On the youth football level motion is very underrated and under utilized. Motion creates alignment conflict for the defense. It will allow you to attack the edge quickly on plays like Jet & Rocket Sweep. It will also give you an extra blocker or receiver to the motion side. If you have followed our website, you know we’re big fans of motion. I utilize it a ton with my team. However, there are some disadvantages and challenges that come with utilizing motion. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of using motion.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Motion in Youth Football
Advantages of Motion
Attack the Edge Fast
Plays like Jet and Rocket sweep will get your athletes the ball in space very quickly. In addition, you really only have to block 2-3 defenders to gain big time yardage. Utilizing full speed Jet and/or Rocket motion will force the defense to have to adjust quickly or they will get beat. This will then set up complement plays off of Jet / Rocket Sweep. If you coach youth football you should have Jet Sweep in your playbook. If you have fast athletes you’ll feast on the defense running jet. Even if you don’t have speed, jet sweep will make your players faster because it hits so fast. Watch the video below for to see how motion can be utilized.
Outnumber the Defense
So say you come out in a balanced formation- you motion a player from right to left, your formation will now be unbalanced to the left. This will force the defense to adjusts or they will be outnumbered. What we do a lot is motion a player across and use him as a lead blocker. The defense will be forced to shift, or they will be outnumbered. When you can change the strength or even add another player to the strength of your formation it will create a lot of alignment conflicts for the defense. The more you can create misalignment for the defense the more you will score. Below is a video of a play where they use motion to gain an extra blocker at the point of attack.
Motioning a player across will allow you to outnumber the defense to that side, not just on run, but if you pass as well. If the defense is playing man to man coverage and a defender doesn’t run across with or keep up with the motion player, the motion player will be wide open! Many times we’ll jet motion a player across and just run him into the flat- we call it speed out. Say you have balanced passing threats to each side, motioning a play across will change the pass strength and force the defense to adjust, or you’ll have a receiver open. Again, the more you can create misalignment for the defense the more you will score. Below is a great video of an easy to install RPO that utilizes push motion.
Complements Kill- Motion Draws Eyes
When you utilize motions the defenses eyes will all be looking at the motion player- motion draws eyes. So when teams are watching your motion player you can use that to your advantage. When you run plays like Jet Sweep, the complements will usually gut the defense- because jet motion forces the defense to do something drastic to adjust. Once you gut the defense with Jet Sweep, running Counter or any type of play-action will kill them. It doesn’t have to be Jet Sweep. Just motioning a player across and running the opposite way works. You start off by motioning a player across and once the defense finally adjusts you run opposite. Long story short, motion draws defender’s eyes, use that to your advantage. Adding motion to some of your plays will automatically make them more deceptive. Here’s the Trap play off of rocket motion.
Disadvantages of Motion
Requires Extra Practice Time
When you run motion a lot it will require extra practice time. Every team is different and a lot does depend on age, but it usually takes some time before your players (starters and backups) get the motion timing down. It will require several reps and consistency with line splits. Consistency with line splits meaning- if your offensive linemen aren’t getting the proper splits every play, the timing will be off. To truly run Jet and/Rocket Sweep effectively, the timing needs to be flawless. If you are running motion out of the shotgun, the snap distance between the Center and QB need to adjusted for. In addition, the handoff exchange between QB and ball carrier on jet can sometimes be shaky. A lot of times you see Jet Sweep out of gun fumbled because a bad snap and/or the motion timing being off. Utilizing motions does require a little extra practice time. But at the end of the day, the investment will be worth it.
Illegal Motion / Penalties
It’s important that kids understand that they cannot go or lean forward until the ball is snapped. A lot of times you’ll see kids step forward before the ball is snapped. It takes time and reps for kids to get the timing down (on when to get forward). This is very common with teams that motion a player across and send that player into a pass route. You’ll see them break into their route or go up-field a second or two too early. In addition, sometimes you’ll have two kids that go in motion at the same time. Kids will be kids right? So it’s important that you clearly define who is going in motion so that kids don’t get confused.
A lot of Running- Kids get Tired
This applies to teams that run Jet and Rocket Sweep more so. Motions like Jet / Fly and Rocket are full speed motions. So if you have a player going full speed on motion before the play even snaps, it can be draining. I don’t think you should be 100% motion (motion on every play). As the game goes on kids will tend to tire out a little bit more. But hey, on the flip side, all that motion you’re running in practice will get those backs in pretty good shape!
SEE ALSO: Gun T Playbook for Youth Football