Increasing Football IQ | FBCP S09E01

What is Football IQ, and Why Is It So Low?

  • Coaches everywhere think their players have a low football IQ. The reality is that yes, almost all football players have a low football IQ as they start learning the game. It is not unique to Youth, High School or International athletes.
  • Football is a complicated sport. There are tons of rules and situations. Unless you really study the game, you do will not have a high football IQ.

  • Football IQ is gained in several ways. Some players have a natural instinct for certain aspects of the game. Others may have learned the game from family or (rarely) their own study. Most players need to learn from experience.
  • Coaches can teach many aspects of football, but nothing replaces experience. The experience curve can be flattened out when coaches look for teachable moments.
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What Do Players Need To Know?

  • Football IQ can mean a lot of things. What qualifies as a high football IQ for a high school senior would be extremely low for an NFL rookie.
  • Players need to know their role and how it fits into the big picture. This is true on offense, defense and special teams. Many players try to do much because they do not understand what everyone else is doing.
  • Players need to learn situational football. They need to understand what to expect based on down and distance and field position. Over time players learn nuances like special teams rules, clock management tips and in-game adjustments.

How To Teach Football IQ

  • Experience is the best teacher, but you want to win right now. And having a higher football IQ helps your team win. So you need to flatten the learning curve.
  • Know that simply covering a situation in a meeting is not the same as teaching. Teachers can cover material in a history class at a very fast rate. The retention is going to be very low for the students. Football is the same.
  • Teach the big picture, then the little details, then how the little details fit into the big picture. A great example to get started is Umbrella Run Fits. Teach the big concepts of spill and force. Then teach the player how to do their job. Finally, show the player how their job fits into the big picture.
  • Many athletes are kinesthetic learners. Learning in a classroom does not get the job done. You need to have a plan to show players on a whiteboard, on film, and on the field if you want them to understand.

Planning For Football IQ Education

  • Prioritize what is important. If you onside kick every time, you need the football IQ for onside kick rules to be very high. If you only need to worry about the onside kick rules in a close game, your players still need to learn it but the priority is much lower.
  • Never miss a teachable moment. Create your list of situations that are important. When the moment comes up in a practice or game situation, be sure to highlight it. Especially when the player has the preferred response. This is a great way to touch on situations that are lower in priority.
  • Creating another classroom situation for your players, who spend 7 hours a day in a classroom, might not be the best method. Football IQ School might seem like the fast track, but players play football to play. Not to learn more stuff.

Related Links

  • Start by improving your own Football IQ. JDFB Coaching Systems is a total coaching resource for learning how to simplify the game for your players:
  • The Umbrella Principle teaches players to understand how they fit into your defense.
  • Use the Coach Simple, Play Fast, Win Philosophy to make the game simpler for players and coaches to understand. If you are over-coaching or over-complicating, you will slow your players down.