Coaching Youth Football reader success stories Part 4
I own your book coaching youth football and it is by far the best I have read, their is not a close second. Your book is really the only source I use for my team. Last year I took over an A team that had lost all games and only scored one touchdown the previous year and the 5th graders coming up from the B team didn't score at all. I implemented as much of your defense as I could ( our rules only allow us to have 6 on the line of scrimmage) and we went 7-0 only giving up 4 tds all year and three of those were broken plays with my subs in the game. Our offense ave. 23 points a game running basically running 5 plays all year out of a split back and double wing formation. Our defense was so could and the kids so smart we actually for fun ran a spread offense, lonesome polecat, and shotgun just for fun. By the way are biggest kid was our running back at 110lbs. We had by far the smallest team in the league with about a average of 80lbs for 5th & 6th graders. Sorry for the long winded letter, but your teaching in your book was mainly responsible for the teams turnaround. What a defense!! keep it simple,” Craig Bridges
John, loved your book on youth football, defense and clock management. I have read all three. Best info on the market! I thought I would let you know I had been using many of your ideas before I read the book and was validated. Have also implemented more from all your books. We took a Midget team that had never won a game in the associations four year history and went to the playoffs in one of the nations toughest Pop Warner Associations, Greater Jax (we are a wealthy, almost all white suburb playing only inner city schools with far more speed than we have)
My main purpose for writing was to let you know we are running the Houston Veer offense with one slight variation, we run it from a twins or slot formation so teams will get out of their standard defense of an eight man front and go to a seven man front. We had a practice game and could not be stopped by a team with superior talent. First real game is this Saturday. I will let you know how the offense works. We spend most of practice doing hundreds of reps on the dive mesh and the pitch, but mainly the mesh. We are pre-reading the dive handoff and optioning the end. Within the next few weeks we should be able to read the tackle.
Thanks for your books, they are filled with useful information and I refer back to them often. I was a high school coach for ten years in the mid seventies to early eighties and we ran the veer with great success. The key: lots of reps and lots of walk throughs on blocking assignments. You could not be more right when you said, it is more important to know who to block than how to block. The veer blocking is very simple but still needs constant
walk throughs and reps.
“My 3rd Grade team had their first game this weekend. The GAM defense held our opponent to 21 plays for a net minus 32 total yards. I assigned the players just as you explained in the book. Also, my MB is just as you described -- he made the most tackles, flies to the ball, and loves to hit. He doesn't have the best tackling form but he always brings the ball carrier down. FYI - We are running the double wing offense and had a total of 334 yds on 30 attempts. 27-0
I am sure they will not all be that easy but I just want to thank you again for all of the good information.” Regards, Greg Cazzell
I recently purchased your Coaching Youth Football 3rd Edition. I am an assistant coach to a local youth football organization. My responsibility is the defense (Defensive Coordinator). I wanted to let you know that we tried you GAM defense and as you predicted, I caught a lot of flack over it from the other coaches. They kept saying "what if they run up the middle, or pass behind the middle linebacker !!!!!" and I will admit that I was a little skeptical myself. Our first scrimmages put a silence on that. We first tried my conventional 5-3 defense that we ran in the past with no result. They ran and passed at will. Then when we switched to the GAM, it was like someone turned on a lightswitch. It completely shut down both offenses.” James Felker
“I got your Coaching Youth Football book. Last Monday, we started installing your Gap-Air-Mirror defense. By Thursday, our offense was asking us to please stop running that defense against them. They were losing about three yards every snap.” Mark Paule, Spring Valley, CA
I coach P.A.L. football with Tom Goyings in Fort Wayne, Indiana. First of all, I would like to say that your book has turned are team around. I am sure that Tom has told you the success that we have achieved since implementing your offensive and defensive schemes. I really appreciate all that you have done for us and youth football.” Thank you, Sean W. Motter
“I wanted to let you know about some things that happened this last weekend. I think you'll be excited about this. As you know, when I came from Alaska and was stationed in Petaluma, I ended up a short distance away from Tomales High, which runs the Double Wing offense I had decided to use (on your recommendation).
Well, along with becoming the defensive backs and running backs coach, I was given the task of "Tackling
Coach," because I had a clear-cut system. Gee, I wonder where I got that, huh?
Anyway, the meat of this story is that this last weekend we held a three day contact camp at our school. We had six high schools from all over Northern California there, and not one of the schools was in our division. (We are a SMAAAAAALL school.) I think we aquitted ourselves admirably.
Here's the best part. The format for the camp was a two hour practice followed by two 1/2 hour scrimmages. Then lunch, then another two hour practice and a final set of scrimmages. We did this for three days.
Friday was the first day I installed my tackling drills, which could have been xeroxed from your book. We used the landing pads, emphasized lift, and went at 1/2 speed. In our scrimmages Friday we missed a couple tackles, and I went ballistic each time, making the high-volume point that missed tackles are NOT allowed on this defense. I cut off the responses from the players by using another of your lines, "Sir, no excuse, sir."
Saturday, there was a marked improvement. We used the tackling system (I call it "Ten Minutes of Happy Time With Coach Wade".) for both practices, and our final scrimmages of the day we missed three tackles, total.
Sunday we scrimmaged all six of the teams in 45 minute blocks. We beat each of them at least once over the three days, but Sunday we REALLY laid on the hammer. We missed ONE tackle all day. ONE! Even better was the third string free safety, who was starting because of our lack of personnel (besides, he needed the reps). He was the kid that missed the first tackle, but he made up for it in our final game, when Santa Rosa completed a slant pass over the middle.
Coach, he laid that kid OUT! It was just like the form tackle you described in CYFB 3ed. I was forty yards away on top of the press box filming and I heard the POP! (actually more of a KAPOW!!!) when his shoulder pad hit the receiver's thigh. He wrapped, picked the guy up, and slammed him about eight feet backwards. That tackle fired up the defense so much that we didn't let them cross the line of scrimmage for the rest of the period.
My head coach went ballistic. Apparently he's been trying to get this kid to tackle correctly for three years, and I did it in three days with your system. I had coaches from three different high schools come up and ask us how we got our kids to make such improvement in our tackling so fast.
All I can say is, if we got this good in three days, what are we going to be like after the season starts?
You know, high school coaches could learn a lot from reading your books a couple of times. My head coach
has already asked to borrow my copy.
“Thank you for such a wonderful bible about football. My youth team (5th grade) last year really played above what anyone expected. We did'nt have a complicated offense, we just tried to run you down and wear you out. This year, after a few changes to the team that were unexpected, Great book, and I recommend it to every coach I know.
Thanks Brad Heath-Jenks Trojans 6th Grade
“After being an assistant coach for 7 years, I finally got my own team. The first two years we had a combined record of 3 wins and 13 losses. I read your books and with very little support from my assistants and a lot of skepticism, I put it (single wing) and 10-1 defense to work. Went 5-3 first year. Second year 8-1 and won the Police Athletic League (PAL Bowl) in Fort Wayne, IN. The following year we went 9-0 and won it all again. Everybody is a believer now. Thanks!! P.S. You sure made me look good!.” Sincerely, Tom Goyings.
“I bought your book a few years back and i would like to thank you for your informative articles. as a 21 year old rookie head coach, i was unsure about how everything was going to work out. i coached a pee-wee team and we ended up 10-2, with a conference championship. we used your suggested single-wing offense in the second half of our championship game. we had been prcaticing it all year as a "suprise" offense. we overcame a two touchdown deficet to win by 7. i would just like to thank you for your book. it is really helpful. thank you.” james tai, tampa, fl
“Hi John, Dave Marcotte here, I am from, and coach youth football in Seabrook NH. I am also president of our league. I won the election by a landslide,,,,,,,,, because nobody wanted to do it.
Also, this book [Coaching Youth Football] is the best book I have in my football coaching library. I wish I found it 4 seasons ago when I first started as offensive line coach. I also think your GAM defensive book is the most complete and instructional book I have ever read including books on other subjects not pertaining to football. Thanks again and feel free to use any of my comments, they are quite sincere.”
Dave Marcotte, Head coach, Seabrook Rams (3rd- 6th grade football)
“For the past month I've been preparing for our Fall 2001 Season. Every year I review just about everything you've published to refresh my memory and recharge the batteries. I just read your article on Rookie Coaches and could not agree with you more.
Last year we observed the most atrocious coaching I've seen in a long time, particularly our last regular season game. Keep in mind both teams had equal amount of time to prepare for the season and equal amount of game experience prior to our game. We scored 26 points in the first quarter. It took them four attempts to run their first play from scrimmage. One delay of game penalty, two illegal motion penalties. This continued throughout the entire game. The coaches were screaming at the players just as you described. We allowed no first downs. They had one positive gain on offense. Our parents were visibly upset with the opposing coaches and threatened us if we ever treated our kids the way our opponents treated their kids.
My rookie season was not as a coach but as a parent watching other coaches attempting to simulate football. I was disgusted with what I saw and decided it was time to get involved in coaching. I bought your books and studies them closely for a year before my rookie coaching debut. Result was a 10-1 season. Lost in the League semi-final. Second year we won the League championship.
This is my third year coaching and I see no reason to change my pre-season ritual. It always starts with knowledge form John Reed, and I thank you.” Brant Ruder
I am a youth football coach in Walpole, MA. Last year was my first year for the 8-9-10 year olds. Although I played high school and college football, I had been out of the game for 20 years.
I read your Coaching Youth Football (1st edition--a fellow coach, John Reidy from Walpole let me read his copy) and your Coaching Youth Defense books. Both books were outstanding. I was particularly impressed with the offensive scheme. I adopted the single wing and had terrific success (went 7-1, only loss was to Boston 25-19, they ran back a kickoff with under 2 minutes to play). By the way, Boston had lost only one game in seven years at
the E-level Pop Warner (8-9-10 year olds). Before the season, one of my coaches from the previous regime (previously a head coach) called me crazy and resigned because of the offensive scheme. Well, we showed them..... Our goal was to score 3 TD's per game since we did not want to embarrass anyone. We averaged 20 points per game. Up until the Boston game, we only had one TD scored against us.
Gary W. Whittemore
11 Tanglewood Road
East Walpole, MA 02032
781-828-5400 x225 (Work Phone)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Work E-Mail)
“Mr. Reed, I love your books. I have almost all of them. Its the absolute best resource for new and expienced coaches.
Jess Wilhite, Arizona
“Coaching Youth Football 3nd Edition, is the most informative football book I have ever read. (I have many books on the subject.)” Dave Marcotte, Seabrook, NH Rams (4th - 6th grade)
“Just got your book and it is great. Have had 6 losses in last 4 years and 5 of those were on one team with 22 of 34 players being absolute rookies. Your special teams should help me out a lot because this has been my weakest area and I like some of your practice ideas. It is nice to know I do some things right. Thanks again. Donald P. Cantwell, Sales Director, 248-685-0050
“I have purchased your book on youth football and it has done very well for our team. 1999 Record, 1-8;
2000 Record, 10-2 (with your book and double wing) ” Rick Regalado, Santa Monica Pop Warner second-year assistant coach [Note from John T. Reed: The double wing is one of the few offenses I recommend in Coaching Youth Football.]
“My name is Mike Nelson and I have just finished reading your book Coaching Youth Football 3rd edition. It was an easy read and very thorough. Much of it is very logical and common sense. Thank you for writing a book geared to youth football. I am still analyzing the GAM defense and the single wing offense with no cadence and no huddle. I tried to use a similar defense modified from a 5-3, but did not use the Air approach to the defensive ends. Still, we were successful after its implementation. But your GAM appears to be the finished product of what I have been trying to devise. I will be getting your GAM book soon to learn as much as possible as soon as possible so I can effectively coach it this coming season.” Thank You, Mike Nelson
“I’ve been through the GAM book a couple of times now, and it would be hard for this book to be any better. Its a bit redundant to state, but I am a huge fan of your books, and this book also is excellent.
My favorite sentence in this book is: ‘Bury football's sadistic conditioning rituals.’ After 4 years of highly organized youth and school football in early 1970’s Texas, I quit football in 9th grade. Those useless grass drills, performed in 90 degree heat, were part of the reason. I didn’t mind the running. I continued to play high school basketball, which had far more running. But I was a kid, and large parts of football practices were simply not any fun. Your comments about this were right on.
My brother and I love the shrunken field situations drill from your ‘Youth Baseball Coaching’ book.
I'm going to try the same thing at the very end of next year's football practices- esp. for special teams. We will take helmets and shoulder pads off, keep hands in pants (no talking or touching with hands), squeeze formations as tight as possible, use no ball, and fit and freeze everything with substitutions.
I really think this will have value for all 3 phases. I also think 4 reps a minute is possible.
Good luck, and don't run out of power,” Greg Cotharn, Ft. Worth, TX
“I have been coaching Youth Football for 9 seasons. My teams have had some success (we were league champs in 1996), but over the last couple of years, our win total had diminished. I had a feeling that some of the problem was the fact that we were using the same offense for a couple of years (Wishbone) and everyone had game tape on us (We are not allowed to scout, but are allowed to tape our own games). I have been an assistant coach for all of my 9 seasons and have had trouble trying to convince others, that changing our stale offense was a good idea. This past season, I moved up an age group (10 and 11 year olds). The head coach on that team was a defensive coach. He said that I could do whatever I wanted on offense. I had been reading your books since 1997, but was never given the green light before, to implement any of your ideas. I decided to use the Wing-T this past season. I also decided to use the all game no huddle that you talked about in the 1st version of your Coaching Youth Football book (That took some selling).
In our first game, while running our no huddle, we actually got called for 2 delay of game penalties. The kids were wandering around and not looking for the board (I used the Magna Doodle, which you discussed in your Clock Management book). We ended up winning the 1st game 12-0 despite our poor no huddle performance.
By the second week, we looked like a completely different football team. The no huddle was clicking and we rolled up 22 first half points. We ended up playing subs for the entire second half.
Our third game, started much like the second. We rolled up 2 quick touchdowns and went on to win the game 20 -0. Several weeks later we ran into the coaches from the opposing team. They said that we had them reeling the entire first half using the no huddle style. He also informed me, that our team had run 73 offensive plays that game.
At seasons end, we had outscored our opponents 172-30 and came in second in our league at 6-1-1. We had 20 kids on our roster, many of whom played both ways. Fatigue was never a problem.
I wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge about the youth game with others. Your material has helped me to become a better coach. You have also inspired me to read something other than Sports Illustrated.
I have always liked the idea of using the GAM defense (10-1 from your old book). In 1997, I actually got the head coach to try it for the last 3 weeks of the season, since we were getting smoked every week anyway. It definitely stopped the bleeding. I was not able to convince him to use it the next season. I suspect, if we had used it from day one in 1997, we would have had a much better season.” - Jim Lochner
“I have read your coaching youth defense. I have used your coaching ideas in both football and baseball, and have good success.”Russ Bill, Pitman, NJ
Review by Scholastic Coach® editor Herman Masin
“Reed is a West Point graduate, a Harvard MBA, owns one wife and three teenage sons, milks the mind of every sport technician he meets, is a youth-sport authority of staggering proportions, and is massively bright, intriguing, and controversial. All of which are strikingly exemplified in his latest writings: Gap-Air-Mirror Defense for Youth Football, Coaching Youth Football 3rd edition, and Youth Baseball Coaching (Can be controversial, but is always intriguing).” Herman Masin, Editor, Scholastic Coach® and Athletic Director magazine, 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, 212-343-6372
“YOUR BOOKS ARE THE BEST, MY TEAMS HAVE HAVE WON 2 CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE LAST 3 YEARS WITH THE 10-1.”
THANKS COACH KAREY
“I wrote to you at the start of the season, letting you know that I used your books last year (1999) as a guide. I was Head Defensive Coach and the team went 8-3. This year I became Head Coach and again used your books and philosophies as a guide - especially defensively. I happy to report that the team went 10-0 and won the County Championship! We only give up 24 points all year (and 6 of those were on a kick return). We ran a 10-1 or 8-3 80% of the time. All year, we could hear teams that were scouting us saying it would be easy to run on us and even easier to pass. I had a good group of kids who believed in our defense. We drilled our linemen to cover their gaps first, then find the ball. Our linebackers aggressively attacked the offensive ends, keeping them on the line and stopping the off-tackle plays. Our ends stayed home. Our cornerbacks would string the wide plays out (on the few occasions the play got outside our ends) to the sidelines. Our 'safety' played parallel the whole season, anywhere from 5 -10 yards off the ball. We posted 7 shutouts. The kids took pride in the defense. Offensively, we scored 250 points. I had an Offensive Head Coach who did a great job, but he'll stay down next year, whereas I'll move up to the next weight class. I look forward to putting a lot of your offense philosophies in place next year when I take a stab at running an offense (now that the defense is in place!). Once again - a big thank you. Your philosophies just make sense to me coaching at this level. An 18-3 record the past two years provide the proof!” Skip Brown
“My name is Steve Cozad and I am the head football coach at Lyons-Decatur Northeast High School in Lyons, NE. We are a small 11-man [team] school in our state with an enrollment of 108 students. We incorporate many of your ideas as well as Don Markham and Hugh Wyatt’s on offense and in regard to how we organize practice. The result the in our two years here is a 9-8 record (6-3) in 2000. The school was 15-65 the previous 10 years before we got here and on an 11-game slide. We have kept everything very simple for our kids and fortunately we have 32 young men who care very deeply about each other and play way over their heads. I just finished visiting with John Aldrich in Cedar Falls and have ordered his materials. This summer we had Don Markham in town for a camp with our kids and several other schools who use the double wing. I believe too many coaches, especially at our level (high school) try to make this sport too difficult and what you are doing is phenomenal. Anyway, feel free to contact me any time at (402) 687-2864 (Home) or (402) 687-2363 or (402) 687-2349 (School). Keep up the great work.”
“I thought I would save this email until we were finished with our season. I am the Southern Marin Pop Warner Head Coach at the Pee Wee level. We, my assistant coaches and myself, purchased your book quite by accident in June of this year.
My previous experience as a Head Coach started 2 years earlier at the Junior Pee Wee level, where we went 2-6. It was a tough year I was a new coach and we had all new kids. Our second year we were on the build and ended 4-4. The tragedy was a great group of kids and inadequate coaching. We knew we needed a better mouse trap and went shopping the next year, before moving up with our kids.
I think as a whole your book was excellent. We built our practices around your structure and tended to quote it periodically as "the book of John" during practice.
Our first game was a little disappointing. We were smoked by Vacaville 26-0. They are hands down the best team at our level and should continue to Florida to the championship. Unfortunately, our best player failed to certify (older/lighter), he was one lb too heavy. This put my both my offense and defense in chaos. Another coaching error, I was not on top off the situation.
We regrouped, made some defensive changes and gave up only 6 points over the next 6 games. Our modified 8-3 gave up only one TD and scored several times during that stretch. We coached, drilled, scouted and used only one defense through out the year.
We finished our year 6-2, losing our final game to Vallejo on a last minute interception ran back for a TD. We had lost 2 key players to injury and our defense allowed one TD plus the interception.
Looking back, the single most important bit of information, that we all knew intellectually but never put into practice, was SCOUTING. We filmed every team and drilled on their offensive and defensive tendencies. We could no sooner imagine heading into a game blind, than going to work in your underwear. We surprised and appalled at the number of teams that never scouted us. Alhough, the time and energy it took was amazing.
I remember watching our current JPW team go through the same growing pains with a first year coach and no returning players. During a game one of my kids made the following comment, "Boy those Scouts really suck..." To which I replied, "Hey, that was our team 2 years ago, we had a lot of first year players." He turned and stopped me in my tracks with, "And you guys had absolutely no idea how to coach" All this time I thought the kids really didn't know the difference.
This year everyone noticed, the kids, the parents, our Southern Marin teams and more importantly the opposing teams. Thank you for contributing to a great season.
Southern Marin "Braves" PW
“I just wanted to tell you that my junior peewee team begins the playoffs tomorrow. We finished the season at 8 - 0 -1. The Single Wing has been awsome. Power, Spinner, Buck series and a few surprises always keep the defense guessing. Two weeks ago we came from behind to defeat a team that was undefeated and unscored upon with two 4th quarter TD's 12 - 8. I’m sure we will face them again in the playoffs. This was their first defeat in our conference since the championship game in 1996. As you can tell I am extremely proud of my kids.
I have two offensive units that have done very well especially with the WEDGE play. I hope to write back with more good news. Thanks again,
An update since the last note. We won the State Championship on Sunday against the team I wrote you about. The score was 25 - 16.” Greg Laboissonniere
“I am interested in ordering the following books, "Coaching Youth Football, 3rd ed.," and "Football Clock Management." I already have "Coaching Youth Football, 2nd ed." but your updates look well worth the purchase of the new edition. I also have your book, "Coaching Youth Football Defense, 2nd ed." I coach in Pop Warner at the Mighty Mite division (7, 8, and 9-year-olds).
Your books have been a huge help. I read them in anticipation of my first year as a Head Coach in little league football and have since compiled a 15-3 record, including an undefeated 8-0 season this year. Y'know, you are legendary amongst the youth league coaches on the net. I think your books are so helpful because it not a dry X and O treatise. You tell it like how it is in the real world. I also feel like I'm "hearing" you talk, and not like I'm reading a book. Anyway, the books have been a huge help. Thanks so much! Sincerely,” Dave Potter, Head Coach, Durham Fighting Eagles, 2000 CFF Mighty Mite Football Champions
“I bought your book "Coaching Youth Football" second edition last year (1999) and "Coaching Youth Football Defense" second edition this year (2000). Both are excellent books. They make sense. I plan to buy the third edition CYF and the new G-A-M Defense books very soon.
“Last year (1999) the head coach for our Mighty Mite team (7-8-9 year olds) would not let us use the gap-air-mirror defense. He thought it was too vulnerable against the pass and break away runs up the middle, plus I think it was to unconventional for him. But, I was able to at least talk him into using the single wing offense for some of our plays. This worked especially well because most of the time our center was getting clobbered by a nose guard. Although, most of our success was due to the fact that our Q-back was very fast running the sweep, and for the most part, playing "tag" to score touchdowns. Our final record was 5-4-0. Not bad for a bunch of kids who never played tackle football before and a bunch of coaches who never coached little kids football before.
“This year however, I am the Head coach for the Mighty Mites. A year wiser and able to implement your strategies. We only run the G-A-M defense. Works like a champ. We have had 3 shut outs so far this season and when we played a strong offensive team, the most points scored was 26. We played 3 teams that have been averaging 35-48 points a game. Of those games, we went 1-2. The scores being a 14-0 win, 12-26 loss, and 6-20 loss. After the games were over, the opposing coaches were in amazement and didn't have a clue what we were running defensively. In fact, one of the opposing coaches told me that he couldn't sleep for 2 nights in a row just thinking about it. This guy thought we were doing something illegal because sometimes there were 10 guys on the LOS. When my assistants wanted to change up the defense, say to a 4-4-3 or a 7 diamond, I would not let them. I said, "don't fix what ain't broke." Of course, after hearing what the opposing coaches were saying, I only had to say this once. As for being weak against the pass, the results are mostly in. We have had ~15 passes thrown against us this year. 3 passes were complete for a average gain of about 4-5 yards, 3 passes were intercepted by us, 4 passes were incomplete, and the rest have been QB sacks. The kids love it when the opposing teams try to pass. They just eat them up. We also coached the kids and practiced on how and when to pick up a fumble and when to fall on it. In doing that, we scored a touchdown when my kid picked up a fumble and ran it 45 yards for a TD (Head Coach was very pleased). Last year he would have just fallen on it. We also scored a safety this year for a total of 8 defensive points. Last year we didn't score defensively. Additionally, we held two teams to no first downs for the entire game. Next year, I plan to get someone to keep better statistics.
“Our record so far this year is 5-2-1 with one game left. I predict a victory. We don’t preach winning to the kids at this level because Mighty Mites is more of a training division and there are no playoffs, but the coaches and parents sure like it (winning). Thanks for writing and publishing these books. I recommend them to coaches that need some direction. I know I did. I played JH, HS, and College football and thought I knew a lot and I do, but I knew nothing about coaching little kids football.
“P.S. Just one more thing I learned about little kids football without reading it in your book (found it in the book after the fact) and its kind of funny but needs immediate correction. A lot of times the offensive linemen make initial contact with their man, then turn around and want to watch the play. Most of the time the guy that they made initial contact with, makes the tackle in the backfield. I have told the kids that if they would sustain their blocks instead of turning around and watching, they can watch the RB run for a touchdown instead of watching them get tackled in the backfield. They like that idea and it seems to work most of the time now.
[Subsequent email] “I also want to update you on the last game of the season. As I predicted, we won. 17-0. Our defense scored a touchdown by interception and we also scored another safety. That makes 16 points scored defensively this year. After talking to the head coach of the opposing team after the game, he informed us that their “star” running back almost gained 1000 yards this season. I think the coach thought he would get it against us. Well, we shut him down and the one and only first down they got the whole game was due to us jumping offside on a 4th and 4. In fact, the “star” was the kid that got caught in the end zone for the safety.
“Anyway, we had a successful season at 6-2-1.” Dave Cox
“I have coached Pop Warner Pee Wee's for 5 years. When I first started I was, like all coaches, lost. I searched everywhere for info about coaching. I finally found your book on some web site and promptly ordered it. It was great, but still not satisfied I called you and spoke to you about ‘coaching youth football.’ We had a great conversation. We spoke about your son, my Navy career and, of course, football. You were very generous with your time and helpful concerning my new football team.
Anyway, my New Canaan, CT Bulldogs finished 6-1 this year and our first play-off game is this Saturday against the Danbury Trojan's who have, in the past, made it to Florida. Honestly, I am not using the single wing, but more a knock-off of Coach Freeb's offense. http://jvm.com/coachfree/ However, my defensive coach does use your gap-8 and we have been VERY successful with it. We stop the run and absolutely love it when they throw! More importantly I learned the lesson that it’s not how you block but knowing who to block that really counts. We spend a lot of time on the ‘freeze’ in practice and make sure everyone knows who to get. Thanks.” Donald S. Worthley
“I am writing you to thank you for writing your Coaching Youth Football books. I have just finished coaching my first team of any kind, a Junior Pee Wee Pop Warner team, in Green Bay, WI. With your books as the backbone of my coaching strategy we compiled a very sucessful 5-2 record.
It is interesting to note that I came across your website a year ago when I was scanning the Internet looking for information on the single wing. I was on a reference material hunt about this great offense, and having grown up in Menominee, MI, home of Coach Ken Hofer’s single wing, I wanted to learn more. In someways it became an obsession. Along the way I came across your materials, I studied them, noted how much of a contrarian I was, how fascinating to learn you are an advocate of the offense for youth football.
After collecting other direct snap books through inter-library loan, trading video tapes, bookmarking websites, I came to the realization that I needed an outlet for my newly acquired knowledge. This past summer, I threw my application into the local Pop Warner coaching circles. To my surprise I was chosen as a head coach. I was expecting/hoping for an offensive coordinator position at best. I did not have a son playing, he's two years old, nor did I play high school football, but I wanted to give coaching a try. I felt like it was my responsibilty to show the Green Bay area that the single wing was alive.
I immediately poured over your two books formulating my plan. This became more than a hobby of researching the single wing, it became the responsibilty of a whole team of young players. Being no defensive guru, I immediately decided on the 8-2-1/10-1 defense you recommend. It sounded great to me. Next I needed to figure out which version of a direct snap
offense I wanted to use. After e-mailing back an forth with a few new coaching friends across the country I decided to give the direct snap, double wing with an unbalanced line offense a go. I figured I wanted to spread the work load around, so two wingbacks seemed the way to go. With the help of a coaching colleague and the Tierny and Gray book, our 10 play
offense was ready to go.
My assistants were on board with everything I had in store. They must have thought you were coaching this team instead of myself at times because I referred to you and your techniques so often. The important thing was they were sold and we put into motion our plan.
Both the offense and defense created a great deal of havoc over the course of the season. I was approached many times about our offense, because most football people in the area have heard of Menominee's single wing (it's 1 hr north of Green Bay and often play area teams) and asked where I was from. I admitted my background with a smile.
We scored 144 points, averaging 28 points in our 5 victories. We rotated our TBs and WBs every series to not only get them playing time, but not to get them banged up. Eight players scored touchdowns this season. Our no huddle, warp speed game plan worked to our advantage all season as well. One other note to youth coaches, utilize pulling linemen. The kids love it and it works well. Ironically the coaching staff needed the convincing, not the players.
Defenseively, we as a team grew in understanding of what we were trying to do and the players and coaches got better each week. None of our coaches had any defensive background, so we learned together. In all we held our opponents to 8 pts/game, created 18 turnovers, and held the top team in our league to 15 and 6 pts in each of our losses. They were a stronger, bigger and well-coached team. We gave them everything they could handle, with opportunities in each game to actually win the ballgame. Those were actually my two favorite games to coach.
We also scored one defensive TD and had one safety. On special teams, we went with the squib kicking game and were lucky enough to recover 5 kicks too. We found that the other teams began to kick short, maybe because of our influence. We really never punted either, although we generated 4 turnovers on punt pressure. Teams stopped punting against our defense after that too.
We repeatedly reminded our team that this game came down to blocking and tackling and we practiced form tackling, bear crawling, blocking every practice. Like you have written the bear crawling takes time and it did get better every week, our oponents were unable to run insidenor outside due the great play of our disciplined ends.
Again thank you for the great resource. I felt like a had a hidden gem in our corner the entire season.” Adam Wesoloski, De Pere, WI
“I HAPPENED ACROSS "COACHING YOUTH FOOTBALL" & "COACHING YOUTH FOOTBALL DEFENSE" WHILE LOOKING FOR BOOKS THAT WOULD HELP ME UNDERSTAND THE SCHEMES THAT MY SON'S TEAM WERE USING. YOU ARE RIGHT ON WITH CONCEPT THAT YOUTH FOOTBALL IS DIFFERENT THAN BIG LEAGUE FOOTBALL. IRONICALLY, AS I WAS WATCHING MY DAUGHTERS 7TH GRADEVOLLEYBALL GAME LAST NIGHT I DREW A PARALLEL BETWEEN THE OVERHEAD SERVE IN YOUTH VOLLEYBALL TO THE FORWARD PASS IN FOOTBALL (THEY DON'T WORK VERY MUCH). I'M SURE YOUR COMMON SENSE APPROACH WOULD LEND ITSELF TO SUCCES IN ALL YOUTH SPORTS.” Steve Kane
“Jack,I thought I would send you a note of thanks for helping the Jr. Pee-Wee Panthers of Eagle River Alaska to another perfect season.We spoke on the phone at the beginning of the season this year and I purchased your book "Coaching Youth Football".I had previously bought "Coaching Youth Football Defense" when I started coaching 4 years ago.I have been using your basic 10-1 or 9-2 defences since the beginning.I started as a Mighty Mite coach,"7,8 and 9 year olds" for the first 2 years.These last 2 years I moved up to Jr Pee-Wee basically following my boy up.We have lost 1 game in these 4 years which actually occured in my second season when I was away moose hunting.One of my assistant coaches wasn't a convert and changed things around for the game I was gone.We had already beat this team earlier in the season decisively. When I started coaching I new little about the game as I was a boxing and martial arts trainer/coach.When I instituted your 10-1 the first year everybody thought I was nuts.I liked it from the start because of the way it used the natural agressivness of small kids coupled with there lack of sophistication and passing ability.
“My 1st season we were 10-0 in Alaska and traveled to Washington state and played there 2 best teams. We won 13-7 and 6 -0. This was the 1st season of Pop Warner in Alaska while Washington had been playing for years. This season we are 9-0 and have out scored our opponents 261-50.We won last night our 1st playoff game 38-7.We have one more game in conference on Sunday against a team we beat 2 weeks ago 40-0.
“I appreciate the input from your books, Jack and we are planning to play outside to the regionals.” Mike Huston
“I have utilized the single wing and your Gap Air Mirror all year with great success. We are 5-0 and average giving up about 40 yards per game. You have been a great help. I have also bent the ears of Coach Aldrich qand Coach Racely all year long. They have also been of great help.” P. A. Colquitt
“We played our first game employing your 10-1 defense and single-wing offense and won 28-0. Our offense ammassed 192 yards while our opponent had -48! We could have scored more, but we emptied our bench and used seven different
halfbacks giving the reserves some invaluable experience.” Kenny Glavin
“I’ve purchase three of your coaching books. Which, by the way, are the most useful coaching books for Pop Warner coaching I’ve ever read.” Devon Price
“We coach in a league that covers McHenry County, Illinois and Walworth & Kenosha Counties in Wisconsin. I bought "Coaching Youth Football" this past spring and it was truly a revelation. Dave read the book and felt the same way, so we decided to use the book as a "victory blueprint" for our 11-12 year old team this season. We use a 20 yard "chip shot" kickoff, which we are able to recover about 50% of the time (we kick deep after we get a big lead). When we punt (which isn’t often) we shift to it quickly from the I-formation. In 5 games, none of our opponents have even touched one of our punts (we down them when they stop rolling). Our only fake punt this season was successful because we lined up in punt formation, then shifted to I and threw a pass to the slotback while the guy who was supposed to cover him was waiting deep to receive the punt. We haven't mastered blocking punts (yet), but we make sure that we catch them and average about 14 yards per return (that means the opposing punt team nets less than 10 yards). We don’t get to return many kickoffs, but in the past couple weeks we’ve started to return them well into enemy territory. We kick our extra points (which is worth 2 points in our league) and we’re getting so that we make about 80%. We use the formation and principles of the 10-1 defense, although we move the 2 & 4 positions back about 2-3 yards (they seem to a better head of steam to hit people that way). We also work some line stunts and blitzes into it. On offense, we use 16 plays (with integrated blocking schemes) from only 3 formations. They're all from books by high school and college coaches. Although we usually send the plays in with a rotation of players, we use hand signals to run our 7 primary plays at warp-speed. The result: Our kids are 5-0, they've outscored the opposition 173-0 and they're having a blast. Thanks for helping to make us look so smart.
Coaches Eric Strutz and Dave Sheedlo, Stateline Comets, Sping Grove, IL
“Hi Coach.Last year i purchased,Coaching Youth Football, Defense,and time management books.Since then with Gap 8 defense and some of the other strategies learned from your books our youth football team has been 16-1-1.Only loss was in the championship game.Teams shut out 12.Thanks,Coach.” Coach Armando A.Castro (Roanoke,Va.)
“I ordered your book, Coaching Youth Football about 4 weeks ago and I said I would keep you up to date on how we're doing.
“We played a team today (our first game) that usually finishes in the upper half of the city standings. They are an inner city team w/an abundance of talented athletes. Last year we lost to them 35-0. This year, using the methods in your book and your 1993 offense we dominated the game in a 18-0 win. It could have been worse because we had 2 td's called back for holding down field. The worst part was that they were unnecessary because the TB had a clear shot to the end zone. We actually ended the game by taking a knee at the goal line on 3 consecutive plays (they burned their TO's trying to adjust to the warp speed no-huddle)
“After the game I had park commissioners and parents from the opposing team coming up to me commenting that they had never seen such an organized team. They were asking how we ran all of these different plays and never huddled. I guess they never even noticed our assistant coach relaying the plays in via the dry erase board.
“Our defense is nothing special ( I've begged the D/coordinator to read your section on defense), but we controlled the ball almost the entire game by running a play that we call wildcat, it's just a combination of the wedge and off tackle, (I whisper to the tailback which route to take before the play, in this age group I can be out there on the field w/them) We averaged 7 yards per carry on this play. Only a fidgety coach who wanted to diversify things stopped us with a couple of reverse calls and an interception on a look in pass.
“The point is we lined up power right and let the TB pick his hole and he would rip 7 yard run after 7 yard run. We could have won by more if we had only run two plays, the off tackle and the sweep. Considering the fact that we only have to go 8 yards to pick up a first I fully expect to control the ball 70 percent of the time.
“Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much your book has meant to me and my team. If we win the city I'm sending you a trophy. Thanks again,” Merrell Chittenden, Southland Wildcats (7 and 8 division)
“Congratulations on a masterpiece!” J. Mastromatteo
“I happened across your website as I was looking for books. I needed to get them into my hands ASAP. I figured I could order more than I needed, in the hopes that something would be beneficial. I ordered, from Amazon and Borders combined, 27 books on football, and I ordered all your books. I have read all your football books and a very large part of the other books. I was, at first, skeptical about your books because they didn't come from one of the traditional publishers, but I really wanted all I could get my hands on, so I bought them in addition to the orders I had placed on Amazon and Borders. These other books are packed with some good information. However, the ones that were specifically for youth football were written by folks who obviously had not spent much time with kids. The non-youth ones were far too complex for kids. However, I really like what you had to say about the youth game. I followed your link to Hugh Wyatt's page, and bought his Double Wing videos. They are fantastic.
I have read [your] Coaching Youth Football and Coaching Youth Football Defense. I must say, they are outstanding.” Jody Hagins
“Tonight my Freshman Football team from Palo Verde High School won their opening game, 22-0, against Parker. While many people contributed to this evening's success, including a group of lads who worked hard and played hard, I wanted to write and thank you for your book Coaching Youth Football 2nd edition, which I purchased months ago. Your many insights have influenced my approach to this, my first real season as a coach, and my first season as Head Coach. You have made a real contribution to the way I conduct our practices, my approach to teaching ( they need to know their assignments, don’t they) the game while allowing a group of 13 to 15 year old boys, many from broken homes, to show up and actually play a game with spirit, enthusiasm, and even a little courage. Thank you, Sir. I will be reading Coaching Youth Football for a long time. Gary Grimm
“I can’t tell you how I appreciate your book Coaching Youth Football. I wish this thing could be mandatory reading for prospective coaches at all youth levels before they throw a whistle around there neck. Well, After the first three days of practice I realized that I had not only forgotten a lot of what I learned about football but also I learned that I knew nothing about coaching. So I surfed on the net a few hours found your site and ordered your book. It has been a tremendous reference source and a teaching tool for me and i am certain it will be for the other coaches on our Team.
I am Phillip Sherrill a contracted Engineer for the US ARMY Space and Missile Defense Command. I am also a U.S Army Reserve Major. I wanted to coach the offensive and defensive lines because the year before (mighty-mite group <70lbs) the line was considered a "blob" as you described in your book. A place to put the "fat" players...I thought that was incredibly unfair. I have played football at nearly every level from high school to the Canadian Football League. After the first week of coaching (I am the first assistant) our JR PEEWEEs I felt as if I had forgotten so much. I am certified member of the group you identify in your book who think because they played somewhere they know everything about coaching but in truth know absolutely nothing about coaching football.” Phil Sherrill
“… I am a rookie assistant coach of my oldest son’s team in the Dayton, OH area, and have just recently finished reading "Coaching Youth Football". I've found it to be extremely informative…Thanks again for the book,” Michael Burke
“First, let me say that I have just devoured your two books on Youth Football: Coaching... and Y.F. Defense. They are so complete and to the point. I am in my third year as a youth football coach. I have coached 5 & 6 year olds for two years (one as assistant and one as head) and this year I am an assistant for 7 & 8 year olds (moving up with my son). I only wish that I had your books for my season as head coach last year! We were 5-3 with a 13 kid team. It was my rookie head coaching season and I made plenty of mistakes - although those around me were thrilled. I'm already envisioning the 10-1 defense!! It makes so much sense for youth football, but no one has the guts to run it! My teams sound like they're just like yours were - slower kids who need a coach with OOMPH! Thanks for writing your books.” Greg Hart, Philadelphia
“Last year we were the Eagles and went 9-1 and won the league championship using the offense and defense from your books. This year, a friend of mine is coaching in that league. He asked his son and the son of his assistant coach what team name they wanted. They asked to be the Eagles, because of our success the previous year. Plus, they asked their fathers to please run the same offense and defense as we did. The two kids in question had to play against us three times last season” Casey Lewis, Pleasanton, Ca
“Every youth coach would learn from this book. It’s OK with me if they don’t—I would rather not coach against a coach with this knowledge!” Russell Hack, McCloud Redskins, Choctaw, OK
“I have read Coaching Youth Football and found it extremely useful. It has been passed around my coaching staff. We employed this defense last season and found it very effective. It was an integral part of winning the championship at the 8-year old level in the North Georgia Youth Football League. In eleven years of coaching it was the most demoralizing defense I had seen.” Jimmy Chambers, Blackwell Bears
"I bought your 'Coaching Youth Football' book and had a fantastic season. Your book was the difference between having an enjoyable winning season and the alternative. One play that we ran that scored a touchdown every time was the fake reverse. We ran the reverse to the outside and when a team would stop it, we would come back later with the fake reverse. Thanks," Vince Icenogle
“I enjoy your books and had great fun using them during my first year of coaching. They were a great help. The 8-9 year old team I coached went 5-3. Between the single wing and our on-sides kicks I had two different coaches cussing me out (we won both of those games). [Note by Reed: Think what they’d have said if he used the 10-1.] Long live the contrarian approach! Thank you again for your advice on finding the books I am looking for.” Rick Wilburn
“I really enjoyed your book Coaching youth Football that I purchased last year. I read again and again. I coach 10-13 yr. olds in Northcentral West Virginia. I’ve been coaching youth football for 15 yrs. This past year we won the league Championship and went undefeated 12-0. I knew going into the season that we should have the best team in the league, as we lost in the champ. game the previous year and we were returning 7 starters off. and defensively.
“I used parts of your strategies, but not all. I used your kickoff, kick-return, and punt-block strategies. The punt block was most effective. We blocked 70% of the punts attempted against us. We didn’t even have a ‘punt return’ team.
I ran a Power-I formation on offense. I also used your Hurry Up Single Wing offense with the as an alternative offense. I had a ‘star’ running back that I have coached for 6 years ( I coached 8-10yr. olds for 6yrs.), so I would let him call a lot of plays at the line of scrimmage. I signal all my plays in, so I would signal to him what play I wanted, or signal to let him choose. The biggest problem I had with this offense was teaching the line blocking assignments. We could never predict where the defense would line up. Would they shift to the unbalanced line? Would only one or two guys shift? I taught my RB to read the holes in the defense and call the plays, but I just couldn't always tell my line what to do, because of the innumerable scenarios.
“I will not have a very good team this year, so I might gamble and use the 10-1 to try and even the odds a little.
“I love coaching youth football. Thanks for writing books that are really useful at this level. Most books I read are on the College level and give me little info. that I can use without much adaptation. Your information goes directly from the page to the field.” Thanks again, David Cottrill
“Thanks to your inspiration (Coaching Youth Football), The Alexander park Cardinals finished the regular season 9-0-1. We lost the championship game, but we still had a helluva season. Six simple plays and hurry-up offense had everybody on their toes! Next season we will work on perfecting a weak-side blast to counter their stacking to the strong side. Regards” Richard Morsink, Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada
"I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your book. I was made head coach of our Bantam Football team (ages 9-10) here in Grove City, PA. I used a number of ideas from your book, Coaching Youth Football. Our team went undefeated (8-0) this season. We scored 160 points and only gave up 18. Your book played a huge role in our success. Thank You!" Sincerely, John C. David
"Still struggling to get the head coach & coordinators to follow your advice. The ironic thing is I point out some of the more successful teams in our league using a lot of the techniques from your books." Name kept secret to avoid trouble with fellow coaches
"I have been a youth coach for the past 5 years at a middle school in Evans Ga. Before I came here the school had a history of bad teams. They lost every game 3 years straight. We have had a great turn around in the last two years going 4-2 both seasons. I can recall a game in my first year first that we had minus yards total offense in one game. The kids now believe that winning is expected.
“I am convinced that our players are no better athletes than in the past. The difference is we adhere to many of the philosophies you detail in your book. Although we don't run the exact schemes on offense and defense that you do, we make sure that the fundamentals such as tackling techniques, staying low and knowing who to block are stressed each day. When I talk to other coaches whose teams are doing poorly I tell them to RUN! and get your books. Privately we laugh at the teams in our league who do things the wrong way.
“One team insisted in kicking off to our best runner. He promptly ran the kick off for a touch down. We always squib kick to the left sideline. When our kicker objected to the squib kick, I told him he could kick it in the air if the ball could travel to the 5 yard line. I have only seen one 13 year old with a strong enough leg to to it. We have also closed our offensive splits on our o-line. Teams no longer blitz their linebackers because they can't penetrate. Your book truly opened my eyes as to how things can be done to make a team better.
“Again when any coach asked me for advice about coaching whether its youth or higher levels I always suggest your books. Many coaches on the web via coaching bulletin boards ( toby's and BC. ) bring up questions you answer in your coaching books. I consider myself to be an apostle of your coaching beliefs. If you ever come to Georgia for a clinic, please make it known via your web page or on other football posts. I promise to bring as many unknowing football heathens as I can." sincerely, Dan King
“Congratulations on a must-read, instructional coaching book for youth coaches. We initiated several of your concepts this season with tremendous success. Offensively, we adopted a single-wing, no-huddle, no snap count, warp speed style of play. Averaging 21 points per game, allowing 4.5 points per game and gaining 252 yards per game enabled us to tally a 6-1 record.
“This midget (10-13) team had gone winless the two previous seasons. There were 20 players and 11 of these young men were playing organized football for the first time. Play calling was done on a 24x48 board (a three-digit system) utilizing 4 running plays and 1 pass play. Keeping it simple and basic allowed for better execution and more fun for the kids/parents during the games. We broke so many big plays that our time of possession and number of plays dominance were less than we had planned, but the stress and strain inflicted on the opponent helped us to control the momentum and destiny of the game.
“Mistakes were minimal, 4 bad snaps and 4 illegal procedure penalties in 7 games. The no-huddle, hurry-up offense wore down the opposition and helped our guys control the game on both sides of the ball. Our #1 play was an off-tackle (single-wing, direct snap to RB) with double team blocking by the E and WB and a contain man block by our FB. This play averaged 12 yards per try. It was unstoppable. We ran it a multitude of times every game. Nobody defended it and we stayed with what worked. I'm glad we heeded your advice, didn't stop ourselves and stayed with what we had time to practice each week. Your tip on working everything to the friendly side was a real plus in our favor. The information in your book made for a very enjoyable football season.
“Thanks for helping me to know how to get young players better prepared to play winning football. My first year coaching experience was very rewarding." Ken Hopkins, Offensive coordinator and Special Teams Coordinator, East Lincoln Mustangs, Charlotte, NC [Note: It is unusual for rookie youth football coaches to be much more than worthless observers. John T. Reed]
"What a great book you have written. Even though I played college football, and my dad was a head football coach in Texas for over 30 years. I have learned a tremendous amount about youth football from your book. Thanks so much for sharing you experience with the entire football world." Max Moss
“Just wanted to say thanks for the thoughts that you have shared in your book. This was my first year as a head coach of a Pee Wee In-House team called the Mundelein Raiders. This is a first-time player league for kids 8-11. We implemented just about all of the practice techniques that you discussed in the book and it really worked for us. The tackling drills especially worked good and our concentration on special teams really paid off. I have just ordered your clock management book and will certainly indulge myself in it as soon as possible.
“This year we implemented the single wing. I spoke to John Aldridge and got his thoughts and read his book and watched his spinning fullback tapes. Your advice in putting in no more than 10 plays really worked as we averaged about 16 points per game and scored 128 points in an 8 game season. I am in the process of reading it again and evaluating how to better use your thoughts next season.
“I was also wondering if you know when or where the next symposium is being held ? I missed it last year and want to go next time. Once again thanks for the great book.” Mike Santiago