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How to Use Microsoft Word to Create a Football Playbook

By Steve Silverman

Creating a football playbook is one of the most important jobs a head coach has. To have a strong chance to win, a football coach must come up with plays that are difficult for his opponent to defend. The coach has to get these plays down on paper and across to his players. Writing them in the Microsoft Word program will allow the coach to emphasize the most important aspects of each play and point out the players' responsibilities with ease.

Step 1

Create the plays that you want the players to learn. Sit down on your computer and open up the Microsoft Word program. You will describe each play from the perspective of every position group--if not every player. A receiver on a down-and-out pattern has a different job than the left tackle. The running back has different responsibilities on the swing pass than the center. Each player will have a different job. In Microsoft Word, you can color code each player's responsibilities so they are easy to follow.

Step 2

Group all your running plays together. Emphasize the run-blocking responsibilities for each player in bold type. Despite all the emphasis on the skill positions, no play will work the way the coach wants if it is not blocked correctly. Get your point across by putting the blocking schemes in bold type.

Step 3

Point out the reads the quarterback must make on all passing plays. At all levels of competitive football starting at high school, the quarterback must read the defense before making a downfield throw. As head coach, you can emphasize what the quarterback is supposed to check for by writing it in the playbook. Point out that on a double-move pass pattern to a wide receiver, the quarterback is looking for man-to-man coverage instead of zone, because that gives the receiver a better chance to get open. Use italic and bold type to point out the look he must see from the defensive back in order to make the play work. Then go over the options the quarterback has if he doesn't see the coverage he wants.

Step 4

Change the font if you are asking a player to do something different on a particular play. For example, the basic type of your playbook may be Times New Roman because of its standard format and easy-to-read aspects. But if you are putting in an option play in which the quarterback hands the ball to the running back, who is then supposed to pass instead of run, change the type to Gothic (Franklin Gothic Heavy) to alert the player that he has to do something he doesn't normally do. This will get his attention.

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