Small college football has taught me how to get the most “bang for my buck” out of limited resources and limited time. Because of this, I have also simplified my O-Line techniques to maybe 10 total techniques that they must master in order to be able to execute our entire playbook.
By Anthony Franz
Offensive Line & Offensive Coordinator
Trinity International University (IL)
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First, let me tell you that this type of training comes from my belief in repetition. I believe that the team/unit who has more reps of a scheme/technique will win that play. If my OL base block drill gets more reps than your DL base defeat drill… I believe I will win that rep or at least increase the probability that we will. I am not saying that athletic ability does not play into my thought process, what I am saying is that I can create talent through quality repetitions. Thus, closing the athletic (talent) gap between your defense and my offensive linemen.
I do not have the luxury of having the pick of the litter when it comes to O-linemen therefore, I must be intentional about my player development. Developing complete O-linemen is a long process and I believe I have created a system that speeds up that time.
There is only so much time in the week. So, when building your practice plan keep in mind:
- We are trying to master techniques that show up on game day
- If it doesn’t show up on game film… We don’t rep it
- If we don’t rep it… We don’t run it
Small college football has taught me how to get the most “bang for my buck” out of limited resources and limited time. Because of this, I have also simplified my O-Line techniques to maybe 10 total techniques that they must master in order to be able to execute our entire playbook. I do this because if we can rep 10 techniques 10,000 times and our opponents practice 30 techniques 5,000 times…We will win. I am looking for mastery of skills and techniques, I do not want to create a Jack of all trades and a master of none.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”- Bruce Lee.
When you boil down your play book to 10 techniques/skills it really cleans up what your practices look like. We have all heard the 10,000-rep rule- that it takes and average of 10,000 reps of a skill/technique to gain mastery. So now my goal is to get my athletes to that 10,000-rep mark with each skill as quickly as possible. All I then must do is rep them in practice… Rep them a lot and a ton of different ways. (If you want more reading on the subject I recommend “The Talent Code” By Daniel Coyle)
I build my practices in a Part-Part-Whole teaching method. Where I break the plays down to the smallest skills (Part) and build on those skills (Part), eventually ending in the team period or pod period (Whole) where they put it all together. An example would be working a lead and a trail technique in a double team separately (Part). Then combining them together in a 2v1 double drill (Part). Finishing in a pod period where we work a 2v2 or 3v3 front side or backside of a play or a team period (Whole). The athlete gets time to work through the skill multiple times before having to execute it in a game scenario. This allows for freedom in “part” periods for them to work through the intricacies of the skill and begin to master it or make mistakes. Then in “whole” periods get to put those skills to practice. It is important to note that I grade all “whole” periods.
A bonus is that the players know exactly what techniques they need to master to see the field (Because I give them the list and grade them regularly). Which has cleaned up a lot of the playing time discussions I was having previously.
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- The downloadable drill list template that Coach Franz uses to teach his 10 total techniques to his offensive linemen.
- The “minor” and “major” segmentation of drills in how he splits his offensive linemen into two drills per five minute segment.
- Examples of the split group rotation he uses during game week.
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When building your practice philosophy, it is important to remember if it does not transition to what you are trying to accomplish on game day then why are you doing it? We run an up tempo-fast paced offense and we need to have practices that mirror that philosophy. Every coach is a little different in their “Why”. My practice philosophy why will always come back to repetitions create mastery of skills which maximizes talent.