The most popular books bought by Smart Football readers in 2011

It’s very interesting to see what books Smart Football readers purchase. I get very minor referral revenues from Amazon purchases and, as a result, I am able to track which books readers purchase. The data is totally anonymous but it provides, in aggregate, some useful data.

The 20 Most Popular Books Bought by Smart Football Readers in 2011

Below is the broken out list. I thought it was quite interesting and I am curious if anyone thinks any particular trends emerge; there are definitely a few surprises in there. Note that I only included the top 20 books in the chart above; it would’ve been too tedious to create an “Other” category.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Psalms-as-Auburn-Fan/dp/1463543298 T. C. Nomel

    Is there a Xs and Os primer you recommend for people who try to read your posts and feel that there are basic concepts we need to learn to even understand what you’re saying?

  • Anonymous

    This is a good question but one I’ve struggled with. My usual advice if you don’t really understand some of the descriptions or concepts of football here is to simply watch more of it. I suppose it’s possible to be a fan that watches a lot of football but not really be able to “see” it, but it seems that most (though certainly not all) of the people who ask me this question are really just getting to know the game. I’d like to think what I do is accessible to everyone but I’ve been told it isn’t; so maybe there’s not much choice but to hold off on what I say here (and certainly what is in many of the books) until you’ve absorbed more of football. You will pick up bad ideas from announcers but those can generally be unlearned.

    It is important if you do this, and certainly if you find that you’ve watched a lot of football but don’t have much of an understanding of the game (I find this is especially common given how NFL games are marketed, packaged and presented), then DVR more games: Watch them the first time like a fan, but try to not simply follow the ball, but then watch the replays and focus on important plays and really try to understand what every player was doing or trying to do — you’ll often find surprising results: Why the guy was so open, why the runner had so much room, why the linebacker got to the QB on a blitz. After awhile you’ll see these things in real time.

    All that said I believe there are books that are meant to ease people into the more advanced concepts in football. I don’t think I’m their target audience so I can’t recommend much; maybe other readers here can chime in.

  • Matt

    Speaking as an Australian who has seen far more of various other football codes than American football, I find the biggest barrier to my understanding is the dense jargon used in describing plays, routes, etc.  (Don’t feel bad, Chris – your posts are usually far more intelligible than the comments they give rise to!)

    I have been meaning to get this book which I hope will clear up some of the details in a beginner-friendly way:  http://www.amazon.com/Take-Your-Eye-Off-Ball/dp/1600783910/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=IMEZQWH314H32&colid=2GNLXG5005QA1

    For me, a major difficulty with understanding American football by observing it, is that it isn’t obvious when players are acting under precise instruction, and when they are exercising their own judgement or initiative – especially on defense.

  • Danoconnl

    What do you think of the r4 system?  I’m the OC for an 8th grade team with a pretty talented passer and some good receivers.  I’m looking at it because last year we had some issues with getting not only the QB but the coaches on the same page as far as reads and progressions went(coaches yelling because the QB didn’t throw to someone they thought was wide open, when the WR was #4 in the progression, etc..). I was also thinking of getting either the concept passing or the bunch book as well.  I can only get two probably for this year(and I’m probably getting the r4), which would you recommend of the last two.

  • Danoconnl

    What do you think of the r4 system?  I’m the OC for an 8th grade team with a pretty talented passer and some good receivers.  I’m looking at it because last year we had some issues with getting not only the QB but the coaches on the same page as far as reads and progressions went(coaches yelling because the QB didn’t throw to someone they thought was wide open, when the WR was #4 in the progression, etc..). I was also thinking of getting either the concept passing or the bunch book as well.  I can only get two probably for this year(and I’m probably getting the r4), which would you recommend of the last two.

  • Anonymous

    The R4 stuff is great. I’ll be talking more about it this offseason. Once you kind of narrow it down and “get it” it really simplifies the approach for the QBs, the coaches, etc. 

    If you can only get one book, I’d probably recommend the Concept Passing book because it’s a little more concise regarding some specific concepts and taking a frontside/backside approach to passing. The Bunch Attack book is wonderful, however, and addresses a ton of great concepts and really is about how to think about attacking defenses. It’s not meant to be used verbatim, however. You can’t go wrong with either one though.

  • Will Veatch

    Nobody bought Al Black’s “Coaching Run and Shoot Football?”  Between that, Jenkins, and Coverdale and Robinson I’d say you’d cover most of the offensive passing philosophy of the last half century.

  • Brian Burchette

    Coach Veatch,
    You wrote a fantastic article years ago in regards to merging the triple option with the R&S. I’ve always loved the idea, but the time it takes to teach and rep both have always scared me off. I’d love to ask you some questions about how you install both philosophies: namely what, when, how, why, and why not?
    Also, despite the ability to get a 600% return on my original investment 14 years ago, my dog-eared and creased copy of Al Black’s “Coaching Run & Shoot Football” remains one of my favorite and most re-read coaching books.

  • Lop

    Sounds crazy, but pick up a video game like Madden or NCAA Football. They’re far, far from perfect, but you can really get a familiarity with basic plays and concepts, to an extent

  • Duh9

    I bought the Bunch Attack but am going to purchase the “attacking coverage” book as well…my question is what books would you recommendt that cover the running game but in the same format of “attacking coverages”, i.e., all the basic run concepts run into all the basic fronts….and any books in that same approach regarding defense as well…basically, I’d like 3 books with detailed fundamental concepts for passing, running, defense….and I have the passing book already. thanks!

  • http://football-defense.com/ Joe Daniel

    Amazon sales are a lot of fun to see, I saw (tiny) commissions from everything from legos to earrings. And I haven’t done the numbers, but I am 99% sure that Coaching Football’s 46 Defense (Rex Ryan) was the most popular purchase on my blog

  • Paul Meisel

    I didn’t realize that such a large portion of my last couple years reading was so influenced by your recommendation.

    The Fischer Black book was excellent, and read from a broad perspective is more about thinking and analysis than finance.

  • Bu_bear_sh99

    Take Your Eye Off the Ball is a nice way to start learning what to watch for – it will tell you ways DBs tip off what coverage they are in, what linemen are doing in a zone blocking scheme, and things like that. It’s a good bridge to the more involved books.

  • Will Veatch

    Hi Brian, I’m actually out of coaching now, though I sometimes volunteer.  In my last couple seasons we went away from the under-center wide double slot R&S/option scheme and used a combination of shotgun air raid and single-wingish runs based off the QB power.  We still used a lot of long motion to identify coverage.  I still think the combination is great, but you really have to choose one or the other to be your core philosophy: either R&S with some belly-scheme double option, or veer with some long motion and flood routes.  You’re right, you can’t run everything from both offenses.  Shoot me an email at will_veatch at hotmail if you want to discuss.