Being the offseason, I would hop over to Dumcoach and post your question.
At 8-10 90 percent of players are rookies.A quarter will play any form of high school football and just under half will quit by the time they are in the 7th grade. You will have some late bloomers obviously so rule number one is do not pigeonhole kids in a position. Rearrange and evaluate every player annually. Later on, if a kid has played a position before, we do give him a SLIGHT advantage at that position but we assign kids where they help the team each year.
When I am looking at backs, it depends on the offense I am looking at. If I am running the Dave Cisar SW, which I would 100 percent of the time at that level-this is what I am looking for. If I run my version of the Wing T, I am looking for something slightly different.
SW 1 back(passing back)-good runner, tough inside tackles and above average in aggression. Ok speed, decent arm and accuracy. 2 back(fullback)-somewhat shiftier, good speed, average in aggression but obedient. 3 back (blocking back)- most aggressive player, best blocker, good speed and decent body control. 4 back-(wingback) Home run threat, fastest player on team, good hands and above avg aggression, doesn't have to be big. VERSATILE
Wing T QB-Affable hard worker, kid with most heart, good arm strength and good accuracy. Must be somewhat athletic and aggressive with good decision making abilities. FB-see BB description RB- good size and speed, aggressive, and great body control. WB-same.
A method I use for evaluating backs is I rate them at the five key charachteristics that we evaluate through tests such as 20 yard dash, king of boards, 3 cone drill, catching station etc on a scale of 1-10. If a kid is in the top of the age bracket, I add a point, and if they have played the position before I add two. I than rank him in comparison to other hypothetical backs on a scale of 1-10. Anything three or below means he would be in the bottom third of athletes, a 4-5 is usually a backup who can contribute for most teams, a 6-8 is a very good player who would start on most teams, a 9 is one who would be a feature on almost all teams and a ten is a manchild who is one of the top two players in the league-(I have only given out three of those ever). Those scores get added up and the top three are selected and than we fiddle around from there and assign positions.
As far as coaching them up, work on the main fundies of blocking and tackling, have them walk through their steps with the QBs and linemen ad nauseam. Work certain drills that involve cutting, running in the open field, blocking and preventing fumbles, but only occasionally. Repping plays and form helps tenfold in comparison to drills in my opinion
Any youth coaches out there? I coach a team of 8-10 year olds. I need help at developing running backs. Any suggestions?
How many total hrs. of practice time do you get per season? How many pre-season?
You might want to look at developing HB/TB & FB types separately. They may both be running backs, but one will run more straight ahead & be hard to stop, while the other will run around more & be elusive. I would either look at what you need for your preferred offense, or choose your offense based on what you've got.
If I had enough practice time, I'd try to teach every player the skills of every position. That's more practice time than almost any of us get, but a few of us are allowed a good deal of pre-season clinic/camp time (albeit possibly without pads) in which you might want to focus given days on particular position skills.
You can break down RB skills into:
getting the ball (handoffs, pitches & snaps)
holding on to the ball (in general and while being hit)
FB extra yardage skill (going into a tackle with lowered shoulder, delivering the hit)
HB extra yardage skill (broken field running, reading blocks)
blocking (lead, pass protection)
Those are ranked pretty much in descending order of priority & particularity to RB positions.
im going to expand just a little bit in how we approach RB training with brand new players
Running and Vision: --Form Running --Agilities --Angles and Hitting the Hole with acceleration (this is a good time to teach your play system..without a football) --Avoidance / block reading
these things should be done as early as possible WITHOUT A FOOTBALL and the focus being on proper running and eyes up!
Ball Handling: --How to carry a football in one hand..we teach the 5 points of contact: Hand+Wrist+forearm+Bicep+Ribs --How to carry a football with 2 hands...6 points of contact - cover the points --How to run with the football --How to Transition a football from one arm to the other while running --How to Receive a handoff --How to Receive a Pitch
Blocking: --How to properly Block on the run (lead block) --How to properly Pass Block
Recieving: --How to catch a football --Routes (without a ball first, then with a ball)
coaching running backs is all about the small details and being nitpicky. expect perfection, do not let a kid off with a bad 'rep' do it over and over and over till he gets it right...even if he has to be taken aside by another coach.