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How to Design a Football Playbook

Playbook Designer Packages

    There are many playbook designer packages available in software and cloud versions, including PlayMaker, Wheel Barrow Software and Game Planner Pro. For the youth coach, USA Football offers the Click 'N Create playbook. Carefully research which package is best for the coaching staff, as prices do vary. Coaches with Microsoft Word can use online tutorials that explain how to build a football playbook using this software.

Categorizing the Playbook

    Compile playbooks in order by formation with all plays run from the formation included. If a similar play is run from different formations, include the play in each formation section. For instance, the counter trap run play can be run from both the I and Shotgun formations, so the play would be included in both sections of the playbook. Include a subsection on situational plays, plays most successful on specific downs and distances. Players and coaches are able to quickly reference which plays and formations work best against an opponent's formation.

Naming Formations and Plays

    Use names for formations and plays that are easy for players to remember. Word association is important. The coach using the no-huddle offense does not want the quarterback to say, "Power Right," as the defense would know the play direction. Instead, the quarterback may call out, "Jersey Edison," referencing the map location of New Jersey is to the right, with Edison relating to electric power.

Playbook Expansion

    Less is best for coaches using new playbooks. Five run plays and five pass plays may seem too simplified, but when those same 10 plays are run out of three different offensive formations the coach has just increased the playbook to 15 plays. Variations of plays can always be added as the season progresses. When a new play is added, consider dropping a previously used play from the current game plan.

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About the Author

Sean McCormick has several years of media experience (writer, news director, reporter, talk host) and has held coaching positions in high school and college football for over 15 years. McCormick has contributed articles to "Coach and Athletic Director" magazine, as well as several internet sites. McCormick received a Master of Science in athletic administration from Ohio University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Point Park University.

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