In the last part of our series “Coach Language” we look outside the box and deal with how American football is communicated. We take a look at the fundamental differences between soccer and American football, deal with the offensive moves and take up an innovative concept of the Los Angeles Rams.
We do not need a great deal of knowledge about American football and can still distinguish the sport from football in a short time. In both sports, an attacking team always plays against a defending team, but we only rarely find the switch game in football, for example. In football, the attacking team either scores a touchdown or their attack is stopped by the opponent and time is stopped. Then a new attack begins. Furthermore, football teams differentiate between offense, defense and special teams, while in football the same team is always on the field. At this point we could list dozens of other differences, such as playing time, game device or game goal, but it only gets really interesting when we take a look at how the head coach communicates offensive moves with his team.
We trainers can pass on our messages directly to the addressed people in a soccer game. It’s different in football. There the head coach speaks to the quarterback first. This passes the selected move on to his fellow players in the so-called “huddle”. Then the team takes the mentioned formation and the quarterback analyzes the opposing team. He informs his teammates about further commands, for example about the line-up of the opponent. It announces whether the move referred to is actually being played and informs the other players about the command on which the move is started.
Even if the moves sound incredibly complicated to us, the teams in American football have long been using the chunking method that we know from the last part of our series (acronyms Seriously Suck). The head coaches develop “playbooks” for their teams, in which all play variants are presented as clearly as possible. The players have to know this playbook by heart, because even the smallest mistake can lead to failure. A uniform language in American football is therefore one of the greatest challenges for head coaches.
Celebrities and Delicious Food
In recent years, one coach in particular has mastered this challenge with flying colors. We’re talking about Sean McVay. Sean McVay is the head coach of the LA Rams. He is also known as the Julian Nagelsmann of American football. His playbook is compiled from associations of celebrities and delicious food. Accordingly, he uses chunks on the sidelines like “Tupac”, “Obama” or “Lollipop”.
If we look closely at the video, it quickly becomes clear that Sean McVay’s chunks are not just used as a self-portrayal medium of presentation. McVay managed to develop a uniform culture with the help of the chunks and brings his plan across very authentically. His players follow him with great enthusiasm and bring his ideas to life.
Bread and Butter Play
In addition to the chunks, American football teams use another trick to keep track of things. The so-called “Bread and Butter Play”. So the daily bread, or basic moves, in which the teams can assume with a high probability of gaining a few meters of space. These moves are always practiced first in a season and are most common in training. Only when these are understood are new and more complicated moves trained. We should take this thought to heart and always remember to focus on the essentials first. Ultimately, our players will only understand our intention with the specific pattern if the necessary game principles have been introduced and trained beforehand.
In American football, too, complicated situations are summarized in an overview with the help of the chunking method. The chunks can be designed very creatively, but it is extremely important that we trainers can also convey our ideas authentically. If we don’t manage to pull the team along and inspire them with our ideas, we should stay away from complicated chunks and continue to concentrate on our daily bread. Chunks must not become a medium for self-expression, but must continue to serve as an aid for our players.
Tip: We spent the night at the last SuperBowl and put together the most important lessons for trainers. Go to Article.
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