Winning the Field Position Battle in Youth Football – Here’s How:
The team that wins the field position battle will win the football game more often than not. The image below gives great insight into how critical winning the field position battle in youth football is. You can see that teams that start with the football inside their own 20-yard line score points only 10% of the time. It is very difficult for a team to drive the entire length of a football field and score without committing a mistake or a turnover. Field position is especially important in youth football because most teams need to get into the end zone to score points (no long field goals).
How to Win the Field Position Battle:
# 1.Don’t Give Up Big Plays. On defense we stress the importance of not giving up big plays. We put a ton of emphasis on our defense swarming to the football. We want every single defender to get to the ball carrier. Being disciplined with our blitzes, pursuit, and cover 3 zone helps us deter big plays. Hammer home gang tackling and hustling to the ball carrier on a run and pass plays. GET TO THE FOOTBALL! The likelihood of an offense going the entire field in 10 plays and scoring without making any mistakes on a consistent basis is very slim. Give nothing easy. Make them earn their points.
(See Also) Defense Philosophy
# 2. Generate Turnovers! Our goal on defense is to generate at least 3 turnovers a game. We do our turnover circuit every single practice. We do the rip and punch strip drill (stripping the football from the ball carrier), we do the scoop and score drill, and we also do the 2 vs. 1 drill. The 2 vs. 1 drill has the first defender in securing the tackle, and then the second defender in strips the football. In order to generate turnovers in the game you have to practice getting turnovers at practice. Also, relentless hustle to the football will naturally generate turnovers.
# 3. Don’t Turn the Football Over! It is absolutely critical that you do not give away possessions. You must practice ball security on a regular basis. Most turnovers are the results of fumbles. Fumbles are the most common turnover because coaches do not work enough balls security and QB – RB handoff exchanges. The ball carrier must keep the football high and tight and always have two hands on the ball once contact arrives. The next most common turnover is a fumbled exchange between the QB and the center. Just like ball security, I feel that QB and center snaps aren’t practiced enough. It is critical that you have 3 centers that can snap the football. Snaps need to be practiced before, during, and even after practice!! Get those snapping reps in whenever you can.
# 4. Dominate Special Teams. The last thing you want to do is to give up a score or big play on special teams. Your team must be able to cover kickoff and punts (tackle the returner). You must be able to kick or punt the football away from their returner who is probably their best athlete. Practice onside kicks! Practice onside kicks every single practice. You never know when you may need your onside kick team to come up big. Recovering an onside kick will give you excellent field position and will demoralize the opposing team.
(See Also) Kicking, Punting, and Holding Techniques
# 5. Consistency on Offense. Being consistent on offense will naturally allow you to control the field position battle. When you are consistently moving the football you will be forcing your opponent back. Even if you don’t score a long drive will pin your opponent back and force them to go the distance of the field to score. Consistency on offense will help you win the field position battle and it will keep the football out of your opponents hands.
(See Also) Developing Consistency on Offense
Winning the field position battle in youth football is a critical aspect that is often overlooked. Don’t give up big plays, win special teams, generate turnovers, don’t turn the football over, and have a consistent offensive attack and you will win the field position battle more times than not. Make the opposing team have to go the distance to score.