Youth Football Practice Plans (Template Included)

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: April 22, 2024

Youth football practices must be engaging and fun. It’s the only way to keep players coming back. It’s important to have a plan for each practice so that you, your coaches, and even the players know what to do.

In this article, we will show you how to run a football practice, what the best practices are, and how to keep your coaches organized.

Be sure to read all the way to the end so you can get your free practice template.

Youth Football Practice Plan

The biggest frustration for youth football coaches is keeping kids engaged. In the “TikTok” era, kids’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. To get the most out of your practice, you’ll need to keep your players engaged from start to finish.

This gets easier the older the players get, but if you’re coaching young players, this may seem like a difficult task. However, we’re here to help you get started in the right direction.

Practice Template

We’re going to use the practice template pictured below. While it may seem complicated, we found it to be the best resource for keeping your coaches on the same page.

youth football practice template

First, we recommend having shorter periods. At the high school level, we like to make all of our periods either 5 minutes or 10 minutes. While this may not seem like that much time, we found that this time structure keeps the players focused.

You can extend these times by 5 minutes for youth football players, but we don’t recommend going over 15 minutes for one period.

The reason is that if youth football players stand still for too long, they naturally start fooling around. We want to make sure the kids are moving at all times.

When you download our template below, we recommend uploading it to Google Sheets so your coaches can update it live when they are at work.

When scheduling your football practice, we recommend breaking it up into 3 periods.

Individual Periods

Individual youth football practice periods
Individual Periods are In White

During individual periods, each position will work with its position group. For example, quarterbacks will go with their quarterback coach, running backs will go with the running back coach, and so on.

This is where players will work on their footwork and stance, as well as start and learn schemes. The goal of individual periods is for players to know what they are supposed to be doing fundamentally by the time they hit the group periods.

If you’re looking for drills to do in your individual periods, we recommend checking out our 150+ Football Drills For Football Coaches.

We recommend having one coach blow the whistle to rotate periods. This is often the coach with the loudest voice and can get everyone moving. Once the whistle blows, the players know that it’s time to rotate periods, and they will start moving.

Group Periods

Group Periods are in blue
Group and team periods are in blue

The next period is the group period. During this period, for example, your quarterbacks and running backs will get together to work on handoffs, and the quarterbacks and wide receivers could get together to catch passes.

On defense, the linebackers and defensive line can meet to work on run fits and get lined up. The goal is to use these group periods to structurally work on and put together your offense or defense.

Team Periods

Group and team periods are in blue

Team periods are where you put everything together. This means 11v11 or even 7v7. The point of this period is to move as fast as possible. As a coach, you should run plays that your youth football players will feel comfortable running on game days.

These periods typically will take the longest, as you’ll need to huddle up and get everyone set.

90 Minute Youth Football Practice

The goal of every football practice is to get as much work done as you can in 90 minutes. Sure you may go over, but if you can aim for 90 minutes, you will get the most out of your players.

After 90 minutes, physical stamina and attention span decline. When working with youth players, it’s especially important to keep them moving to keep them engaged.

Following our practice plan, you should be able to get all of your coaches on the same page and get your practice done within 90 minutes.

Tackling Drills

We categorize tackling drills as team period drills. This is how we recommend you practice them for the ease of scheduling. We created a resource for the best tackling drills for youth coaches that you can implement directly into your practice.

When practicing tackling drills with youth football players, we caution you to see which players are scared of contact and which ones aren’t. This is where rugby tackling drills come in handy.

Your job as a youth coach is to keep every kid safe. Separate the bigger players from the smaller players when doing hitting drills. This way you can see who needs work and who is more profecient in their technique.

Once you find out who is afraid of contact and who isn’t, split them up into two groups. The players that shy away from contact slow things down for them and teach them head placement, how to wrap, and how to finish. This needs to be done with stationary ball carriers or bags.

Having them line up 5 yards apart from each other and yelling at them to be tough isn’t going to teach technique. If you need help tackling drills, please feel free to email us or reach out to us on Twitter, and we’d be happy to help!

Youth Football Practice Plan Template

Below is a youth football practice template that has everything that we mentioned above.

Get Your Free Practice Template Here

It’s separated into two tabs for one platoon and two platoon teams. One platoon means that your players play both offense and defense. Two platoon means you have players specifically for offense and specifically for defense.

As a youth football coach, you will likely use the one-platoon template.

As mentioned, we recommend putting this template on Google Sheets so that all of your coaches can go in and edit it. As the head coach, we recommend you set what periods should be done (from a team perspective).

Let your position coaches create their own drills and give them ownership of their position. This will allow them to get creative and study their position.

This template has been used by high school and youth coaches nationwide. It’s the easiest way to schedule an organized and efficient youth practice.

About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.