Archive | February, 2011

Terminology: Backside Contain

22 Feb

Backside contain is protection for those times when an offensive play changes direction – like a reverse, or counter, or bootleg.

Like containment on the playside, backside contain is about keeping the ballcarrier bottled up in the backfield and allowing the pursuit from the interior defenders to catch him before he breaks “outside” into the perimeter where the defense is weakest.

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The Five Foundations of Coaching

20 Feb

By Steve Nichols
Mile High University

What we need in a coach are what I’ll call the “five foundations”.  Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Technical proficiency
  2. Teaching
  3. Motivational
  4. Role Modeling
  5. Managerial

Technical Proficiency

What separates most football fans from coaching is the knowledge required to coach.  Not only must a coach “know” about the game in great detail, he must also have experience.

To this day, my favorite commentary on coaching experience comes from Coach Gruden.  Not long before Gruden’s Super Bowl victory over the Raiders (with the Bucs), Gruden granted an amazing interview where he discussed how a young guy like him could be an NFL head coach.  The most memorable part of the interview was when Gruden talked about all of the letters he receives from the hundreds of folks that want to come coach for him.

Gruden didn’t cover up his amusement at some of the letters.  Many of them were from people who had played a lot of Madden NFL games, and (because they were undefeated or had won gaming Super Bowls) felt that they were ready for the fame and glory of NFL level coaching.

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Old School: The “A” Formation

15 Feb

Hashmarks were closer to the sidelines in the 20s and 30s than they are today, so offenses favored running to the wide side of the field.  As a result, formations were routinely unbalanced to that side which created a pronounced strongside.

This was particularly true in the fledgling NFL, where power running was the principal method of moving the chains and, when it came to power, the Single Wing ruled.  So did the Notre Dame Box.

(Single Wing)

(Notre Dame Box)

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Zone Block or Not?

15 Feb

So you just watched some college or pro team run crazy through an opponent using a Zone scheme and you’re thinking you want to do that.  Why not, it sure looks simple with everybody stepping to the playside.  But before you do, consider this: it isn’t simple!

Zone Blocking is sophisticated.  It requires two things that are scarce at the youth level: time and skill.  Time to teach it and rep it and the kind of skill that comes from experience with and hopefully mastery of basic blocking technique.

If a kid can’t Drive Block, he can’t Zone either.

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Best Taught Subject…

11 Feb

By Coach Parker
Coaching Youth Football Zone
I was reading over Twitter this morning and came across a Tweet by Coach Dave Cisar ”Football may be the best-taught subject in American high schools because it may be the only subject that we haven’t tried to make easy.”

I like Coach Cisar and his Winning Youth Football program, probably because we both believe in Single Wing formations and good practice organization.  Perfect practice will lead to a successful game.
Coach Cisar’s quote about football as the  best taught High School subject reminded me of a story in Hall of Fame football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s autobiography, Bear, about what Hall of Fame basketball coach Adolf Rupp told a Kentucky faculty group investigating his basketball program.

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Common Coaching Errors and How to Avoid Them

9 Feb

Here is some food for thought from a guy who not only won a few games but developed the 5-2 defense.

Bud Wilkinson
Former HC, University of Oklahoma
Winner of 47 straight games and 3 National Championships

General Comments:

The best coach is the one who makes the fewest mistakes; the one who does the best teaching job; the one who is the best organizer.  Writing the X’s & O’s is not the most important thing.  There are 22 variables in a football game.  A coach must be a salesman to the extent that when his team loses, they don’t blame him or the offensive or defensive system, but rather themselves.

Errors in Teaching Methods:
1.)  FAILURE TO USE TIME EFFICIENTLY.  Failure to recognize the time factor available to get the job done.  Planning makes for valuable use of time.  Too long on any one thing produces boredom.  When boredom comes in, learning goes out.  Football players have a short attention span.  Hold to time schedule.

2.) FAILURE TO EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE OF THE DRILL.  Tell the player WHY he is doing what he is trying to accomplish and he will do a better job.  Explain WHY then show HOW.

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Terminology: Bubble

7 Feb

A bubble is the space or void between a Linebacker and the line of scrimmage.  It’s a soft spot in the defensive front that offenses routinely attack with a running play.

The bubbles pictured below are over the Guards.  Where they appear in other defenses depends upon the scheme being used, but it’s easy to see why offenses will attack them.

The bubbles in the College 4-3 defense pictured below are over the Center and the Offensive Tackles. They’re generally about 5yds deep which gives the LBs time to read and react to any play.

The offense pictured below is attacking the Mike (middle) Linebacker in the bubble over the Center (65) in what looks like a beautifully blocked “Iso” play.

How to Film Football Games or Practice Scrimmages

2 Feb

Coaches have specific needs for game and practice footage.  We are not looking for NFL films highlights.  We are looking for video we can use to evaluate the entire teams performance.

First off, set up as high as possible and centered.  If you can get in the press box or on top in many stadiums, that would be perfect.

Do not zoom out too much.  We do not want to see the entire field.  We want to see the players, not empty grass.  We do not need to see anything off the field.  Focus on the action.

Close up shots are not often necessary.  The only time to close in on the players is after the play ends and they are unpiling and going back to their huddle.

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