Speed is king in all sports, but especially in Pop Warner football. If you have a player who can’t be caught, you will have a great season without having to do a lot of coaching. If you’re going up against a team at high speed, you need a game plan.
How your speed matches their speed will dictate how you design your defensive game plan. You must design a scheme to contain, or at a minimum, the fastest player on the opposing team.
I have become a big believer in the absence of surprises as a coach. I believe I use intense scouting, with full reports so that you get a feel for what you will be up against. A comprehensive screening report is your most valuable tool.
As a coach preparing the game plan for the opponent to come, the first inquiry a defensive coordinator should ask himself is who is the fastest player on the other team? You will configure your defensive backs and ends according to this guide. Their goal is to bring their speed back outside of your containment defender so he can run freely on the sidelines.
Your primary defensive strategy should be not to allow this to happen. You need to tell your players that they need to contain the speed of return. Using team defense, your containment players will force their rapid run towards midfield and where you are the other defenders. You can minimize the speed advantage by forcing him to run in the middle of your defense. It sounds easy, but trust me, it isn’t. It’s not impossible and with the right preparation you should be able to master the speed.
When designing your defensive plan, line up your defensive ends and corner backs a minimum of 4-5 yards closer to the sidelines than you would in your base set. This will make it difficult to run around the ends and freely access the outside. This helps the ends to see the clearance as it develops. When a running back sees a defender, their instinct is to run the other way, even if they are back in traffic.
The opposing offensive coordinator is quickly frustrated and has to redo his game plan live while the game is in progress. Even if you have a backup plan in place, it’s difficult to adjust it on the fly.
I’ve seen quite a few opposing coaches come in at halftime, screaming at his return speed, blaming the kid when he, as a coach, has no idea what’s going on.
In conclusion, the best way to cancel out speed is to have your opponent run down the middle. The other reward is that you pick up speed where you have more defenders to help tackle.
Source by Jim Oddo