Game Planning at all levels is a delicate balance. The Offensive Coordinator wants to be able to have answers to anything the defense is doing while still keeping the play count low enough for his players to master. Trying to find this balance is difficult for any team, there are a million different plays that can be effective, but if they aren’t executed correctly, no play will work.
Using the Bucket System to Develop a Game Plan for Youth Football
Ryan Day gave a great talk at the Ohio State Coaches Clinic where he talked about his system for game planning. They develop a series of different Buckets that define the purpose of each play. These will vary from team to team, but essentially there are Inside Runs, Outside Runs, Counters, Play Actions, Horizontal Stretch, Vertical Stretch, and Isolation Routes.
Throughout the offseason they work to take all of their concepts and assign them into a different Bucket. By doing this they now have a huge list of the different ways they can accomplish their goals within their offensive system.
They then go through their Offensive Plays and Formations and rate the effectiveness of each play or concept against the major types of defenses and coverages they expect to see. He showed a picture of this spreadsheet and it is pretty massive, but he said it actually didn’t’ take as long as you would think to create because they already knew a lot of the answers.
Once they have spent the Offseason creating these tools it allows them to really cut down their prep time in season. When they are preparing for a team they know that they want to carry 2-5 concepts for each bucket into the game. Their game planning then becomes just a matter of selecting from the limited list of concepts that are good for each bucket based on the defense they are going to face.
See Also: Practice Planning for Youth Football
While this can seem like an overwhelming amount of work up front, it can be tailored to fit any different offense. The first thing you need to do is think about what different buckets you would like to have. Once you have established your goals for each play, it just a matter of selecting which concepts accomplish these goals. By limiting these down you now have 2-5 plays to accomplish the main goals of your offense.