Successfully Training Your Quarterback

By: Jimmy Cox

All football authorities agree that of all the factors that make for success in games, the proper selection of plays is by far the most important. Poor choosing of plays will nullify the finest of team work and will eventually break down the highest morale. On the other hand, even a mediocre eleven will rise to unsuspected heights when directed by a brilliant quarterback.

How score affects the choice of plays:

1. Don't save your passing game until you are behind - it will not work then.
2. When three or less points behind, you may want a field goal.
3. When ahead, use your passing game sparingly, as one may be intercepted for a touchdown.
4. If ahead in last minutes of the game, play all kicks absolutely safe.
5. In the same situation, tackle dangerous pass receivers, if necessary, to prevent completion of a pass. The penalty cannot beat you, but a completed pass might.

Six items the quarterback must always know:

1. Always know the down.
2. Always know the yards to be gained.
3. Always know your position on the field.
4. Always know the time.
5. Always know the score.
6. Always know the rules.

Encouragement:

From my own experience, I have worked harder for those coaches who have encouraged now and then than for those who rarely said anything.

Encouragement is like penicillin to the quarterback. The right amount is good, too much is bad. It depends wholly on the quarterback. Some players thrive on it, others' heads swell. However, when a player does something good, the coach should let him know he saw the action. No player should be constantly criticized, and no player should be constantly encouraged.

Count:

Call at least 70 per cent of your plays on first count. This will prevent the defense from doing a great deal of changing.

Quarterback removed from game:

As soon as the quarterback comes out of the game, he should come immediately to the head coach. The two of them should openly discuss information from the press phones so that the quarterback can re-enter the game with additional guidance. Do not allow a substituted quarterback to walk to the bench without first reporting to the head coach.

Fourth down:

There is absolutely no excuse for the execution of a ridiculous play on the fourth down.

One last caution - the pass was never intended as a short cut to victory, but as a sound football play to be carefully blended in conjunction with the remainder of the offense.

Learning:

Always remember that learning is specific. Your quarterback and your players must learn what they do.

Confidence:

The quarterback's confidence, as the quarterback's lack of confidence, is as infectious as the measles.

Surprise:

Ten plays are better than 50. One unexpected play is better than ten obvious ones. The expected play is always a weak play, and the unexpected play is usually successful. However, a quarterback must not get the impression that he should select plays with the idea of fooling the opponents. It is not by the radical violation of rule that surprise is obtained, but by careful building with sound methods of play for a situation where a departure from such tactics will bring the surprise. In other words, you must set the trap before you spring it.

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