How to Draw Up Football Plays

By Matthew Fortuna

Football, more than any other sport, is known for the Xs and Os that make up every play. Each play on a football field involves the movements of 22 different players and can get very intricate at times. To keep each play organized and defined from book to book, it is important to know what each symbol represents on every play. Drawing up a football play is an intricate task that is made easy with the right short-hand symbols, and by using the most common formations: an ace formation on offense and a 4-3 defense.

Start with drawing the offensive line. Draw five Xs next to each other in a row.

Draw an X for the quarterback behind the middle offensive lineman and draw an X behind the quarterback for the running back.

Draw an X on either side of the offensive line for the tight end and then draw three Xs separated on either side of the offensive line for the wide receivers.

Draw four Os across from the offensive line for the defensive line, and three Os behind the defensive line for the linebackers.

Draw two Os behind the linebackers on the right and two on the left for the safeties in the back and the cornerbacks in front of the safeties.

Draw a line from any player to represent movement, an arrow to represent a player taking a passing route, a football to represent the ball and a straight line to represent a block of a different player.

Draw lines and arrows attached to your defensive players to determine what gaps they will be running through or what spots to fill. Draw circles or dotted circles around your secondary to indicate the area of the field that should be covered. And draw straight lines to indicate a defensive player engaging an offensive one.

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