The Playbook Continuum

The other day, in the span of an hour, I heard from coaches on the opposite ends of the “Playbook Continuum”.

playbookOn one side, I spent some time visiting with a local high school coach about ways to use technology to make their playbook better.  He was willing to do whatever it took to help his athletes better understand their system.  He was explaining how he uses playmaker pro, captures the images and puts them in a document.  This coach wanted to learn how to use new tools to embed video to help make a digital version of his playbook … to help it “come alive”… knowing there are many different types of learners on his team.  He (and all of us) are anxiously awaiting the release of the Hudl playbook function, hoping it will be the “all-in-one” tool for our playbook needs… that it will become the “Playbook of the Future”.

On the other side of this spectrum was a coach that did not believe in playbooks… saying, “No one reads them and they just end up in the bottom of their lockers

Unbelievably, it is almost a direct quote from my post – The Value of a Playbook.  Let me quickly revisit that post:

I am amazed at the reasons (excuses) some colleagues give for NOT preparing a playbook for their athletes.

  • “It is a waste of my time, they won’t even read it”
  • “It is a waste of my time, it will just end up in the bottom of their locker”
  • “We install on the field, that is the best way to learn anyway”
  • “We change what we emphasize each week, so our offense (defense) is really fluid… it’s tough to capture that in a printed playbook”
  • “Kids learn by doing”
  • “We just teach the play concepts, so being able to draw up a play is not that important”
  • “I did not have time – there are so many other, more important things to do”
  • “Kids just don’t have the attention span any more… they are used to playing video games”
  • “Kids don’t read any more – they would rather watch a movie instead”

These reasons (excuses) all have some validity…

  • Some kids DO learn by doing…
  • Some kids WOULD rather watch a movie than read…
  • Some kids will NOT read the playbook…
  • Some kids DO have short attentions spans…
  • Some kids DO relate to video games more than the written word.

Some, but not ALL kids

Without a doubt, publishing a good playbook is hard work and a time consuming project.  But let me pose these questions to you…

  • If having a playbook helped just one athlete perform better on one play during the season….
  • And that one play made the difference between winning and losing one game….
  • And that one game made the difference between being conference or district champions…
  • Would you publish a playbook for your team?

There are no guarantees in coaching… but if having a playbook is going to help win one game… for me the time spent is a good investment.

A digital, interactive, mutli-media playbook is great, but I have to believe that ANY playbook is better than NO playbook.  This may offend some readers, but the above “reasons” for not making a playbook are really just “excuses“… We owe it to our players to make every effort at teaching them using all the tools available.

Those two coaches lead very similar programs… similar facilities, budgets, athletes, etc.  Their teams will meet this season.  It will be interesting to see the outcome…..It is the Singer, Not the Song.


Jeff Floyd –

4 thoughts on “The Playbook Continuum

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