Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Selection taken from the coaching canon , "Finding The Winning Edge".

A critical part of the game planning process is to identify the skills each player needs to perform the steps (tasks) involved in a particular play or play sequence. After identifying the skills needed by the player, a team must have a process in place for ensuring that their players develop these skills so that each play or play sequence is productive. Taking steps to develop these skills in every player occurs in two stages: isolating the skills and teaching the skills.

  • Isolate the skills. The first step in the game planning process should be to analyze the tasks involved in the assignment of every player. Next, a decision must be made regarding whether the players have the ability to master the necessary skills. If it is determined that the ability of the players does not mesh with the skills required for a specific task. If they do not, the head coach must either discard this part of his offensive plan or alter the play or play sequence to fit the level of talent.

    Whatever the head coach’s decision, his decision can be made easier if he strictly adheres to one of the cardinal principles of training – specificity/ Specificity refers to the fact that “an individual gets what he trains for. “ All factors considered, the more specific his players’ preparation for a particular game, the better their performance.
  • Teach the skills. Collectively, teaching players the skills they need involves an evolutional process of promoting, enhancing, practicing and refining each facet of the capacity being developed. In this regard, the rudimentary teaching progression of “hear it – see it – do it” is as applicable as it ever was.
Employing the proper teaching sequence is possibly the most viable way a coach can impact the game, certainly at the position level. Accordingly, as the head coach, you must make a decision as to what level of the teaching hierarchy you wish to utilize.

For example, with regard to teaching skills to your players, you must decide whether to rely on having the players learn by rote memorization or to require them to utilize critical thinking skills and acquire a more comprehensive knowledge of the offensive system. You should keep in mind that the more players are taught to critically analyze their responsibilities and to understand the relationship of these responsibilities to the total structure of the offense, the more productive the system will be.

Walsh, Bill - "Finding The Winning Edge", 1997, pg 210 - 211

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna start learning the West Coast Offense this fall. I actually started a little while ago but I haven't gotten to the "meat" of it yet.

I've identified all the tools I need to learn it: a (Walsh) playbook, any instructional books (I bought Ron Jenkins' book, "Coaching the Multiple West Coast Offense"), any material written by Walsh (can find some stuff online), and collected some videos on QB play.

I'm gonna read and hear (videos) about it. For QB play I can even practice drop steps to help memorize how it ties into the overall system, so I can even "do" it.

While some level of memorization is going to be a part of learning any offense, I really hope to get the critical thinking part in by learning more about "series" football, how the individual plays come together to form a whole, the teaching progression of techniques and why that is important, etc.

That's just how your article relates to me, anyways.