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Here's a book I recommend for anyone wanting to learn the strategy behind football. It's called "Take Your Eye Off the Ball" written by Pat Kirwan with a foreword by Pete Carroll and Bill Cowher
It's on Amazon for $2.12 used - Can't beat that.
I haven't been involved with coaching at a high level, but I will recommend a book that goes over this, to route concepts, to some popular play-calling verbiage. For example Zebra is sometimes referred to as 11 personnel, or 1 RB and 1 TE. This book is a book I think every football fan should have on the shelf.
It's called Take your eye off the ball
Written by Pat Kirwan, with forewords by Pete Carroll and Bill Cowher
It's only $5.08 on Amazon right now. I wouldn't pass that up.
I haven't found any channels that do a good job of starting with the basics, but this book does a great job. It's an easy read, starts with the basics and goes into great detail
Lots of good advice in the thread already but I'll try and add to it. I'm gonna take a flying leap and assume you're pretty familiar with soccer.
Obviously, football has a bunch more start and stops than soccer does. However, the tactical/positional aspects can be similar. In soccer, certain teams have certain styles. Some play 10 men behind the ball with a very conservative, defensive style (e.g. Italy). Many couple that with a fast counter attack looking for a quick score (Madrid). Some teams play a fluid possession game with lots of holding by the midfielders and a probing, conservative offensive approach (Barca). Some attack through the wings, others up the middle....you get the idea. There are formations that support all of those types of play: all the variations of 4-4-2, 3-5-1, stuff with attacking midfielders, defensive midfielders etc etc. Additionally, you get the personnel/players to support the respective style of play and formation.
Ok, one of the things I like about football is all those factors can be changed every play according to the situation. Imagine if soccer coaches had unlimited substitutions every time the ball went out (from a roster of 53 total players). If a team is behind they'll call riskier plays looking for something big. If a team is ahead, they'll call more conservative plays to try and maintain a lead until time runs out. There is a ton of variation in how coaches will deploy their players to accomplish their goals. Plus, every strategy has advantages and disadvantages, so there is always a sort of chess match going on between the two teams.
This book is a great intro to some of this stuff. Also, feel free to ask questions...I'll try and clarify any/all of this if I can. There's also a bunch of really smart and helpful people in this sub....just keep hanging around and you'll pick it all up in no time!
> Gridiron football strategy
Take Your Eye Off the Ball, How to Watch Football By Knowing Where to Look The Author is a former NFL coach, scout, and executive.
The point of his book is teaching strategy fundamentals of the game of football.
What the the different personnel groups and formations? What are they used for? What are they designed to beat? or what situations are they best for? What opposing strategies and formations are used to counter them?
The idea is that watching the ball fly through the air is almost trivial. When you understand the formations and strategy, you can just look at who is on the field and where they are lined up, and you know what they're going to try to do. It makes the game so much more interesting to watch.
I like to describe Gridiron football like chess.
The various player position types are like different chess pieces, all with their own movement rules.
An individual player's understanding of the rules influences how they can work within the rules. (e.g., a linebacker piece can't cover as many steps as a wide receiver piece, so the coach tries to force that matchup, and the QB tries to recognize that matchup to know "ok, got him, I'm going to throw the ball there, because that guy got stuck with a match his type can't win")
An individual players athleticism allows him to bend and break those rules. (that same linebacker can't cover a wide receiver because linebackers aren't fast enough to stay with wide receivers, except... THIS linebacker is an athletic freak that runs way faster than a guy his size is supposed to. He unnaturally fast, so His chess piece moves 4 squares when the rules say he should move 3.)
Football is really really complicated, you're never going to learn the technique related stuff (how to release from press as a WR, how to chain moves together as a pass rusher) without playing yourself
Learning general knowledge stuff like formations and pre-snap reads for an offense/defense read "Take your eyes off the ball"
If you like reading, this is a great book for people like you and still good for any NFL fan. I enjoyed it even though I read it at 30 years old and I've been watching football since I was 3.
Get this book:
It is maybe 2-3 years out of date with the player names, but it will give you a good primer on what teams are looking to do, how they plan on doing it, and the back and forth between each coach as they try to decipher each others tendencies and play calls.
I highly, HIGHLY, recommend you read this book. It gives tons of good insight into what to look for while watching a football game.
This book will help you to understand the basics.
Hey Friend -
A really good and easy to read book about American football:
I'm a huge football fan and after reading that you really start seeing things differently and it helps you understand the complexities and minor nuances in the game.
While you're on Amazon, here's that book I suggested: Take Your Eye Off the Ball.
buy Pat kirwans book - it will help you understand the sport better:
It is possible to play the game, sure, but you will need to understand how offenses and defenses operate to really enjoy it, unless you play it on easy.
I try to usually watch the defense on any given play, usually the linebackers since you can't see much of the secondary (on TV). I recommend the following book:
One of the keys to understanding what really goes on in an NFL game is to take your eyes off of the ball and watch the other 21 players.
If you just watch the ball every play, you can really get hung up on the starting and stopping of plays and maybe even get bored (probably not though). If you look at pre-snap allignments, offensive and defensive formations, potential play calls and how they change with down and distance and time remaining, personnel changes, then after the snap check out the o-line and d-lines trying to make holes, watch the QB go through his reads, etc... that's where you start to see the chess match analogy really take shape. Football is definitely a thinking man's game, and it's as deep as you can ever want it to be.
Check out this book if you want to know more.
That's what I'm sayin' man. 3 days and we're done putting out a better quality product in less time. Like the Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of r/NFL but with fewer NFL connections but less goofy looking hair. And we're not douchebags.
Also, find yourself a copy of this. Excellent read.
There are some good guys on YouTube, The QB School and Brett Kollmann are both pretty popular. If you really want to get into it there’s a book Take You Eyes Off the Ball that is like the holy grail. I haven’t finished it I’m about halfway through but it goes pretty in depth into all things football and if you are up for it comes with exercises to do while watching film for practice.
Take Your Eye Off the Ball by Pat Kirwin is one of the best football books money can buy
Used copy on Amazon can be had for a few bucks
Welcome to the best fanbase in football!
Take your eye off the ball:
2. As a new fan you're going to want to get to know the stars of the team. On offense, Aaron Rodgers (Quarterback), Jordy Nelson (Wide-Reciever), Randall Cobb (Wide-Reciever). On defense, Clay Matthews (Outside Linebacker), Julius Peppers (Outside Linebacker), "HaHa" Clinton-Dix (Safety) Mike Daniels (Defensive-End)
3. For tactics as a fresh beginner I'd recommend the book "Take Your Eye Off the Ball" by Pat Kirwan with forewords by Bill Cowher (Former Head-Coach of the Steelers) and Pete Carroll (Current Head-Coach of the Seahawks). It's currently $3 on Amazon used and it provides the perfect foundation of understanding what goes on behind the curtain, sort of speak. Amazon
4. Check out fantasy football. That will really hook you into getting to know these players. Although the season is over you can do mock drafts with actual people over at Fantasy Football Calculator
I'll be releasing a torrent of the Packers entire season sometime this week. Download it and see if football is something you'd like to get more into.
I saw there's an updated version for $17 but that's still a little pricey for a paperback
Have I got the right books?
Take your eyes off the ball
Footballs Coaching Bible
A great book to read for beginners who want to know more about football strategy is Take Your Eye Off the Ball, by Pat Kirwan.
Take Your Eye Off the Ball is a good place to start
It depends what interests you about the game. I came to football pretty late, and the things I enjoy about the NFL are not the same things a lot of other folks seem to enjoy. For instance, Fantasy Football seems boring to me because - as an engineer - my brain immediately converted the whole thing to a complicated parlay bet on what will likely be a bunch of fairly random outcomes. If that sounds like you, you might come at the game from a different direction than by following the normal advice here of "play Madden, play Fantasy".
I love the Xs and Os of things like Baldy's Breakdowns and I love reading analytics blogs. One of the things I also found really helpful was reading up on a lot of the terminology of the game at American Football Strategy. Just read that whole article, and any time you see a term you don't know, dive in!
If you want to know about the history, especially the recent history, of the game, try reading these books:
I'd suggest buying this book if it's available.
Take Your Eye Off The Ball - By Pat Kirwan
It can be a little challenging to find things that offer a level of detail between explaining what a quarterback is and something that's intended for high school coaches looking to install a new system.
Smart Football is probably the best blog in terms of explaining things in terms that most people can understand. He also has two books out, which I would recommend.
FishDuck is an Oregon blog, but there's good analysis there.
Football Study Hall is also solid. There's a lot of statistical stuff there too.
There are a few books that helped me too.
Take Your Eye Off the Ball was written specifically to help people watch football with an eye towards the X's and O's. It looks like there's a new edition coming out next month.
Blood, Sweat and Chalk is a fun read. It basically traces the history of football by telling the stories of the most famous innovators in the game.
Have you read Kirwan's Keep Your Eye Off the Ball? If so, how do they compare? I'm just finishing it and am wondering if I should do Smart Football next.
uhm id suggest you get yourself some books on football
Take your eye off the ball - by Pat Kirwan
The essential smart football - by Chris Brown
Blood, sweat & chalk - by Tim Layden
all those above give great insights about mechanics and mechanisms in general, i've read them and they all helped me bigtime understanding alot of things behind the scenes
War room - by Michael Holley
I havent read that one yet, but its going to be the next buy - alot of insights about how belichick builds his team
You can also check out "Take Your Eye Off the Ball" by Pat Kirwan.
I recommend the book "Take Your Eye Off the Ball."
I recommend reading this if you really want to understand the game. It puts perspective on a whole 'nother level.
First, look on YouTube for basic info. You can find videos about positions and plays and even schemes like the spread pretty easily.
Second, I recommend looking up some film breakdowns. Bill Belichick does them weekly (I think it's weekly) on a local Boston channel, but you can find some of them on YouTube by searching for Belichick Breakdown.
Third, try to find some guides for how to watch football and how to breakdown a game. Articles like this can provide you with a greater understanding of what everyone is doing during a play.
Fourth, do some reading.
I highly recommend Take Your Eye Off the Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look to help you while watching the game, but be sure to get the paperback version so you get all the diagrams. It will teach you the progression of the reads, the route running, the blocking and everything that happens on defense as well.
To help you cut through some of the jargon announcers use, I recomment Blood, Sweat and Chalk: The Ultimate Football Playbook.
If you want to learn more about strategies, try The Essential Smart Football.
To learn more about evaluating players, Football Scouting Methods is a must read. It will take you to the football of another era, but with the foundation from all the other info I've provided you will be able to start putting the pyramid together and learn how the game became what it was today.
Pat Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off the Ball"
Here is an excellent book to learn all the basics and some advanced stuff about football.
Take Your Eye Off the Ball
This book will lay it all out for you quite well