10 Steps to be a Good Offensive Coordinator

Sometimes calling plays can be a daunting task.  Especially if you are new to holding the call sheet.  In order to gain confidence and be able to call plays effectively I have provided 10 steps that will help you become a good Offensive Coordinator.

  1. Coach Defense
    1. I started my coaching career on the defensive side of the ball. I would highly suggest that if you want to be an offensive coordinator that you spend time coaching defense.  Nothing will give you better insight as to what will cause problems for a defense than spending time trying to coach against those same concepts.  As an offensive coach you will also be able to think like a defensive coach, because you’ve been there.
  2. Coach the Offensive Line
    1. It is my belief that nobody should take an OC job until they have spent at least one season coaching the offensive line, even if it’s just as an assistant OL coach. It’s an entirely different world and you need to understand that world.  Nothing dictates what an offense can do like the offensive line, and nobody understands what the offense can do, more than the OL coach.
  3. Establish an Effective Ground Game
    1. Good football teams can and will run the ball. You need to have at least 1 play that your offense can run out of any formation and against any front, and always get yards.  Even if you’re an “air raid” team, you better be able to run the rock.  At some point you will have to, it is going to happen and you better be able to pound it in there.
  4. Run a Limited Amount of Plays
    1. If your playbook looks like a medical manuscript… you are doing it wrong. You want to have a small number of plays that your athletes can run to perfection, no matter what the defense throws at them.  When the lights come on and the bullets are live, your players will resort to instinct. You cant have them play with reflex speed if they are thinking about what they need to do, they need to just know what needs to be done.  Trim your play book down and your offense will instantly get better.  I get into detail on this concept in this article here (What’s Your System)
  5. Learn to Place Defenders Into Conflicts
    1. As much as you want your players, playing with reflex speed… you want the opposite for defenders. You want them hesitating, thinking and NOT, playing fast.  You can place defenders in conflicts many ways.
      1. Having plays that look like other plays
      2. Using formations to force the secondary into run fits instead of just focusing on pass responsibilities(love doing this). Reading defenders in options and RPOs
      3. Using motions , fakes and mis-directions
  1. Learn to ID and Use Personnel
    1. Scout who to attack and who to avoid. Spend time developing ways to get your best players matched up on their worst players.  Find ways to get DB’s taking on lead blocks or formationing them into playing on the LOS.  Use formations and motions to get LBs matched up on RBs and WRs.  And always find multiple ways, to get your play makers the football.
  2. Take Advantage of Numbers and Angles
    1. Wing-T guys all know the advantages angles can give you. If you can get the defense outflanked with a formation, a simple toss can be flat stealing yards (or bubble if your spread).  Numbers should be a no brainer.  If you have more bodies than the defense does your in good shape.  In this article I break down in detail how to use numbers to your advantage, and its quite simple. Check it out here (A Systemic Attack)
  3. Manufacture “Shots”
    1. You need to have at least 1 or 2 plays each week that will take a shot at the end zone. You can set it up how you see fit, but it needs to be used in a situation that will exploit a defender in conflict.  One of my favorite ways is to force DBs to play in the run game, then have a specific play action route that targets that defender’s area of the field.  Often times it’s just a 1 man route.  But it can a double move, a trick play, or anything that will pick on that guy you have place into a conflict situation.
  4. Have the Ability to Get in 21 Personnel
    1. Nothing is more disappointing than watching a team that has the game won, but they can’t seal the win because they don’t have the ability to play nasty ball. 4 minute offense is just as important as hurry up.  Blistering tempo is all fine and dandy, but you need to understand when it’s time to slow down and put the game away.  Even the patriots understand this.  They are almost exclusively air raid with Tom Brady, but when it’s time the put the game away, they are without a doubt the best 21 personnel team I have ever seen.
  5. Develop Trust
    1. Maybe the most important one here. You need to trust you’re your system. Trust your coaching staff and trust your players.  If your coaches are repeatedly telling you something is there… guess what, it probably is!  Listen to them!  Same goes for your players. I can’t even tell you how many times big hitting plays were called by one of the players themselves.

BONUS-Learn to Self Scout! Scout your own tendencies and then break them to keep the defense off balance.

CLOSING

I feel this guide can really help both new and old offensive coordinators increase their production.  Comment and add ideas! What are some things that are on your list??  Subscribe to my email list for weekly updates, and if you’re not following me on twitter your missing out!  Check out my page here @thecoachvogt and hit the follow button.

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Simple Steps For Defending The Wing-T

After receiving feedback from my subscribers and followers, which you all know I love so much you guys are awesome motivation!  I decided to write a quick guide on How to soundly defend against the wing-T offense.  Anybody who has defended a disciplined Wing-T team knows how frustrating it can be.  They can seemingly move the ball down field in 3-5 yard chunks at will, even when you have athletes superior to theirs.  Its not necessarily the wing-T plays that allow them to do this.  It is how they manipulate the flanks, numbers, and angles to get more bodies than you have at the point of attack. What I have here are 6 simple steps to follow that will help you, at the least, be defensively sound.  For purposes of this article we will assume that the offense is NOT a triple option team, I will have a separate article for that soon.

STEP 1- Don’t Use An Even Front

I know, I know, all you coaches that live and die by 4-4, 4-3 and 4-2-5 are about to get up in arms, but please hear me out before you close the article.  If you run an even front you basically have 3 choices

  • Put the DE in a 7, and now your outflanked
  • Put the DE in a 9, what ever you do never, ever use a 3 and 9 against any run first team. The C gap is a natural weak spot as it is.
  • Use a 3, a 5 and walk the Sam down which forces you to walk out the Mike and now your middle is softened and you have taken away pursuit to the short side as well.

There is a reason offensive guys call TE-wing sets even killers.  A knowledgeable wing-T guy will force you into defensive looks you don’t want to be in 6 ways from Sunday. Save yourself the head aches and go to an odd front.  I prefer an under front as shown below:

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Here you can see we are gap sound, and the offense does not have us outflanked on either side.  The odd front allows us to balance up and force the offense to beat us man on man.

STEP 2-Have At Least 5 Guys On Each Side

Wing-T guys will always play the numbers game.  You will need at least 5 guys on each side of the formation to be sound.  Ill use the previous picture again to demonstrate:

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If you put a line down the center of the offense and defense you will see at least 5 on each side.  This rule will keep you sound in the numbers game and again force the offense to beat you man on man.

STEP 3-Never Leave The Weak B Gap Empty

You need a down lineman in the weak B gap, PERIOD!  If you don’t you will get Belly weak until the cows come home, if you start cheating the belly you get belly option.  Simply putting a down guy in B gap forces 2 things to happen.

  • The guard and tackle must base block the 3 and the 5 making the angle for the wing back insert extremely difficult.
  • The guard and tackle must “X” block the backside giving your edge player ample time to spill.

to defend the weak side trap your 3 tech will squeeze and spill just like an edge player would.  If he is getting trapped, find a new 3 tech, or tilt him so he can more effectively squeeze the down block by the guard.

If you get a double wing look, shift into a bear front.  This gives you 2 down guys in B gap and 2 guys on the wings to keep from being out flanked.  You can see that there are still 5 guys on each side of the ball as well.  Here is a photo:

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STEP 4-Beat On Up The Wings

The edge players will align head up on the wings.  They will step with inside foot and punch the wings while keeping eyes inside.  If the wing tries to block him it means 1 of 2 things.

  • Buck Sweep
  • Jet/Rocket sweep

When that wing tries to block him you will have your guy shove him straight backwards to take out a guard (hopefully the front side guard) on buck sweep, or to shed and pursue the jet/rocket sweep.  If the wing releases it’s the Belly G or Belly Option.  Either way, he will target the guard’s inside thigh to either create a pile, or a violent enough spill to make a play on the fullback. If the wing goes in motion away, he should be looking for waggle and counter coming back at him.

STEP 5-Eliminate Guard Kickouts

Step 4 touched on this briefly.  Wing T guys will do anything they can to get guards on your DBs.  Eventually its going to happen, but you can give your DBs the tools necessary to eliminate the guard kickout.  Just like the edge player targeted the inside thigh of the guard, the corner will too.  Looking for the same results.  Be careful however, if you coach in a place where the chop is not allowed you need to make sure that the players are not diving at the legs.  They need attack aggressively, then square shoulders to the LOS and use momentum and leverage to step hard inside and put the shoulder pad on the thigh pad.  Many times, the defender will remain on his feet while the guard either loses his balance or loses contact with the defender.  At the least you can create a nasty pile that the back has to bubble around which allows your defense to rally to the football.

STEP 6-Practice

If you have a wing-T team in your district or one you routinely schedule, then practice against wing-T sets at least once a week.

SHOT GUN WING-T

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If the offense has a QB…. This is the hardest wing-T set to defend.  First it takes you out of your odd look so you can cover the slot up. The QB can read the edge player, or can read the LB for RPOs or just keep it and hit the weak B gap if the LB chases the guard.  I would force the offense to run weak based on numbers.  I feel with the alignment shown above the offense has no choice but to run it weak. As far as defending the RPO, the OLB is going to beat the snot out of that slot player.  That is the most un-officiated part of the field, you will use that to your advantage and do what ever is necessary to prevent that slot from an inside release.  Knock him down, grab him do what you have to if you cant run with him.  I play a 1 high look because most gun guys will not throw that stop over and over…eventually they all get impatient and try for bomb…now you got them in long sticks, or even better… an interception or sack.

CLOSING

While not a complete answer to anything and everything a wing-T team can or will do, this is a very good set of rules to use when preparing for the offense.  As always scout what they do and when they do it, to have the greatest advantages you can. Here is the list of rules again

  1. No even fronts
  2. 5 on each side
  3. Never leave weak B gap empty
  4. Beat up the wings
  5. Eliminate guards
  6. Practice

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”FUN”ctional Training

How do we incentivize the “grind”? Most of your players will end up enjoying the strength training process, and seeing themselves get stronger, faster, and bigger.  But, let’s face it, the “grind” can be a dang grind sometimes.  We need to remember that these are 14 to 18 year old kids, they still like to do frivolous things and have fun.  Hell, I’m 33 and I still like to do dumb things too! So, how do we incorporate FUN into strength and conditioning and still promote, competition, toughness and functional strength? This article will touch on rewards, competition, and challenges all designed to put some fun into your training programs.  If you haven’t read my article on effective strength training then you need to go check it out here (Simple But Strong). These exercises are not meant to merely push them to compete, but to breed winners through competition.  I am not seeking competition, but DOMINATION in the weight room, on the field, and in life from my players.

REWARDS

Rewards are an obvious way to incentivize your players to train hard. But there is a catch, they cant be too frequent or they become expectations instead of extra incentive.  As far as rewards go, follow these 2 rules and the kids will want them.

1-Can they eat/Drink it; Protein bars, Candy, Protein Shakes, Fast Food

2-Can they wear it?  Will others see it? Social recognition can be important to them.

Its that simple, if it falls into one of those two categories they will compete for the chance to win.  How do you determine the winner(s)? Again, keep things simple.  Here are some examples

  • Most reps on the last set attained (pick 1 of your core movements)
  • The player who completes the conditioning portion the quickest
  • The player(s) that did not miss a day that week
  • The player who is working out with the weight closest to their old max (pick 1 core movement)
  • The player you ID as taking leadership roles (explain why as a group, and use specific examples, again social recognition)

These are all easy ways to provide some incentive and extra motivation, don’t make it a daily occurrence, or even a weekly occurrence.  About every other week or so seems to be right.  Whole team rewards are great too!  Here are some great examples of whole team rewards:

  • After lifting, instead of conditioning have some of the coaches set up a giant slip and slide outside while the players continue to lift. When they come out for conditioning and see that instead you just had an easy and huge moral boost.  They will go nuts.
  • Have an ice cream/snow cone truck show up to lifting so when they finish, it arrives and they can all go get something cold to eat. (obviously something like this would be dependent on funding, you want it to be free for them…)
  • Have T-shirts made for the players that never missed a day of training all off season

COMPETITIONS

Competitions are a great way to condition and compete at the same time.  Most of the time the players will not realize how tired they are until after the event is completed.  They can be as simple as relay races (get creative). Or as complex as games.  Divide the field into 4 separate zones that way you can have 8 teams all playing at the same time.  Gatorball is a great fast paced game that will get them all breathing hard.  Flag football is an obvious choice.  There are countless games that could be played, set it up in a tournament fashion so you have a team that is declared champions, but have the losing teams still play each other so they are still moving and competing.  Tug-A-War might be the simplest one, yet gets the most heated and competitive.  The most fun to watch…. Is towel fights.  Take a towel, roll it up and tape it.  Then have to players grab it with one hand overhand grip and the other underhanded.  Have each players hands staggered with the others.  Then say go and watch you wins, gives you an instant view into who your fighters are and who will need extra motivation to keep from quitting!

CHALLENGES

I love challenges. You can literally make anything a challenge that you are already doing in the weight room.  Here is what I choose to do.  Every Friday is called “Big Friday”.  Each Friday one of the Big 3 lifts (Push Press, Front Squat, Dead Lift) is going to done for the heaviest set of five possible instead of 5 sets of 5 across.  Rotate the lifts so they are done every 3rd week.  For example, if it is the week for Front Squat, instead of doing 5 sets of 5 at 205 pounds, the lifter will start light and work up heavier each set until he cannot get 5 reps any more. The players who get the highest total get to write their names up on the boards as king of that lift until the next time that lift is done and somebody beats them.  On the boards you will have 3 groups for the lift. OL/DL, RB/LB and WR/DB. So you will have 3 kings for each lift.  The players love to write their names and totals on the boards, and they get a big kick out of erasing the name of somebody they beat.  Here are some other simple examples:

  • Who can hold 205 the longest in a locked out Dead Lift position
  • Who can Plank the longest
  • Who can do the most push ups/sit-ups/ pull ups in a given time period.

All quick and easy to judge.  Give a reward for the winners if desired.

CLOSING

These are all simple ways to take some of the grind, out of the “grind”. As coaches, its our job to make sure we are promoting healthy competition and keeping moral high.  We want our players to want to be there.  Kids want to be successful, and they want to have fun too. There is no reason we can’t give them both. What better way to keep kids in the weight room working hard, than creating an environment in which they have fun doing it in? In doing so, you will create not competitors; but instead, you will develop Dominators! Please subscribe to my email list so you can be notified whenever I post a new article, and give me a follow on twitter at @thecoachvogt.

THE POWER of POWER O

Often referred to as “God’s Play”. Its physical, its downhill, brings bodies to the point of attack and can be downright punishing.  The edge defenders must be physical and mentally strong or risk being exposed. The Play I am referring to of course, is the Almighty, Power O.  The Power O is aptly named, and it is also one of the most versatile plays in the offensive world. Power O Can be run from any formation and personnel group, tagged with reads and assignment exchanges, and dressed up with formations, motions, fakes and trades.  All this done without changing rules for the offensive line, what’s not to love about that? There is only one other scheme that can replicate that kind of versatility, the zone play. This article will focus the basic blocking rules for the Power O against different fronts, the different variations, and how to dress the play up.

BASIC RULES

I love to run plays as a series, blame it on growing up with a Wing-T coach as father. I  pair the Power O with Widezone, because of this I want every player in the offense to make the first step of Power O look just like Widezone.  With that in mind, here are the general rules.

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QB-The QB will reverse out and sprint the ball back to the tailback. He will put the ball on the mid-line and keep his body clear for the back.  After the hand off the QB will carry out a 3-5 step burst opposite of the play for a boot fake. However, it is not just a fake, he is looking at the defensive edge player and checking him.  If that edge player is not checking the QB on boot, we will play action.

FB-The FB will take a path aiming at the inside leg of the tackle.  He is going to kick out the first man who shows on the tackles outside leg.  This rule accounts for any stunts and prevents the “I got my guy” quotes lol.  the FB will put his outside shoulder on the defensive players inside breast plate. We would love for him to destroy this player, but he really doesn’t have too.  Just getting a body on him quickly will suffice.

TB-The tailbacks first step will be as if he is running Widezone the opposite direction.  He will then go straight down the mid-line for the hand off.  The TB cannot come of the mid-line until his first step after the hand off.  He then takes a path to the C gap and is looking at the edge defender for a bounce or bang read.  He will bounce if the edge player spills and bang it in the C gap if he gets kicked.

PST & G-The play side offensive linemen will use the rule “gap to backer”.  They will step with their inside foot at any defender from their nose to the adjacent lineman’s nose.  The aim point for the gap defender is his near shoulder, placing the head in front to stop penetration. The blocker will try and wash the defender inside. If nobody is in his gap, his first step will be an inside step to clear any stunts into the gap and then he will go to the “BACKSIDE” linebacker and seal him off. This rule also applies to the tight end, with one caveat. If the C gap defender is shaded on the TE we will arc release him to the Sam or Safety. Here is an example:

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C-The center has to replace the pulling backside guard.  If there is an A gap defender he will gap block him with the same techniques as the play side linemen. If there is not a defender in his gap he will step flat down the line of scrimmage to wall off the 3tech, or 4i/4.  Penetration on the backside does not hurt this play, so he only needs to get his body on the defender to stop pursuit.

BSG-The backside guard is going to your puller.  I like an open pull because I want him to the point of attack as fast as possible. He will take a step that gains ground and opens his hips so he can run.  He is looking for the fullbacks block. If the fullback gets the kick, the guard will turn up and fit up on the play side linebacker. If the fullback gets spilled and pins the edge defender, the guard will bounce, then turn up and fit on the scraping play side linebacker.

BST and TE-The backside tackle and tight end have one have a rule called “pull check”.  On any defender shaded head up or inside they will step inside and then hinge to open hips and wall off the defender, again…backside penetration does not hurt the play, just get a body on him.  If the defender is in an outside shade, just base block him and wall him off.

DIFFERENT FRONTS & WHEN TO CALL POWER O

All of the base rules will never change, except for the TE’s. I will include here a quick description of when I like to call the play and what we do to a few different looks given by the defense.  I am a big Widezone guy, I also run a modified toss I call blast, as well as the bellyG.  All of these plays will eventually cause the defense to do one of two things, and often times both.

  • They will start overflowing with the play direction.
  • They will start slanting with the formation
    1. The thing about slanting is 9 times out of 10, you can dictate the slant by your formation. A film scout will tell you where they will go, as well as the first two series of the game. Then all you have to do is get them slanting the way you want.

Once the defense is slanting or flowing, preferably both, then it is time for Power O. Formation the defense in a manner that you know which way the slant is going. Call the Power O the opposite way of the slant/flow.  Power O is a gap scheme play, so your guys up front will just take them where they are going already! It makes for a very easy block, and you can wash them down across the formation most of the time, even with undersized lineman like I have. Here is an example vs a “Slant 50”

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You can see from the photo that the OL is just taking the DL for a ride.  The uncovered Guard will step down to check gap, then go wall off backside line backers. The ghost 9tech on the play side will be an easy kick for the fullback because he has been checking the QB all night on boot fakes (if he hasn’t…why aren’t you calling the keeper??)

If you are unsure about what direction the defense is slanting, get in a balanced formation and use the count system, which I take about here (LINK).  Just count the numbers and go where you have more than them. Simple math. Here is an example formation you could use:

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Occasionally you will get a gift for an alignment by the defense.  A 3tech and a 9tech to the strength.  Why anyone would do this, I will never understand, but when it happens from time to time. You can run the Power O as is or steal what they gave you, with a “solid” call.  If the tackle sees that the guard is covered and nobody is in the C gap he will call “Solid”.  This tells the FB he is on insert instead of kick, and tells the TE that he just needs to turn out on the 9tech. here is an example:

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Here it is vs a bear front:

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Blocking a play side 7tech can present some problems if he is a war daddy. I play with 7’s all the time, I like to keep them in a state of uncertainty. We will arc the TE to the Sam on Widezone away, cut block him with the TE on Widezone away, double team him, down block him, and on Power O to him, arc the TE to the Sam and kick him with the FB.  The 7tech, 9 times out of 10 will step with that TE and widen up, making an easy kick for the full back, here is a second look at it:

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VARIATIONS

One of the beautiful things about the Power O, is the ability to run it a multitude of different ways, and not change anything.  One of the most common variations of the play is the Power Read. Made popular by Auburn when they had Cam Newton, they made a living on this one variation.  Instead of kicking the defensive end with the fullback, the QB is now going to read the play side End. Either a guy in motion or the tail back will ride across the QB while the QB shuffles and reads towards the play side.  If the End squeezes he will simply give it to the speed back, and he will carry the ball to the perimeter on a jet sweep look.  If the End chases the speed back, the QB will keep and run ball behind the offensive line, which is running the Power O.  its simple, effective, and places the defense in a big bind.  Here are a few ways to run the play:

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With the prevalence of RPOs (run pass options) in today’s offensive world, it was only a matter of time before it was tagged alongside the Power O.  One of the easiest RPOs to pair with the play, is a slant by the slot.  If the LB plays run, the QB will pull and throw the slant.  If the LB sits, or drops, the QB will give.  Here is a look:

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One of my favorite variations, is also my go too variation when we have been hurting the defensive with Zone Lead.  The play is tagged with a “Kick” call. This simply tells the Guard and the FB to switch responsibilities.  The Guard will now kick out the edge defender and the FB will jab opposite to let the Guard clear, and then become the fit player. Here is the example:

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DRESSING IT UP

Power O can also be “dressed up” several different ways.  This is a term sometimes called “window dressings” as well.  It refers to making the play look different, but it’s actually the same.  Same but Different is an excellent way to conflict the defense.  One of the easiest ways to dress up the Power O, is with jet motion.  You can run the Power O with the jet fake or against the jet fake, depending on what you are trying to do to the defense. If you are trying to widen the edege defeder(s) then go with the motion. If you are trying to influence the Linebackers away from the play, then go against the motion.

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Shifting and jumping formations is very effective as well.  One of my favorites is to jump from unbalanced one way to unbalanced the other way.  The defense will be worried about lining up correctly and not stopping the play.  Here is a look at it:

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The TE will shift down to become the eligible tackle.  The Tackle, Z and X will all jump sides to set the unbalanced the opposite way. The key is to do it quickly and force the defense to scramble.  Eventually they will just start sliding the front, allowing you to attack weak personnel at your desire.

Down on the goalline you can dress it up out of a 3back, power-i look.  The 3back(z) will go outside to influence the edge defenders and become the alley blocker if the play happens to bounce.  Effective, and nothing changes for the rules of the play.

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CLOSING
the Power O is one of the most versatile and physical plays in football.  I firmly believe that every offense should run some facet of Power O, whether you are under center pro-i, wing-T or shot gun.  The fact that it can be run from all these different offenses clearly shows its merit.  It can give a physical component to any offense. It can be used as a counter to zone runs or it can be your staple play. The point is, the Power O has been here a long time, and I don’t see it every leaving the game of football.  Feel free to comment below. Please subscribe via email so you can get updated whenever I post a new article, and give me a follow on twitter at @thecoachvogt.

Meal Planning for the Busy Coach

In my youth, like many of us, I pretty much ate whatever I wanted to.  We all know how this is not sustainable as life goes on.  As I became a mature athlete in college I began to understand the importance of nutrition and its effects on body composition and strength. This article will touch on what I previously covered in “Staying in shape as a Coach With a Family”.  There you can see proper food selection and a workout plan to follow. Here we will discuss how to easily prep meals for the week so you don’t have to think about them, and still eat like a human.  Not going to going over anything like paleo of ketogenic dieting, just some good meal choices that won’t break the bank or drive you insane.  Meal planning makes eating healthy easier because you have a plan.  everything is easier when its planned out.  Not having a plan for your meals you will eat, leads to convenience eating and poor food choices.

What To Cook With

When cooking your meals, what you cook with, is important as well.  As a general rule, use and avoid the following items.

Avoid

  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Heavy Dressings

Use

  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinaigrettes
  • Liquid Aminos
  • Real Butter (yes its OK, just don’t go crazy)

What To Cook

The food choices to use and avoid can be found here in my last article (LINK.)  In general for every meal you at least want 1 protein source and vegetables.  Try to save carbs for after workouts only if you’re trying to lose weight.  If not, then be light to moderate with carbs and heavier after working out. With vegetables, in most cases raw is better, so you’ll only have to worry about cooking proteins and carbs.  There are lots of sources out there that will tell you eat so much protein per this and that, it can drive you nuts trying to count all that nonsense.  Just eat a lot of protein, and eat lots of vegetables… nobody ever went wrong there.  If you feel like you’re staying too sore for too long after working out, then eat more protein, drink more water and sleep more.  99% of the time, that will fix it.

How to Cook It All

I would only recommend cooking 3 days in advance.  So on Sunday cook for Monday through Wednesday.  Then Wednesday cook for Thursday through Saturday.  This way you won’t get fed up (no pun intended) with the same meals over and over, and it reduces the chance of food getting wasted by going bad.  For how to cook the food I recommend ways that allow you to cook the most amount of food with minimal amount of time and/or thought.  Here are some easy suggestions

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  • Crock Pots
    • A very easy and delicious way to cook a lot of food. The bigger the crock pot the better.  Put in your protein source, your vegetables, and your carb source (if desired…I like potatoes lol) and then fill 2/3 the way with water.  If your doing a pork roast a recipe my wife swears by is as follows:
    • 3 lb to 4lb pork butt
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce,
    • 1 tbsp minced garlic
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
    • 1 bag of baby carrots
    • Cup of chopped celery
    • 4-6 medium red potatoes cut in quarters
    • Set it on low Sunday morning and then Sunday night evenly distribute it into Tupperware.  (if you can manage not to eat it right then) allow to cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-7
  • Grill
    • Fire up the grill, if your grilling on weekends anyways, what better time to throw some extra food on for your weekly meals? Grilling is very versatile and can cook every food item you want.  When you are done, again evenly distribute the food into your weekly meal containers The foods I recommend cooking on the grill are turkey burgers, chicken breast, or a beef. You can easily do vegetables as well. The ones I have found I enjoy on the grill the most are zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers, and even asparagus just watch closely as it does tend to wilt if the temperature is too high so if you have a double rack grill use the top rack for your veggies.
  • Oven
    • A couple of oven pans and you can get a lot of food cooked very quickly. Choose your protein source, vegetables and carbs if desired and your good to go. I like to cook chicken for salads this way.  Season the chicken up before I recommend using the Flavorgod seasonings they are salt and msg free, they taste good and lots of variety in flavors, putting them in the oven. You want to cook chicken at 325-350 as to not dry it out.  While they are cooking, get the salads ready in the Tupperware and all you have to do is add the chicken when its done.
    • A good trick to making a salad not suck is adding texture to it and by that I mean bell peppers, raw and diced, avocado, shredded cheese, are just some things to name a few that makes a subtle change with a big taste change.
    • Another thing I like to do is cook eggs in the oven. Egg pop-ables as they are called are an easy low effort, nutritious, and convenient breakfast food that can be portable for the coach on the go.  Take a muffin tin (make sure its not your wife, or girlfriends good one) and use coconut oil or extra virgin oil both can be bought in a spray can form and still be good for you-make sure to spray the sides well, to grease the individual units and crack one egg in each. Add other things if you like for taste, some combos I have enjoyed are cut up sausage and shredded cheddar, you can even get fancy and I say that loosely, and put bacon around the muffin cup lining then crack your egg and whisk it, add some salt and pepper to taste.  Now you can cook 2 dozen eggs in less than 15 minutes.  Set your oven to 375 and cook for 20-25 minutes depending on how done you like your eggs. Makes a good healthy snack or quick breakfast you can grab. Make sure to bag them in some sandwich bags grab 2-3 eggs and a piece of fruit and you are good to go
  • As for in between food to make sure your staying satisfied between meals, practices, and meetings have some food on hand like, jerky or almonds, fruit etc…. and as always drink plenty of water.

CLOSING

Nothing here is cutting edge or super thought provoking.  Again it goes to making adult decisions and deciding to be healthy for ourselves and our families.  It doesn’t have to be hard, or bland.  You can still eat good tasting food and be healthy.  And as always if we practice what we preach to our athletes and lead by example we can help shape a more health conscious focused athlete who cares not just about playing well but eating well so that he can perform his best and lead a healthy lifestyle.

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Disclaimer: while I used to cook a lot, when I say “I” it’s really my wife these days lol.  She does a great job and im lucky to have someone so supportive.

 

 

A Systematic Attack

I am all for simple.  To many coaches try to dazzle with playbooks that look like copies of “War and Peace”.  Sometimes you see these guys on the sideline with giant call sheets.  I pose a question to you if your one of these guys.  How can you expect your players to know your entire call system if you have to use a 2ft by 3ft call card on the sideline?  My playbook, could fit on an index card, my call sheet, is in my head.  Keeping it simple lets you think fast and lets your players play fast.  I cover more on that here in “What’s Your System”.  In this article I will explain a simple way to attack the defense using a systematic method, so you don’t have to call plays at random or on a script.

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A wise man once said: “Only 2 things truly matter when attacking the defense”:

1-who are their best and worst players

Each unit: DL, LBs and DBs have a best and worst player.  As a general rule,                          attack the worst and avoid the best.  Use your formations to leverage these                            players in to areas of the field that you want them in.

2-where are they putting their guys

The defense is going to try to do two things numbers wise to you.  They will                         either, try to balance up to all your formations, or they will tilt to take away                         numbers advantages.  You can use multiple formations to try and gain these                         numbers and attack.  To quote Sun Tsu “attack the enemy where they are not”

Attacking the worst and avoiding the best players is pretty self-explanatory.  I don’t think I have to tell you its unwise to throw multiple routes at a 5-star defensive back, or to run at an SEC commit at 5tech.  The rest of this article will focus on the numbers game, and how to identify where to attack.

THE BASIC APPROACH

 

In the picture above you can see that the formation and the field are divided into 2 zones.  This is the most basic approach and to be honest, a lot times I can go an entire game and never have to get past this method.  It is simple and there really is no true need to go beyond this unless the defense forces you too.   When counting the defense its about how many do they have against yours.  To the side that has a plus 1 advantage or more is where you need to go with the ball.  If the defense is balanced up, then you attack the slugs and avoid the studs.  Using balanced formations is an easy way to do this.  Sometimes a defense will load the side away from their stud, but this is OK, because now you can double their stud and make his life hell.

 

In the pictures above you can see the addition of a Tight End creates extra run gaps.  While still staying in a balanced formation.  Employ the count to ID where to attack.  Two coaching points here:

1-in Pro i, if the defense stays in a 2high shell, pound the rock until the cows                        come home.

2-in high school football, somewhere between 75% and 82% of the snaps are                        taken on the hash marks.  Defenses frequently make the big mistake of                                  leveraging the field instead of numbers.  They will put more guys to                                       the field and assume the sideline will be an extra defender. Often times it wont                    be till late in the 3rd or 4th quarter when the defense finally realizes we have                        been going at the boundary every snap.  By then its usually to late.  Sometimes                    they still wont change and will give you the boundary all night.  Use this to your                  advantage and leverage your formations into the boundary.

THE QUADRANT APPROACH

 

Once you understand the basic halves attack you can break the field down into 4 quadrants. The quadrants are numbered even to the right and odd to the left.  The first 2 are from center out the edge of the box. The next 2 are from the edge of the box to the sideline.  When looking to attack the defense in this regard, look for the defense to be balanced in all 4 quadrants.  If one of these quadrants is plus one, you know to attack that area.  The plays you attack with are up to you, just get the rock over to that part of the field where you have the advantage in the numbers game. If the defense balances in all 4 quadrants attack the worst players, or do what I like to do and use “tilting” formations.

FORCING THE TILT

 

In the pictures above you can see examples of formations that should force the defense to tilt.  If the defense does not tilt, you will have numbers to the strength.  Again divide your field into quadrants. Attack where you have numbers.  Tilting formations are extremely useful on the hashes!  A lot of defenses will already try and leverage the field, now you further force them to put numbers out to the that side with your tilted formation, which will make the count very easy.  Placing the tilt into the boundary can be devastating for defenses that rely on the sideline as the extra defender.  I’ve seen multiple instances over the years where the defense will not tilt into the numbers if they are to the sideline.  As far as I’m concerned this is a self-written death sentence by the defense.  Have you ever seen those nature documentaries where army ants just overwhelm creatures hundreds of times there size with their numbers?

Scorpion 3

While far superior to the individual ant, the 5-star, SEC committed scorpion had no chance in hell….It’s the same concept.  To further exploit the tilting advantage, you can employ unbalanced formations to gain leverage on the defense.

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The formation above is simple, yet lethal.  Make sure the backside tackle is your Tight End to provide a receiving threat to keep the defense honest.  You can see in the picture that the quadrants have shifted to account for the unbalanced look.  The area with the numbers advantage is where you should attack the defense.  Employing trades, shifts and motions in this formation can cause chaos for the other side of the ball. Typically the defense will have issues in quadrants 4, 6 or 1 in this look.  Unbalanced formations also provide multiple quick strike opportunities because the secondary has to have run gap assignments to be sound.

CLOSING

I always try to keep things simple.  Complex for the sake of complex only slows things down in this game.  I truly feel that this is how every offensive coordinator should attack a defense.  Take what the defense is giving to you, make it a systematic approach. Don’t call plays off of a script, don’t call plays at random.  You need to know where you are going to attack the defense and how manipulating with formations will effect your numbers.  Angles and numbers will trump talent in most circumstances.  Its up to us on the offensive side to force the defense to adjust.  If they don’t adjust….well, have fun then Sir.  Everyone will be thinking how smart you are, and you can smirk and think “I just know how to count, that’s all”.   Please subscribe with your email so you can be updated whenever an article is released.  Feel free to comment, and give me a follow on twitter @thecoachvogt.

Staying In Shape As A Coach With A Family

They say if you have your health, you can handle anything.  For the most part that is a true statement.  This article is going to be about staying fit and being healthy for your family.  I’m not here to tell you how to be on the cover of a muscle and fitness magazine, or win the next gold medal in the clean and jerk, but to provide a guide on how to establish and then maintain healthy level of strength and body weight.  It can be a trying ordeal in this profession.  Long hours, sporadic meals, of which many are of questionable decision making for the sake of convenience.  On top of that, you have a family as well. How can you justify taking even more time from them?  It is my belief that you owe it to your family to take care of yourself. Self care is self preservation, you can only take care of someone else when you are able to take care of yourself as well. You should be able to play in the back yard with the kids and not get winded.  Or to have the general strength to take on work around the yard and house.  This article will walk you through an easy to understand plan for diet, programming, and time management; to hopefully avoid the dreaded “coach bod”

Coach Bod- the gradual accumulation of weight around the mid section as a result of high stress, low amounts of sleep and poor diet choices to make up for lack of time.
Think about how you looked when you first finished playing football. Think about the things you could do.  While returning to the level you were at when playing is not likely, we can get in pretty good shape!

DIET

food3

I am definitely no expert in nutrition, but I can tell you this.  We are adults, and we know how to eat healthy and make adult decisions.  I get it, and I’m guilty too from time to time.  Those convince stops for food save time.  We all know that stopping for fast food after practice, and/or games is not the best choice, and it usually becomes a habit.  A habit that can lead to pounds stacking up each season.  Add a few seasons together and you start to go buy bigger pants.  Its not just after practice either.  Starting your day with cereal that comes out of a box with a cartoon character on it should not be on your things to do.  Skipping breakfast can be even worse, then you get hungry and snack in the teachers lounge, buy something from the vending machine or go out and buy a big lunch.  Nothing wrong with that…. but when you’re hungry you tend to choose calorie dense, nutrient weak foods.

Here is a list of foods to avoid:

SODA (by all means, even diet…stay away!)

Wheat (any carbohydrate that comes from a box or bag. Ex: sugar, cereal, bread, bagels…you get it)

Corn (its bad, no it’s not a vegetable)

              The problem with corn and wheat is that its literally in everything!  So as a general rule, buy food from the outside perimeter of the grocery store.

Dairy (ok in small amounts)

Pork (yes its awesomely delicious, save it for special occasions)

Beans and rice (highly estrogenic, estrogen = boobs)

Here is a list of foods to eat:

WATER (the best anabolic hands down)

Vegetables (all kinds, all colors.  Eat lots. Mom was right all along)

Fruit (the more fibrous the better)

Things that used to have a face (chicken, beef, fish and so on)

Eggs

Potatoes (white, sweet, red… all OK.  Just keep them on workout days)

Nuts

Meal Planning

Planning your meals makes eating healthier very easy.  Its not hard.  Tupperware on amazon is like 5 bucks for 5 containers.  Cook 3-5 lunches for work and stick them in the fridge.  Eat eggs and other meat along with fruit and or vegetables in the morning.  For dinner have one of the pre-made meals or cook something that is on the good list I provided.   Here are some photos of some meals that could be used:

Most of you will lose weight just by cleaning up the diet, but if you want aggressive weight loss, it can be attained.  Here is my disclaimer. From my time cutting weight as a wrestler I can tell you this, the faster the weight is lost…the higher the amount of suck it will be.  It also has a greater chance of rebounding back after.  Well, here it is, get some protein powder and you only get one solid meal a day.  One shake in the morning upon waking up, one mid-morning, one for late lunch and one after work.  Protein shake is mixed with water. Your single solid meal will be meat and vegetables, no carbs.  Again, this will suck.  It will however get the weight off you.  I would not stay on this for more than 20-25 days at a time.  Take a few months of normal healthy eating before repeating.  For most of us, just following basic healthy adult eating will be fine.  As a general rule, follow the 80/20 rule.  that it, 80 percent of your diet should come from the good list.

THE PROGRAM

We are coaches, we teach all day then go coach for 2 to 3 more hours before coming home.  During the season we go back on the weekends for staff meetings and when we are home, we usually are still doing some work at some point.  This is not going to make you set any records or grace the cover of muscle and fitness…well if it does make sure you credit me!  All joking aside, this is designed to get you stronger and make you look like you could still play a snap or two if you had too. The whole thing will take between 15 and 30 minutes, and it is 5 to 6 days a week depending on rotation and how you are feeling recovery wise.

Working out more days for shorter amounts of time is the best way to go.  It develops habits, and you are in and out of the weight room, vs the other method of 3 to 4 days a week and in the weight room for an hour, sometimes more.  You will have a warm up, a strength lift, a supplemental lift, a MetCon and then you are done. MetCon stands for metabolic conditioning.  It was established by the Russian weightlifting team in the 1940s. Today, hipsters like to call it crossfit (Don’t worry, we won’t be doing any flying monkey snatches).  It is short, it is intense, it gets the heart rate up, which is what we want.

Warming up is easy, you can do old school calisthenics, a quick jog or my favorite, jump rope.  I highly recommend jumping rope, it is a great whole body warm up, primes the central nervous system and only needs to be done for 1 to 3 minutes.  It is also a good test to determine how the day is going to go.  If you blast through the jump rope you can probably really get after the weights.  Stumble and smack your shins and your back a lot…you probably should take it easier as your nervous system may need a break.

The program goes 3 days on, and 1 day rest/off

Day 1

Squat movement (back squat, front squat, over head squat, split squat) you pick.  I would pick 2 lifts to focus on and then rotate them every round. So Day One do back squats, the next Day One do front. THIS GOES FOR ALL EXERCISE SELECTIONS, pick 2 to focus on.  Switch after 3-5 months if you really want to.

Posterior chain movement (RDL, Lunges, leg curls, anything that targets back of the legs or gluteals)

MetCon

Day 2

Hinge Move (dead lift, Cleans, Kettle bell swings)

Pull Move (pull ups, chin ups, rows, barbell curls)

MetCon

Day 3

Push Move (Push press, bench, dips, strict overhead press)

Push Move (close grip bench, push ups, tricep extensions)

MetCon

Rest day, then repeat Day 1 with the other lift options you chose

You will only track the last set of each main lift.  First 1 to 4 sets will be ramping sets of 5 reps that progressively get heavier till you get to your work set.  Then for that weight you will try to get as many as possible.  Once you can get between 8 and 10, you know next time you do that lift you can move up 5 to 10 pounds.  After the work set no matter how many you get, take 10 to 20 deep breaths and do it again, you may only get 1 or 2 reps but that is OK.  The idea is that you did it again while the body was still taxed.  An example ramp might look like this,

Back squat-45×5, 135×5, 225×5 and 275×7, 20 breaths then 3 more reps.

For the second lift just do 2 to 3 sets till you are just shy of failure at a manageable weight.  Don’t worry about tracking, just put on what feels right for that day.

MetCons are simple, get moving fast with inefficient movements.  Combining 2-3 movements seams to work best.  One of my favorites is combining jump rope with push ups.  Jump rope for 30 seconds as fast as possible then do 20 push ups and go back and forth for 10-15 minutes.  No MetCon should take longer than 20 minutes.  Always cut it off at 20 minutes, 15 minutes is usually what I go for.  Another combo is burpees and sit ups. or jogging and jumping jacks. The good thing about a MetCon is, it can be different every day, a simple search of the word, or the various crossfit type websites will give you all you ever need.

TIME MANAGEMENT 

This whole work out should take no more than 30 minutes, 20 should be an attainable average.  But you are working out 5-6 days per week to make up for the short time.  You can fit 20 minutes a day anywhere.  Wake up early to get to a gym.  If your like me and have stuff in your garage, do it there in early morning.  We coach at schools, use the school weight room, get in early.  Do it on your plan period, its only 30 minutes of working out.  Do it on your lunch break.  Or right after practice before you go home.  Once your home let that be family time.  Either start your day with the workout while the family is asleep, or do it before you get home at some point.  You should let home time, be home time.  You can also use family time as a way to get extra movement in.  Play with the kids outside, or go for a family walk, walk the dog.  We live right by a wild life preserve called Turkey Creek, I love to take my son there and walk the trails.  Its bonding time and some extra movement to help maintain a healthy life style.

(My son and I checking the map in Turkey Creek):

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CLOSING

This should be more than enough to get you started and maintained for a long time.  Finding time to keep ourselves healthy is a priority if we want to be there for our family and set a good example for our children to be healthy as well.  As always please feel free to comment with any questions.  Subscribe to the email list to be updated whenever I post a new article and give me a follow on twitter @thecoachvogt