Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Play Calling

Posted by admin September - 13 - 2010 - Monday

I have already received numerous requests for my “Ready List” that we use for play calling purposes during the game. Apparently after 2 games, some coaches are realizing that they aren’t as prepared to call an offensive attack as they may have hoped to have been.

This is another “chapter” from my book, 101 Little Things that you can read about if you consider purchasing it.

In essence, I found that we were doing a good job in scouting our next opponent and preparing during practice, but when it came to game time, I was lacking in the ability to make the calls that created the big plays. I self scouted myself and found out verrrrrrry quickly: I was NOT calling those plays that I had deemed to be the “key” plays that would hurt the opponent’s defense the most! I needed some kind of “script” to guide me. I looked at Bill Walsh’s ideas about scripting the first 25 plays, etc— but found it too constrictive. But, I liked his idea of having plays prepared for those “special” situations; i.e., 3rd and short or backed up inside your own 5, that you run into during the game. So I borrowed some of Coach Walsh’s concepts but came up with a way to have some flexibility with calling the plays I wanted but… limiting myself to those plays that we had decided as a staff were the (potentially) most effective plays.

Thus, the idea of the BIG 5. These are listed at the top of the Ready List in bold print. After having spent so much time preparing, I wanted to be sure that we were running these 5 plays the majority of the time when attacking the defense.

I would have our Pressbox Spotter checking off each time we ran a “Big 5” play and the result. At the end of each series, he would report to me which plays we ran and what worked. If I saw that we weren’t running the Big 5 enough, I knew that the next series we had to get back to those plays.

At halftime, we would evaluate what worked and what didn’t. It sometimes required adding a play or dropping one down the list. In most cases though… the plays that we had decided on during Wednesday’s post practice staff meeting were the ones that were working and we needed to stick with them.

It gives you an organized “system” for play-calling instead of being haphazard in what you call.

If you would like a copy of a Game Plan/Ready List, you can find one in the book (please buy a copy!!) or email me through the “comments” section of this website.

Good luck and God bless you as you progress through your season. If I can help, please contact me!

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