Coach Bob Whaley – Youth football coach for 5 seasons, High School Offensive Coach 30 yrs.
Coaching the pass game for youth players of the Pee Wee, Midget, or older boys takes a lot of patience and a methodical approach to finding and teaching the various steps to a successful pass game.
Many times, you may be able to teach a limited pass game to players of limited ability, and get some success out of it. Especially if you like to run the football and opposing defenses are loading the “box” with 9 defenders. Later on in this article, I will illustrate a “Bunch” pattern that requires a Quarterback to be able to throw less than 18 yards and looks like a run play.
Finding your Quarterbacks on a new squad: The first basic step is to line up the Quarterback candidates on the goal line and see how far they can throw. Using the Pee Wee football, they should be able to throw a minimum of 25 yards. (I have had several boys over the years that have thrown over 40 yds.)
The second step is to time them. It has been my experience that the faster a kid is, the better athlete he is. This is not always the case though. An athlete at your level should run a minimum of a 6.2 sec. 40 yd dash. (I have had some kids run close to a 5.0 flat, and occasionally better as they get closer to the H.S. freshman age. Your skill people should be closer to 5.0. I did have a freshman team a few years back with a lot of inner-city kids that had 5 boys that ran 4.6 sec. 40’s.) Boy, did we have speed!!!!!!! It is probably best though, to use speed as a strong influence rather than a limiting factor in choosing your Quarterbacks.
The third step is to find out how coachable the kid is. Can he follow the simplest of orders? Can he make his body do what his mind asks? Is he a good influence on his peers? Is he a leader. I recently had a freshman boy that was one of the best natural leaders I have ever coached. They come along once in a blue moon.
Unfortunately, you really must teach leadership, and hope some of it sticks.
The fourth step is to teach hand placement under the center. For hand placement, we teach pointing the right (for rt. handed Quarterbacks) forefinger straight down the center’s butt crack, pointing forward, well under the center’s butt, with the left hand along side of the right, with the thumbs together. It is important that the center bring back the ball to a spot that feels natural underneath and as far back a feels comfortable.