In youth football, scoring is the key to success. Having a solid offensive attack not only puts points up, but it keeps the opposing offense off the field. What we focus on is trying to get out athletes the football out in space as quickly possible. Below is a list of the best offenses /plays for youth football.
Youth Football I Formation
The I formation, also known as the “Power I” is probably the most commonly used offense. This offense consists of 5 linemen, and a 2 tight-ends or split-end option. There are many different alignments for the I formation.
The I formation is the definition of power football. For decades football coaches have been using the power I. This offense has with stood the test of time, because it is still a youth football favorite. This offense is simple and easy to implement. This offense is a balanced set (can go unbalanced) for the most part, which gives the defense no strong side. This will thin out and make the defense play the whole formation.
The “blast” play is the staple of this offense. The sweep play is also a decant play out of this formation. On the sweep play it is imperative that you get your back running down hill. Inside traps and counters work well in this offense.
Pulling linemen, and filling with the fullback is also easy to do in this offense. The Power I is very youth football friendly. When you are aligned in a straight I-formation (fullback in front half-back) you threaten both sides of the defense. The play-action passing plays out of the I-formation are deadly! Easy to install formation, works very well in youth football.
Everything you need for the I-Formation: Complete Guide to the I-Formation
Youth Football Double Wing Offense
The Double Wing offense has become popular recently. I see the Double Wing about 2 times per season. This offense consists of 5 linemen, 2 tight-ends, 2 wing-backs, and a full back. This offense is difficult to stop, and will execute well at the youth football level.
The Double Wing is all about getting blockers to the point of attack. This offense will pull the backside guard and tackle nearly every play. There are double teams at the point attack on each play. One of the wing-backs goes into a short fly motion, and receives a shovel pitch. The motion back is also used for deception. This offense has the “wedge” play, which is probably the most effective play in this offense.
The wedge is a nightmare to stop. The Double Wing is an explosive offense in youth football! It is easy to implement and the kids will love it. You can utilize a down blocking scheme out of the double wing as well. I personally love down blocking in youth football. It gives your offensive linemen excellent blocking angles on the defensive line.
Down blocking is a good tactic against those big defensive tackles that you can’t base block. With down blocking, the play-side linemen down block, while either a guard or fullback comes and kicks out the end man on the line of scrimmage. This is a very powerful offense and in my opinion is one of the best offenses for youth football.
Youth Football Wing T Offense
The Wing T offense consists of 5 linemen, 2 wing-backs, 1 tight-end, 1 split-end, and 1 full-back. This offense is one of the original offenses. When coaches think of the Wing T offense, they think of the Delaware Wing T, made famous by Harold R. Raymond. This offense has history and is really one of the best series based offenses.
The Wing T offense is all about deception, forcing the defense have to defend 5 players each play. This offense works all off blocking angles and out flanking the defense. The Wing T has a nasty series of plays which include: buck sweep, belly, fullback trap, counters, and waggle. This offense is best used with some sort of motion (jet, rocket, or fly).
This offense is one of the best offenses for youth football because of it’s deception. This offense has multiple players going in different directions; this will confuse a youth football defense. Experience this dominant offense first hand; I think the Wing-T is one of the best offenses for kids football. I have been managing it for a long time with great success.
Today the Wing T has evolved over the years as new plays like jet and rocket sweep became more popular. I think the jet and rocket sweep out of the Wing T are the two best plays in youth football. The jet and rocket sweep get your athletes the ball out in space very quickly. Check out the videos below. We absolutely kill teams with our jet sweeps.
Youth Football Wishbone Offense
The Wishbone offense is common in youth football, I see this O a few times each year. Wishbone has 2 tight-ends, 5 linemen, 1 fullback, and 2 half backs. Also a split-end can be used instead of just two tight-ends. This is also a balanced formation (even threats on each side of the field).
The Wishbone is a great ground and pound offense. It gets several blockers at the point of attack. Having a 3 man backfield will allow cross, trap, pull blocks from the linemen. One of the 3 backs can be used to fill the void from the pulling or trapping linemen. It has a great counter game; the defense will lose the ball when the 3 running backs are going in different directions. This offense can have a solid play action passing game, as long as you are running the ball successfully.
I love the double tight-end, balanced formation. Balanced formations will make the defense defend both sides of the formation. Going double tight (two tight-ends) will create running lanes inside and outside. The Wishbone Offense offers power at the point of attack, deception (counter plays), and a lights out play-action passing game. I would recommend this offense because of its simplicity, it’s a preferred offense for many coaches.
Youth Football Single Wing Offense
A great point about the Single Wing offense is the unbalanced formation. Youth football defenses tend not to shift to the unbalanced offense. They might shift, but most of the time they really do not adjust completely, allowing them to be out manned at the point of attack.
This offense is all about double teams at the point of attack, along with kick out and crack blocks at the edge. The Single Wing offense is certainly deceptive. Using different motions will add to the deception. The wedge play, like the double wing wedge is really difficult to stop. This offense will take a number of reps to get the timing down with the direct snap and motion, but all in all it is a powerful offense.
What I love most about the Single Wing is the unbalanced line. As I said, many teams do not adjust properly to the unbalanced look. The double wing utilizes down blocks with a kick-out of the defensive end. Typically, the unbalanced side guard will be responsible for kicking out the end man on the line of scrimmage. The Single Wing is a power offense that also has some deception and a really good play-action passing play. Utilizing your QB as a running threat gives you an additional blocker at the point of attack. To avoid getting yelled at by Single Wing coaches, I will say that this offense is a direct snap (the Wildcat Offense) offense that doesn’t have a QB.
Youth Football Split-Back Formation
The Split-Back offense is an offensive I have used in the past with great success. This formation features 5 linemen, 1 tight-end, 1 slot-back, 1 split-end, and 2 split half backs. This offense is not as common in youth football.
This offense has a killer counter running game. The misdirection works really well, when the split backs cross. Having a slot back will also give you a good flanking angle on the defense; the slot can crack the defensive end on sweeps. The slot can also carry the ball on reverses and traps. The slot can also be a valuable pass receiver.
This offense is also an option friendly offense; load option – blocking defensive-end or read option (reading defensive end). This offense is also relatively basic; powers, counters, sweep and traps all run smoothly out of this formation. The split back formation is one of the most common and one of the best offenses for youth football.
I like Split-backs because you can get into a variety of different formations. You can go unbalanced, you can play with one or even two receivers. You can utilize unbalanced formations as well. We’ve ran the split-back offense for years and had great success. We still run the Split-back counter play explained in the video below.
Youth Football T Formation
The T Formation is all about balance. This offense consists of 5 down linemen, 2 tight ends, and 3 running backs. The left half back lines up over the left guard. The middle running back, full back type player is lined up behind the quarterback. The right half back lines up behind the right guard. All three backs are 4-6 yards back.
This offense is a great power running offense. It is much like the I formation & wishbone, with multiple lead blockers out of the back field. This is an off-tackle based offense, because getting out side can be difficult. The T formation also has deadly counter and trap plays. The running backs going in different directions will really create confusion for the defense.
Youth football defenses tend to bite to the side where the quarterback opens up to first. The power running game will set up easy down and trap blocks on trap and counter players. Play action passing can be successful out of this formation. Overall this offense is a solid choice. It is as simple as it gets.
Youth Football Flex-bone Offense
Flex-bone offense consists of 5 down linemen (center, guards and tackles) 2 wide receivers, 2 slot backs, quarterback and fullback. This offense has been around the block. Georgia Tech has been known for their mid-line and option attack out of this formation. This is a very option friendly offensive formation. High schools run option/midline out of this formation with much success.
This formation can also be used on the youth football level, though it is not very common. What is effective about this formation is that it has a wide receiver/ wingback flank. Much like the wing t offense, this offense uses the slot back to out-flank the defense. Crack blocking with in youth football is a killer block. You can crack the edge defender with the slot and crack an outside linebacker with the wide receivers (or vice versa).
With the crack blocking by the wide receivers and slot backs it your full back to be able to lead block on sweeps. Motion can also be used in this formation easily with much success. The motion will add speed and deception to this formation. This offense is underused and underrated in youth football. It can be an explosive option for your team. Motion and option series out of this formation are “lights out”.
Youth Football Spread Offense
The Spread Offense has become the most popular offense in football. More and more teams on the youth football level are going with the Spread. There are several reasons why I love the Spread Offense. The Spread will force the defense to defend the entire width of a football field. Spreading the field will stretch the defense out horizontally which will create natural running lanes inside.
It also allows you to get your athletes the ball in space very quickly. You can utilize screens, QB runs, and sweeps to get your athletes the ball in space. Putting your QB in the shotgun will also allow him to see the field easier and will give him more time to throw the football.
If you have a QB that can run the football then the Spread Offense is an excellent way to utilize in the run game. There are several ways you can utilize your QB in the run game: QB Sweep, QB Power, QB Draw, QB Trap, QB Boot, QB ISO, and QB Sprint out Passes.
All these offenses have are commonly used in youth football. O’s such as the Spread are beginning to grow in popularity, but these are the best offenses for youth football. Adjust according to your talent. Find plays that give your team the best chance for success.
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The Air Raid Offense
The Air Raid Offense is taking flight on all levels of football. Your seeing the offense and it’s concepts being used on the youth level all the way up to the National Football League. This offense will potentially give the ball to 6 different players on any given play. This will help keep your players engaged with your team. The Air Raid offense is simple enough for Middle School players to master and so fun to play it captures their imagination. It gives your team an identity and forces opposing defenses to have to defend multiple different concepts.
This series is broken down into 4 parts. The first part is the philosophy of the Air Rad. The second part talks about quick game concepts, which includes- Stick, Corner, and All Verticals. Part three gives you two drop back passing concepts- Mesh and Shallow Cross. The fourth part features the Air Raid run game, which includes- GT Counter, Bubble, and Power Fold.