6-2 Youth Football Defense

By FirstDown PlayBook on Feb 28, 2022

FirstDown PlayBook has a strong opinion when it comes to the youth football 6-2 defense. We think you should run this defense unless there is a strong reason not to. We know of no other youth football defense that simplifies the teaching of defensive principles.

Here’s why we feel this way. A youth football 6-2 defense essentially gives every defensive player a gap assignment. Generally speaking, your tackles have the A gaps and your ends play the C gaps. Your outside linebackers will play the D gaps. The inside linebackers solidify it by defending the B gaps.

Of course there are variations of this and the gap responsibility can be switched up. The important thing is that, as a youth football coach, you are teaching fundamentals and technique. One of the most important building blocks of defense is gap responsibility. How to win your gap is and always will be coached at every level of football.

The other thing that a 6-2 defense does is allow you to narrow your technique teaching. You can take a defensive end and be very thorough about how to play a 5 technique. All of the critical things like stance, alignment, assignment can be reinforced over and over.

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If your 10-11 year old leaves a football season understanding what a 9 technique and a D gap is, that is progress. Progress that the young player will be able to build on. If they want to continue playing football as they grow older these building blocks will help.

The final reason we love a 6-2 youth football defense is that it is practical. We are still waiting to see the 10 year old quarterback who is going to take a game over with their arm. Most youth football offenses who are coached correctly will run the football most of the time. After all, they should be teaching blocking and ball security at this young age, not how to run a spread offense.

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Are there reasons to run something other than a 6-2 defense? Maybe, youth football describes a lot of things. Maybe you are coaching in an 11-12 year old league and the quarterback can actually throw the ball accurately. If this is the case then a 4-4 youth football defense gives you more adjustment flexibility.

You also may be in a situation where you have one dominant inside player and only three or four defensive linemen. This could be a reason to run a 5-3 youth football defense. There is nothing wrong with these youth football defenses. However if you want to keep it simple and stop the run game our vote is for a 6-2 youth football defense.

Did you know that FirstDown PlayBook offers 10 youth football clinics too? Learn more here.