80-20 Principle for Football | Pareto Principle

80-20 Principle for Football | Pareto Principle

One of the most universal principles throughout the world is Pareto’s Principle which is also known as the 80-20 Principle. This principle says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your actions. While it is applicable across the spectrum of business and sports, there is no other place where this principle comes into highlight as much as in football.

80-20 Principle for Football

The 80-20 Principle became famous because how universally it can be applied. No matter the setting or arena the 80-20 Principle holds true. One classic example of the 80-20 Principle is McDonalds. McDonalds recognized the majority of its profit was coming from hamburgers and fries. In response to this they cut the remaining items from the menu and focused on mastering hamburger and fries.

The 80-20 Principle is a great principle to apply to football. You can apply the principle using a variety of different stats to look and see this 80-20 principle in football. Whether it is on offense where 80 percent of the yardage comes from 20 percent of the plays or on defense where 80 percent of the tackles for loss come from 20 percent of the blitzes and stunts, the 80-20 principle remains solid.

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As a coach once you understand the 80-20 Principle it becomes much easier to plan your practices. The key is finding the critical 20 percent of your input. Statistics are the best way to do this.

The best example of applying the 80-20 Principle comes from my time as a Special Teams Coordinator. I was looking for what the critical 20 percent was in the Kickoff Return game. I wanted to know which blocks would make the difference in determining the quality of return. I originally thought the critical factor would be the front wall blocks. As I broke down the film I determined that the front wall had little to no effect on the return. Instead it was the back wall blocks that determined the length of the return.

With this new knowledge we totally adapted our kickoff return scheme and strategy. Instead of having two wedges, we used the front wall players to double team the most effective coverage man on either side of the kicker (because, not surprisingly, 80 percent of the tackles come from 20 percent of the players). I then took over coaching the back wedge and we put some of our most dynamic players there. The result was an increase of 7 yards in our average kickoff return.

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The 80-20 Principle is applicable to every aspect of the game. Whether you are planning out your Special Teams for the upcoming season, or determining your game plan, the 80-20 Principle can help you boost your efficiency and increase your production.

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