Only 1 Week to Build a Team…

I have the honor of coaching the North Squad in Vermont’s North v South Senior Bowl.  We have four practices to prepare 44 players, representing 16 schools, to play a game at the end of the week.  More important than teaching X&Os, is teaching these all-stars to work together as a team.  While four practices is hardly enough time sow the seeds of team culture carefully cultivated over 12 months… the concepts underpinning our success are the same.2018-11-15 Teamwork

We strive to build a common vision of our goals, common understanding of our circumstances, common values of trust, dignity, and respect, and a common belief in our likelihood of success.

Teambuilding starts with and is continually reinforced by communication.  We have established both verbal and visual communication systems among and between all position groups.  We believe if we share common situational awareness, and a common vision of success, we can make individual decisions consistent with our collective goals and objectives for success.

On offense, our Line and Tight End verbally communicate blocking schemes, the number of linebackers in the box, combination blocks and who is pulling. (There is nothing worse as an OLine Coach than watching two linemen pulling from opposite sides and smashing into each other.

Our receivers are using non-verbal communication to signal blocking responsibilities on our Bubble and Smoke screens.

The QB and RB are communicating play direction and point of attack based on defensive front alignment.

On defense, our Inside Linebackers communicate front alignment to the Defensive Linemen.

Inside Linebackers also communicate the alignment of the #3 receiver and whether or not they need to “Banjo” him in match zone coverage.

The Inside Linebackers will also communicate with the Outside Linebackers if the #2 receiver is aligned inside of the Outside Linebacker.  They will “Bracket” the receiver to the Running Back in their match zone coverage.

The Outside Linebackers will also communicate with the Cornerbacks to make a “China” call when there is a concern of a Rub or Pick between the #1 and #2 receivers.

The Free Safety is responsible to make coverage checks to see that we are properly aligned to 2×2 and 3×1 formations.

Maybe more than you want to know, and truth be told many readers of this Blog will not dive into the Xs & Os described above, but we all have families, businesses, friends, and others who “Team Together” for projects large and small.

Good communication is the key to any relationship and building a team is about building relationships.   It will be even more important since this week’s weather forecast for 5+ inches of snow looks to turn our 4 practices into only 3.

Best of luck building your teams for the short or long haul.

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 and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!

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