Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Sun Tsu

Posted by admin March - 18 - 2015 - Wednesday

I watched a program on the Military channel last night that I think I saw about 5 years ago. This time, since I’m back in coaching, it was much more relevant. One of the experts they interviewed throughout the program made a point that Sun Tsu’s The Art of War book has been used by professionals in a number of different jobs. He even mentioned sports. It got my attention. I had to sit back and ask myself (so now I’m asking you coaches out there too!) what is my plan of attack? What kind of strategy do I use in coaching HS football? Do I utilize Sun Tsu’s concept of “occupying a territory” (based on the Chinese game of “go”) or am I more of a “chess player”— coaching a game of attrition? I felt like that was one of the key points brought out on the program.

I would be interested in hearing from any of my readers who have studied Sun Tsu’s principles in developing football strategy. Is there a book that you can recommend to me to read about applying Sun Tsu’ principles to coaching?

Any takers?? Thanks!!!

3 Responses to “Sun Tsu”

  1. Ben G says:

    Coach J,
    I believe that MCDP-1 Marine Corps Warfighting is one of the best publications a football coach could have. It is a short read, but addresses topics from the the human dimension in players such as fear, uncertainty and violence…as well as Coaches using speed, focus, and fluidity to concentrate “combat power” to deliver a decisive blow that will disrupt your opponent’s center of gravity/ exploit his critical vulnerabilities. I highly recommend taking a look and seeing if there is anything you can pull from it to put in your tool box.

    Semper Fi,

  2. Coach Correa says:

    I’m a strong believer in Sun Tsu 770 rule from the art of war before you can perfect and execute any kind of football movement or play for that matter. It has to be practiced and repeated 770 times. That rule is our base philosophy behind everything we do.

  3. DLovette says:


    I have read the “Art of War” several times. It is a book of wisdom I believe. The one thing I would pull from it more than anything is “If you know the enemy and know yourself, your need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Simply put, you better watch film and evaluate what you see.

    Thanks for what you do!
    Coach Lovette