Practicing Your Tempo

One Step At a Time

video


In an earlier post I talked a little bit about up tempo football and how you need to practice to perfect it.  Now that we are in Spring Ball I have a chance to post some early footage of our team running the up tempo drill that we use all the time.  This drill is not professionally edited, and it includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.  As with any Spring Ball season we are dealing with injuries and position changes, so it slows down the execution of our assignments a little bit, but it gives us a chance to evaluate some other players, especially the younger ones.  This is the first time we have done this drill in the spring so it is a little shaky at first.  What I would like you to look at is what we are actually trying to accomplish.  The first time we do the drill we just want the players to get comfortable figuring out what we are trying to achieve.  I also need the coaches to get accustomed to how the drill should function and what their roles are. The offensive coaches should be on the sideline with all available personnel groupings ready to go.  There is a coach responsible for signaling the plays in while another coach is responsible for getting the right personnel on the field.  We want players running on and off the field to get used to the personnel changes we make in game situations.  Our lineman will execute their assignments on air and then try and locate the next ball put in play. In the early stages with new players we focus on getting them to the next ball and in the next formation.  As we progress through the year or camp we start to stress the importance of lineman hustling to the next spot.  We want the QB looking to the sideline immediately after we run a play to get the next formation.  He should echo the formation he gets from the play caller at least 3 times.  The receivers will get the formation call from the play caller, but if they are not in position to see that they should also listen for the call from the QB.  The running backs will line up in the formation call that they get from the QB, we do not make them take the signal from the sideline but you could if you wanted to. After the formation is in the signaler will then signal the play. The receivers must get the play from the signaler because the QB will not yell the play out for them.  The QB is only responsible for telling the Oline and the RBS the play call.  If you have different tempos and snap counts or snap procedures this is a great time to work on that as well.  We try to change tempo every 2 or 3 plays so the snap count changes and forces our guys to concentrate on the tempo and their individual assignment.  In the fall we mix our "freeze" tempo in as well which is our version of check with me.


Hopefully this video clip gives you a little better feel for the up tempo on air drill.  There are a bunch of mistakes in it and the pace is a little slow for my liking.  I actually think the drill was a little "ugly" today but it was the first one of the season.  We will use it as a starting point and build on it from there.  I was actually more concerned with getting my coaches on the same page for the sake of efficiency in the drill.  Don't ever underestimate how important it is to "coach your coaches" in certain drills.  There is no bigger drill killer than a staff that is not on the same page.  Remember we are talking about tempo and pace here so the role of the coaches is very important.  The role of coaches in your everyday practice as a no huddle up tempo team is crucial as well. Knowing how to coach on the run or on the fly becomes crucial to the effectiveness of your tempo and execution.  Learning how to use online film study as a means for corrections is vital for up tempo success.  Like most tempo coaches I am never satisfied with the pace and always want to go faster.  Watching this drill and looking for ways to clean it up helps me achieve that goal.

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