Greggl1

Playbook Progression

7 posts in this topic

Hi Guys,

2nd year coach 9 and 10 year olds. I have been using a combination of several of your playbooks for the last couple years but really wanted to pick your brains on calling plays. Several coaches ( like Orange) have multiple options of the same plays and I am just wondering when you start the game and set the tone, are you staying in the same formation for a bit. Are you running a few times to set up the pass? Passing to start to set up the run? When is the time to throw in a reverse? Do you call your fake reverse immediately after your reverse or do you wait a couple series to run that play again?

Do any of you set your playbooks up to run the next play in numerical order or do let the defensive formation dictate your play selection? Just would like to be a bit more organized this year and know exactly what I want to run. Would love to hear some of your guys thoughts on this.

Thanks,

Gregg

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Coaching Youth Fooball - Football Plays

Every coach is going to have their own style and philosophy when it comes to play calling. One big factor in my play calling was based on what my stat person was telling me in between series on ball touches. I always had a few developing players on the team, so it was important to me that my best players weren't running over and over.

Aside from that, I decided to run certain plays, pass or run depending upon what I saw on the field. We'd run some basic stuff and I watched for their weaknesses and exploited them. Sounds pretty simple, but it usually worked, unless we were playing a purely athletic team. Takes a bit more work to be competitive and still spread out the ball touches with this style though. Some coaches have scripts and run based off of that. I was more of a spontaneous play caller. I watched the plays develop and went from there.

I had a play called Red Ghost that had a receiver going on a fly pattern opposite of the direction of the hand off in the backfield. We'd execute the hand off first and I watched to see if he was covered on the fly. If not, next play I'd probably go for the pass. We'd tell the runner to wipe his hands on his pants as if he was going to receive the hand off again and make the best fake of his life.

I also had a play called FLOOD that had everyone lined up next to each other on one side of the center. Everyone but the center went on slant routes in the same direction, the center took a step back and came back in the opposite direction for the pass. QB looked hard at slant routes before dumping off to the center going the opposite way. After running that, we'd run it again later but have one of the outside guys run a slant then cut back deep on a fly pattern. We'd still act like the pass was going to the center, but throw deeper to the fly route.

My style was to take a play that had two or three options from the same look and watch for the "next play", if that makes sense. I also had a stat guy and my assistant watching, they'd tell me in between series what they were seeing too. That helped the play calling.

At the 9/10 range, execution of fakes and looks will be your best weapon. In other words, if you train your kids to execute killer fakes and train your QB to look opposite first and then go primary. It really does boil down to how well you can execute a handful of plays vs. how many plays you call.

Hope that helps!

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What I like to do is similar to Coach Rob in that I like to plan to try to get all my players atleast a touch. I have a tendency to call my initial plays in a way that probe the defense and are giving some of my players that are not world beaters a chance to make a play. I gameplan ahead of time the order in which I HOPE to have the game go. I also have a list of plays that I feel very comfortable about that I look to choose from in situations in which I need a play to keep the offense going.

At 9-10 years old I am perfectly fine showing them the real play then showing the defense the fake version on the next play, although I usually only like to do that when I either A. See defense is overcommitting one way, B. Defense is fundamentally playing unsound and/or not adjusting to my different formation looks, or C. We have had some good success on the "regular" version of the play, if defense sees you are having success at a given play they want to "shut it down" and usually opens the alternative options (fakes) up a lot more.

When things are working, playcalling is simple, I just run through my script (in our league a whole game ends up being around 25 total offensive plays or less) or focus on who hasn't gotten the ball yet. If things are not working for whatever reason I start trying to get the offense going with some plays I feel we can execute well to start getting some kind of rythm to the offense.

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Also to add: I experimented some, with some good success, of having a few different groupings of 5-6 plays to exploit certain looks I was getting from the defense, sometimes can't anticipate everything but I had a list pregame of: 1. What I wanted to do if they were playing man to man, 2. What I wanted to do if they crowded the middle. 3. What I wanted to do if they didn't adjust to a trips formation (we play 7 on 7). 4. What I wanted to do if they spread out to match up with our alignment. + some other things I could think of.

The point is that I could get the next play in quickly as I already had the next play ready to go.

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Thanks for those replies. As part of your situational script, do you use a coaches call sheet? So all those situations you described ( crowded middle, cb pressing your spread wr, short distance for midfield or goaline, 3rd and forever, zone cover 3 vs 2, hybrids with many in zone plus man up on your burner rb or receiver)? Just trying to figure out if I should plan like that and if having a call sheet really helps? Thanks

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I do use a coaching call sheet of sorts, more of my own creation at the moment.

At the moment my thoughts are that I really don't need a different play for 1st and 10, 2nd and 6, 3rd and 2. Realistically any play in playbook has potential to get atleast 5 yards. I do have some plays set aside that I feel have higher potential to pull me out of a 3rd and forever. For me the situational gameplan given the length of the games we play and my goals of the game, are going to make things more complex for myself than they really need to be.

That being said I try to think about the various plays I have in my playbook, what do I want to attack with each one? What are the strengths and limitations of each one? As a coach I find myself constantly at odds with how complex my playbook should be, as I don't want to sacrifice tools that I might need, and I also don't want to sacrifice execution of a play and try to do too much. So when installing the playbook that I intend to use, I try to put the plays in that I feel will best match the talent level I have (modify them as needed), but ensuring I have the main tools I feel that I will need given the defenses I expect to play and the likely adjustments/overadjustments/ and mistakes I anticipate the defense to make.

To kind of walk though what I do, I have a list of 10-15 plays for each half that are planned around the kids I plan to have on the field. Out of those first 10 plays I have written in 7 plays (1x for each player) and 3 other plays that I want to run, put in an order that I will hopefully attacking defense, as well as seeing how they are responding to some of my different looks.

So Play 1. I go in and already know what I am going to run. If it is successful and we have a good positive play, (or even if we don't) I tend to go to the second play, unless I see something unbalanced or unsound about the defense, in which case I jump over to my packaged group for what I want to attack. If things just flat out don't work on first or second play and its 3rd and forever, then unfortunately have to try to jump to one of my plays that I have a high confidence in both the player and play to potentially get big yards and get offense moving again. If things are working and I have no compelling reason to jump around, I have on some games just ran through my script in order, when things are working playcalling is easy, its when the team is asleep at the wheel that playcalling becomes much more challenging.

My reasoning behind doing this is a variety of reasons: 1. I put a lot of thought between games on how I want to attack the defense and how to try to get each player the ball, I trust my judgement of the time that I spent working on it in which I am not rushed and can plan it better than I do for my judgement of just grabbing first play that comes to my head. 2. I really want to put all the kids in the best chance to succeed as well as give them as many opportunities as I can. I feel by trying to get the play in faster, we can get lined up faster and at the end of the game that might amount to more offensive plays that we get to execute as the game goes on, also delay of game penalties are real drive killers and 99% on the coaching to prevent. 3. It is much more relaxing to call a game when you already know what you have a play ready, often times things come up on the sidelines to distract you, or you want to re-enforce a behavior or correct a behavior that you saw moments ago in the game to a player.

Your mileage may vary, ultimately do what makes sense to you, if it isn't working don't be afraid to change things up.

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Its funny , I let my 12 y o run his own plays from a wrist band.. I used to call them until I realized he has a pretty good feel for the game!

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