Approaching Youth Football Defense
Playing great youth football defense is all about playing with attitude. Stress these four defensive goals and you will have great success on D.
- Play harder than your opponent. The team that gives the best effort will always give themselves a chance to win. Pride your defense on playing with great effort, attitude, and toughness. Have the mentality that no other team will work harder than us in practices and in games. Playing hard means hustling to the ball carrier! Get to the football.
- Stop the run. The success of a youth football offense is based entirely on the offense’s ability to run the ball successfully. When implementing or creating a defensive scheme make sure it is designed to stop the run. Stopping the run starts up front. If you control the line of scrimmage you will control the game. So make sure you spend a good amount of time working on solid defensive line play. Also, work in some run blitzes. Have a few blitzes that stop inside runs and have some blitzes that stop outside runs.
- Win 3rd down. You cannot allow the offense to have a consistent offensive attack. Playing solid defense on 3rd down will limit the time of possession of the opposing offense. If offenses cannot posses the ball they cannot score. Have an in depth scouting report on your opponent’s 3rd down and 4th down play calling tendencies. During the practice week we will practice stopping our opponent’s top 4-5 plays. On 3rd down your opponent will call a play that they are comfortable with. Scout your opponent so that you can prepare your defense during the practice week. Also, defend the wide side of the field.
- Do not give up the big play. Regardless of what youth football defense you run it is important that your defense does not give up the big play. Have the defensive philosophy to bend but do not break. This means tackle well, swarm to the ball carrier, and do not let anyone get behind your pass coverage. Playing whistle to whistle is vital! Do not assume your fellow defenders are going to tackle the ball carrier, “swarm” to the ball. Make the offense earn it, give them nothing easy.
Playing strong defense will always give your team a chance to win. EAT offenses up.