Split Back Formation – Youth Flag Football Plays

The video below shows just a few of the running play options you can utilize with a split back formation. Because running plays start to lose their effectiveness as kids get older, I’ve found that this formation is good up to 9 years old.

With this formation, the running backs should line up about 5 yards behind the quarterback. This will give the quarterback some space to move around the small area as he is executing the various plays.

Based on the direction and type of handoff (dive vs sweep), you will want to shift where you want the receiver. If the defense has a defender lining up in front of the receiver, it will make sense to move the receiver out wide. However, if no one is directly covering the receiver, moving him into the slot area may occupy one defender.

The basic play out of this formation is to have each running back cross behind the quarterback. The quarterback will fake the handoff to the first running back and then give the football to the second cross. One key is teaching the second running back to wait until the fake has been completed before starting his cross.

A second option out of this formation is to fake a dive and give to the cross. The idea is to get the defense moving toward the middle of the field with the fake dive.

Instead of the cross, another option is to have the quarterback fake the dive and then roll out a little with ball before handing off on a sweep. For this play, having the receiver line up in the slot may open up the outside for the run.

If my team has been attacking the edges all game and the defense starts to widen out, I’ll mix in a straight dive or double dive.

With the double dive, have both running backs sprint straight ahead at the snap. I will hold the QB back as the rest of the offense lines up. Then based on how the defense lines up, I will instruct the QB on which side to hand off.

These dive plays can be effective with both your best running backs and less skilled players. With the less skilled players, all it takes is the first defender to miss the flag and your RB will gain a nice chunk of yards.

With teams younger than 7 years old, this formation could account for 3-4 of the running plays you have in your playbook. However, as stated before, as you move up in age divisions, this formation becomes less effective.

For some help on the defensive side of the ball, check out my one on one flag pulling drill. This video explains some of the basics in one on one defense.

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