Get Dan Gonzalez’s new book here:
Coaching Concepts: Developing an Offensive System
Check out Dan’s book. IT WILL HELP YOU WIN THIS SEASON!
I have been able to connect with some great football coaches throughout my coaching career and the coaches who are the most detailed in their teaching method and structure get my attention the most. One of those coaches who I have the honor of meeting and learning from is Dan Gonzalez. Dan has written three books, with his latest book being in a digital format. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of his new book which I believe gets at the heart of what we are responsible for as coaches. If you haven’t been exposed to Dan, he is worth researching. I promise you will learn from him. Here’s Dan’s introduction to his series on creating an offensive system. It’s a great foundation for any coach.
Accountability. The very word seems, at times, lost in today’s society. One of the things to love about sports (and our sport in particular) is that it is one of the few realms of our culture in which accountability is viewed as it should be. As coaches, we preach accountability from teammate to teammate, and from teammate to the coaches/ program. But what about coaches’ accountability to the players? Coaches ask for complete faith and trust on the part of the player; often times, however, one can question whether or not the coach deserved that trust from a play calling/ system perspective.
As a coach, I was constantly looking for ways to improve my methods. No doubt, many coaches are of the same mindset. However, a completely honest look at many systems will reveal the need for improvement:
- Formationing that eliminates unnecessary verbiage, while at the same time, minimizes memorization. In the no huddle era that we live in, many teams will simply designate corresponding “L” and “R” words to formation structures. While this may seem like a reasonable solution, it is dependent on rote memorization; this structure minimizes verbiage, and yet has structured rules for each position group.
- A simple, learnable way to code runs, dropback passes, screens, and play action passes. Here, a structure is put in place that will combine simplicity in learning with the complexity needed to defeat modern defenses.
- The ability to target multiple parts of a given pass pattern, and a means for communicating these intentions from one down to the next. To simply give the QB a progression, and then to leave him with no way to adjust in-game, is unacceptable. The coach must accept responsibility to guide the leader of the offense, and have a way to communicate his intentions.
After reviewing my own system, an unbiased study showed the need for an overhaul. Though I had blended different elements from the “Run & Shoot” and “West Coast” offenses into a more learnable arrangement, there were still very specific problems that were not addressed. If a coach is to hold himself accountable in the same fashion that he would a player, it becomes obvious that adjustments should be made.
The results were invigorating. Unlike most multiple-set offenses, the base began with a four wide receiver environment. This approach reaped numerous benefits, as defenses are easier to stereotype, and thus easier to teach to inexperienced players. Additionally, specialization tends to occur as players grow older; new personnel combinations and roles can then be added in a sequential fashion.
This approach to combining terminology, teaching, technique, and drilling is assembled with the singular goal of meeting all of the above criteria. The result was a dramatic shift in terminology, and an adjusted way of coaching offensive football as well – instead of a system centered on the coach, we now have a system centered on the needs of the player. This point cannot be understated; it is often forgotten that the players (particularly the quarterback) have the hardest jobs. It is the coach’s job to orchestrate and guide; putting the needs of the player ahead of everything in a system is the ultimate in servant-leadership.
I know many of us are into camp now, but in part 1 of Dan’s series, he shares valuable and innovative tools that any coach can use and integrate into their system now. At the very least, the information Dan shares in this excerpt emphasizes the importance of our accountability in creating a system in which our players can succeed.