Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Summer Workouts

Posted by admin June - 8 - 2016 - Wednesday

For only the second time in the past 42 years do I find myself staying home when other schools are involved in their summer workouts. I stood and watched a 7 on 7 game last evening. It was fun to see the kids compete but at the same time I found myself kinda evaluating things as they unfolded. I had one head coach stop by and chat about how “this 7 on 7 stuff is a waste of time.” I’m not sure I agree. Here are some benefits to keeping your players engaged throughout the summer.

First, and most importantly!— if they’re not playing football, they’re going to find something else to do! Teens like to stay active— at least the ones you want playing for you. The “couch potatoes” and “game-boy experts” are rarely going to participate in a team sport like football. It’s outdoors; it’s hot and there are other people around to interact with. It’s the multiple sport athletes that you want to be coming to football workouts. If you don’t offer some type of competitive activity, they’ll go find a basketball game or track meet to compete in.

Coming right on the heels of that is: you want to keep your football players together as much as possible during the summer. 7 on 7 tournaments, weight-lifting, speed training, “skills n drills”— all of which are important to improving individual skills but also, build team unity.

As far as 7 on 7 itself, I think it has a number of benefits. True… it’s not “real” football but, you get to see which kids are athletic enough to run, catch and break on the ball in the air (on offense and defense.) How quickly does a player grasp what you’re trying to install? How well does he apply it on the field when the ball starts flying around? Admittedly, it is a bit “artificial” for the QB! I’ve seen too many “7 on 7 wunderkinds” who, once rushers and blitzers started coming at them they choked!, but… it lets you evaluate how well the QB sees the field and… is he understanding the concepts of your passing offense? I think the defense is where you gain the most in playing 7 on 7. With more teams focusing on the spread passing game, it makes sense to get as many looks as possible running your pass coverage. Does a player know where to line up? Does he understand where his zone is? Does he break on the ball when it’s in the air? These are all important skills that can be addressed in 7 on 7 games.

Even if you can’t play 7 on 7 against other schools in your area, compete intrasquad-wise. We played 7 on 7 against each other 1 night a week all summer. We even let the linemen join in if our numbers were low! They loved it and it gave them that “undercover conditioning” during the game. Kids like to be active and they like to compete. These are the 2 things that summer workouts provide. Get your players together and get them working! You will reap the benefits.

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