This article provides you with a breakdown of our Offensive Play Calling Strategy for Youth Football. In youth football many coaches just call plays based on what they think or hope will work. As play callers, it is our job to call plays that will give our players the best chance of success based on what the defense is doing and how they aligned. For us, we base our play calling on 3 pillars. We want to run where we have the numbers, leverage, and / or player advantage. To truly be a successful play caller you will need help. Calling an offense effectively is a collective effort- which is talked about in great detail in the embedded video below. Be sure to watch the video, it’s worth the time I promise.
Here is our 3 Pillar Offensive Play Calling Strategy for Youth Football (1 bonus)
- Run where you have numbers advantage.
- Run where you have leverage advantage.
- Run where you have the player advantage.
- (Bonus) Get athletes in space as much as possible.
Number Advantage Play Calling
- If you outnumber the defense to a side or area, run there. Play calling in football is a numbers game.
- Utilize unbalanced formations. This will create defensive misalignment. Most of the time the defense will over shift or they won’t shift to the unbalanced at all.
- Utilize shifts and trades. This will also create defensive misalignment.
- Be multiple while keeping things simple for your players. Being multiple will create alignment issues for the defense. Run the same plays out of different formations.
Leverage Advantage Play Calling
- Attack where your blockers have the leverage advantage. It’s much easier to down block or kick out on a defender. Use their leverage against them.
- Having a system of plays helps gain that leverage advantage.
- Formation shifts and trades help gain leverage advantages.
- Leverage just doesn’t just mean pre-snap. Is the defense slanting or shooting gaps post snap? It’s important that you have a coach watch the first level defenders and what they are doing post-snap. That is why we run Gun T Jet System, it forces the defenses hand.
Player Advantage Play Calling
- Scout. Scout. Scout. Know when and where they get their weaker players their plays.
- Have coaches watching for when they sub in their weaker players.
- Getting your best players in space- good athletes almost always have the advantage in space. So find ways to get them there!
- Attack where you are better. Switch linemen to play-side. Make the defense recognize and adjust. You’d be surprised how many coaches won’t even notice- it’s crazy.
See also: Gun T Formation Playbook for Youth Football
Efficient play calling is critical, especially when you don’t have great athletes to bail you out. Base your play calling on numbers, leverage, and player advantage. Be sure to scout your opponents. Know who their weaker players are and when they put them in the game. For us, whenever we see a minimum play player we run right at them. The only time we won’t is when the defense overcompensates for that player and we have numbers or leverage advantage away from the minimum play player.