T Nation

Coaching Football...


So I have played football most of my life, and have a good understanding of the game. I am hoping to start coaching High school this year, and was wondering if anyone had any good online resources (i.e free) for plays/playbooks, as it would be a big help to get ideas from, both offensively and defensively. Also any other tips etc. is always appreciated. Thanks A lot.


are you going to be the headcoach or are you going to be a positions coach/assistant coach?

is this canadian football that we're talking about with all those crazy rules and extra players? lol


There's a ton of information out there. You really need to be more specific as to what you are looking for.


If you're looking for a good beginning training reference Wendlers 5/3/1 for football is good. It details off season training, warm ups and practice schedule. However we still need more information for what you want.
I coached HS football the season before last as a volunteer, it was a blast, to bad the real coaches had NO structure or organization.


I have some experience with coaching. Like what the guys above said, more specificity is required.

General tips, I think running a "manila" offense is the best way to go... but it should be catered towards your athletes. Good coaches have philosophies, yes, but tailor their game plans to their athletes. I can't tell you how many times a coach was BENT on running the spread when all of his lineman were 6'2" 250+, with no skill positions on offense whatsoever. Also, don't overload the players with a million fucking things. Get them good at a core set of plays and then expand slightly from there if need be.

I find defense to be very cut and dry. I love and worship the 3-4. It is flexible in high school because of the "hybrid" positions that are available. The only bad thing is that schematically everyone has to be accountable for gap control, which really does take some good coaching because everyone wants to get their stats and shit in high school. Once you get your guys to buy into the philosophy, however, it'll do damage on a high school level. Unless you have some kind of uber-stud most QBs won't be able to keep up with the exotic looks and blitzes the 3-4 provides.

My .02.


Good stuff so far, what I am really looking for is resources online that provide, plays,schemes etc. to draw from.


If you're looking for a playbook, it depends on what kind of offense you want to run. But you're not going to find a quality one for free.

I don't mean to be short with you or sound like a dick, but football's a very complex and deep sport and no one book is going to cover everything you need. If you're looking strictly for offensive stuff, if you can, I highly suggest trying to find out what offenses are popular in your conference. And then running something totally different. I'm a big believer in going against the norm in football. It confuses kids and causes coaches to spend extra time scouting and planning specifically for your team.

If you can't find out, just implement something uncommon. Maybe single wing, double wing (this may or may not be popular in your area), lonesome polecat (probably best to stay away from this one, fun to play with, but easy to screw up), or whatever. Personally, I'm a big fan of the single wing, but it's getting harder to find resources for it. But, like the guy above said, your offense has to match your athletes.

You might have to settle on something a little more standard, like a wing-t or triple option (requires a lot of practice with QB reads and moves to really run effectively). Whatever you go with, I suggest focusing on the run unless you have a stud QB. Too many bad things can happen when kids try to throw. It's best to limit those things.

Once you settle on your offense, study the hell out of it, for yours and your players sake. You can't be mad at them for not knowing what to do in a certain situation, when you don't even know what to do in that situation. So learn it and master and, if you can, read about it from several different sources.

After that, decide on how large you want your playbook to be, then cut it in half. Seriously. You're not playing with or against pros. You don't need a large and overly complex playbook. Pick 6-12 plays and coach the hell out of them. It might not seem like enough, but if done properly, it is. For example, if you have 6 plays, you can run them either left or right. Then you can run them out of 2-4 different formations. Depending on your offensive pace, that might be enough for an entire game without repeating an exact play. But, your kids have to know these 6 plays inside and out. You can also ass stuff like motion and shifts to further disguise your plays.

I once coached a team of freshman with only 5 plays. Of course will need to have a few situational plays like hail marys, taking a knee, etc. (Yes, you need to coach taking a knee. If you don't someone will screw it up.)

Anyway, this is a start. Coaching is fun and rewarding, but it's not easy. Coaching is far too complex to waltz into with only good intentions and some playing experience. Good luck.


Also, don't be the guy that draws or explains plays like this picture. This picture is stupid. Every play design needs a defense in it. The biggest problem here is this example doesn't show who to block. It's also confusing in other ways. I don't know the notation, but it looks like the ball carrier ends his run by blocking. Also, the tight end is ineligible in this formation. But whatever, this is just a quick example from google. My point is, a play diagram needs more than an offense in it.

A good play diagram should have all of the following:
-all ball handlers
-paths of backs and receivers
-location of hand off
-type of hand off
-blocking assigment, to include who to block, type of block, direction of block, and duration of block
-any finer coaching points


I am a S and C Coach and Def cord coach for a HS football team. Def line coach and Lb coach. Take this chance you have to help these kids grow not only on the field as a player but also off the field as a person. This job will drain you every day but i love doing it.

What Coaching position are you in?

One of the most important things to remember is to get the ball into the hands of your playmakers hands. My senior running back was our main guy. He finished the year with 2432 rushing yards and 43 TD's. We only lost 2 games. because we got the ball into the hands of our playmaker

Play to your teams strength. if you dont have the best Def and have a quick scoring offense then wear the clock down in the game. keeps the offense fresh but also clock control is one of the most important things. Look at the size of your linemen, all of your players for that matter. you need to put them in the best formations and scheme to help them have the best chance of making great plays geared to their ability.

Make sure your guys respect you. I am only 21 years old so it was easy for them to not respect me as much as the other coaches at first. but once they realized i knew a ton and could help them do great and advance their skills it was all up from there. I even padded up a couple of times to tone down some ego's out there :wink:

Coaching is very very rewarding. hard but rewarding. Those guys are family, so be there for them when they need someone to help them in life. Make sure they understand that they are all brothers out there. fighting for each other, sticking up for each other, not letting a person quit, or half ass it.

Hope this helps a little bit!



If you're not a coordinator or head coach you don't need to be looking at plays. You need to learn how to coach your position to fit into the scheme you have to work with.

My .02. I love football but could never coach it.


OP, can I ask you a serious question: How much do you ACTUALLY know about football?

Like, if I'm talking about an Iso run up the A gap, does that mean anything?

Or what about playing a Cover-2 shell out of the 3-4, but including a Mike 'backer blitz?

I mean, those are just a few examples, but understanding blocking assignments and situational football is one of the more important things, IMO. Things aren't always going to go according to plan and if you don't have the ability to actively see what the other team is doing, and how your team responds, while diagnosing all of this on the fly it's going to be damned hard to coach.


Long time lurker, had to register to add my opinion on this.

I have done some coaching with most recent being fall house league 13-14. I showed up to help out at the try outs and told I should be the HC. I was lucky in that I found a guy willing to be the OC but I still had to draw up the defence and specials and aid the offense design.

You can run around the net looking for stuff, find some american stuff and modify it (usually an extra blocker in a TE is easy on offense, defence you drop both safeties down, call them HB's and throw a single FS up).

The previous posters have done good work with suggestions for coaching points and you create systems around your athletes. To add to this I suggest you write down a few simple and basic schemes and build/adjust as you go.

on offense: I form with double TE works as a the most basic of basics.

on defense: 5-2-5 with the two HB's as more run defenders.

I suggest start with these and build as you learn your athletes.


With 12 players, that should be a hell of a defense.



This is a great board to register for. It is dedicated to coaching football. Even though it is generally an American site you can apply most ideas to the Canadian game. They have lots of great idea's, playbooks, and general plans you can follow. The members on there can be helpful in trading playbooks if you make friends haha.


Oh, Canadian Football. I don't know anything about that, except Doug Flutie.