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The Trap Play – The Giant Killer of Youth Football Plays
A mistake many of us coaches make is that once we get an answer to a question, we stop asking questions or doing research. Most of us take the easy way out, especially if it confirms our preconceived notions. I’m here to tell you that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of very successful youth football teams across America that are snaring as young as 6 years old. Not unlike Ross LeGrande, Ross is from Ohio and his 7-8 team was the best pitching team I’ve ever seen. His team was a master of running backs and blocking. In many of the games I’ve seen of his Championship teams, they only ran 3 plays, interception, interception and tackle, and goal-wise interception accounted for about 40% of their tackles.
A lot of guys who email me tell me that the Block Back trap from the single wing offense, which we call the 31 Trap, is one of the best football plays they run. Don C at Maryland averaged nearly 20 yards per carry for his 8-10 year olds last season. It’s one of my favorite soccer games, but many people think you have to have a bunch of Einsteins in your youth soccer team to run it. This is simply not true. I have watched hundreds of youth teams pull and trap well on film and have personally coached 5 different youth soccer teams who had no problem doing it. Remember, I’m an offensive line coach, and I’ve never played offensive line at any level, and we probably practice less than you do.
Dom is a great football game for many reasons. Offensively we like to double team the defensive block. We have very little size or athleticism on the offensive line to move someone one-on-one, so we like to use double team blocks and slant blocks. When that defensive tackle moves back with double handles and slant blocks, he starts coming real hard, real fast, real low, if not, we’ll roll him all day. When he starts coming hard, we just let him run free and BAMMO he gets hit by a guard coming out of nowhere and that usually pays off big for us.
WHAT IS HAPPY DOING NOW? Should he play it slow and get turned around by double teams and crooked blocks all day or should he charge real low and fast and get eyeballed by a guard with a head full of steam, hmmmm, quandry. It’s been a great tactic for us, when we play a team that has a very dominant defensive game that eats our lunch, we trap him a few times and man oh man, he slows down, the brakes come on . So what does the poor kid do when he slows down to “read” the play, he’s being pulled by our double teams and carving blocks? He will play the game and our problem will be solved.
Think about it, was there a team you faced last season that had a defensive line that dominated your team? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a series of football games that neutralize him? I hate youth football coaches who say ONE PLAYER hits them, good football coaches find ways to stop one player.
Learning to draw is very simple and is covered in 3 simple coaching points from page 218 of the book. Dave Rimington, former Outland Trophy and College Football Hall of Famer, said if we taught it right, he wouldn’t change a thing. Our trap plan is on page 167 of the book and can be run out of almost any football series you run. Don’t exclude trapping from what you run at the youth level because you’ve never done it or taught kids how to trap in the past. Trapping is easy to teach and is a very dangerous game of football. The trap works better the better the team you play.
In contrast, the trap hits much faster and can work against very fast teams. On the contrary, he has little chance against very athletic teams who can take games down. The trap hits quickly and catches the ball faster than any reverse game, making it a low risk, high reward game.
Of course, one of the caveats is not to waste soccer practice time on a bunch of pointless drills, curls, and conditioning. Teach kids how to play soccer well, learn how to block and pull perfectly, not champions of lean or agility drills. The right football training methodology and priorities along with the right football plays face teams that make them a real nightmare to play.
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