While the Canadians love their Hockey, in many areas of Canada, football is very popular. I had the pleasure of conducting a coaches clinic near Vancouver last week and then had the privilege of running a practice for a group of 5-6th graders the following evening.
It all started a few years ago when a coach by truc tiep bong đá the name of Terry Hamilton brought the Single Wing Offense to British Columbia and the Vancouver area. Terry’s team went 16-0 that season and won the coveted Provincial Championship. Others took notice of Terry’s success and the following year there were about 25 Canadian coaches at my Seattle coaches clinic. The following seasonTerry’s team again went undefeated and won the Provincial Championship, winning the title game 72-14. The real surprise that season were the Chilliwack Giants, who shocked everyone by rolling through the playoffs to their first ever Provincial Title at 5-6th grade. Chilliwack is the team that came down to Nebraska and played us last season, Single Wing versus Single Wing.
Lawrence Smith, the Chilliwack organizer for that trip graciously invited my family up to stay with them, put on a coaches clinic and spend time with his family in the unbelievable beauty and friendliness that is British Columbia. They seem to almost take for granted the beautiful snow covered mountain views you can see from their backyard. Same goes for a huge breathtaking waterfall and state park complete with signs to watch out for the bears just 5 minutes from their home. Another 10 minutes away we spent time at a quaint mountain village with a public swimming area and great local dairy and ice cream. More on that later, let’s talk about some nuances and changes that make sense for Canadian youth football.
The Canadians play on a larger field, the Canadian field of play is 110 yards long by 65 yards wide, rather than 100 yards long by 53â…” yards wide as in American football. The Canadian endzones are 10 yards deeper than the American ones as well. The Canadians are allowed just 3 downs to make a first down and the defense must align at least 1 yard off the line of scrimmage.
Chilliwack offensive coordinator Lawrence Smith pointed out this difference and then asked why we drop stepped when we pull. We drop step to both create space for the pulling lineman to pull, but also to open his hips in the direction he is running, while keeping the shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage in order that the puller can spy the Linebacker he is attempting to block. Since there is a full yard between the offensive and defensive linemen, there really isn’t a need to create space and the footwork for the pull may have to be rethought. In American football, we have our linemen recessed a bit and we consistently are able to play on the defenses side of the ball due to superior technique and the painstaking work we put into getting our first 2 steps down faster than our opponents. But with a full yard of space, does a drop step still make sense? I’m still debating that one.
One point that doesn’t need to be debated is the offensive linemens angle of attack. In the US, we preach a first inside step at a 30 degree angle. But since the Canadians have that 1 yard cushion, I found the angle of attack had to be adjusted a bit. Using the GOD rule, the “inside gap” assignment block had to be made at a 45 degree attack angle for the first 2 steps, while the “on” assignment had to be made at about a 60 degree angle. Some things you just can’t solve without having some on the field hands on experience with.
The wider field makes the option off of pressure on the Spinner 26 or Flash 26 a play that makes a lot of sense and these kids executed it quite well. The Canadians also allow you to motion multiple players and the motion can be toward the line of scrimmage. If I were coaching in Canada, that would mean a series where 2 backs were in downhill motion from opposite directions meshing to a spinning fullback.
Hats off to the Chilliwack organization and team. They showed up in force to practice despite the fact that the entire area was in a frenzy over the Vancouver Canucks NHL team playing on TV at the same time as we were practicing. Vancouver is trying to win their first ever Stanley Cup and over 50,000 people were watching the game in downtown Vancouver on giant open air screens. Every home in every neighborhood seemed to have 5-6 cars parked in the driveway, getting together to watch the game. Yet this pocket of dedicated football enthusiasts showed up ready to practice and we got after it. Thanks again to all the great people in the Chilliwack area, good football and great friendly football people.