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Sixman: The Moneyball of Football

I stand by the statement that the most dominant 11-man football program will be the first one to require all players in youth and middle school to play sixman football.

Sixman football places a premium on blocking, tackling and footwork. It requires all players to develop the key elements of the game. With only six men on the field and most having to play both sides of the ball (ironman style), a sixman player does not get type cast into a specific positon which is a significant barrier to growth at the younger ages.

Farmers like to complain about the weather and football coaches are never satisfied with the blocking and tackling of their players. A coach could have the leading defense in their league and the DC would still be snickering about players out of position (footwork) and poor form tackling. OCs would bemoan poor blocking most often due to technique and footwork.

You want to get better at something, make it more difficult to do than in the game. The Spartans made their training much more intense than the actual battles they fought. Navy Seals lose more men in training then they do in theater. You want to get a better three point shooter, make the basket smaller. You want to get better bat speed and control, swing with a donut. You want to get better blocking and tackling, play sixman football.

11-man is assignment football where each athlete has a much smaller piece of turf within which to operate. Players also have more assistance from their teammates on both sides of the ball. Poor blocking, the inability to play man coverage, poor footwork in tackling, etc. will simply kill you in sixman football.

In sixman. there are no safeties over the top and a miss tackle will usually result in a score or a play well over 25 yards. If your blocking technique and footwork is good a 135 pound lineman can do what is needed to block a 225 ound defensive lineman.

Since everyone is eligible on offense, every player has to develop the ability to catch the football and run pass routes. Every player has to learn to tackle in space. The game becomes more engaging to younger players and thereby encourages players to consider positions they might not fit because of their young body type.

The central premise of the book (and movie) Moneyball is that the collective wisdom of baseball insiders (including players, managers, coaches, scouts, and the front office) over the past century is outdated, subjective, and often flawed. If you stepped outside of tradition and focused on fundamentals you would build a team that manufactured runs and wins as opposed to the stardom of a handful of players.

If you want to build a program comprised of the best tacklers, blockers and players who are prepared to play the game at speed then you would ground your foundation in sixman football. School districts would institute sixman in middle schools and encourage their youth football to play only sixman.

While I am not holding my breath, I pray the Billy Beane of football will come one day and revolutionize the way the game is played. I highly suspect that I have a greater chance of my Lord and Savior returning first!


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