The season kicks off and that call you’ve been working on for 6 months just is not working. Run plays, passing concepts, blitzes, stunts or coverages. Whatever it is… it’s not working.
This is the 5 step process to evaluate that football play call before you just kick it to the curb. You’re always smarter in February than you are in September and October (or whenever your season happens this year!), so let’s figure out what the problem is!
There’s an old saying among option football coaches. OK, really it’s among all football coaches… mostly old football coaches.
If you can’t block ’em, read ’em.
Pretty simple. When you don’t have anybody that can take that guy 1 on 1, you always have another option.
Just make him wrong, no matter what he does.
That’s the premise behind option football. Make one guy wrong, no matter what he does.
For coaches running a true option football system, this is a way of life. Let nothing get in the way of reading the guy that’s causing problems.
Then there’s the rest of us. We run an offense that is not based solely on reading defenders. Are we left out of the option offense goodness?
In this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast, I’ll show you how to expand your offensive playbook using option football principles. Without confusing your players and causing a total disaster in the backfield.
Any time you decide to install a new playbook for your football team, you could run into trouble. It takes time to teach the skills your players need. It takes time for the coaches to understand how to teach those skills, too.
The knee jerk reaction when your team isn’t firing on all cylinders in the first few weeks of the season is to panic. Go back to what you were doing before. But that’s not the answer.
This week’s Football Coaching Podcast looks at how to make in-season adjustments when your brand new plan of attack isn’t working like you expected. This is how to get your team back on track with the changes you need to make to reach a whole new level of success.
Football drills are a big favorite among coaches. It's our thing. Standing there holding a whistle, watching your guys run around hoops and over bags. That's what coaching football is all about.
Except that most defensive drills are a waste of time for high school football players. They end up never translating the drills to the field. Today you'll find out the football drills that really matter at every defensive position to get your players ready to win on game day.
When they hit the football coaching scene a few years ago, defensive coordinators were scratching their heads defending RPOs. But while it's a great tool for offenses to attack, run pass options are not as mystical as they may seem.
If you've got a good RPO team on your schedule this season, you don't need to panic and change your whole defense. Follow the 5 tips for defending RPO's in this podcast to shut 'em down.
Using a creative evolution in the coverage package leading to a modified 2-Read Coverage in his 4-2-5 Defense, Hollis-Brookline High School Defensive Coordinator Fred Hubert helped lead his team to a New Hampshire State Championship in 2019. Find out the keys to the team's success and how this take the 2-Read Quarters Coverage package can work for your defense.
Week 1 of your season sets the tone, so you need to have your best offensive game plan ready to go. With the 2020/2021 season that doesn’t mean having incredible strategies, either. It means getting the most from your offensive playbook.
The game plan that wins this year is the one that’s tailored to your players. What they can handle. It’s about keeping it simple so they can play with confidence from the start. No matter what that defensive coordinator throws at you.
Unlike most seasons, you probably won’t get any scrimmage film this year. You’re going to get a couple weeks of practice, then jump right into that first game of the season.
You need to know all you can about the defense you’re facing before you can develop your offensive game plan. So study last season’s film. Anything you can get your hands on.
“Can I break this defense with formations? Can I break this defense with plays? Where is it not sound? What is it not ready for?”
Identify who they are. Not what you saw last year, but what that defense would look like if they had just a couple weeks to prepare. Because that’s what they’ve got.
Looking at what their JV team usually runs is a good start. Figure out the base defense. You aren’t looking for tendencies here.
Now it’s about figuring out if you can break their umbrella. Create seams in the defense. Take advantage.
Now you need to look at your own team. What you’ve seen in the past, and what you’ve seen in practice so far (if you’ve had that).
The best plays are the plays that work in practice. They are the plays that your players have the most confidence in running. So make sure in your offensive game plan you expect to call more of those!
“What do you feel like you can call on a 1st & 10 in almost any situation and guarantee that you’ll get 4 yards? You need to have that play in mind.”
You need a couple of calls in that game plan that you feel incredibly confident about. One is a play you can always get 4+ yards on 1st & 10. The other is a way to give your Quarterback some confidence throwing the ball with a simple pass.
Even in the best of times, game plans don’t win many football games. Its the sad fact of coaching. You do a lot more damage over-coaching with fancy plays that win on a napkin that you’d do under-coaching and letting your players play.
Formations are cheap. Plays are expensive. Don’t over-do it, but as much as possible use base blocking schemes with special formations, shifts and motions to put the defense in a bind.
“Script the first 10 plays, because you have an idea of things you want to see… but go off script in a heartbeat.”
You do want to script your first 10 plays, but you don’t want to be completely controlled by the script. If the first play call carves them up, keep calling it!
Finally, you need a plan for making adjustments throughout the game. The ASKA principle comes into play here, and pulling levers. Make sure you check out the ASKA podcast. It applies to offensive adjustments as much as it does to defense.
You’ve got the details on putting together that call sheet for Week 1 of the season. If you’ve got the right offensive system in place and your coaches are ready to teach the players, you’re in good shape.
Need help getting that offensive system just right? That’s where JDFB Coaching Systems comes in for your team. Clients get access to The Pistol Power Offense System plus all of my other coaching systems, web clinic archives, private message board and more.
Right now you can get instant access to the entire JDFB Coaching Systems resource library for 7 days for just $1: Click here to get started
There’s a good reason so many defensive coordinators are also coaching linebackers on their staff. The position is critical for High School and Youth Football defenses to stop the run. Many coaches put their best defender at an Inside Linebacker position.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a natural, instinctive linebacker to play the position then your job is easy. Just stay out of his way and don’t slow him down. For the rest of your guys, you need to coach.
Earlier this season on The Football Coaching Podcast, I shared the ASKA Principle that has become one of the core principles for our defensive coaching systems. On this week’s episode of the Football Coaching Podcast, we’re going in-depth on coaching linebackers using the ASKA Principle.
ASKA stands for Alignment, Stance, Key Reads and Assignment. It started as a pre-snap checklist (stolen from the TCU coaching staff) for our defensive players. It evolved to a checklist for the coaches, and then to the foundation of how each defensive position gets coached.
Each of those elements of ASKA gives you a lever to pull. By systematically seeking out weaknesses, and then pulling levers for solutions, you have constant improvement on your defense. Check out this podcast on Coaching the Levers Principle to learn more.
When you’re coaching linebackers using ASKA, there’s a lot of levers you can pull. Check out these examples of levers to pull with your inside linebacker group:
Listen to this week’s episode of The Football Coaching Podcast using the player below, or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!
Welcome to Coaching Football 101, class is now in session. Today's episode barely scratches the surface of all that a new football coach needs to know, but we only have an hour.
A football coaching friend likes to say that every man in America thinks he can do two things: grill and coach football (in 2020 you can add doctor to that list). But every experienced football coach knows at least half of that is not remotely true.
This podcast isn't the place to get into the details of coaching football. The little things like how to design a good play, decide which play to call, or figure out what drills to run during your practice. That's what a lot of new coaches are looking for. But in Football Coaching 101, we need to start at the beginning.
Instead, today's lesson is going to focus on 10 things every football coach should know. Young or old. Youth, High School, College or NFL. First year coaches and 30 year veterans.
Here's the list of 10 things every football coach needs to know that we'll kick off Football Coaching 101 with. You coach long enough, you'll learn all of these things through trial and error. Most of these I've learned through a lot of pain and suffering.
I want you, new coach, to skip all that. I want you to start out in the fast lane. It's a better way to live. I'll go into each point in depth in the episode, which you can listen to at the bottom of this post.
This is a great list to get started. But as I said earlier, it's just scratching the surface. There's a another great post on the most common mistakes youth coaches make here, but it applies to all coaches in my experience.
And then there's all the fun stuff you're really looking to learn. The X's and O's of coaching football. There's a great place to start learning more of that too, with JDFB Coaching Systems.
Coach Tim Snow wasn't thinking about spread formations when he first started studying the Pistol Power Offense System in 2015. That first version of the system looked a lot more like the traditional One Back Offense that I first learned from Coach Bill Mountjoy years ago.
But the great thing about the System is that it evolves. And as Coach Snow and the Winnisquam High School offense evolved in New Hampshire, so did their offensive playbook. The version of the playbook that won back to back New Hampshire State Championships in 2018 and 2019 uses a lot more wide open spread formations. But it keeps the same core principles and schemes.
Scroll down to listen to this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast and my interview with Coach Snow on the use of spread formations in the Pistol Power Offense System.
Versatility of the System
Coach Snow credits the versatility of the Pistol Power Offense System with helping his offense evolve to fit the players. Each season, the Winnisquam staff takes a look at what his athletes can do. Then they build the playbook around that, while keeping the core teachings.
After using a bruising rushing attack for 3 seasons, the talent the small New England school changed. It was time for a wide open attack. Starting in 2018, Coach Snow incorporated spread formations, the read option, and an expanded passing attack. That took Winnisquam to their first State Championship.
The following season, the offense continued to evolve. RPOs were added to open up the playbook for an athletic Quarterback who's understanding of how to read a defense continued to improve. Winnisquam rode that development all the way to a second State Championship in 2019.
They'll look to defend the Championship and three-peat (do I owe someone money for that?) in 2020.
Play Calling with Spread Formations
It's not just about the playbook. Coaches have to know how to choose what to use from the playbook. It's not just about spread formations. It's knowing what your athletes can handle, and what they can do best.
Season to season, you're selecting the plays and formations that define your identity. You need to adapt to the style that fits your athletes best. You also need to game plan each week for how you're going to attack the opponent.
Then you're looking at how to call the plays during the game. Play selection throughout the game determines the outcome much more than the game planning you do on the weekends. The Winnisquam offense has that down, scoring three times as many points in the second half as they did in the first half during 2019.
Listen to this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast to find out the simple process Coach Snow uses to determine play selection. Tim shares exactly what he looks for to determine how his team will attack their opponents during the game.
This is a great look at how the Pistol Power Offense is a lot more than just running the ball, or even lining up in pistol! Check it out using the player below, or search for The Football Coaching Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts!
Every coach has been trying to figure out just what's going to happen with the 2020 football season. From state to state there seems to be just as much uncertainty today as there was 3 months ago.
This week's episode of The Football Coaching Podcast takes a look at the questions your coaching staff needs to address to get ready. This is not about what's going to happen. None of us really know what is going to happen with COVID-19. It's actually about preparing your football program for what could happen this season.
There are multiple possibilities. Things could turn out pretty good (at least from a football standpoint). It could turn out very bad. This is not about any scientific or political beliefs you hold personally. It's about being prepared for very real possibilities.
From state to state, we will all be dealing with different situations. We've already seen different plans within the same state, like California and Texas. To keep track of what's happening around the country, there's a state-by-state look here.
Many states are still on track to start on time, or within a week to two weeks of the planned starting time. None of that is official until teams actually start stepping onto the field. But even for those coaches that are getting back to practice as expected, there are a lot of issues to plan for. This episode addresses the issues you need to expect in the 2020 football season even when starting on time.
Then there are states with a longer delay planned. Anywhere from one to two months. Several of those plans include shortened seasons. You're already dealing with a shortened off-season as well. How much do you need to simplify your playbooks?
Other states have looked at flipping some spring sports with the fall season sports, or moving football entirely to the spring this year. Those longer delays can open up a whole new can of worms - like totally flipping the weather dynamic. Is it better to play in 100 degree weather when you're just starting, or fatigued from the season? I don't know that answer.
And then there's the elephant in the room. What about a situation where you don't even have a 2020 football season? Not in 2020. Not in Spring 2021. Not at all. Scary, but a very real situation. One that Spring 2020 sports already had to face.
There's a lot of questions. This episode doesn't even touch on all the possible questions that could be asked. I'll be working with our JDFB Coaching Systems clients to get better insight on the big issues each scenario causes through the next 6 months or more.
One thing is sure. Teams that are prepared for the adversity of the 2020 football season are going to fare better than the teams that are not. There are opportunities for your program to get ahead despite all the uncertainty that has been caused by COVID-19 this year. Check out this episode for some of the steps your program can take to find those opportunities.
Coaching defensive line technique for young players can be frustrating. There's a world of bad habits and natural instincts you've got to break.
During Season 7 of The Football Coaching Podcast we've looked at how to use some of the core principles from JDFB Coaching Systems to solve problems. Those core principles include shows on coaching using ASKA and pulling levers for constant improvement.
Now it's time to apply those concepts to defensive line technique and solve those problems we see all the time with young defensive linemen learning the position.
Top 5 Defensive Line Technique Issues
Football is a complicated game. With JDFB I'm always working to simplify it for coaches. That will simplify the game for players. We're focusing on 5 big technique issues that Defensive Linemen at the High School level often have.
1. Staying Low: Every defensive line coach knows this one. We're constantly screaming about pad level. Low man wins! There's some critical levers to pull with your ASKA to solve this one. Honestly, if you can fix this problem your defensive line is going to be significantly better regardless of what else you manage to improve.
2. Eyes in the Backfield: You know that look. When you've got a defensive lineman trying to look over the shoulder of his blocker. That's not a good thing. Let's fix that technique issue too.
3. Getting Trap Blocked: Seems simple. Don't get up the field. But the levers you need to pull to solve that problem are a lot more complex. Kind of like telling a wide receiver to just CATCH THE BALL! We'll pull the levers to solve this defensive line technique problem.
4. Staying Blocked: The ability to get off blocks is critical for defensive linemen. They need to use active hands to get off the block. We'll look at some drills and coaching cues to make this happen.
5. Losing Quarterback Contain: It's not the top-of-mind issue for coaches. But this is a defensive line killer. Losing contain on an athletic quarterback when you have great coverage is a disaster. It often extends the drive for an otherwise sputtering offense. Find out how to solve this issue when you listen to the podcast.
Using the ASKA principle and the Levers method gets constant improvement for your defensive line technique. Follow the concepts that I'll talk about in this episode and apply them to any position on your football team if you want to keep getting better all season long.
This episode of The Football Coaching Podcast uses critical elements of JDFB Coaching Systems. You don't need to run every front, every coverage that we teach to get the most out of our systems. They are a framework for your football team to maximize the performance of your football players.
Click here to find out more about JDFB Coaching Systems and get instant access to 5 Complete Coaching Systems and all of the resources JDFB clients enjoy.
You can argue if it's the best, but the power blocking scheme is definitely one of the most used running plays in football today. On this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast, we're doing a deep dive into all the details of this great gap blocking scheme attack.
I'm biased. Power is a core run play in The Pistol Power Offense System. But the other primary blocking scheme is the zone run game. So we get started with a discussion about Gap Blocking vs Zone Blocking schemes.
Inside Zone and Outside Zone runs are like pattern matching on defense. That means they take whatever you do on the other side of the ball and use it against you. There's nothing soft about zone blocking. But there is a somewhat passive nature about zone blocking. We're letting you make the decision on how we're going to beat you.
With the Power blocking scheme, it's the opposite. This is a gap blocking play. The offensive line is going to create a seam where we want it, when we want it. Gap blocking schemes like Power use angles and numbers to create an advantage and open the hole whether you want us to do it or not!
Now that we've established the difference in gap schemes vs zone schemes, it's time to work through the rules of the Power blocking scheme. It starts with identifying the different types of blocks your players need to execute.
Down blocking is critical in any gap scheme play. Power is no different. Base blocks aren't used very often, but we'll talk about them too. The combo is the other major feature of the power blocking scheme - a double team at the point of attack against most defensive fronts. That's where you force the issue to create your run lane.
Of course you have the other two notable features of a power run play. The kickout block on the defensive end, and wrapping the back side Guard to block the play side Linebacker. There's intricate details of angle and footwork you've got to teach to get the most of out your play. Those details are also in the podcast.
And finally, you need a set of rules. When you're a Coach Simple, Play Fast, Win offensive coach you have to keep those rules in check. There can't be a lot of if-then situations.
I'm not going to blow your mind with the basics of Power. It's more about the little details. That's what makes this play work for absolutely any offensive attack. You use angles to create the running lane and get great at the play because you keep it simple.
Finally, this podcast closes out with a look at how versatile the blocking scheme really is. This is not just one play. In fact, in the Pistol Power Offense System we built an entire series around it. Click here to get my free 3 video series on the Power Series!
Power Read. 'G' Power. 1-Back Power. Counter and Counter Trey. You can get a lot of mileage out of this one single gap blocking scheme. So invest in it!
Listen to this episode of The Football Coaching Podcast to get all the details on running the Power Blocking Scheme. Then subscribe so you don't miss great new episodes coming out every week.
The biggest problem many coordinators will run into this season is not going to be not having enough play calls. It’s going to be having a defensive playbook that is too big. And for no reason.
When you’re using a Coach Simple approach, that defensive playbook needs to only include the calls you absolutely need. Especially with a shortened off-season. Check out this podcast to find out just how much you need in your defensive playbook this season.
This concept is a big one in run fits. Understanding horizontal and vertical seams, and how to pull the levers to fix those seams for your force defenders, is one of the fastest ways to improve your defense.
Seams is a fancy word for run lanes… or run lanes is a fancy word for seams. They can happen horizontal to the line of scrimmage, or perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. But the issue remains, when you have seams in your defense, you create run lanes for the offense.
In this episode we’ll explain what horizontal and vertical seams are, how they create run lanes, why they happen, and how to fix them. This is a critical episode if your defense has had trouble maintaining force on the perimeter.
Bishop-Fenwick High School in Massachusetts is a perennial title contender and their 4-3 Defense run by Defensive Coordinator Dave Dugan is a big contributor to that success. Coach Dugan joins The Football Coaching Podcast to talk about what’s worked in building his defensive attack.
Find out how this brand of the 4-3 Defense teaches simple Linebacker reads and a pattern match Cover 2 coverage to shut down their opponents. Plus you’ll find out how you can prepare your team with a short off-season - because in Massachusetts they do it every year!
There’s a reason defensive coaches make strength calls. But there’s a lot of thought that needs to go into those strength calls.
In this episode we’ll talk about how to make your strength calls fast, make them easy, and make them work for your defense. Because if they’re not helping your defense, they’re making your defense worse.
In some areas, coaches are getting to start working with their players again. In other areas, that time is still a long way off. But you need to have a plan.
I’ll share the 7 things you cannot do if you want to have success in the 2020 season when teams start getting back to work. Plus the plan for teams getting back to work in June, July, August and beyond.
Nothing has changed the way I look at coaching football in the last twelve months like the concept of pulling levers. It takes everything I’ve learned about coaching and puts it into a systematic approach to constant improvement.
I love the levers concept because it builds on the ASKA principle we’ve been using with our defensive position groups for several years. Now you can use that ASKA principle to create levers you can pull - like buttons to press - to get incremental improvement all season long.
No position group wastes more time working on things that don’t matter for their offensive attack than receivers. In this episode, we’re going to focus on what a Coach Simple, Play Fast, Win approach to Wide Receiver drills really looks like.
Cut the fancy ball drills. You just don’t have time for that with the 90 Minute Practice Plan. It’s all about blocking, and running precision routes with perfect timing for the receivers in this offense.
When I had my first chance to be a head coach, I knew I needed to establish a certain attitude in our players. Call it culture. But we needed a strategy to do it.
Randy Jackson is the author of Culture Defeats Strategy, but as you find out in this podcast, there’s a strategy to building culture.
Find out the keys to building that team identity, plus a ton of incredible nuggets you don’t expect. We had our JDFB Insider clients on hand to ask some questions that you’ll love to hear the answers to.
Alignment. Stance. Key Read. Assignment. I stole the ASKA principle from TCU several years ago. But it’s grown into so much more than it started.
ASKA is a pre-snap checklist for your players. But it’s the Coach Simple, Play Fast, Win measuring stick for coaches. If your ASKA is too complicated, your players are playing slow.
In this episode, find out what ASKA is all about, get examples of ASKA, and find out how it has become of the backbone principles of JDFB Coaching Systems (including the offense!).
Coaching Offensive Line has always been my true passion in football. It’s the most exciting position to work with for me. And I love working on the perfect footwork to make a block.
The right footwork turns an average offensive lineman into a great player. It can turn a bad player into an average offensive lineman. It’s amazing how focusing on just the first two steps of your offensive line footwork can change the entire fortune of a football team’s offense.
Looking for the best football drills for every position? You won’t find that in this episode. This episode is the guide to choosing which drills to run, and creating the drills you need to run.
It’s about being efficient. Effective. Getting results. Actually doing something with your coaching besides wasting your player’s time running around a hula hoop or fighting over a pad.
This episode is all about football drills that actually make your football team better at playing football. This is not rocket science.