Interview With Youth Football Coach Dave Cisar

Here is the text of an Interview I did with the Single Wing Sentinel. The Sentinel is a great resource for Single Wing coaches as it showcases High School teams around the country that are running the Single Wing Offense.

10 Questions with Dave Cisar

Single Wing Sentinel: What drew you into coaching?

Dave Cisar: When I was growing up, the game taught me lessons that I used later in life in school and business. Had the game and coaching not been there and those lessons not been taught, I doubt that I would have enjoyed the success I did in those other areas.

I also attended several youth football games in various leagues in the area in the years prior to getting involved. It was appalling to see so many poorly coached teams and the lack of fundamental skills as well as lack of quality sportsmanship from so many of the coaching staffs. I knew many of these kids were either going to quit playing the game or never learn the same things from the game that I did.

SSW: Tell me about your first year as a coach. What were the results?

DC: A friend of mine had a son playing and invited me to assistant coach with him on an expansion team of all rookie players age 8-10. I was coaching the offensive and defensive backs on a staff of 5. I had very little input on the schemes or priorities, but that was fine, because I didn’t have the experience or knowledge to make it work that first season. Most expansion teams of all rookie players lost every game their first year, we won 3.
The following year I was made head coach of that team and we went 11-0.

SSW: Why and how did you start using the “Single-Wing”? What have been the results?

DC: When I started my own program in inner-city Omaha in 1998, the Screaming Eagles. We had multiple teams in every age group and always coached one or two teams myself. We were playing in the best league in the state. This highly competitive league had teams in it that had won countless “Unlimited Select” National Championships in Daytona Florida .

This was an unlimited weight league with “running back” weights. Many of the teams selected their teams from over 200 kids, the remainder get put on “B” squads. Players like Eric Crouch and Dave Rimington played in our league the best of the best.

We just could not compete running our base “I” formation option football and be competitive in this league. Nearly every team was much bigger and in most cases faster than us as well. We had to make a change as our teams were not very successful in those early years. We needed a system that would allow us to compete with fewer kids, smaller kids and less athletic kids. UFABETคาสิโน

My first year running it was an age 8-10 team of misfits that no one gave a chance to do very well. We had just one player over 100 lbs. We went 11-0 and averaged over 30 points a game. The next year I took a “Select” age 8-10 team and we went 11-0 and averaged about 40 points a game. My first 6 Single Wing teams went 62-2 in 5 different leagues, with a different team every year but one.

SSW: Why would a coach use the single-wing?

DC: The way we run it, it gives teams that do not have size or numbers a chance to compete. We always have numbers advantages at the point of attack with double team blocks and easy blocking angles. We pull linemen too, so that gives us extra muscle at the point or attack and is fun for the kids as well.

The Single Wing is a team offense, one that involves all the kids and does not rely on one stud player to carry the team. Last year I had 12 different kids score touchdowns and my leading rusher has come from 3 of the 4 different backfield positions in the last 5 seasons. Unlike many offenses, you do not need a stud to carry the team at certain positions.

It’s deception, power and just fun for the kids and it wins games. Our studies show teams that consistently lose, lose players. It is the single biggest reason kids quit playing youth football, because their teams are losing by big margins every week. The Single Wing helps us retain players.

SSW: How would you describe your style of coaching?

DC: I’m very well organized and I pay attention to details, sort of a perfectionist. My goal in coaching is to get our team and players to play to their God given potential, whatever that may be. So in essence we are playing against ourselves, not the opponent. I’ve had teams that played terrible and won 34-6 and I’ve had teams play great and lost 22-14. It’s about playing to potential, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.

I’m also there for the other team. I care about those kids too, no need to embarrass others or turn anyone away from the great game of football.

SSW: What are the hardest parts of coaching?

DC: Getting players, coaches and parents to buy-in to playing to maximum potential. Playing poorly or less than what you are capable and still winning is not a win in my book. Conversely playing well and to potential and losing is not a loss in my book either.

Having to step away from the Omaha program was difficult, but since we are 90 miles away we had no choice. Unfortunately without me holding the coaches responsible for following the system, those following it have done very well, those that have not as expected have done poorly. As expected, the numbers are down up there. Up until 2004 when I was there all the time, our teams dominated.

SSW: What is your philosophy about coaching?

DC: Play to potential, play to win, coach all the kids and play all the kids. Reward the kids that are listening and working hard with more playing time, but find a time and place in the game for all the kids to play.

Be perfect with an integrated scheme that fits the grouping of kids you get each year. Teach rock solid fundamental football and don’t waste practice time with things that have little if anything to do with football like cals, agilities or conditioning.

Delegate to assistant coaches, duties they can handle. Coach up the coaches and give them tools like detailed parameters and decision trees to make their job one they can have success with.
Have fun accomplishing your goals by being creative, you can often accomplish your goals much easier if you are having fun. Be a role model, you are one if you are coaching youth football. Be beyond reproach and practice “overt” over the top sportsmanship that you can be proud of 10 years after you hang up your whistle.

SSW: I know that you have completed a study on successful and consistently poor youth football programs across the country – what were some of the things you learned from this research?

DC: That could have been a book on it’s own. It was a gut wrenching exercise in many ways, to see such poor coaching and seeing hundreds of kids getting turned off from football. From my business career I’ve always been able to learn what not to do from those at the bottom, the same was the case in youth football.

 

 

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