Preparing to Run a Wing-T Youth Football Clinic

Preparing to Run a Wing-T Youth Football Clinic

Starting this coming Sunday I’m running a private clinic for local 8th graders, most of whom played in our youth program last year. The idea is to have a spring non-contact football opportunity for kids moving into the high school program as a transition. Given how many teams in greater Portland are running the Wing-T now, we will likely open this up to a broader audience next year.

I don’t have much to say about the clinic yet because we haven’t started, but I thought it could be helpful to share details on how we are organizing it. I’ll report back a few times during the next 6 weeks to update you on how things are going.

We are calling the clinic “Wing-T Academy” and are charging $100 for 5 sessions of 2 hours each, happening on most Sundays from now until the first Sunday in June. We are skipping Mother’s Day and Memorial Day weekends. We have expenses including field rental, insurance, equipment, and T-shirts. I made it clear in the invitation to the Academy that if the fee is a problem we will waive it.

We are using each week to review fundamentals related to each of our core Wing-T series. If you have my Wing-T playbook these will look very familiar:

  • Week 1 – Buck Series: Buck Sweep, Trap, Boot
  • Week 2 – Belly Series: Down, Counter, Down Sweep, Down Pass
  • Week 3 – ISO series: ISO, ISO Sweep, ISO Pass
  • Week 4 – Power series: Hammer, Counter XX, Hammer Pass, maybe Power Sweep
  • Week 5 – Passing game: our 3 step drop passing game, including some 7x7 action

As you can see this is an offense-only clinic. The progression of the series allow us to incrementally introduce key concepts and build on them throughout the Academy. We surveyed each player (and parents) for a position preference: quarterback, running back, and offensive line. We are going with each player’s first choice, and right now we have 4 quarterbacks, 7 offensive linemen, and 18 running backs. There are a few linemen from the past that are interested in giving it a go as a running back.

Wing-T Academy Practice Plan

I have a detailed plan for the first week, and I’ll tweak accordingly for the following weeks. Some key attributes of the plan are:

  • In the first week we need to do more teaching / talking than I like to see, but that’s normal for a first session. We will take 10 minutes for dynamic warm-ups the first week to teach our routine, but in subsequent weeks it will be just 5 minutes.
  • We have mostly 5 minute blocks for drill sessions, but will incorporate “teach then drill rep” the first week. Many of the drills will be repeated in following weeks so there will be only a 30–60 second review before we get into it.
  • The emphasis for QBs and RBs will be on precision footwork, blocking, and faking. This means many of our backfield mesh drills will be done with bird-dog, without the ball.
  • In week 1 we will only have about 20 minutes of team play run-through, again with rapid reps just like I’ve talked about before in a past post about conditioning. In week 2 I plan to follow the dynamic warm-ups with 5–7 minutes of on-air plays in a “team takeoff” period. This will allow us to review the plays from the prior week and get the team focused.
  • We will conclude the practice with a “flip it” session where the QBs and RBs will learn offensive line drills and the linemen will work on backfield footwork and plays. In addition to throwing in a bit of fun, this will help later in the Academy when we run some 7 on 7 and want to include the linemen in the skill positions.

I plan to film a lot of the Academy so will be sharing examples of all of this in the coming weeks.