Monday, April 27, 2009

First Day of Spring Ball

First day down and by all accounts it went better than expected. Though missing a few players, we are competently two-deep on both sides and established the Day One goal of setting the NASCAR tempo, d they are almost at the point where I can bet online for them.

Communication for the DBs was established and the Corners ate up the slide technique and divider rules. Things look promising for 4A District 1 next Fall.

9 Make State

Down in Baton Rouge on Saturday at the LHSAA Weightlifting State Championship at Robert E. Lee High.

We had 9 athletes place in 5 different weight classes.
For most of the lifters, it was their first competition and first experience performing the Clean & Jerk.

Junior Desmon Ethridge placing in the Snatch

** Note to self, do not teach the Clean & Jerk again wearing slacks and snake-skin shoes!

Friday, April 3, 2009

ID vs IQ: Proper Application of the Game

The game of football, likely more than any other sport, involves a degree of strategy that may seem unattainable without the superiority of dominant athletes or other ancillary aesthetics.

An interesting experiment demonstrates this principle. A novice and a chess master were allowed a quick glimpse of a chessboard in the middle of a game. The pieces were then removed and each person had to replace the pieces back on the board as accurately as possible. The novice was very inaccurate, but the master placed most of the pieces correctly. Next, the same pieces were placed on the board in legal but otherwise random positions. In that case, the master did little better than the novice.
What is the difference between the two situations? The chess master literally carries the organized memories of thousands of games both personally played and intensively studied by replaying famous games of the past. When the master looked at the first board, groups of pieces were seen in well-known configurations so that the board could be said, perhaps, to resemble a known defense of a familiar opening. These patterns were easily recalled from memory when the time came to replace the pieces of the empty board.
Clearly, much of what may seem to be remarkable intellect is more than anything else, the result of long hours of practice.
- How The Brain Works, Mark Wm Dubin

What are the cognitive psychological components of the abilities or talents that permit them to appear as outstanding - either speedily performed and quickly automatic, or performed in a qualitatively superior way?
Among the answers that have been proposed, is "chunking", as discussed in the literature on memory and chess playing, and "pattern recognition."
The Exceptional Brain: Neuropsychology of Talent and Special Abilities, Loraine K. Obler, Deborah Fein

Chess masters do not do well because they have superior IQs. They do well because they have mastered the domain of chess. This is simply because they know the facts and relationships between the pieces through an engagement with it. When you don't know the facts of football, or you have wide gaps in your knowledge, you can't enter that domain and know how it all fits together.

The first step in moving towards a mastery of the 100 yard swath, requires you to have access to the facts. The "facts" for all intents and purposes, are those elements that never change, that remain constant to essentially 'set the board'. Those facts would be a) formation b) coverage c) fits/seams/voids, and through these tenets we can build our logic-string outward. The second thing is, you have to have engaged in it so much, that it enters the level of your 'automatic' processes. In so that it comes out of you naturally.

Many times this never matures because, for whatever reason, we remain retarded by emotion(rah-rah), familiarity (comfort), pride(title-seeking), or our perspective becomes so focussed (position-centric) that we lose sight of what is established around us. The key to accellerating our maturity and growth in commanding the field requires us to challenge ourselves constantly (using logic, not emotion), and engage ourselves with the entire 22-man concert. The game can be so large and looming, filled with many variables, which is why it is required to take the Occam's razor to our beliefs and zoom-out to see the 10,000 foot perspective.

And in the grand scheme of things this really isn't ABOUT chess, which serves as the analogy for us to learn from. This was just a neurological study on chess players about WHY they are effective (pattern recognition).

you're running strong zone - WLB makes the tackle, what went wrong?

defense lines up with a press corner and the safety is deep and removed from the box - whats open/void?

immediately, you know what, who, and how things happen.

That is all that this is about.
Conditioning ourselves to see the blonde in the red dress

This same model applies to understanding current events - if you don't have a firm grasp of history your perception of what is happening today is distorted.

You magnificient Bastard!
I read your book!!

[pattern recognition]

This is why I figured I'd title it ID(identification) vs IQ (intelligence).
Being able to recognize patterns trumps however much you (think) you know.
Understanding how it all works together is the cog of functioning application of data.

Responding and setting up moves in chess is one thing, dealing with the incompetence of your opponent is another.

further reading;

I would also opine about Wide/Tight shots - game broadcasts really only give you 1/3 of the game and views from the sideline (depending on the pitch of the field) can be almost worthless (IMO). As far as seeing the totality of the game, I would make the case for the pressbox view (live) to take in the alignments, and see / write the patterns in our head. So, when we are pressed into 'duty' in a game, we can peek at this;

and automatically piece it together and KNOW (with a certainty) how it all fits together, that this will be the total picture;

Speed up the logic algorithm to diagnose what is going to happen on a given down by what you are presented.

As we process through the image, we kind of already are piecing the rest of the picture together.....eliminating alignments that would be incongruent, giving us a defaulted picture (alignment ) which defines the likely assignments of those players.

Which would probably explain why so many more defenses (NFL in particular) are living in some variation of 1/4,1/4, 1/2. This process goes beyond just defenses, though, and can be as easily used to recognize offense (alignment leverage, etc) probability/advantage.

Carrying this a step further, we typically talk a lot about how to game plan or organize the off-season schemes in terms of thinking like an economist.....gather a large body of data and review it with meticulous analysis, then come to some conclusion.

We're talking about developing thought-in-action, an immediacy of perception, a heuristic approach at handling the course of a game.

This is not a linear, step-by-step combining of cues - we are allowing the mind to act as a magnet, pulling in cues from all directions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Life as a client....

So, dream-come-true, I feel like I am in a great spot (coaching) and truth be told, I couldn't be happier. I get to do Oline & Secondary this year.

Even after I spent the last two-odd years studying Air Raid with whatever bootleg material and game film I could get my hands on, I'm experiencing life as a "System Client".

While I know there are many in the profession that don't "get it" and cannot fathom signing on to such an exclusive package, I think it certainly is the way to go. The amount of detail and material provided to fully immerse yourself in the system and come away with a bullet-proof solution to moving the chains and organizing practices. The System conference calls are a wealth of information and serve as a unending, year-long clinic every week. I don't believe there is a better bargain, for your money, out there.

Now, I'm sure there will be plenty of kinks to work out as we make our way through Spring Ball and adjusting in the Fall. I'm sure we'll have our growing pains at every position, but there should be some pretty immediate feedback and solutions available.

I'll update from time to time, and share what I can (thoughts). I put together a video playbook (NCAA/NFL cuts) of the coverages we will run (NO COVER 6!!! lol) for the players - 12 minutes for each example, that they can take home and get a feel for how to play routes, fill support, and how it all ties the rest of the defense together.

I'll be posting each coverage vid soon and hope to share vid of practices as it develops.