Mastering the Art of Play Calling and Offensive Coordination: Strategies and Insights for Success

At the 3rd Annual Lauren’s First and Goal Clinic, Kyle Ohradzansky, Offensive Coordinator at the University of Findlay presented on “Coordinating an Offense.”

At the beginning of his presentation, Coach Ohradzansky establishes the need to understand the difference between coordinating an offense and calling plays. 

Coordinating an Offense vs. Calling Plays:

One of the most important lessons he learned early on is understanding the difference between coordinating an offense and calling plays. Coordinating an offense is about leading a group of people, including players, coaching staff, and support staff, to achieve a common goal. It involves establishing a culture and philosophy, building a system and process, and holding everyone accountable to high standards and expectations. 

In contrast, play calling is the act of making in-game decisions, such as when and how to call certain plays to generate specific results. It involves timing, feel, and rhythm between the play caller and the players on the field. 

Both coordinating an offense and calling plays are essential for a successful coaching career, but it’s crucial to recognize the distinct responsibilities and skills required for each role. 

The Art of Play Calling:

Effective play calling is a combination of various factors, including timing, synergy between the play caller and players, and understanding the game’s flow. It’s essential to make the right calls at the right time to generate the desired results and keep the opponent on their toes. Additionally, having a solid grasp of the game’s flow and adjusting your play calling accordingly can make all the difference in tight contests. 

Establishing a Culture and Philosophy:

A successful offensive coordinator must establish a strong culture and philosophy for the team. This includes not only the players but also the coaching staff, support staff, and anyone associated with the team. Building a cohesive unit with a shared vision and values can significantly impact the team’s performance on and off the field.

Developing a System and Process:

Once a culture and philosophy are established, it’s crucial to build a system and process that everyone can follow. This includes teaching progressions, practice routines, and game plans, ensuring consistency and efficiency in the team’s approach to the game. A well-structured system and process can help maximize the team’s potential and lead to greater success on the field. 

Holding People Accountable:

Lastly, setting high standards and expectations for everyone involved is key to achieving success. Holding players and staff accountable to these standards can instill a strong work ethic, commitment, and drive for excellence. As Woody Hayes, the legendary Ohio State coach, once said, “You win with people.” Emphasizing the importance of accountability and personal responsibility can help create a winning culture within the team. 

Coach Ohradzanky shares all of the above thoughts in this video:

Video: Coordinator vs. Play Caller

You Need to Do Both Well!

Mastering the art of play calling and offensive coordination is a complex, yet rewarding endeavor for any coach looking to achieve success. By understanding the difference between coordinating an offense and calling plays, establishing a strong culture and philosophy, and developing a systematic approach, coaches can set the foundation for a winning program. As you continue on your coaching journey, remember the importance of leadership, communication, and accountability in creating a successful team.


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