By Ryan Desrochers
Liberty High School (AZ)
Communication is vital to the success of any good football team. On defense, it can be the difference between a sack or turnover and a big play giving up points. While there are numerous ways to communicate to your team on the field, from hand signals to large display boards, one that I have used with great success in the past is a color-coded wristband system coupled with a matching call sheet. The system is flexible enough so that your best players can always be on the field, even at a position that they may have no necessarily practiced much at during the week.
Where to Begin:
The first thing that needs to be considered when developing your wristband is how individualized do you want to make them. You can make them custom to the team you are playing each week or have your system on the wristband for yearlong use. I chose the latter and printed the wristband, cut them out, laminated them, and they last for weeks, if not the whole season, of daily use. We put our entire front and pressure package on one wristband. If we wanted to run a stunt out of our 4-man front, we would signal in the four-man front, Under or Over, then the call from the wristband. For example, Under Pirate would be Under, then Navy-5.
The next piece that went into the design of our wristband was the placement of items within the wristband. We tried our best to put all our line movements and 1 backer pressures on the top level of the card, on the bottom we would put our five- and six-man pressures and our 4-man line stunts. Because we used the same wristband throughout the season, we allowed the players to keep them in their locker and study them, so they could become familiar with calls and their locations. There were calls that our players knew by heart and would not need to look at the wristband.