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fballteam1By Justin Iske, Offensive Line Coach, Fort Hays State University

Coach Iske outlines three different ways to ensure that grading is something that actually instructs your players and helps them grow through the season.

By Justin Iske - @justiniske

Offensive Line Coach

Fort Hays State University

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Editor's Notes: Justin Iske begins his fourth season on the coaching staff at Fort Hays State in 2014. Iske coaches the FHSU offensive line and serves as the team’s strength coach. In Iske’s first three seasons at FHSU, he has coached seven All-MIAA selections on the offensive line, led by two-time second team selection Hawk Rouse in 2011 and 2012 and second-team selection Mario Abundez in 2013. The Tiger offensive line helped produce an average of over 2,000 rushing and 2,000 passing yards per year in Iske's three seasons. Iske came to FHSU after two seasons at Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he was the offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and offensive line coach. His 2010 team won the conference championship and led the conference in rushing offense, sacks allowed and kickoff returns.



In working on a number of different staffs and under several different head coaches, we have been exposed to numerous ways to grade game and/or practice film. The purpose of this article is to explain three different ways that we have used, and to focus on the one that we feel is the most effective at improving your players’ performance.


A lot of what we can accomplish as coaches is determined by our schedule. If you are a team that watches film the day after a game, there is not a whole lot of time to dissect your game film before you meet with your players the next day. When in a time crunch, the plus/minus system of grading is effective. The coach simply watches each play and assigns a plus (you did your job) or a minus (you didn’t do your job). At the end of the game, you take the number of plusses divided by the number of plays and that is the player’s grade.

Example: 55 Plusses / 70 Plays = 78.5%

This advantage of this system is that the coach can get their film graded very quickly. The drawback is that it is hard for the player to know what to do in order to improve based on his grade.



This system is a little more advanced than simply a plus or minus, but still allows for a coach to grade film quickly. Each player is assigned a two, one, or zero for each play. A zero means that you did not do your responsibility and had a negative effect on the play. A one is assigned if you did your job to a satisfactory level but it did not have a huge impact on the play. A two indicates that you did your job and had a positive impact on the play. In this grading system, you add the total number of points a player earned divided by the number of plays to get the player’s grade.

Example: 86 Points / 70 Plays = 1.23 Grade

This system has the same advantages and disadvantages as the plus/minus system. The player knows whether he had a good or bad game based on his grade, but doesn’t know how to fix it.


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  • The complete grading system he uses at Fort Hays State to evaluate his offensive linemen.
  • How he defines and evaluates the four common categories: assignment, technique, effort and factor and the overall formula he uses to tabulate their final grades.
  • The five weekly goals he uses to measure his linemen’s success and the benchmark percentages that correspond with each category.
  • Plus downloadable templates of the play sheet and grade sheet Coach Iske uses each week.

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Our number one job as a coach is to make our players better. We have found that the most efficient way to accomplish this is by giving our players immediate, thorough feedback on their performance. And by telling them exactly what they need to do to correct mistakes in assignment and technique.





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