You spend all week studying film, opponent tendencies, drawing plays, teaching your players in the film room and on the field; you have put together what you thought was the perfect game plan only to see your team fall short. Here are four reasons why coaches sometimes find themselves in this situation.
Researchers’ Note: This report was written by the coaches on staff at Game Planner Pro. Game Planner Pro is an easy-to-use, web-based game plan management software that allows coaches to enter in their game plan once, at the beginning of the week. The software then automatically creates the wristband, practice scripts and game day call sheet. For more information on Game Planner Pro: Click here.
Does this scenario sound familiar? You spend all week studying film, opponent tendencies, drawing plays, teaching your players in the film room and on the field; you have put together what you thought was the perfect game plan only to see your team fall short. The next day you study the film and all you do is ask yourself why did I do this or that? Why were we trying to be something that we are not? Your film session reveals players making mental mistakes and not playing like they are capable of playing.
Here are four reasons why coaches sometimes find themselves in this situation.
Mistake 1: “Hey, We Can Do That…”
It never fails, you are watching game film on your opponent and another team is just moving the ball up and down the field at ease, you think to yourself we could do that. The problem is, the other team is built to throw the ball 60 times a game and your team is built to run 60 times. You watch the passing schemes that they are having success with and you immediately run to the dry erase board to draw them up and install them in this week’s game plan. It is okay to borrow one or two plays from someone else but you don’t want to change your offensive identity week-to-week. Teams become good at what you do by committing to it and practicing it, over and over. As a coach you get a better understanding of what defensive schemes may give you problems and how to make in game adjustments because you know your offense inside and out.
Mistake 2: Eight Pounds of Potatoes In a Six-Pound Bag
Another very common offensive game planning mistake is trying to add too many wrinkles to a play. Most commonly this will happen when an offense is moving the ball down the field well. At some point, you will likely get greedy. Instead of just lining up, running a play and trusting that your players will make the right decisions, you try to give them too many checks. It always seems to start off very simple, if they give us a certain coverage we should throw a quick screen, if they give us a certain front but the LB is out of place we should check the run to this gap. So what starts off as one play now has two or three different components to it. The offense is now at the line of scrimmage thinking about what they might have to do on three separate calls instead of just one. It’s going to slow them down and they will not be as successful as they could be. Remember all eleven players have to be able to execute the play, not just the quarterback.
Mistake 3: Forgetting Who ‘Brunga’ to the Dance
A very common saying is often made after you have been burned by the mistake in the previous paragraph, “Coach we need to get back to the basics.” Mistake number three is not focusing on the basics of the game plan from the start. I know being simple in your offensive approach can seem boring but its imperative that you keep it simple and focus on the basics. What are the basic plays that you know your offense can execute, once you have established that try and find as many different formations and backfield sets to run them out of. There will be a time when it is necessary for your quarterback to make checks at the line of scrimmage, keep those checks simple and have him only look for one element of the defense.
Mistake 4: Watching Film With Rose-Colored Glasses
Finally, at some point this season you will be guilty of not honestly evaluating your personnel. It is far too common to watch another team have success throwing a certain route or combination that you already have in your playbook and then want to add it to your game plan. Is the play successful because it’s a great call or because one of the receivers that is in the route combination is a 5 star prospect who is taking two defenders out of the equation leaving the flat route wide open? Knowing what your players skill sets are and then designing your offense to highlight them is what makes a great offensive coach and game plan. Do not be afraid to keep it simple.
So knowing these common offensive game planning mistakes will hopefully help your approach this coming season. By knowing what to avoid, you may be able to focus purely on what truly earns wins.
…Improving Your Game Planning, Efficiency and Communications
Check out this video showing how coaches are using Game Planner Pro to improve their game planning.
How Game Planner Pro Works: After scouting the upcoming opponent and discussing the game plan objectives in the weekly planning meeting, the coach enters the game plan in to Game Planner Pro at the start of the week. Plays, scenarios, personnel packages, formations, field position and everything else that needs to be considered for play calling and the opponent are all managed with one simple entry of the plays at the beginning of the week. Changes throughout the week are easily made.
Once the plays are entered, the coach is finished with his computer time, and there is no need to enter anything for the remainder of the week. The application will break down the volume of plays into practice scripts, which organize the offensive practice schedule for the two primary days of the week where the team practices the game plan. Practice scripts are easily printed and shared with anyone.
Come game day, the coach is ready and well prepared with both wrist bands and the game day call sheet which is neatly organized, clearly labeled and color coded. These essential documents are easily printed on any printer.