How to Take Advantage of Older Lighter Rules When Coaching Youth Football

On its face the older lighter rule makes a lot of sense, if a player is very small and may struggle with playing in his own age group, let him play “down” an age group so he has a chance to play and compete. In my mind if you have a very small first year 11 year old player that weighed 70 pounds, this rule would allow him to plqay with 9 and 10 year olds and give the plyer the chance to learn the game and get meaningful playing time in an effort to build a love for the game in him. In this particular case, the rule would have met its goal.

Age is a very important factor in youth football. The league commissioner for Omaha’s Heartland Youth Football League did an in-depth study of the ages of the teams in our league in 2001. He found there were very significant correlations of average age of teams to wins and losses. He broke the study down to the average number of months the age of each team was and invariably the oldest team in each classification finished in the top 3 in the standings and the youngest team in each classification finished in the bottom 3.

In my first year of coaching youth football, I coached in an age 8-10 “draft” league where the coaches are given only the birthdate and weight of the player to make the draft selection. We were not given the players name etc, basically a blind draft with the exception of the age and weight data. This league had an older-but-lighter rule. As our turn in the draft came around we just selected the largest players available, while the team next to us the “Dolphins” chose lots of 11 year old “older-but-lighter” players that were quite small, as well as medium to smaller 10 and 9 year คาสิโน olds. Our roster was filled with bigger 8s and 9s and a few 10s. As it turned out, the Dolphins were the perennial bullies of the league and had won an incredible number of back to back league titles. They knew what they were doing and that age was far more important than size. They went on to win the league title again that year. That season, we had just one older-but-lighter player and he turned out to be our star player, our tailback and star linebacker.

In many youth football leagues there is an age cutoff, in many leagues it is August 1st. So whatever age the player is on August 1st is what the league uses to determine age for that football season. If a player “Joey” is age 10 on August 1st and on August 2nd he turns 11, according to the league the player is 10 years old for that entire season. So if the age grouping is age 8-10 and an 8 year old player just turned 8 on July 31st, this 8 year old would be playing against a player “Joey”, that is 4 years older than him. Age is important, but so is the date of the birthdate. In 2003 I had an “Unlimited” age 8-10 team that had 4 players that turned 11 in August. Needless to say, that was a huge advantage for us.

Now just imagine if you had a lighter 11 year old that had a birthdate of August 3rd, now you have a 12 year old playing 8 year olds. That would be darn right dangerous for some 8 year olds if that 12 year old player had 4 years of football plays under his belt.