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NLPA Flag Football (RI, MA, CT)

HOW TO PLAN/RUN AN EFFICIENT PRACTICE

Practice

Most teams are only able to put in an hour of practice each week, if that. Cover as many things as you can in practice without skipping the fundamentals. You should plan out your practices, just as you do a game. Prior to practice, make a list of items that you want to address.  Our practice plan model should be a great way to keep you organized.

What you teach will vary from week to week based on what your team struggled with in their last game or what the kids need to be prepared for the next week. The list can range from catching balls to flag pulling. If your team struggled with coverage, then teach every aspect of coverage, from back peddling to intercepting the ball.

Practice should be fun and engaging for your players, never dull or boring. Fill your practices with games and drills that not only sharpen skills, but also keep them interested and focused on the task at hand.

Repetition is a key component to becoming good at anything in life. It is no different in flag football. Focus on fundamentals and practice catching, throwing, flag pulling, coverage, route running, blitzing, and hand-offs regularly. Coach with a “hands-on” approach and jump in there with the kids on drills and scrimmages. The players will get a kick out of it! Practice plenty of “in-game situations” like extra points, 4th and longs, and two minute offenses. Your practice should always end on a good note. Finish practice with a fun drill or a scrimmage game, not sprints or push-ups!

Teaching Sportsmanship

 Sportsmanship is one of the most important values you can teach in youth sports. Your players should learn:

1.      Respect

Your players should respect other players, coaches, officials, and parents. Instead of spiking the ball in the end zone, teach the kids to politely hand it back to the referee. After pulling an opponent’s flag, pick it up off the ground, hand it back to the player, and say “nice run”.

2.      Integrity

Help your kids develop good character by teaching fair play, honesty, and the “we” not “me” mentality. Having disrespectful, hypocritical, or boastful players will keep the team from having unity and chemistry.

3.      Humility

Your players should always be humble and never boastful. Teach them that losing is ok as long as they did their best. They should always have a modest opinion of their own skills and importance to the team.

Winning and Losing

Remember, the kids see YOU as a role model. If you stomp off the field after a loss or fistpump after a win, you are teaching the kids to do the same. Never over-celebrate a win or over-mourn a loss. When your team loses, be a good sport about it and congratulate the other team on their victory. Always congratulate your own players on a hard fought battle! At the end of a game, make sure your players make good eye contact, shake hands, and say “good game” with EACH of the opposing players prior to walking off the field.

Attitude - Giving 100%
 Make sure your kids do their best and never give up. They should always give the game their all, whether your league is competitive or not. Full speed, focus, hustle, and the “never give up” attitude will go a long ways in sports AND in life.

Equal Playing Time

 Sharing the Ball

 It is crucial that everyone not only gets equal playing time, but also gets equal share of the ball. When you share the ball, it helps improve each player's skills and gives them in-game experience that is hard to simulate in practice and in drills. Sharing the ball also develops team work and team chemistry. This is essential if you want a healthy team atmosphere. When you give the ball to your most talented player over and over, it reduces the other player's self-esteem and sense of worth. It also makes your offense one dimensional and shallow. Some coaches feel that they waste time and downs when they give the ball to the younger or less experienced players. Most players will improve quickly if they are given a fair chance. Coaches shouldn't view inexperienced players as a burden. Consider it an opportunity to help develop that child, making him better and increasing his enjoyment of the game.

Substitutions

 Insuring your players have fair playing time often proves to be one of the most difficult tasks of coaching flag football. Find a good rotation system that works efficiently and is not too complex. Sometimes it feels impossible to have 100% equal playing time for your players, but try to keep it as fair as possible. If one kid gets the ball more or less than everyone else one week, equal it out the following week. Make sure you move your players around and do not let the same players play the same positions all the time. Make sure everyone gets a turn to play every position they want to play during the season. Some players will refuse to play certain positions, so do not force them or make them feel obligated to play a specific position if they don’t want to. Make sure you have plenty of depth at every position, including QB. Avoid letting players feel that they are entitled to a certain position.

Tip: After a kid makes a big play or long touchdown, pull him out for a bit. Here are some reasons why:

1.      He is excited because he just made a big play and would probably love to go “high 5” his parents.

2.      Another kid can replace him and also get a chance to make a play

3.      He is probably out of breath anyways! This is a nice way to naturally rotate your players.

Contact

Next Level Performance Academy

11 South Angell Street #399 
Providence, Rhode Island 02906

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 401-864-1444

Contact Us

Next Level Performance Academy

11 South Angell Street #399 
Providence, Rhode Island 02906

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 401-864-1444

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