Top 5 Preseason Coaching Tips

It’s that time of year again and it is time for your first practice.

Prepare

Whether this is your first year as a rookie coach or a seasoned veteran, here are 5 Preseason Flag Football Coach Tips.

1) Season Plan: Have a game plan for yourself, your assistant coaches, your players and parents.  Make sure you keep it focused and you set the proper expectations prior to your first practice.  Check out the post on Letter to Parents for some ideas.

2) First Practice: This is your most important practice of the year.  This practice will set the tone for your players, coaches and parents.  Make sure it is organized, has high intensity and everyone is involved.  Have a fun game or drill to end practice that everyone will remember.

3) Drills: What drills will your players need to work on to implement your offensive and defensive game plans?  Put these together in a logical order starting from very basic fundamental drills to more complex.  Drills will help your players improve their game and your strategy.

4) Preseason Practice:  Get your coaches and a few players (your captains) to run a preseason practice.  Try out some new drills you have never run before.  Try out some new plays.  This will help you better plan your first practice and help set the tone for all the others.

5) Time Management: The most difficult task for any coach.  You never have enough time to run enough plays, practice every drill and cover every possible play your opponent may run.  Now is the time for you veteran coaches to look at ways you can improve your coaching and maximize your time effectively.

Good luck this season flag football coaches!

 

First Practice

Finally, the first practice for flag football is here.  What an exciting time for every flag football coach, flag football player and parent.
You have already emailed your letter to your team and parents.  Now it is time to capitalize on the expectations you put down on paper.  The first practice is the most important practice of the year.  All of your players, coaches and parents will have your full attention.  I recommend having a parents meeting prior to your first practice to go over introductions and discussing your expectations for the season and practice.  Ask for volunteers at this time.  This is your best chance to get as many volunteers as possible for your Team Parent, Assistant Coaches, Practice Coaches, Photographer, Statistician and other.
Once this is complete, you need to introduce yourself to your team.  Introduce your coaches and your goals for your team and your goals for each practice (get better, focus, improvement, ect).  You will also need some sort of ice breaker.  Have the players introduce themselves and announce one of the following:
  • Favorite Football Player
  • Favorite Football Team
  • Favorite Football Position
Every practice must have a schedule.  If you do not have a schedule you will fail.  Break the practice schedule down into periods.  Break the periods down to numbers so you can tell your assistant coaches what period to work on with your players.  Clear communication is critical for any leaders success.  All you have to say is “Coaches, we are now in period x”.  It also makes it easy to follow for your volunteer practice coaches and parents.  Yes, give your practice schedule to your parents.  This will get your parents more involved and they will feel more a part of the team.
The first practice should be light on plays and heavy on fundamentals.  Some of your players may not have played in a while or at all.  I highly recommend having a schedule for each practice broken down into time periods.
Here is an example of a practice shedule with time periods:
  1.  5:00 PM – 5:15 PM Warm Ups
  2. 5:15 PM – 5:30 PM Flag Football Fundamentals
  3. 5:30 PM – 5:40 PM Flag Football Stance
  4. 5:50 PM – 6:00 PM Defense Fundamentals
Here is a list of items I cover in my first practice and sometimes the second as well.  This also allows me to evaluate the skills of each player which allows me to determine what position each player can play.  We will get to rating players in another post.
First Practice

First Practice

First Practice
  • Warm Ups
  • How to put on flag
  • How to pull flag
  • How to catch football
  • How to throw football
  • How to handoff football
  • How to receive handoff
  • How to pitch football
  • Center Hike
  • WR Stance
  • RB Stance
  • QB Stance
  • QB 3 Step Drop
  • QB Cadence
  • Defense Stance
  • Defense Back Pedal
  • Defense Angle Tackle – Pursuit Drill
  • Defense Zone
  • Defense Run
  • Huddle Lineup
  • Huddle Break
  • Wristbands and Colors
  • Handout Base Offense and Defense Plays
  • End of Practice Game: Punt Pass Kick Game

Reward your players with a game at the end of practice.  The first practice I like to have a punt, pass and kick game.  The object of the game is to see whom can throw the football the farthest, who can punt the football  the farthest and who can kick the football the farthest.  I like this game because I can rate the skills of my players.

Here is how the Punt, Pass and Kick Game works:

  • Line up on the goal line
  • Pass: Have your players pass the ball first.  This allows you to see which player has the best arm (hint, hint: your Quarterback).
  • Punt: Have your players punt the football from where the football landed when they threw the ball.
  • Kick: Have your player kick the football from the spot where the ball landed when they punted the football.  I bring a football tee and let them kick from a kickoff tee.
  • Winner: Your winner gets to be the captain of the next practice.

Letter To Players From Coach

A letter to players from coach is one of the most important tasks for a coach to start off the season.  The letter should address setting the right expectations for the team, players and parents.  In most cases, your letter will be the first time your players and parents hear from you as a flag football coach.

Here is a list of items you want to address as a flag football coach in your letter to players and parents:

  • Coaches: Names, Titles, Contact Information, Background
  • Location: Practice and Game Fields
  • Schedule: Practice and Games
  • Team Goals: Have Fun, Other
  • Coaching Philosophy: Practice Expectations
  • Communication: Team Announcements via Phone, Text, Website, Social Media
  • Volunteers: Team Mom, Snacks, Stats, Pictures, Videos, Other
  • Team Pictures: Date and Time
  • Equipment: Required Player Equipment
  • Parents: Practice at home with your player, How to bring up issues or concerns with coaching staff (not at practice or games)

Setting Goals

Setting goals is one of the most important tasks in being a great flag football coach and great leader.

“If you are playing in a game or coaching in a game it means something”.  

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick to his team prior to their first preseason game in 2009 in the documentary on Bill Belichick Part 1 – A Football Life on the NFL Network.

I like this quote because it shows how important the game is for both players and coaches even if it is a preseason game.  It should not matter if you are a professional, adult, co-ed, or youth flag football coach, the game means something.  As a coach, you are accountable to your team, players, coaches, parents and fans.  What you do as a coach will have a long term effect on your team.

As coach, you cannot control winning or losing.  What you can control is a great experience, preparation and implementing an atmosphere of positive energy.  Setting goals will help you provide a road map for your team’s season.

My goal with this post is to provide a framework so that flag football coaches can start setting their goals.  There are many books and articles on goal setting and I encourage all coaches to seek multiple resources.

To start, let’s take a look at what types of goals need to be set.  The most successful coaches in football all set goals.  Setting goals is the most important task in coaching because the goals you set will guide your team strategy, coaching, practices and games for an entire season.

Types of Goals:

  1. Team
  2. Coaches
  3. Players
  4. Parents


1. Team Goals.

Team goals will set the mission for your season for your coaches, players and parents (if applicable).  Make sure you are setting realistic goals for your team based on your team personnel.  This can be a delicate balance, you do not want to set your goals too short or too high.  Make sure you challenge your coaches and players.  If applicable, get your coaches and players input well when constructing your goals for the season.

What are some example of flag football team goals?

  • Have Fun
  • Commitment to Practicing with 100% Effort
  • Fundamentally Sound
  • Competitive in Every Game
  • Winning Season
  • Conference Champions
  • Shut Out Opponent
  • Qualify for Playoffs
  • Win Championship
Setting Goals

Setting Goals


2. Coaching Goals

Many of these goals will be a result of your team goals.  I will reference Bill Belichick to give you an example of his goals.  A poster outside his office in 2009 showed the following:

2009 Head Coach Goals

  • Eliminate Bad Football
  • Be Fundamentally Sound
  • Be Tough and Smart


Some other coaching goals to consider:

  • Have Fun
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Accountability
  • Motivate
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Teach
  • Continuously Learn: Watch Other Teams, Coach Training, Follow FlagFootballCoach.com
  • Find a Mentor
  • Discipline


3. Player Goals

Here is an example of players goals: 

  • Have Fun
  • Get Good Grades
  • Accountable for Myself, Family and Team
  • Practice at 100% Each Practice
  • Improve Skills That Need Improvement
  • Be A Leader
  • Statistical Goals: Touchdowns, Tackles, Interceptions, ect.
  • Training Goals: 40 Yard Dash Time, Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift, ect
  • Personal
  • Character
  • Family
  • Spiritual
  • Academics
  • Career
  • Strength and Fitness
  • Community


4. Parent Goals
 

  • Be Accountable For Yourself and Your Player
  • Encourage and Support My Player
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Let The Coaches Coach
  • Teach and Practice at Home
Flag Football Coach Chalkboard

Preseason Flag Football Coach Tips

Here are some preseason flag football coach tips that will help you start to prepare for your next season of flag football.  Preseason football coaching can be a daunting task when you think about everything a flag football coach needs to prepare for the upcoming season.  Whether you are a first time flag football coach or a veteran flag football coach, here is a good list of flag football coaching tips and flag football strategies to consider when planning for your upcoming season.

 

Goals

Team

Coaches

Players

Parents

Letter to Parents and Players on Expectations and Goals

 

Equipment

Coaching Equipment

Footballs

Cones

Flags

Pennies

 

First Practice

Warm Ups

How to put on flag

How to pull flag

How to catch football

How to throw football

How to handoff football

How to receive handoff

How to pitch football

Huddle Position

Center Hike

QB Cadence

Audible Cadence

Interception Cadence

WR Stance

RB Stance

QB Stance

QB 3 Step Drop

Defense Stance

Defense Back Pedal

Defense Tackle

Defense Zone

Defense Man

Defense Run

Wristbands and Colors

Base Offense and Defense Plays

Route Tree

Terminology

 

Practice

Schedule

Theme

Warm Ups

Offense

Defense

Drills

Situation

Scrimmage

Practice Theme – Life Skill

 

Drills

Offense

Defense

Run

Pass

Running Back

Wide Receiver

QB

Pass Rush

Pass Defense

Situation

Goal Line

Extra Point

 

Players

Find QB

Find RB

Find WR

Find Best Defensive Player

Find Pass Rusher (if your league can blitz or pass rush)

What are your players strengths and weaknesses ?

How will player strength and weaknesses impact your game plan?

 

Offense

Huddle Lineup

Base Offense

Base Run Package

Base Pass Package

Short Pass Package

Long Pass Package

Goal Line Package

Trick Plays

 

Defense

Huddle Lineup

Base Defense

Run Defense

Pass Defense

Goal Line Defense

Situational Defense

 

Game Day

Warm Ups

Pre-Game Plays

Scouting

Statistician

Videographer

Photographer

Captains

Awards

Snack

Team Spirit: Parents, Friends and Family Involvement

 

We will go into more depth on these items in our next posts.

Rugby

About Flag Football

To be a great Flag Football Coach, you first need to know about Flag Football.  Let’s look at the past, present and future.  To start, you will find that American Flag Football is a form of American Football without the tacking.  Pretty obvious.  Many of the rules in tackle football are the same as flag football.  Make sure to check with the director of your league because rules seem to be slightly different for every league.

Here is a quick summary on the past, present and future of flag football.

Past

  • Episkyros was an ancient Greek ball game played between two teams
  • Next came along the Roman version of Episkyros called Harpastum
  • The Romans brought the game of Harpastum to the England region
  • The English took Harpastum and turned into Association Football (commonly called Soccer in the US and Football outside of the US)
  • Formal rules for Soccer (Association Football) were adopted in the 1800s
  • In 1823 it is presumed that William Webb Ellis founded the game of Rugby while playing Association Football / Soccer while a student at the Rugby School in Warwickshire England.  Hence the name of Rugby for the sports name.  He supposedly caught the ball (allowed at the time) and then ran with it (not allowed at the time).
  • American Football is modernized from Rugby in the late 1800s and Walter Camp formalized the sport in the United States
  • There is no formal date flag football began but it is presumed to have started sometime in the 1930′s and 1940′s.

 

Rugby

Rugby


Present

  • Today you will find children, men and women playing the sport of American Flag Football
  • You can also find Co-Ed game with men and women playing against each other
  • There are even professional flag football games played
  • Game is played internationally in Canada, Mexico, UK and other countries


Future

  • With the issue of concussions in tackle football and the medical community still studying the impact of concussions, you would expect to see a rise in children starting with flag football and staying with it compared to moving quickly to tackle football
  • As long as football is the number one sport watched on tv in the US, you can presume the sport will stay the same and/or grow
Flag Football Coach Logo

Happy New Year Flag Football Coach

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Flag Football Coach!

I cannot think of a better day than the first day 2013 to officially launch FlagFootballCoach.com.  What a day?  From the traditional college bowl games that play on tv all day.  Did you watch the Outback Bowl between South Carolina and Michigan? (SPOILER ALERT) South Carolina pulls out a nail bitter with 11 seconds to go.  And now as I write this post I am watching “The Granddaddy of the All” the Rose Bowl between Wisconsin and Stanford.

Please bare with us at this point, as we add more content.  I would like to share with you where we are going:

Goal:

Our goal is to provide a flag football site where rookie and advanced coaches have a venue to share and learn more about coaching flag football.

Why I started this site?

I started coaching my oldest son’s 4 vs. 4 youth football (american football) team in 2012 a found very few sites that had it everything I needed.  The flag football youth league we were playing in was not one of the major kids football leagues and I had to find all my coaching information out on my own.  Not only was I in need of flag football plays, but also needed more information on youth football, youth football leagues, football drills, football formations, flag football plays, flag football equipment, coaching equipment, play wristbands and mentoring.  Even with my background (see below), I needed help.  I even played Pee Wee Football, have many flag football playbooks and football plays.

My Background:

My playing background is 15 years of playing organized tackle football from 2nd grade and finishing at the NCAA collegiate level.  I have also played on several adult flag football teams on both coed and men’s leagues.

My coaching background for tackle football started at the High School level. At the flag football level I have been a player/coach on adult teams and run an annual Turkey Bowl Flag Football game on Thanksgiving Day for over 10 years.  I have also been a player/manager for adult softball teams and have coached baseball on my kids team.

What to Expect:

Some of the topics you can expect to see on FlagFootballCoach.com:

  • Flag Football Plays
  • Youth Football
  • Adult Flag Football
  • Football Leagues
  • About Flag Football
  • Youth Football Leagues
  • Football Drills
  • Football Formations
  • Flag Football Plays
  • Flag Football Equipment and Gear
  • Mentoring Program: Rookie Coaches need help and so do veteran coaches.
  • Videos: Drills, Plays, Equipment and Coaching

Thanks for visiting and we look forward to your support and input!

-FlagFootballCoach.com

Your Flag Football Coaching Resource – Flag Football Plays, Strategy, and Equipment.