Question: Do you believe players get better with quality reps, especially when given feedback to help correct mistakes?
If you believe this is true, and you want to put your players in the best position to succeed, then what are you doing to increase your reps so you can improve your play calling abilities?
There are a lot of theories out there that try to predict how many reps we need to become proficient at something. We’ve all heard of the 10,000 reps or 10,000 hour rule. While this is something that is impossible to predict, I believe we can all agree that more quality reps leads to more quality in performance.
So how does this affect a coordinator in football?
Obviously coordinators put in a lot of time trying to understand the game and get better. However, calling plays in the game can only happen in the game, and the quality of your play selection can certainly impact the end result of the game.
If you are one of the fastest tempo teams in America and you can average at least 80 plays a game, and let’s pretend you are fortunate enough to play 15 games a year, you only get to call 1,200 plays a year. It will take you over 8 seasons to get 10,000 play calls in. And let’s hope that 10,000 hours is not the number we need to hit. If so, we would never reach that number in terms of game time decisions.
So how can we improve our play calling ability if reps matter and we are limited to how many actual reps we can get?
Think about how we train our players. We don’t just expect players to get game reps. We try to give them as many practice and “game-like” reps as we can.
Now look at what so many coordinators do. They script practice. This eliminates potential reps.
I’m not saying all scripting is bad. But I believe the loss of potential reps as a play caller should be considered.
The title of this article mentioned virtual reality. More and more teams are using this technology to train their players. Essentially we are trying to give our players mental reps off the field.
What if coaches started using this for themselves? Maybe some are.
One of the biggest questions coordinators must face is if they will call the game from the field or in the box. And if you’re a head coach, your options may be reduced to one. (Maybe not. Another article for another time.)
The hard part about being on the field is the lack of vision. When you add this to the fact that we train our eyes with game film, it makes adjusting a little difficult.
Why not use the virtual reality cameras that coaches use behind their QBs to film behind the coach on the sidelines?
At the high school level you could even do this during games. At other levels you simply do it in practice.
You can then go back and watch film from your vantage point. You can see what you were missing. You can effectively get as many hours as you have time at watching football from the sidelines in order to increase your decision making on game day.
This is just one idea for increasing your ability as a play caller. We will look at other ideas in the future.