Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. ~U.S. Law, Northwest Ordinance, 1787

How to study football

To be prepared to win football games, we must play at top speed…fast and furious…on every play.  To play at top speed, we must know our assignments.  To know our assignments, we must invest time and effort to learn them.

But how?  Before we get started, let’s be clear on our objectives, and let’s focus on the running game as an example.  When the quarterback calls a play in the huddle, you should immediately know whether you are on the “play side” or “backside”, and you should be able to say your assignment.  The reason that we have practice everyday is so that your body is connected to your brain….so we can execute the play correctly and aggressively, in unison.

I suggest you try some or all of these steps until our team is completely one.

1. Pull out the base offense assignment chart, and memorize your rule exactly as it is written.  

Note that the running plays are listed across the top…the last two digits of each running play are listed.  Offensive positions are listed down the left side.  Also, note that we refer to PS (play side) and BS (backside).  Again, it is critical that you understand where you are lined up in relation to the play.  In the same way that you cannot study advanced math if you have not memorized multiplication tables, you cannot play football fast if you don’t know your assignment.  The best players (and the quarterbacks) will know everyone’s assignment for a particular play.  Start with your own, but do your best to understand fully what we are trying accomplish with each play.

2. Always have paper and pen/pencil when studying offensive football.  

Draw formations, defensive fronts, and apply the rules (see #1).  Do it without the play chart so you don’t trick yourself into believing that you know the plays.

3. Study videos on this site.  

Use the pause button frequently so you are sure to keep up.  I will work hard to keep them short and to the point.  Be sure to draw plays in the opposite direction, because we may not always present plays to the right and the left.  Don’t trick yourself into thinking you’ll be able to figure it out on the field…prepare, prepare, prepare.

4. Work hard to use proper terminology.

Learn the language of football.  When talking football with players or coaches, don’t grunt, groan, or point.  Use the language of football.  If you need help, ask a coach.  The clearer you can speak on the topic of football, chances are, the faster your body will react on the field.

5. Work in groups.

Get together by position (all QB’s get together, for example) or by teams (all the 1’s meet to go over new plays, for example).  Test and quiz each other frequently.  Let’s create a culture where it’s “cool to know the rules”.  Men, I promise you, when we have an unstoppable running game, you’ll think it’s cool to know the rules.

6. Teach someone else.

A younger player, your parents, your little brother…anyone.  At first, you may need your notes.  When you can teach the subject using the proper rules with no notes, you have probably mastered the material.

7. Make the most of practice.

Play every play in your head, even if you are watching.  Keep your mind engaged even when you are tired.

8. Celebrate victories.

Let’s keep the enthusiasm building as we get all 11 guys doing the right thing, every play.

What has helped you the most in learning your football assignments?  Do you believe that having your assignments memorized would make you a better player?  And us a better team?  What prevents you from knowing your assignments cold?

Getting Started


Coaches often find themselves with much to share, but little time to share it.  So, I will use this site to to reflect on things we experience together each day, to share some of my life experiences, to encourage you to become better men, and to teach a little football.  It is fair to say that I expect to learn as much as you will.

Please adhere to the rules.

Engage and enjoy.

Coach Kirby