Saturday, August 9, 2014

Scripting to a Victory (The Bill Walsh Way)

(updated at 15:15 hrs)

One of the most interesting traditions/practices in sports is the scripting of the game plan.  From the 70's to the early 90's, Coach Bill Walsh innovated and utilized the concept of scripting the first 25 plays in his games. Then employing the results as a springboard to dominate his competition.

This process model has assisted him to win three Super Bowls and two college bowl games. 

His many prodigies have also employed it to win their shares of high stakes games and championships too.

The Basics of Scripting
Scripting is one of those unique practices that is worth learning and using. This practice enables the implementers to maximize their level of strategic efficiency.  It is quite easy to learn,  but moderately difficult to implement for the obvious competitive reasons.

Retrospectively, the completion of a script usually provides the principal script developer/chief decision makers the feeling of self-preparation. It also gave them a level of confidence.

The basic essentials are: a clipboard, some lined paper, some good writing pens (with red ink, blue ink, black ink and green ink), patience, persistence. a well-temperature room with an extreme state of quietude, a coffee pot of warm water, some tea leaves and the skill of assessing, positioning and influencing

Having an assortment of white boards, a tablet PC and/or a smart phone is not always essential for script development.  But it never hurts to have them.

The Compass Project 
We are currently working on a book project that focuses on the fundamentals of scripting through our macro process model of Assessing, Positioning and Influencing. 

This book is focused on the fundamentals of shaping and staging the competition through the application of an array of Chinese strategic principles and stratagems by scripting the right meta-tactical plays.  

How to Script One's Gameplan
One needs to know the objective, the approach, their means and the modes of each competitor before deciding on the different types of scripted plays and the order of the scripted plays.  

This approach enables the offensive play caller to decide on the approach for staging the competitor for a knockdown or a knockout while utilizing their opponent's proclivity as one of the key indicators. There are other key indicators that will be discussed in our current book project .

The Problem of Losing One's View of the Big Tangible Picture (BTP)
In the heat of the battle, some people usually forget the specifics behind their objectives and begin to panic while mis-comprehending the circumstances for staying on course or exiting from the gameplan. 

Our solution is the usage of the Compass PACE guidelines. It guides the offensive play callers to know when to stay on course or when to change direction in certain situations.

Building the PACE Guidelines

The development of the PACE guidelines before the scripting of the array of tactical plays, allows the chief strategic decision makers to understand what is their target and what direction they are pursuing. 

What are the PACE Guidelines
  • Priority Objectives: This category focuses on the ranking and the specifics of the targets
  • Approach: This category focuses on the definition of the strategic timing points for being efficient and flexible
  • Condition: This category focuses on the possibility of certain positive case scenarios and the contingency plans 
  • Exception: This category focuses on the possibility of certain negative case scenarios and the contingency plans 
This tool also allows the offensive play caller to know when to stay on course or when to change direction.

We will delineates the psychological reasoning for using the PACE guidelines in a future post.

Identifying the math and physics behind anything relevant is sometimes easy. 

Establishing the Adjustment of the Big Tangible Picture
Once the scripted play is called, the offensive play caller knows something about the defense while the defensive play caller might know something about the state of the offensive team.  Based on the previously called play and other factors, the defensive play caller could possibility figure out the offensive play caller's next possible play. 

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.”  
- Walter Scott, Marmion

Once the allotment of the scripted plays are called, the game of cat and mouse begins.  The offensive play caller might decide to recirculate some of the previous scripted plays or run a variational change off those plays.

A Mini-Test Case of a Scripted Play 
From a Opening (Starter) Plays Script  
Situation: 1st down and 10 or 2nd down and short, on one's own 30 yard line.

After implementing a quick trap to strong side from the pro set formation (slot left, TE Right) on the second play (regardless of the result in some instances), the offensive play caller might signal the same play with either one  of the following options in the 26th play:
  • same run play with a different set of shift and motion by the wide receivers
  • a play action pass with a five step drop; and  
  • a play action pass with a QB rolling out to the weakside.  
Each option is depended on the previous response and the projected response of the defense.  The strategic state and the strategic efficiency of the competition usually determines the manner of play calling.

Side note: Most playcallers preferred the 15-20 plays script model for the psychological reason that they feel that they would have a good read on the competition's intent and methods.  A few might run a 25 plays script for the obvious reason of exposing the probable deception lead by the defense.  

Those who are deeply skilled in the art and science of strategic shaping and staging, preferred the 25 plays option. 

Comments From the Compass Desk 
Regardless of the array of innovative concepts that Coach Walsh has contributed to the game of football, the script is one of the most useful tools that could be applied to modern day life.

In an unpredictable setting, the tool enables the implementer to strategize in terms of contingencies. 

Click here on some of the basics of scripting 

As mentioned before, the smart strategist could build a script with the following items: a quiet and well-temperatured room; a ream of lined paper; colored pens and a good set of assessment skills. (In some instances, high tech tools are not needed.)

There is a psychological reason for using pen and paper for the initial stage. Those who have seriously studied Yi Quan or Taijiquan, would understand why. 

# You do know how to assess. Do you?  

Whenever you watch a football game, ask yourself if the offensive coordinator is calling a well-scripted game. 

Side Note
We didn't published our book on assessing strategically through the employment of Sunzi's strategic principles because of the quantity of Sunzi's type  of books that were being pushed in the published books marketplace.  Most of these books were quite average or below average regarding to their concept of applications and new ideas. 

Some of them repeated the same obvious points- "if they do this, you do this" type of approach without ever emphasizing on the importance of comprehending the strategic state of the situation. They also outlined the same old idealistic rules of thumb.

For the apparent reasons, the approach of utilizing the rules of thumbs and the simplification of perspective is for amateurs.

These writers have not thoroughly learned the process of "assessing strategically", one of the holy grails behind the Sunzi's essay. Some aspects of this skill can be found in Jiang Tai Gong's Six Secret Teachings. 

Our intent was not to get lost in the abyss of high noise and low signal.
What makes our book unique is our focus on the connectivity between the scripted plays to the categories of adjustment plays and situational plays. 

Whenever the book is published, we hope that you like it.

A Few More Side Notes
Click here for a field level example of assessing, positioning and influencing.

For the Niners Faithful, we recommended this great book by Daniel Brown- 100 Things 49ers fans should know and do before they die  and Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh's book -  The Score Takes Care of Itself.  

Our associates at Cook Ding's Kitchen have always reminded the novices and the neophytes that one cannot successfully strategize if he or she is not able to stay focused on their immediate objective. They also reminded them that the reading of the Art of War does not help either.  

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