Your first scrimmage – Did you pass the test?

Gonzalez Cover part 1

For most high schools, this weekend presented the first test for your team.  You may have seen some bright spots in your scrimmage, or you may have been left with some concerns.  The next week will be big in how you either take the next step and build on your momentum, or regroup and find areas in which to improve so that your next scrimmage puts you right on track for where you want to be going into your first regular season game.

Dan Gonzalez has put together an outstanding resource that will help a team that is on the right track propel themselves further, and for the struggling team, it can provide clarity for exactly what you can do right now to set things straight.

The Need for Change is not a resource that shares concepts, rather it provides opportunities to think about how you are organizing your offense for success, how you take responsibility for the success of your players by serving them, how to create practice drills that get you more bang for your buck, and how to stay on the cutting edge by really being focused on your game planning and preparation.

Gonzalez organizes his thoughts into four sections:

A System of Accountability

Build a Better Mousetrap

Offensive Axioms

Staying on the Cutting Edge

Each chapter contains information and ideas that you can utilize right now.  It includes over an hour of video.

The interactive book format is available for the iPad and Mac.  (These are the only devices that currently can handle this platform). Get it here.

Here are some key areas that Gonzalez highlights his interactive book:

Gonzalez presents a cutting edge tool that any offense can easily implement right  now.  If you left this first scrimmage thinking that the quarterback really struggled to see his progression or get into a rhythm, Gonzalez gives you a way to solve that problem with “navigation tags.”  The communication system he has developed is revolutionary, yet very simple.  Gonzalez explains the philosophy of why he set up navigation tags in this excerpt:

“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.”

He goes on to explain the technical purpose of navigation tags:

“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.”

Navigation tags allow the quarterback to be in sync with the play caller on every single play.  Gonzalez explains this further:

“These situations happen in every game at every level: the players don’t always see what a coach does, and there is a need to augment the standard progression to dial the player into the easiest completion.  Rather than “grab bagging” on the sideline, we use navigation tags as a means to communicate on a down to down basis.  All the while, this communication is achieved without losing the ability to adjust, should the defensive play be different than anticipated.  Most of all, these tags do not deviate from the core concepts of the offense, and the astute coaching staff will implement these as part of a game plan, rather than a harried grasp at straws on the sideline.”

Another chapter worth highlighting in this resource are “Offensive Axioms.”  In regard to axioms, Gonzalez writes, “That’s what it’s all about, right?  Having a core set of values, and doing everything within the confines of those values.  Through all the developments, X and O –wise, the crux of the philosophy should not change.  To reiterate, core values do not change; the method is what changes with innovation.   So how would one go about shaping this philosophy?”

Gonzalez explains his axioms in detail in this chapter.  Learn how Gonzalez’s axioms get the defense to play into your hands and tax the defense mentally. What any coach can pull out right now to help his offense are bulleted below.

  • Organize your offense so that it attacks all areas of the field.
  • Always be in a good play by organizing play structures into packages to give every play a explosive possibility.
  • Use personnel, shifting, and motioning.
  • Get to the third man in the progression to open up big plays with the third fix.
  • Create big plays and control the clock.
  • Limit the defense’s ability to disguise.

The last chapter, “Stay on the Cutting Edge” provides some great thoughts for any offensive coordinator. Gonzalez explains the importance of being organized in thinking about distribution of plays and key factors in becoming a top producing offense.  He emphasizes carrying the appropriate amount of offense and how to think about what to carry in terms of play calls.  He shares his model and thought process.  While your system may be fundamentally different than Dan’s in terms of how it attacks, the thought process can be applied to any offensive system.

There is much, much more that Gonzalez puts on the table in terms of how a great offensive coach thinks and plans.  This is a resource that is quickly and easily read because of the dynamic format used to produce it.  It’s a combination of short, yet meaningful spans of text, and video screencasts in which Gonzalez shares and illustrates the points he writes about in the text.

Again, none of what Gonzalez presents requires any team, whether they performed well this week or poorly, to scrap what they do.  Gonzalez simply gives some tools and perspectives that can be meshed with your current system.  These two quotes point out what he is communicating in this manual:

“However, the astute coach with the system to overcome such obstacles can make simple adjustments without disrupting any core teaching.”

“That is the challenge every year: seeking continuous improvement, while at the same time, sticking to one’s core teaching and beliefs. ”

This is part one of four in Gonzalez’s series, “Coaching Concepts:  Developing an Offensive System.”  Part 1 The Need for Change was designed to make an impact for coaches right now at this time of the year.

Follow Dan Gonzalez on twitter @Dan_Gonzalez16 and read his blog here.



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