• probability and statistics
• biomechanics (suggested by Mark Miller of samuraifootball)
• the scientific method [generally taught to all U.S. students in middle school but there is little evidence it stuck to Americans in general and football coaches in particular—here is a quote from the article this paragraph is linked to: “The scientific method is practiced within a context of scientific thinking, and scientific (and critical) thinking is based on three things: using empirical evidence (empiricism), practicing logical reasoning (rationalism), and possessing a skeptical attitude (skepticism) about presumed knowledge that leads to self-questioning, holding tentative conclusions, and being undogmatic (willingness to change one's beliefs).” ]
• use of computer spreadsheets like Excel
• sports medicine
• first aid, including heat stroke, asthma, and diabetes
• game theory
• decision trees (Wikipedia description and a use of decision trees in my book Football Clock Management)
strength and conditioning
• magician’s sleight of hand (for fakes)
• production and operations management (course name from Harvard Business School—relates to creation of smooth-flowing, efficient complex activities like football practice, recruiting, or football game management)
• contarianism which is the subject of my book The Contrarin Edge for Football Offense

To contribute an idea or comment to this Football Think Tank web site, either email to johnreed@johntreed.com or fax to 925-820-1259 or snail mail at 342 Bryan Drive, Alamo, CA 94507.

Here is a letter from a reader:

I just sent you a question, but that got me reading your site (which I had not done for some time). I love the “think tank” idea and would offer the following input.

Not enough coaches study, or give appropriate priority, to the Offense Line. This is true, with some exception, at every level of the game. The biggest factors in this stem from the following:

1. Having an OL coach who never played OL. While there are exceptions, this coach will only coach “today’s” methods and never really get the foundational skills that make the modern methods possible. (that is, he does not know enough history to be “contrarian”.)
2. Devising an offensive scheme that fails to consider what the current OL talent can execute the best. Too often the HC and OC decide the scheme and then advise the OL coach what it is.
3. Inability to game plan different schemes based on an opponent’s talent. E.g. a MAN blocking scheme against a bigger DL is a recipe for failure. Likewise, a ZONE Scheme (IZ or OZ) against a quicker, or aggressively blitzing D (especially with speedy edge rushers) is doomed.
4. Paying far too little attention to a fundamentally sound STANCE. I see this at every level. The stance of some NFL lineman is embarrassing.
5. Ignoring the impact of deep vertical splits on blocking schemes and angles.
6. Allowing Horizontal splits that are not optimum for the scheme being run.
7. Paying lip service to the importance of OL and not backing it up with action.
8. Failing to spend sufficient practice time coaching the OL as a cohesive unit(s).

I would also add to your section on coaches blaming players that if I had a nickel for every time a coach yells “block somebody” when they have previously failed to “coach somebody”, I would be retired.


Best wishes,

John T. Reed