Youth Football Cornerback: How To Play The Position 2016

Youth football cornerback

Both cornerbacks have to be fast; lightening fast in fact. They’re the kind of player who you won’t really see for a lot of the game but then suddenly they’ll come up with a massive game-changing play. It is is their job to intercept or at least interfere with a quarterback’s pass before it is caught by the wide receiver. Because the majority of quarterback’s passes are not intercepted, being a cornerback is a bit of a fishing exercise.

They do block and tackle but because they’re more about pace, they don’t tend to tackle very hard. So this is why they’ll do their damnedest to get a hold of the ball. Catching it is another matter entirely though. It is so often the case that a cornerback reads the pass, gets into position and then drops the ball. This is of course a better play than letting the opposition catch the ball, but it can be frustrating to miss out on a turnover in this way.

There are a few different standard methods of cornerback coverage. “Help over the top” is where they team up with a safety in order to try and put a receiver out of the game. This is often reserved for the very best receivers.



“Bump and run” is where the cornerback aims to disrupt the timing of the opposition runner. They react as soon as the play starts and do what they can to block the wide receiver at the line of scrimmage. If they get in their way for just a short time, there’s a high chance that even if the receiver breaks free of the line and goes downfield, they will be too late to receive the pass from the quarterback.

“Man coverage” is where the cornerback sticks to the opposing receiver like glue and does what he can to force the receiver towards the touchline so they are more likely to go out of bounds if they receive the ball.

“Zone coverage” is where the cornerback covers an area of the pitch and only tracks a man if he is in that area, as opposed to following that man around everywhere on their route. This type of coverage can be good for interceptions, because the cornerback is spending more time watching the quarterback, so has a better chance of reading their pass.

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Youth Football Linebacker: How To Play The Position 2016

Youth football linebacker

Linebackers are big characters in the team, both in a physical and a personal sense. They’re certainly not shy, and given the job they do, this isn’t surprising. There are three linebackers in formation at any one time: a middle linebacker, strong-side linebacker and weak-side linebacker

A middle linebacker is basically the ‘quarterback’ of the defense; dictating to the other defensive players where they should be and what they should do. The middle linebacker is also keeping an eye out for a running play, and if one comes it is up to him to stop the opposing running back running between tackles.



If there is a pass, the middle linebacker will do all he can to disrupt the pass in mid air, and then will try and hit the back as hard as possible if the back receives the ball. These guys throw everything on the line in pursuit of big hits – they’re probably the hardest players on the pitch.

The strong-side linebacker is fighting with the opposition tight end on most plays in order to try and stop the running back getting upfield on the strong side. Also they need to watch out to see if the tight end receives the ball. In this event they need to be ready with the biggest possible hit.

The weak-side linebacker is normally a bit more athletic than the other two. This is so he can counter the cut-back running backs who manage to get over to the weak side. Beyond this, the weak-side linebacker needs to watch the long throw and ideally disrupt it before it is received. Failing that they need to pounce immediately to prevent the offense making any more gains after the catch.

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Youth Football Defensive Tackle: How To Play The Position 2016

Youth football defensive pigeons

In a running play, defensive tackles are responsible for preventing the running back going upfield. For a passing play they must push the guards and the centers back as far as possible. This is to enable the quarterback to step into the ‘pocket’, a space cleared by the guards and the center that affords the quarterback time to pick his pass.

A tackle’s job is all about gaps. Each tackle has to understand how many gaps he has to cover before each play. It may just be the one gap, i.e. making sure the running back doesn’t get upfield. Sometimes he may have to execute a two-gap defense, so that may involve pushing a lineman backwards into the running back’s lane to make sure he can’t come through.




One-gap schemes normally have smaller and more athletic tackles, while two-gap schemes generally need a bigger frame. Tactically it’s important to consider the quality of the linebackers here because a one-gap scheme will leave three other gaps that need protecting.

Although athleticism from a defensive tackle is one way of stopping the run, doing completely the opposite may actually be better for stopping the run too. So if you fill the defensive line with strength and toughness rather than athleticism, it might create a crowded centerfield which could enable your linebackers to have a better chance of making a big play and stopping the runner.

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Youth Football Tight End: How To Play The Position 2016

The tight end is a real jack of all trades so more often than not it is shared among more than one player. First and foremost they have to block, but they can also be used as an alternative to a receiver.

When blocking, the tight end is there to protect the quarterback from ambush from an opposition safety or linebacker. If the quarterback is in trouble then the tight end has to be quick on his feet, not only to block but also to release himself from the block in order to give the quarterback an option.



If the play is a running play, the tight end is a fundamental part of the bulldozer that is there to clear a path for the running back, but in order to be available for the throwing plays he needs to be quick too. How many quick bulldozers have you ever seen? Not many, and that’s why the position is shared quite extensively.

If you were to pick out a ‘regular’ tight end you could fairly say that they’re normally tall, but mobile, all-round athletes. And they’re tough cookies too. Stopping the fearsome aggression of a linebacker is no mean feat!

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Youth Football Receiver: How To Play The Position 2016

Wide receiver youth football

There are a number of different positions in the offense that at times can act as receivers. For the purposes of this piece we will concentrate on the wide receiver (split end) and the flanker (slot receiver).

Each receiver has their own ‘route’ to run for each play. This is where the relationship with the quarterback is vital, because the quarterback will also know these routes too. Because the quarterback cannot look all over the field at any one time and also because they don’t want the opposition defense reading their eyes, the receiver needs to be in a pre-determined position so they are ready to be picked out by the quarterback at the appropriate moment. In order to make this happen, the receiver’s movement is co-ordinated with the number of steps the quarterback takes. It’s vital they stick to their route and remember how it relates to the quarterback’s movement, otherwise the play will probably fail.



The wide receiver lines up on the opposite side of the line as the tight end, and is set away to the side so as not to be directly facing any member of the defense. The wide receiver does what he can to avoid the big hitters in the center of the opposition’s defense. He also acts as a good decoy, tempting the defense to leave their central positions and gravitate towards him and thus open up running lanes in centerfield.

The flanker normally lines up behind the back line. The flanker tends to be the position for the nimble and fast receiver because the starting position allows them the advantage of not being hit immediately. The flanker lines up on the quarterback’s right, so with most quarterbacks being right handed, they are in their line of vision for the majority of passing plays. A flanker will need to catch and will need to be tough enough to hold onto the ball when they get hit after the catch.

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Youth Football Running Back: How To Play The Position 2016

Running back junior football

The running back is fundamental to the offense. They have many different jobs to do so they have to be flexible. The moment the quarterback calls a running play, it’s the running back they will turn to. Then it’s up to the running back to see a gap in the opposition defense and make as much progress downfield as possible.

But a running back is more than just a runner. When a quarterback calls a passing play they may have to act as a blocker to help protect the quarterback, or they may be sent downfield to act as an additional receiver.



A running back can come in different shapes and sizes. The “straight-ahead” style of running back relies on power to bulldoze through the opposition defense, well as the “cutback runner” will be fast and nimble, always looking to change direction to outpace and outwit the defense. And you have some running backs who are just all-round footballers who may make as many yards as a receiver than as a runner.

The constant theme with running backs is that they get hit. A lot. A running back really needs to be tough to survive. In a close game it’s the running back who the coach will turn to time and again. There is basically an expectation that running backs will play injured and do pretty much whatever is asked of them so this is not a position for the faint hearted.

The running back will need a strong and durable running back uniform in order to stand up to all the hits.

Youth Football Quarterback: How To Play The Position 2016

Youth football quarterback

The quarterback is the absolute top dog in your team. He sets the tone for the whole offense. He also has to try and second guess the opposition’s offense to try and understand what they are trying to do to disrupt the offensive line, then make a quick decision about what to do with the ball.

A quarterback must have a deep and studious understanding of the game. They must do a lot of homework to understand the plays, but they also must be able to make decisions on the fly when the heat is on.

The relationship between coach and quarterback is absolutely fundamental to the success of a team, and in turn, the quarterback’s relationship with the rest of the team is fundamental too. They must have the leadership skills and the ability to connect with all of the different personalities across the team, so the quarterback needs to be an all-round smart and likeable guy who knows more than just football.

About half of most teams’ plays will be passing plays, so a quarterback needs to possess a strong arm to execute accurate passes. The ball has to be thrown down the field in such a way so the receiver doesn’t have to change their course to receive it. An overthrown ball will end up out of reach of the receiver while an under-thrown ball might well be intercepted, because the defense is given time to reach it.




Before throwing the quarterback must have enough speed to avoid the charging defenders. The more adept a quarterback is at stepping aside from tackles, the more time he has to pick the perfect pass. And beyond picking the pass, a quarterback needs to dodge as many tackles as he can in order to stay healthy. There is only so much punishment they can take before being injured.

The quarterback has to be a master in the art of deception too. If a defenseman can tell from a quarterback’s body language where he is going to throw it before he does then that could be the difference between a good play and a bad play. A quarterback should know from memory where most of his receivers are – he shouldn’t have to rely on using his eyes to watch every part of the field and thus risk giving the game away.

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Youth Football Positions: 2016 Player Position Guide

Junior football uniforms

First of all it’s important to make it clear that youth football is generally safe. It’s easy to be scared off by the prospect of injuries, but with the right technique, youth players can enjoy the game without having to worry unduly for their health.

There are just so many benefits that come with playing youth football. It’s great to sharpen up a young person’s teamwork and dedication. And there is an incredible amount of discipline and lateral thinking required to make it in football. You simply can’t get anywhere in the game without a large amount of study.

It’s hard to find a sport that places such an emphasis on each player having to understand their responsibilities. A lineman must make his block otherwise the play is ruined from the outset. If the center doesn’t snap the ball properly, you lose a down.

One of the best things about football is that irrespective of the result, the pulling together required to execute all of the plays and the overall team philosophy can be very rewarding indeed. It’s great for confidence too. The first time a kid pulls on his junior football uniform, he’ll feel on top of the world.


junior football uniforms


It’s important for parents and coaches to remember that football is quite a full-on and tough game that might take a bit of getting used to. It’s entirely possible that a youth player may find it hard in the beginning, but perseverance is key. Once a young player learns the basics and gets over the fear of the physical contact, that’s when they can really appreciate the beautiful intricacies of the game.

The role of a parent is key in the process of a youth footballers’ development. If you are a parent of a youth footballer it’s vital that you are always encouraging, and that during the bad times you understand that it’s an achievement in itself for a child to be charging around a football field with 10lb of gear on their back, taking hits left, right and center.

Do what you can to help their practice too. Just throwing a ball around in the back garden will help, and how about asking your son to demonstrate what they’ve learned after each session?


junior football uniforms


But there is a fine line between being an encouraging parent and an interfering one. Respect the boundaries between the coach and the team. It’s an age-old problem that a child feels he’s in the wrong position or at least that he’d like to try another one, but in this instance it’s always best that your child asks the question, not you.

All coaches ought to know that it is good for the development of any player to try out a variety of positions. It’s important to keep an open mind about this. An offensive lineman at 11 years old could still easily become a quarterback as an adult.

Keep reading for an outline of the main requirements for each youth football position…



junior football uniforms


Quarterback – The absolute leader of the team, any quarterback needs to have a great understanding of the nuances of the game, as well as be quick on their feet, have a strong arm and be prepared to take a hit. Read more here.

Running Backs – Running backs have to be fast, but they also have to be tough, especially in youth football. Because linemen may not have learnt how to block, the running backs tend to be exposed. Read more here.

Receivers – Receivers need a good all-round game. They need pace, they need to be good catchers, and they need to be comfortable with blocking in the open field. Read more here.

Linemen – Linemen are never the superstars, but they are vital to the game. This is normally the domain of the bigger kids – it’s a game of strength and attrition.

Tight Ends – Athleticism and blocking is the name of the game here, and you’ve gotta be ready to catch too. Although most of the time a tight end will be blocking, they can prove a useful alternative for a quarter back on certain plays. Read more here.



junior football uniforms


Linebacker – Linebackers are the kids who like getting down and dirty and tackling. They need to read the game too, i.e. is the opposing offense going to run it or pass it? They tend to be the leaders of the defense. Read more here.

Defensive Line – This is another fundamental part of the game that doesn’t always get the credit. They’re basically responsible for stopping the opposition’s plays. The positions of defensive ends, defensive tackles and nose guards make up the defensive line. Read more here.


Defensive Backs:

Cornerback – Cornerbacks run the sides of the defensive backfield. They need to be quick in order to cover the opposition receivers and to participate in the offensive plays that are run down the sidelines. Read more here.

Safety – There are two safeties, “strong” and “free”. The strong safety tends to play close to the line of scrimmage. They need to be quick, and good tacklers, as well as being able to read and defend a pass. Read more here.

The free safety is normally the last line of defense if the opposition’s offense breaks free from the other defenders. This is more about speed and reading the game than it is about pure hitting.


Special Teams:

junior football uniforms


Special teams are not involved in the majority of the plays in any game, but they are often the difference between winning and losing. Although in junior football special teams is often the place for the kids who don’t get much playing time in the offense and defense, it also provides a great opportunity to shine. A good play in special teams could help get more game time elsewhere, and as mentioned, there are some positions in special teams that can win or lose a game on their own.

Kickoff – This is made up of the kicker and the line of coverage trying to stop the opposition’s kickoff returner. Each player is responsible for their own ‘lane’ of coverage, so they need to be quick and good at tackling to react to the kickoff returner when they come towards their lane.

Kickoff Return – The kickoff return team needs to be a combination of raw pace and catching (in case they catch the ball from kickoff) and great blocking in order to clear a path for the returner.

Punt – Punting is a bit more of a variable in youth football than the adult game because there is less consistency in the kicking of the ball. Never the less, the punt squad can still change a game. They’ll need to block and tackle all they can to prevent the opposition’s returner making too much progress.

Punt return – Normally the returner will be a receiver or running back from the offense who has the speed and catching ability to make a big play. The accompanying team will need to be good blockers.


It’s vital that a coach understands the three key areas of the game, and that when the kids pull on their football uniforms, they understand them too!


Check out this link for more coaching tips:

UCLA at Texas A&M, Sept. 3 – College Football Matchup

College football matchup 2016

During this offseason, Kevin Sumlin has faced the departure of quarterbacks, old coaches leaving and replacements coming in, and a scandal involving an assistant coach’s Twitter. He certainly needs some positivity to help turn this new season around.

With UCLA visiting, the Aggies have their chance to regain some lost confidence. Plus, the game will take place at Kyle Field, where other important games such as Tennessee, LSU, and Ole Miss will also occur later on. Last season UCLA ended on a low note, so a starting victory couldn’t hurt. Josh Rosen, quarterback for the Bruins, will also have the chance to get in the running for the Heisman.

Other Key College Football Matchups

There are numerous other college football games that you absolutely can’t miss this year.

Grab your beer, buddies, and chips because these will all be great games:

Which matchup are you most excited about?

Funnier than NBA Bloopers: A Bad Lip Reading

NBA Bad Lip Reading

We all love sports bloopers. So much in fact that just yesterday we covered our favorite NFL blooper highlight video of the 2015- 2016 season.

In case you ever wondered what the players say to each other at the line of scrimmage or on the sideline after a big play, that is a video you can’t miss.


But, today is all about the basketball.


And the NBA’s bad lip reading highlights of this year’s playoffs will make it difficult for you to decide which sports video blooper is funnier.

Have a look below:


Alright so now that’s you’ve seen both the NFL’s bad lip reading blooper and the NBA’s; which one is funnier?