the utmost importance of stressing simplicity, repetition of important things and eliminationof so many ridiculous practices that our high school coaches in the '60s put us through as a macho rite of passage. I totally agreed with your 'contrarian' philosophy (we printed tee shirts with 'Dare to be Different' on the back) and it served us well. We went 4-2 against opposing 8th grade teams despite having inferior talent (we only had seven eighth graders sign up, so I was forced to recruit nine seventh graders and three sixth graders who were little brothers. Only four players had experience in the youth league program out of our 18 players) largely, I believe because of our unconventional single-wing offense and 10-1 'stop the run at all costs' defense-both inspired by your book. We had seven total plays, but 80% of our yardage came from the off tackle, sweep, and wedge plays. Going with a no-huddle offense surprised a number of teams, especially during the first few plays of the game. We did tire at times with our minimal depth by the end of the game. The silent cadence and direct snap to the tailback eliminated almost completely the two greatest 'drive stoppers' in youth football, false starts and fumbled handoffs. We only had one offensive offside penalty all year and only three fumbles (all after a hit). The biggest thing I liked about the single wing was that anybody could take a snap and run off tackle. We let twelve of the eighteen guys on the team carry the ball last year and our stud tackle scored the winning touchdown and extra point in our last game of the season when our tailbacks were banged up, on his only two carries of the year! Special teams got duly emphasized, as you preached, and with good results. We returned a kickoff for a touchdown, blocked a punt for another, and gave up no returns for touchdowns by opponents all year. We quick kicked 50% of the time on third and long, and often made 30-40 yard net gains. All in all, I had a very pleasant experience and I owe a lot of it to you and your books. Thanks again and keep writing." Bill Fitzgerald, M.D., Beloit, WI
"Everywhere I turn on the Internet people are pointing me towards your books." Eric Derry, Beavercreek, OH
"After about four or five youth coaches on the Internet recommended your books to me, I wrote down your Web address and visited your site. Please send your two youth football books." Jimmy Daniel, Montgomery, AL
"Outstanding book. Very well written. Great book." Bob Collins, Atlanta, GA
"I think I have all of your football books. They are good and the stuff I tried works good. I have a 7th grade team here in Aurora, CO and so far this season so good 3-0! I love the way you have written your football books." Bud Meech, Aurora, CO
"The best stuff I've found on youth football." Jimmy Daniel, Montgomery, AL
"I wanted to write and compliment you on your two books Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. Your practical approach covers the essentials for success at the youth level and I believe also has a great deal of applicability to the high school level. They certainly helped my 're-entry' into the coaching ranks. I was co-captain of the '78 Navy team that beat BYU in the inaugural Holiday Bowl and defeated Army 28-0 enroute to a 9-3 record. As an Ensign I stayed on [at Annapolis] as a graduate assistant coach. Keep up the good work." Nick Mygas, Virginia Beach, VA [Note: John T. Reed graduated from West Point (Army).]
"I am a jr. high coach. I purchased your two football books about a month ago and they are great. Your books are of great help and they should be must reading for any new youth coach. " Garth Benham, Spokane, WA
"I just had to write to tell you how much your book helped me in the last two years. Last year, I was asked to coach my son's 7th & 8th grade football team. This was the first time I had a chance to coach a team or be involved with a football program since my playing days in the early 80's. By chance I picked your book up at the bookstore and started reading it. I used your book to develop a game plan for the team. Last year  we won our division and finished 4th in the state. This year I'm proud to say that we went undefeated and won the Alaska state title. I utilized the warp speed no huddle offense. I did send in a new receiver each play, although we ran the ball 95% of the time, it did allow us to pass when we needed it. This year we did make a new wrinkle to the offense, by bringing in the wr and placing him by the other two backfield blockers we were able to open up some huge holes. Also, our reverse worked great scoring 80% of the time from anywhere on the field, after it we set it up by pounding the opposite side. We also added a center screen pass, which also worked great. Your 10-1 defense has worked so well, it is unbelievable!!! Over the course of the last two years we have had a total of 8 shutouts with 5 coming this year. I did learn a valuable lesson in our second game last year. The safety or the person in the back position needs to be the fastest, biggest, and definitely the best tackler on the team. I had figured that by having a fast player who could tackle would be the best person for that spot. Boy was I wrong. The boy I had back was just too small to handle a big back who broke through the line. I made a change to the player on the team who had all the attributes, and we were able to shut down the rest of our opponents in our division. We were beaten in the state tournament, basically because we were a very small team and was dependent on speed. The night before the game it snowed 8 inches and they only plowed the center of the field. We lost 20-8. This year, we were able to put everything that I learned from your book to great use and the season was a complete success. The funniest thing about this entire letter is that when I told people what Offense and Defense I was going to use, they laughed at me, including my own players. Now everyone thinks I'm a genius and I owe it all to you. Thanks for everything. I'm sorry this letter was so long but with your help I was able to make a huge impact on 24 of the greatest kids I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Thanks again!! Sincerely, Dan Blair, AK
"I purchased both your books on Coaching Youth Football early this year and implemented many of your ideas in coaching a Heart of America Pop Warner Mitey-Mite team (7 to 9, 45 to 80 pounds) this fall. This is my first season as head coach. Seventeen of my 25 players were rookies. All of my assistant coaches were rookies. I showed them your books and loaned my defensive coordinator my defense book.
"We used the 10-1 defense and the single wing offense you recommend and used 6 of your 7 plays (I took out the hook pass). We didn't use a white board to send in plays; instead we used large magnetic numbers on a metal shelf which we held up for the players to see. Otherwise, I ran the offense just like you suggest.
"We went 7-2 and missed the playoff round by 1/2 game. The two losses were our second and third games and we lost to teams we would have been able to beat had we played them later in the season. Our seventh and eighth games were against previously undefeated teams and we beat them both. Our offense scored 22 touchdowns and our defense only allowed 9 for the season. If it weren't for your book, this season probably would have been as disastrous as last year.
"By the way, my oldest son played on the Jr. Bantam team and his coach also read your books. They went 6-2, were in the playoffs and just barely missed going to the championship game." Doug McKinzie, Park Hill Mitey-Mite Panthers, Kansas City, MO
"Just finished reading your book, Coaching Youth Football, 2nd edition, and really enjoyed it. My son's team won their league championship---defeating a team that followed your book almost to the T. I believe our kids were lucky, but I think that next year we should try to put in some of your ideas.
"I liked your advice to run the ball---we passed a lot but were on that day. We made a lot of special teams errors and let the other team score 14 points. Also I liked your kickoff strategy...The team we beat kept our star returner from breaking one by doing just that." Robert L. Brookey, Tulsa, OK
"I have been a Pop Warner coach for the last 8 years. This year my Jr. Midget team from Independence, MO advanced all the way to the Nationals in Florida. We only had 16 registered players...I think your book Coaching Youth Football is a really good source of information." John F. Hix, Independence, MO
"Denmark calling. Thanks for your great books. They have been an unbelievable help in my coaching. There isn't a matter or issue that you have not covered. My name is Michael Christensen and I'm coaching adults in a club called Horsens Stallions in Jutland in Denmark. I'm Danish with an American wife. I'm looking forward to reading your latest book about clock management. I have been coaching 8 years in all. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge." Michael Christensen, Denmark
"Stop selling your books in the state of New Jersey! Your philosophy for the 8-2-1 and the 10-1 defenses make so much sense that my opponents will surely use it if they get their hands on it. Up to now I have been relying on the fact that these coaches would not be caught dead buying a book on youth defenses since most of them feel they could write them.
"I am the president of our local Pop Warner team, but more importantly an assistant coach with the midget level in my third year. Being new to coaching I consider myself lucky in purchasing your Coaching Youth Football Defense as my first tutorial. Wow! What an enlightenment, at least for me. Not so the rest of my coaches who say the 8-2-1 will not work. This includes my head coach who refused to let me use the 'eight' until the fifth game of our season. This is when we were 1-3 with less than moderate success with a 5-4 defense. And even then he very reluctantly capitulated because he was probably well sick of me shoving your book in his face. Nonetheless, he gave me a whole 60 minutes to show our boys the scheme in preparation for a very unpredictable team with great speed. Well, guess what! We beat them in the last 50 seconds of play. This was to me and anybody else I spoke to that witnessed this game, one of the greatest youth games I have seen in my ten-year involvement.
"We proceeded to stop their bread-and-butter sweep and held up the middle charge to near zero. Their only offensive touchdown came from a Hail Mary pass (an obvious pass interference no call.) Our new defensive philosophy for the rest of the season was the 8-2-1. By the way, we finished 6-4 but not because of the defense.
"Anyhow, thanks for a great couple of books and giving me a great insight to youth football." Michael Byers, Brick, NJ
"My name is Ciro Minopoli and I am the head coach of the 92-pound Waldorf Wildcats (Waldorf, MD) I have been coaching for 3 years. We are 36-0 and have won three straight county championships. I run a single wing, power I, full split T offense.
"I have read many football books. However, your book is great!!! It's the first book I can relate with. We agree on so many things. My wife thinks that your book must be comical because I often laugh while reading it. I have asked my defensive coach to consider your gap-8 defense.
"Our special teams were weak last year and I plan to use your book to help us get better at that. Thanks for writing a book we youth coaches can relate to." Ciro Minipoli, West Bethesda, MD
"I just got both your books on coaching youth football. Although I'm not a youth football coach my son plans to play it this year. I do coach, but at the high school level. I really enjoyed your books and found myself agreeing with many of the things you said in both. I believe that too many coaches today pattern their plan of operation from the pros or big-time college." Rick Whobrey
"I am a pee wee coach for a Pop Warner team in Wolfboro, NH. I have only been a head coach for 1 year and will be starting my second year this August.
I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed your books on coaching youth football and coaching youth defense...the reason I am writing to you is to just let you know how much the other coaches in our league and myself enjoyed your books!!!! Dale Rehm, Wolfboro, NH
"About a year ago I found your Coaching Youth Football book at Media-Play and I have been a fan of your work since that day. I coached for a long time at Judge Memorial Catholic High School before I move on to diocesan work" Daniel John, Salt Lake City, UT
Wow, what an eye-opening experience. After an 0-8 season, we used the contrarian approach to completely change our team, and it worked! Your ideas and examples help make a slower, smaller team competitive. The single wing offense confuses opponents and gives us the advantage. We turned our team around to a 3-4-1 season, and gave the league champions their only defeat of the season! I can't wait for Volume Three!!! David Birdsong, Suffolk, VA
"I purchased your book, Coaching Youth Football (2nd edition). I would like to compliment you on an outstanding job. This book is definitely what I needed. I like your advice on keeping things simple and dealing with parents." Michael Spicer, Hanford Youth Football League
"I recently finished your book Coaching Youth Football. It was excellent. Your book should be mandatory reading for all youth football coaches. I read Coaching Youth Football Defense about six months ago and am convinced that your defensive philosophies are correct. My team will run the 8-2-1- almost exclusively this season. Thanks again for two wonderful books." Jeramie Gibson, Nitro, WV Minicats
"Thanks for your advice to be patient on my center single-wing snap. I certainly would have panicked if not for you and a couple of other coaches. Shortly after I e-mailed you, my centers started to get consistent! We had our Jamboree this Saturday and we had 1 bad snap out of 50! I appreciate your books and the promptness with which you have answered every question I have asked." Jim
"On August 1, I started my first year as head coach of the Coventry Rams Pop Warner JPW team. I ran the defense last year. I happened to find your book ( COACHING YOUTH FOOTBALL) at the bookstore and I am very impressed with many of your ideas and insights. I was really intrigued by the sound of a 10 - 1 defense, however at this time I prefer the 8-2-1. I used the 5-4 and 8-2 last year . I had 30 kids last year..., so the weight fell on my shoulders to get all the rookies and minimum play players into the game on defense. The defense I used to get "27" different players their playing time was the 8-2. I accomplished this by using my 3 best players at LB and Safety on each of three squads (blue, gold, white) and the most obedient kids at end . So on three squads I was able to get 24 different kids into the game. After the 2nd game of the season all my kids had they're minimum plays by halftime for the rest of the season. I just lined em up and said make a tackle. The only time we gave up a long run was the first game of the season ( gave up three around end) this was the only game we got blown out of all year, we also lost 3 onside kicks that day. After reading your book I realized that they were using your system!! Talk about an eye opener. We ended with a 4-4-1 record with virtually no offense. This year I am running the single wing exclusively. In practice it's looking good but only game time will tell, I 'm confident it will work. I have 31 kids this year. I feel I'll be able to run 2 offenses capably and I know the 8-2-1 is going to work even with my rookies on the line ( I've got em on all fours, My big guys fill the holes, My little guys get through the holes and make tackles). The most valuable tool in your book , to me, is the practice schedules and the oomph of reps. In 3 weeks this team is nearly as disciplined as the team I went to the 1996 Super Bowl with as an assistant coach. ( My son's pee wee team). I have to say that a good coaching staff has helped me to implement many of your principles. Thanks for a FORMAT THAT WORKS!!!" Greg Laboissonniere, Head Coach, Coventry Rams JPW, Coventry, RI
"Your book Coaching Youth Football is excellent, I read a lot of books but none explained clearly, concise, and in detail as yours. Thanks again I sent a fax order this morning for your other coaching football books. Thanks again," Tony Carchietta, NJ
“I just picked up your book last week...Needless to say I love your approach and have ordered 2 more copies for my assistants.
[subsequent email] I've written you before with rave reviews of your book and how effective your defense and offense have been for our teams...We have used the system for 3 years and are undefeated twice at the 4 and 5th grade levels and once with the 6th grade level. This year's 6th grade team (my co-head coach's brother's team) is currently 3-0. We have used the 10-1 defense and the single wing, no huddle, warp speed offense. Only with a few variations. Again, thanks for such a wonderful publication.” Rocky Goodwin, Shreveport, LA
"Thanks a lot for the Football Coaching Lessons Learned. Your approach to football is unique and so simplistic and realistic."Daniel W. Freeman, Charlotte, NC
"I was the assistant coach of my son's team this last season. This was my first year and I enjoyed it very much. I have read both of your books (offense and defense) and you have given me some great ideas and things I want to try with our team." Chris Pond
"I tried the 7-diamond defense this week on an opponent who runs the T-formation all day. We held them to negative 64 yards, no first downs, had 4 sacks, and 2 fumble recoveries. The defense is so strong that the pressure just kills our opponent. At the same time, it lets our guys go wild and just fire out. We have wanted aggressive players and now we are getting them! My kids are loving it. They have renamed it the 'Diamond Cutter' after a wrestling move on TV! The linebackers actually enjoy playing down in the 4-point stance better than playing off the line." Ric Lancaster, Bammel Middle School, Houston, TX
"Thanks for the book. I have implemented the offense with a few twist of my own and have out scored my opponents 90-14 in four games and we are getting stronger every week. To our advantage we have no players going both ways and just run the other team down. We are in first place in the east Texas jr. football Pop Warner league." Steve Hedricks offensive coordinator TYLER PANTHERS Pee Wee Division
"I must write and tell you how much I enjoyed your books. I have always intended to coach youth football at some point, and this year a friend asked me to help him coach a 5th and 6th grade team. I was so excited I charged off to the bookstore, where I came across your volumes. As you have heard many times, they are dead on the mark excellent coaching books--instantly, recognizably superior to the herd of other coaching books.
I have always thought that youth teams should run a no-huddle offense, use a gap-8 defense, and constantly kick-off onside. Your experience doing this proved that my theories work, and I was fascinated to read of the real life consequences, discoveries, and coaching tips you related in the book. I learned so much. In many, many areas of coaching your thinking had gone much deeper and been much clearer than my thinking. I especially liked your ideas on how many reps are needed for various skills, and how some skills deserved "once a season" repetitions (stealing the ball from the ball carrier, etc).
I have been careful to be very positive about the systems my head coaching friend uses for our team, but it has been amusing to see our coaching staff make the typical youth coaching mistakes you pointed out in your book. It has been like watching a car wreck in slow motion as we coaches have sabotaged our team's chances at every turn. I am a professional salesperson, but my best attempts at selling your theories have fallen short time and time again.
Finally 2 weeks ago, our head coach was gone for a Thursday practice and a Saturday game. I was promoted from position coach to offensive coordinator for the practice and the game. I immediately purchased a Magna Doodle, shaved our mammoth offense down to 5 running plays and 1 passing play, and spent the practice and the pregame warmup practicing the no huddle offense (w/my rookies alternating at flanker).
We won the game 13-0 against a team that would otherwise have beaten us soundly. It was our second win in 4 tries, and by far our best performance. In one practice and one pregame warmup we went from a clueless, fumbling, offsidesing, illegal proceduring, delay of gaming mess to a relatively coordinated offense. We wore the opposition down and scored both TD's in the 2nd half on simple running plays. Our defense was helped tremendously b/c we were able to get our rookies playing time on offense.
My friend came back to town this week, listened to the other assistants rave about your no huddle offense, and went right back to his mammoth offense. We lost this Saturday's game 20-0, stopping ourselves on every offensive possession, and playing our rookies on defense where they missed crucial tackles.
I can't wait to coach next year! I will insist on being an offensive or defensive coordinator! You have a like-minded football disciple here in Texas! Thanks again for your excellent, excellent book."
This guy said I could give his name but I am withholding it for his own protection.
"Great book for a youth coach. Youth football is not the NFL. Makes the game fun when boy can succeed." Charles Marcucci, Barlow Juniors, Boring, OR
"I coach youth football in St.Louis and have read your coaching football and defense books and found them to be extremely informative and helpful. I'm writing to you for advice on stopping the single-wing. I figured that since you knew how to run the offense so well, you also knew where it was vulnerable. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to convince the head coach to use your ideas on offense or defense. However, another coach in our league does use your systems. In fact, he's quoted on your book. The first time we played them, their offense ate up our defense. They didn't beat us with the big play, they just kept running the ball for 5,6,7 yards a pop. Late in the game, when we were up by 3, we couldn't stop them. They kept running the ball and ended up winning by 9 points.
"Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and for all your help in becoming a better coach." Rex Anderson
"I just finished reading your books. They should be the 'Bible' for all youth coaches." Chuck Klausing, College Hall of Fame Coach, Indiana, PA
"Jack Reed put into words a number of concepts that I had only considered in the abstract. The result for our team was a more potent offense, a stronger defense and more wins! I would recommend Coaching Youth Football to anyone involved in coaching at this level." Chris Thesing
"We had a team of 9 and 10 year olds, 25 of em. We used the warp speed, no huddle offense all season and the 8-2-1 defense. We finished the season at 5-0-1 and won the championship, no playoffs, we just had the best record......Our only tie was against a team that had 2 outstanding running backs that copied our single wing most of the season after we beat them in the jamboree......The real game (the tie) was a very cold and rainy day that was miserable to play in....some boys opted out when given a choice to go in on substitution.....It was that miserable. We sent the game into overtime where both teams scored a td and 1 pat.....(college football system)...We only get one series though in our league......The game ended 20-20 and we took the championship by virtue of the best record.....Your system was great.....We tinkered with defense a lot and did better with the 8-2-1 with our talent.....The 10-1 seemed to limit our cornerbacks for some reason. They never seemed to be sure about containment on run plays and when to cover passes....Don't know why, but dropping them back seemed to help.......We went 3 games in row with no points scored on this defense and ended up with a composite score of 140-28 for the season......pretty good! The offense was beautiful and I have already tinkered with some new variations on it for next year...Such as a new code for play calling....multiple formations and better utilization of talent.....Can't wait.....the biggest improvement over last year was the lack of fumbles with the direct snap and minimal handoffs......The only thing we never seemed to get proficient at was the kickoffs...We had one returned on us for a td and rarely had any spectacular returns ourselves....We tried some of your ideas and just didn't seem to ever get in a groove with anything....I'm sure it was a lack of oomph....Never had the confidence to try your ultimate kickoff return with the little huddle and handoff.......Anyway, it was a great year and I enjoyed it very much.....Sometimes, going undefeated can work against you.....Kids really get cocky and overconfident....Humble pie can be a benefit. I wouldn't trade the feeling of being champs for anything and want to thank you for your books. They were really a major part of our success..... Rocky Goodwin, Shreveport, LA
"I just finished reading your book Coaching Youth Football and I was amazed at how little that I really knew about football. I will probably adopt as many elements of your coaching as possible. I really like your no-huddle & play-signaling techniques. Your book has been the best I have found to date. Your book has become my must read for follow coaches. I am planning on installing a Warp Speed no huddle Option I and I love the thought of 'Endless Streaks.' I was laughing so hard when I read that it hurt. It was also the first time I had heard of such a move and I will definitely use it. Thank you again on releasing such a great football book.Coach Eddie Van Weele.
"I am writing to let you know of the wonderful success I had utilizing the gap-8 this year. I am from Louisville, KY. I am a 41-year-old dentist who played high school and college football. My son plays on a optimist team ages 10-11 year old. There are 10 teams in our league. We are the 10-11 yr old Highview Mustangs. This is the first year I had been head defensive coach. I had read your book last year Feb 1998 just to see if it had any useful information. By June 98 I had decided to use the Gap-8 for my sole defense. I was not greeted with much optimism by our head coach. No one had ever heard of it. We used it in college for a goal line defense. I was determined to use it when we started in August. To make a long story short, we went 12-2, won the Jefferson County Optimist Championship and came within one game of playing for our state championship. Not bad when you consider the majority of our team were 10 -year olds. They will all come back this year and play as 11-year olds. The results were staggering to say the least. We had a powerful offense that produced over 30 pts/game and a gap-8 defense that gave up 5.58 pts/game. Never before in this league had anyone seen the gap-8. By the time we made it to the playoffs, other teams were trying to emulate the gap-8 without much success. Coaches would come up to me after the games and ask what we were doing and where I learned this defense. I felt like a real defensive master! I did however share bits and pieces with some of my close friends who coach. I have read the letters on your web page and wanted to let you know of our success with the gap-8. I will be refining some things for this season, but most of the hard work is complete since our boys learned it last year. I would like to ask if you know of any books in circulation that give more info and options on the gap-8 and 10-1 defenses. I can't find the book by Drew Tallman. Please let me know where I can find any additional info on these defenses. Your book is a tremendous asset. It is simple, direct and a pleasure to read. I guess you could say we are another success story. People in youth football in Louisville, KY now know the Highview Mustangs are for real! I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks so much for the gap-8. It truly does work." Sincerely, David C. Jones DMD
Hello, my name is Grady Holdridge and I am a youth football coach residing in Reno, NV. I am 35 years old and have been involved with organized football for approximately 24 years. I have been coaching youth football for the last 5 years, after coaching stints in both High School and the Junior College level. I came across your website and found it to be quite interesting. I moved to Reno 2 years ago. I have 2 young boys and signed them up for Pop Warner and helped coach my first year as an assistant coach. We went 1-8 that year and it was miserable. The next year I took over as Head Coach. My Defensive coordinator gave me John Reed's book 2 weeks before the season started. I was going to use the typical pro offense until I started reading John's book. I could hardly put the book down until I read the whole thing and once it was complete I adopted John's philosophies for both Offense and Defense. We went 7-3 that year and lost 2 of the games with :08 seconds left and the other with under 1:30 when time ran out with us in possession and the ball on the opponents 30 yard line. Other teams had more talent and we still either beat them or made a heck of a game of it. This year we're moving up a division and I'm totally excited about the materials I was able to come across by coach Hugh Wyatt and the coaching clinic he'll be doing in San Jose later this month. I had major success last year after learning of the basic concept of the Single-Wing and drawing up my own plays with its formation. What can happen if I were to be able to have a genuine play book formulated around this offense? Please feel free to contact
me at 888-465-4227 7:30-4:30 p.s.t. or 775-786-5631 evenings. My e-mail address is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. This Offense has captured my imagination and I look forward to having other coaches around the league hear of and want to check out the Offense the "Reno
Chiefs " will be running in 1999. It was a very enjoyable experience. I almost feel as if we didn't even scratch the surface of both the Offense and Defense's true potential. If all goes well this year, I'll probably be committed to the philosophy for many years to come. Thankful in Reno, Grady Holdridge