As an Economics major in college, I learned to use cost-benefit analysis as a systematic process of evaluating the outcome of a decision by weighing its potential benefits compared to costs. In business, those costs and benefits are most frequently expressed in monetary units. In football, and particularly offense, the costs are the investment of time and attention, and the benefits are yards, touchdowns, and ultimately wins.
Every postseason, I evaluate how many times we called a play, the mean, median, and mode of yards gained per play, and the efficiency of each play. Efficiency is determined by the play earning 4+ yards, a first down, or a touchdown. That determines the relative benefit of a play. The cost is determined by how much time it takes to install or teach the play in meetings and how much time is allotted in practice to work on the techniques and schemes associated with a particular play. Simply stated, plays that do not yield high averages, efficiencies, or touchdowns are not worth investing time in (particularly if the play is “expensive” costing us a great deal of coaching time.)
This past season we learned that we must evaluate an additional cost: The investment of time into backup players. We believe we invest equally in the mental, physical, and emotional development of all of our players in meetings and training sessions, but this season proved we have not invested adequate time to back-up players in practice. The 2022 season was fraught with injuries at multiple positions forcing us to take a “next man up” approach every week. The next man may not be as big, strong, fast, or skilled as the starter, but he must be equally prepared.
In 2023, we need to be more resilient. We need to be able to “take a hit” to the team’s overall ability, yet bounce back and remain competitive. I plan to ensure we invest more time in practice for our backups to get repetitions, build proficiency, and ultimately resilience. Along the way, we’ll also focus on resilience as a character trait, noting that life may require us to bounce back from an unexpected “hit,” and in doing so, continue to help our student-athletes carry lessons from the field into their future.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!