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To Win or Not To Win: Scrimmage Tactics


Purple88
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Do some coaches only look at the pre-season scrimmages as just "another game" and try to "win" it no matter what? I have often wondered the mind-set of coaches going into these scrimmages. What are your thoughts on the value of these? Just a glorified practice or more of a valuable guaging tool for younger players going into the first week of the season?

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Do some coaches only look at the pre-season scrimmages as just "another game" and try to "win" it no matter what? I have often wondered the mind-set of coaches going into these scrimmages. What are your thoughts on the value of these? Just a glorified practice or more of a valuable guaging tool for younger players going into the first week of the season?

 

My thought on scrimmages is this. Of course you go in wanting to do well, and hopefully "win". You practice and prepare just like it is a real game. However, you also go in with the idea that you want to work on a few things, and see how some new things work in terms of your scheme/system. Also, while you have a good idea of how some of your returning players will be, you also want to take a look at some of the new guys. It's a fine balancing act of getting the old guys ready while giving the news guys some valuable experience. And everybody holds some stuff back, not wanting to show their entire playbook.Winning and losing to me isn't as important as just seeing how your guys are progressing and how hard and well they compete.

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If I were a coach I would break the scrimmage down into two parts at least. Maybe use the first half as a simulated real game to see how your players mange etc. to various scenerios such as that game mentality and work on what their strengths are etc. the second part I would use for several different things such as getting backups time to see what you have etc. as well as working on situational things such as goal line, 3rd and short or 3rd and long etc. You definitely want to get the kids to know what it is like in a real game and scrimmage is a perfect way to create that feeling.

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I think you have certain things you want to work on and accomplish in a scrimmage, and winning isn't necessarily one of them.

 

The only way a scrimmage could ever be a true measure of one team versus another would be if both teams played the 1's the entire time, and that rarely happens.

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I have always seen scrimmages as a much better measuring stick to the season as most on here. Yes, both teams are probably going to be very basic in their play calling and will sub frequently but it is still a competitive situation and the kids usually treat it as such. While I do not think the outcome of a scrimmage game would determine who would win a single game in the season, I do think it shows how a team will play over the length of the season. First of all the teams with more quality depth usually show well in scrimmages and secondly there is a time late in the season where its a tight game and your competition has seen everything you do. It will come down to execution and those basic plays will determine the difference of winning and losing. In short if you have quality depth and kids who truely are there to compete you may not win your scrimmage but you are going to come out looking pretty good.

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It's a fine balancing act of getting the old guys ready while giving the news guys some valuable experience.

This is well said RJS and ties into what Hellbird has said also about splitting your goals for the scrimmage.

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First of all the teams with more quality depth usually show well in scrimmages and secondly there is a time late in the season where its a tight game and your competition has seen everything you do. It will come down to execution and those basic plays will determine the difference of winning and losing. In short if you have quality depth and kids who truely are there to compete you may not win your scrimmage but you are going to come out looking pretty good.

 

This is interesting 4Luv. When you apply this to a Trinity or other 6A school I think this is right on the money, but when you think about Beechwood, Russellville and other smaller schools that simply don't have the depth do your tactics change because of lack of depth? Just a thought. I would think not but wanted to throw it out there.

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Winning isn't as important as the experience of the scrimmage. Kids are tired of the same look in practice and they don't hit their own teammates like they would a team they are scrimmaging. I always liked breaking the scrimmage down. 1st half go with your starters and run your stuff. Let the two's and three's get the second half so everyone can play. Then breakdown the film and see how guys executed. Maybe a few guys that you didn't expect jump off the screen.

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Most scrimmages go varsity 3 quarters and jv the 4th quarter.

Maybe some, but I don't think most is accurate.

 

I've seen a bunch of different formats. Some are all completely controlled where each team gets a predetermined amount of time or plays with each unit (JV/Varsity), and there is no game situation play. Some are all game situation. Some are a combination of the two. It all depends on what the coaches agree to and how they want the scrimmage to run. I don't think there is any standard format that all or even most teams do across the board.

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