Champions plan and then continually make adjustments.
It is a common belief that many adjustments to a game occur at halftime. In professional football the halftime limit is 12 minutes unless otherwise specified. That 12-minute limit starts at the end of the 2nd quarter. It is awfully short. Players need time to attend to themselves for various things such as taping, re-taping, equipment, hydration, and just a minute or two to settle down and mentally unwind.
Position coaches need time to review specifics and coordinators need time to make adjustments and give players his assessment of the 1st half performance. The Head Coach will need a minute to address the full team.
When I was a coordinator I believed all of the segments were important. As a defense I would allocate 4 minutes to the players, 4 minutes to the coordinator and 3 minutes to the position coaches. This allowed the Head Coach 1 minute to make his points.
Obviously the Head Coach would take as much time as he wanted so the position coaches’ time was fluid. Four minutes to make more than one or two major changes in a game plan is not nearly enough time.
It is important to remember that the game evolves in real time on the field. Between offensive and defensive series coaches can get a lot accomplished especially if the other side of the ball is on the field for an extended amount of time. The really good coaches make changes throughout the game and don’t wait until halftime.
Play callers must recognize whether their plan needs immediate adjustments. They must identify and respond to their opponent as quickly as possible. They must be patient enough to allow the plan to unfold. They also can’t be afraid to change the plan when it is evident it is not working. When a coordinator abandons a plan too quickly or is too stubborn to change a plan, it will affect the players’ confidence and mentality. It is a slippery slope and great coaches navigate it well. If a play caller doesn’t manage the flow of the game as the season wears on, their players can lose confidence in the coach. At times the best adjustment is no adjustment. At other times some teams and players make phenomenal adjustments.
Peyton Manning was a master of adjusting plans at halftime. I believe you need a 1st half plan and have a 2nd half with some new wrinkles. Great coaches feel the game and see the plan quickly.
For more information about planning and adjusting your plans as circumstances dictate, take a look at my leadership course.