Distributing Your Interactive Playbook

I’ve been consulting with a coach who has been creating an interactive version of his playbook with hyperlinks, animations and video. The playbook was created on his Mac with Keynote. He was working through how he would distribute this and came to the conclusion that he was limited by the technology because all of his players wouldn’t have Keynote on their iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone, and some have android devices. He seemed a little discouraged and sent me the following note.

“Coach, after looking through this I think I’ve come to the conclusion that there really isn’t any software or app that will allow me to do what I want to do in Keynote. If there was just an app or a viewer for keynote that would support the hyperlinks & animations I’d be set.”

While there is not an app to serve as a Keynote viewer, there are PowerPoint viewers available for OSX and Android.

The best app available for OSX devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod) is Slideshark. Slideshark preserves all of your PowerPoint animations, hyperlinks, sounds and embedded video. Slideshark is a free app (up to 100mb of storage for the user). It does require a simple registration process (enter email and create a password), but is the solution that coach was looking for.

The simple step in the process is that on his Mac, coach will have to export his keynote as a ppt file. If you created a PowerPoint on a pc then this would not be a concern. The only issue that you will run into with Keynote to converting to Mac is that animations will be lost. Most likely the animations are a big part of your playbook, so the only other suggestion is to use PowerPoint to build your playbook. Animations are not lost in converting PowerPoint to Keynote if you wish to do that later. Fortunately, the coach I was consulting with had only built some sample slides. He does have a pc available to create his playbook on PowerPoint.

To distribute your PowerPoint version of your playbook simply include it as an attachment in an email to your players and coaches. I would suggest providing the link to Slideshark so they can download for free it from the App Store.


I do not own an Android device, but some research indicates that Officesuite Viewer app for the Android platform will handle your needs. Include this link for your players and coaches as well.


To summarize, here are my suggestions for creating an interactive playbook which can be viewed on computers and mobile devices:
1. Use PowerPoint to create your playbook. Read my posts Playbook of the Future and Utilize Technology to Teach and Coach for ideas.
2. Be sure that your PowerPoint is easy to navigate by using menus and hyperlinks. Easy access to information is the key.
3. Distribute your PowerPoint through email or Dropbox.
4. Include links for the Slideshark app (Apple devices) and OfficeSuite Viewer app (Android devices)

I have been using interactive, multimedia PowerPoint Playbooks since 2005. Currently I am incorporating the use of PowerPoint, still shots, screencasts, diagrams and video into an iBooks playbook. It allows for the perfect mix of multimedia to create a very dynamic teaching/learning tool. I used this technology in my iBook, the first of its kind for football coaching. You can purchase 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays from your iPad by clicking the link below.


Share your knowledge

This summer I am working on an interactive coaches manual for the iPad to be distributed through the iBookstore. Like many of the paper versions (or digital paper versions) I’d like to put together a collection of clinic articles on offense, defense, and special teams. What I’d like to provide that those paper versions cannot is dynamic content much like that included in my iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays. The end product will be a mix of text, Keynote(PowerPoint), diagrams, still shots, screencast walk throughs, and game film presented in a very dynamic presentation.

If you are interested in submitting material for this project please contact me for more details at grabkj@gmail.com.

Don’t worry about your ability to write. As long as you can assemble a presentation and provide content, we can work through the rest.

“On Edge Coaching” plus an app to maximize it

This past February I was able to sit down and talk football with Kirk Barton, an Ohio State graduate assistant. Barton had an illustrious career at OSU and spent some time in the NFL before returning to his alma mater to earn his MBA while assisting with the Buckeye’s offensive line.

Our conversation covered several topics, but one point he made was talking about “on edge coaching” and the methods that Urban Meyer wanted his staff to use in teaching and coaching the Buckeyes. “On edge coaching” basically is the premise of keeping players on the edge of their seat at all times. The players are to be engaged in whatever activity they are involved in. They should be thinking, responding, and constantly quizzed and question in order to see that they have the understanding they need to be successful on the field.

Barton explained some of his methods including texting his players and asking them to diagram a certain play against a certain front. Likewise, our quarterbacks and I are constantly sharing ideas. Many times it’s just a picture taken on our phone of a diagram scribbled on a piece of paper. The concept though is that we are sharing ideas, or in Barton’s example, checking for understanding.

Engaging players with multimedia is a great way to hit multiple learning styles. In 2004, I uploaded my film of 7 on 7’s in the summer to my laptop and recorded a voice over for my quarterbacks. The idea was that the corrections we discussed in our meeting and review of the film would be there for them to review on their own later. That’s one of the advantages of being able to add notes to video or record a walk through explaining coaching points. Given the time constraints we have, that is nearly impossible in the course of a game week.

Playbook walk throughs and lectures that are recorded are a very valuable tool for installing and teaching our plays and systems. If the install meeting recall is limited to their notes without video, then there is some limitation to what they will be able to review later. Having the install presentation recorded in a walk through format can prove very valuable.

Back to the idea of on edge coaching, the tools that I just spoke of could be very valuable in providing feedback to your players. On edge coaching requires a little bit more immediacy for the player and the coach. Having spent a good portion of my career on the high school level, I know that there is very little time to watch practice. However, recording practice and reviewing it can be very valuable for your players, especially if you as the coach can find a way to provide feedback. Text and notes are good, but when they can link to something visual, now the feedback and the resulting adaptation in their performance is much greater.

I found two free apps for the iPad that allow you to be efficient as a coach and can help keep your players engaged and performing at their best. Watching film from the iPad is may favorite way to review both games and practices. There are limits what a coach can create on an iPad with video editing software. I like to be able to do things from my iPad without having to go back and forth to a laptop. Quizzing, questioning, providing feedback or a coaching point sent to a player that can be viewed either immediately or when convenient, and be viewed multiple times if needed certainly can be a valuable coaching method.

The two tools I found allow me to create a screen recording of my iPad with my voice and telestrated notes. I can do this on a still shot or series of still shots, or I can use a white board format. Both were very easy to use and share, but both work a little differently, so I could see using both tools depending on how you intend to use it. The examples I shared were created and shared in under two minutes.

In both examples, I was able to take a still shot of the video I was viewing from my my iPad in Hudl and use it to illustrate and record coaching points. As I said, both allow for a plain whiteboard to be used as well.

This first is called Screenchomp. Here is the link to the App Store:


Screenchomp allows you to use only one background image, so if I wanted to take multiple screen shots of the video to create a step-by-step walk through, each would have to be recorded and shared as a separate video. While this would still serve its purpose, I’d prefer to be able to have the step-by-step illustration in one video. The benefit of Screenchomp is that the shared video can be viewed on any device (iPad, smartphone, iPad, tablet, computer).

Here is an example of a Screenchomp. In this example, I have a quick quiz for the quarterback. It only took a minute to record this and copy the link into a text:


Screenchomp requires you to register your name and email and the process only takes a minute. The video goes to their cloud but it is not able to be viewed by the public (there is no searchable database for their cloud) unless you send it to Twitter or Facebook.

The other app that I used is called Educreations. Here is a link to the App Store:


Educreations also requires you to register, but it only takes a minute. While this app provides more functionality, it can not be viewed on the iPhone (iPad, computers, and tablets and smart phones that support flash allow it to be viewed). Being able to share something with my players via texting and allowing them to view it on their smart phone or iPhone is more desirable when using this coaching method. I don’t want them to have to sit down and watch it on a computer if that is not the most convenient way to view it. However, as you will see in my example, this app does allow you to use multiple images in your presentation.

In this example, I create a step-by-step illustration of the play developing and the thought process for the quarterback:
Unfortunately, the quarterback missed that opportunity to throw the touchdown.

Being able to quiz, provide feedback, or a short coaching point allow us to keep our players engaged and on the edge of their seats for the teaching and coaching we can provide them. Hopefully these apps can prove useful to you as a coach.

Do you have other apps that help you as a coach? Please share them in the comments section.

My iBook 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays provides a very engaging way to share content, and has something useful for every offensive coach. It can be purchased from your iPad here:


On AFM: Coaching the big skills: QB, RB, TE

In my column in August 2012, I discussed the evolution of the modern tight end, gave examples of how a tight end or h-back could be utilized in a spread offense, and gave suggestions of how to begin integrating this position into your offense.
Read that article here.
We are constantly looking for ways to become more efficient in our practice and getting as much as we can out of our individual and group periods. We use different variations of periods and try to add components and skills as we see fit. One area in which we were able to do this was by incorporating our tight end and h-backs into our period which we normally worked quarterbacks and running backs together.
One drill we do each day is called “run timing.” Typically, the period we work this in is during a 5 minute block during extra point and field goal practice. We take our running backs and quarterbacks to midfield and work all of our footwork, mesh points, and aim points. The quarterbacks work on the specifics of carrying out their fakes…read more

Learn more about our pro style pistol offense in my iBook which can be purchased from your iPad here:

Tight End Resources

In searching the internet, I haven’t been able to find a ton of free information on coaching the tight end. The tight end position has had a resurgence lately, and the position seems to have evolved as spread offenses are looking to use more athletic tight ends to present a threat as blockers on the line of scrimmage and as vertical threats in the passing game.

In 2010 we began to reintroduce the position back into our offense, and we even incorporated a five tight end set into our offense. In the video below you will see both ends are tight, with a player position at a wing next to them. We set the other h-back in front of the quarterback to present a completely balanced set and then motioned him one way or the other to be a lead blocker. We create 5 gaps to either side of the center and have the additional gap created by the motion man at the point of attack.

To us, our tight ends, h-backs and fullbacks work together in a position group because the are blockers and receivers. We have been able to utilize the different body types and skill sets at this position in many different ways. Read more about that in my AFM article here.

Tight ends and h-backs are a big part of our pro-style pistol offense. Learn more about how we utilize the tight end and h-back position in my iBook which can be purchased on your iPad from the iBookstore here.


Below are some links that provide some detail on utilizing tight ends and coaching technique. If you have more to add, please do so in the comments section.

News/Analysis Articles

Pitt uses Hbacks in spread

Auburn use of TE/HBack

Stanford use of TE

ND use of TE

Evolving Use of TE in NFL

Green Bay Use of Two TE

Are Tight Ends an Endangered Species
Clinic Articles

Motions, Shifts and Stems with a TE

Three Reasons to Use Tight Ends at the High School Level

Gaining Leverage on Overhang Players

A Balanced Two Tight End Offense-Elliot Uzelac

Two TE Offense – Strong Football Coach

Defending the TE with a 7 Tech- X&O Labs

Defending the almost Double Wing

TE Drill diagrams and explanation

Webber Univ.-DJ Croley – best technique video I could find on youtube

Aaron Rodney

Alabama – Bobby Williams

Top Receiver Training

Wisconsin TE’s performing board drill

TE Drills w a bullet belt

Jay Novacek – TE stance

Compilation of drills for TE

TE start

NFL Combine Skill Drills (diagram)

Bobby Williams

TE Route Running West Coast QB/WR Academy

The Playbook of the Future

I stopped using paper playbooks after my second year as a head coach in 2002.  I spent a whole summer putting our playbook together, and used a nice chunk of our budget printing it and putting it in binders.  Many of them were returned in mint condition.  In fact some players admitted to not using them because they really didn’t learn that way.  The truth is a paper playbook only tailors to one type of learning style.

After the season I attended a Glazier Clinic in Cincinnati and watched Andrew Coverdale clinic for five hours.  In his clinic he used PowerPoint and it was evident that the slides he was using were coming directly from his playbook.  He did a great job of bringing each point up on the screen one at a time and the lines were animated and moved across the screen.   His playbook was hyper linked with menus and directories so that a player or coach could navigate to exactly where he wanted to go in the playbook.  Sounds were used to emphasize coaching points, and Coverdale’s sounds went beyond the standard sound pre-loaded in PowerPoint and included sound bytes from popular movies and cartoon characters.  He did a great job using animation, sound and text to emphasize coaching points.  I was fortunate enough to get a copy of some of these clinic PowerPoints and they inspired me to create my own PowerPoint playbook.

The reaction from the players the first year we used it (2005 on a full scale basis) was, “Coach this is like a video game.”  The players were much more engaged with the playbook and the coaches had a great tool for running their meetings. Our playbook was nearly 800 slides for offense and a year later we did the same with defense creating another 300 slides.  The best part though was the distribution.  At the time CDs were the technology most used, and I could get a customized printed label, the CD and a case for around $1 per player.  This was much less than printing a playbook for the players.  We included a PowerPoint Viewer program on the disc so those without PowerPoint on their computers could view it.

What we didn’t do was create digital paper.  Our playbooks included plenty of animation and were even set up for our players in a way that they could quiz themselves as they were learning.  The hyperlinks allowed players to easily get to the information they wanted. We further cut down on our printing costs by including our player handbook and other athletic department forms which we were constantly trying to run down on the disc.  The only thing I wished we could incorporate was video.  While video could be embedded in a PowerPoint, the process at the time was not easy, and the quality of the video was not great.

The link below will download an overview of our playbook that I used in an interview. It is a mix of different playbooks from different schools I coached at.  You will see slides from offense, defense, and position manuals. The hyperlinks are disabled since this is only a selection of slides and not an entire playbook.  Hopefully it gives you some ideas of how you can use PowerPoint to teach your players.

Playbook Overview

Jumping forward to 2010 at Baldwin-Wallace College, I began creating screen casts of different sections of the PowerPoint.  These 5-10 minute short videos were then uploaded to a private Facebook page and shared with our players.  They could view the videos throughout the summer and keep our offense fresh in their minds.  Facebook was a great way to reach our players at that time, and we still use it to communicate with them when they are off campus.  Incoming freshmen who we believed would make a contribution to the varsity squad in the first year were included in this private Facebook group.  At the end of each video I included a check for understanding that the players could use as a quiz.

Later that summer, we began using Hudl.  I really like what you can do with Hudl in creating video walk throughs like my screen casts mentioned above.  Hudl also allows you to import your PowerPoint slides very easily.  The only thing I don’t like is that it is imported as an jpeg image, and as of now the animation and sound effects are lost.  Again, it is important to me to try to hit as many learning styles as possible.

I see many apps and programs popping up in which the creators claim to be creating the playbook of the future.  Unfortunately some of them go back to being exactly like a paper playbook but in a digital format.  Multiple learning styles won’t be addressed.  However, iPad is definitely a device you want to think about using.  Projections are that tablet devices will surpass computer sales in late 2013 to early 2014.

The most exciting technological development for me has been iBooks Author.  This program addresses all of the little problems I have previously mentioned in this post.  It perfectly blends text, Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint is Keynote, and is arguably better in some ways) without losing animations, sounds and transitions.  Even hyperlinks that are within the Keynote are active and working.  Video, still shot illustrations, and screen casts (video walk throughs) are easily incorporated.  The program also allows you to create quizzes throughout the iBook.  This is a great way for your players to check their understanding and go back and review what they need.

The result is a product that gives your players the absolute best format for learning your systems.  Like anything, there is a cost in the equipment (must be created on a Mac and delivered on the iPad), and a learning curve with incorporating this technology.  However, if the technology is available to you in your school, you are foolish if you are not finding a way to incorporate it into your coaching.  More and more schools are going to one-to-one iPad based learning for your students.  If you are in one of these schools take advantage of this now.  Distributing an iBook Authors playbook you create can be done without putting it out for the public to see on the iBookstore.

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays shows off the iBooks Author capability.  The iBook is loaded with video, Keynote presentations, Diagrams, and Still shot illustrations.  It contains 229 pieces of dynamic content. You will be impressed with what can be done with this technology, and the content presented will give you some great ideas for your offense, whether you run the Pistol or not.

My iBook is available for the iPad on the iBookstore at the link below. This is a technology that we will be using to create our playbook for the 2013 season.



Read a post from Jeff Floyd on this topic here:


If you are interested in using iBooks author in your program, I would be available to consult on a project.  Please email me: grabkj@gmail.com

New on AFM – Maximizing Practice Time – Receivers/QB

Getting more from less – creating drills to maximize practice time – receivers/quarterbacks
We constantly look to find efficiency in how we drill and practice. After initial teaching and installation, our drills move from working single skills to working multiple skills in order to get the most from the time we have available. Even in situations where we are trying to fix a recurring problem we saw on film, we will work other skills within the remedy drill, though the emphasis will be on fixing the problem.
I’ve been filming practice since my first high school head coaching job in 2000. At the time we did not have an editing system, but we were able to pull film clips and show our players when needed. For the most part, that film was for the coaches to evaluate how well we were teaching and getting the execution we needed from our players. We were able to see where we still needed to improve and design our practices accordingly. Today’s technology allows us to do much more in terms of not only using that film and information with our coaching staff, but also allows our players to view video of practice even immediately after a play. Here is an example of what can be done on the field to give immediate feedback to players. I am positive that this type of use of technology that can be seen in the video below from the University of Nebraska will be something that continues to grow within coaching.

If you have an iPad available, filming some of your individuals drills and showing a player right there on the field can give him both the feedback and the instruction he needs to execute a skill properly. An injured player, student manager, or even you as the coach can target a player or two, or you can film a drill and show exactly what you are looking for during a water break. There are many possibilities of what can be done to improve performance with immediate feedback. This is something we will be incorporating in camp and throughout the 2003 season. I will be sure to report back on what we found to be valuable teaching methods.
One tool that each coach has is a basic drill record. This is a list of skills and accompanying drills that each position is required to perform in our offense. The skill list record gives our coaches a visual of what their individual position is required to perform, and the frequency with which they have practiced it. It allows them to see the last time the skill was worked. As the coach modifies or combines drills to work more of these skills, he can check off more boxes on the drill record….more on AFM

If you own an iPad, please check out my iBook, the first coaching resource of its kind,101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays. This is a resource that has principles that can apply to any offense. You can get it from the iBookstore: