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The High School Play Book

The playbook can be a very sacred thing in football.  In the NFL, it has great value. In high school it may be an important part of the coaches program.  But some high school coaches don’t believe in them, and never use one.  Some coaches have play books of hundreds of pages, while some have very small play books with only the most basic of information.  Here is a look at the thoughts behind the high school playbook, pros and cons.

The Advantages of the Playbook

  1. It is an accumulation of a coaches offensive, defensive and special team knowledge.  It may include details that are important, and is a great way for the head coach to give himself a professional development course each season in his own tactics.

  2. The play book is a great way to teach the members of your staff the details they must coach and the philosophy behind those details.

  3. If you move from one school to another, it is an excellent means of teaching your offense, defense or special teams to your new staff.

  4. It is a great reference guide, and can help in creating game plans to attack certain coverages, or defending certain offensive plays or formations.  It just depends how in depth you want the play book to become.

  5. New software allow you to create a playbook, and send it to your coaches digitally without having to run off hundreds of sheets of paper. They can access it on their computer, tablet or phone. A coach can add or take away stuff every year, without having to start over from scratch.

  6. You can send parts of it to your players to study.  Some coaches have created Madden play books for their players and let them work the offense in the offseason to train them. Some create small game plan play books weekly to help teach the plan to the players rather than giving it to them on paper.

The Disadvantages of Playbooks

  1. Many coaches do not want their information written down. It is like putting down the launch codes to the missiles.  Many fear that it will end up in the hands of the enemy.

  2. Coaches fear that if they give an assistant a playbook, he will keep a copy and then take it with him when he goes to another job.

  3. Many coaches feel that an extensive playbook takes up way too much time and they could better spend that time on other areas of their team.

  4. Some coaches do not want parts of their playbook second guessed by staff.  They like to keep the knowledge close to the vest and don’t want to share it with anyone.

  5. Some coaches feel like your time is better spent in doing film study with coaches and players and not having your nose stuck in a playbook.


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