Chalk Wars & Pre-Game Preps…

Chalk Wars this Saturday Feb 24th, in Atlantic City, NJ!

2018-02-22 Football Play

While hosting the state semifinal game in 2016, we were faced with a 4th and 10 on our own 22 yard line with just over a minute to play.  After our 3rd down play failed to convert, I muttered to myself, “Damn now what”.  It was overheard by our booth coach, John Lovett, who quickly reminded me our Game-sheet says “Quads Power Pass” under Last Plays from just outside the Red zone.  I signaled in the call, we threw the ball to our Tight End in the corner of the end zone and moved on to the state championship game.

Had we not prepared for that situation in the stress-free setting of our football office on Wednesday night, we would never have pulled that play out during the stress of the moment.  Chalk Wars this weekend at the Atlantic City Glazier Clinic will be a time-competitive decision making game designed to simulate the pressure and decision making processes of a real football game.  Therefore, I need to approach Chalk Wars the way I would any other game and consider the circumstances and contingencies for making rapid effective decisions.

In preparing for the “Chalk War” vs Bakersfield HS’s 3-3 Defense, Bergen Catholic’s 4-2-5 Defense and Princeton University’s 3-4 defense, at the Atlantic City Glazier Clinic this Saturday, February 24  I share with you the questions I ask myself and our staff in preparation for any game plan.

  • What formation and play do we call on the first play and why?
  • What are we running on 3rd & 4th downs by distance?
  • What do we run if we are up (4-minute offense) or down (2-minute offense) late in the game or half?
  • What do we run on the goal line going in and coming out?
  • What is the last play of the game when QB cannot reach the end zone, can reach the end zone, just outside the red zone, in the red zone, at the goal line?
  • Do we play for the win or for overtime?
  • What is our 2-point play to win the game?

Mental training and preparation are just as important (if not more than) physical training in football for players and coaches. There’s a nearly 3,000-year-old quote from a Greek philosopher Archilochus: “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.”

How do you prepare for challenges? What “pre-game” questions do you ask yourself. Whether in football or in life, looking ahead… thinking through contingencies… asking “What?” and “Why?” matter.

I hope to see you at the Glazier Clinic in Atlantic City this weekend, or back here on next week!

Click on the brochure image to the right to get your Alercio Oline Clinic application, fill it2018 NJ OLine Clinic Brochure out, send it in with your tuition, and join us at the Hun School of Princeton on March 25, 2018. Early bird rates are still available and will again discount individual tuition for teams sending five (5) or more players. As in the past, Coaches may attend for free.

Although this is a non-contact camp, we recognize that there is the risk of concussion with the sport of football.  For education materials on concussions please visit the USA Football at 
 Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss team building, coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

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