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Author Information

Founder and Owner of the Flexbone Association. Since 2007 we have provided the tools necessary for teams to succeed running the Flexbone Association System. Over the last ten years over 200 teams have been instructed by the Flexbone Association. I've consulted with teams and or run camps everywhere from Belfair, WA to Key West, FL. The Flexbone Association strives daily to help coaches succeed with this time tested offense, I have been a football coach for 16 seasons, currently at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, GA I played at St. Mary's Springs High School in Fond du Lac, WI under legendary head coach Bob Hyland. I've been fortunate to be part of five state championship teams (1997,1998,2002,2011,2012). In 2011-2012 St. Mary's Springs led the state of Wisconsin in scoring and set consecutive school records for points scored, Psalm 27

The Beginnings of the Chess Analogy

I like chess. I’m not all that good at it though. I understand the rules, I have a vague understanding of strategy, but if I play against a skilled player I don’t have a chance. Between producing materials for the Flexbone Association Academy and reading about the unfolding events in Ukraine, I got to thinking about chess. Maybe because foreign policy is alot like a chess match, maybe because I’ve thought about the applications of chess to football, especially Flexbone football in the past. I don’t know the reason, but there I was thinking about how to apply chess strategy to football.

While chess seems to be a universal representation of strategy it has many parallels beyond simple strategic applications. You can teach someone the rules of chess in just a few minutes, but it could take a lifetime to learn to master the game. Type “chess” into Google, how many results do you get? I got 43.4 million results in 0.31 seconds. Do the same thing in Amazon what happens? I got 52,987 results; over 21,000 of them are books. Why are there so many results and so many hits on Google and Amazon based on a game you can teach children the rules to in a matter of minutes? Chess is simple enough to learn isn’t it? You can pick up a chess board at Wal-Mart for just a few bucks. It’s because the depth of understanding is what separates the Grandmasters from children. 

I had a very good friend of mine tell me a few years ago that he watched a big school state title game in a Midwestern state. The eventual champion was a team that ran Flexbone. He told me, “you should have seen these guys take the field. They were one of the best looking teams I’ve ever seen. You know what happened though? I watched the whole game, I watched every snap of them on offense, and not ONE TIME did they ever block #3.” To my amazement, I asked him then; “Well how on earth did they win?” He said, “they had the best linemen I’ve ever seen in high school, and it didn’t matter what they did because they just ran over the other team. They could have ran I or Wing-T, it wouldn’t have mattered.” 

What depth of knowledge did this team have on the offense? IT sounds like there was something lacking-they never blocked #3. Their players were just that much better than the players on the other team. We’ve all been in this situation, hopefully you’ve been on the good side more often than not. In my years in coaching I’ve been on both sides. Sometimes your chess pieces can just overpower the other teams chess pieces. It’s a good situation to be in when you are just better. 

What do you do though when you are at least competing on the same board with your opponent? Grandmaster chess players become Grandmasters because they’ve gotten to the point where they memorize all the moves they can make, but also all the potential moves their opponent can make. Like the Flexbone offense, there is a finite number of possibilities the defense can present you with. To each side of your formation, they will need a player to tackle the B-Back, a player to take the Quarterback, another for the Pitch and a 4th player for the Wide Receiver.

You must have an answer for all the variables the defense can throw at you. Defenses are bound by these rules to defend your Triple Option, thus your entire offense. In theory a Grandmaster could play out an entire game in their head. Flexbone Coaches must be able to accurately forecast the possible moves by the defense, and what their response will be. This depth of understanding doesn’t happen overnight. The coaches who are dedicated to their craft never stop learning, never stop yearning for mastery. 

Chess like football can be incredibly complex. Just look at the amount of resources that are out there to teach the game. The offense and defense however are bound by the same rulebook, and unless you are in Canada our chess board never changes size. There are millions of combinations of chess moves, but there is a finite number of things a defense can do to stop you. You may only be in real trouble if their pieces can maul yours. Do you have the answers that you’ve learned work over the years? Are you able to asses and forecast all the possibilities from the defense? It is your responsibility as leader of your team to become that Grandmaster. That is why the Flexbone Association Academy exists

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  1. How Google Can Help You | Flexbone Association - July 11, 2014

    […] throughout the next few years until it’s done; I’ve looked at the game of chess and examined a few of its cognitive traits and their applications. I am avid reader, and read probably more than I realize, much of which is from my Kindle and or […]

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