May 16

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Simplexity: An Approach to Re-Engineering Your Offensive and Defensive Structure (Part II)

Simplexity: An Approach to Re-Engineering Your Offensive and Defensive Structure (Part II)

By Scott Mueller, Offensive Coordinator, Washington University in St. Louis

Former veteran coach Jon Gruden once said, “What you want to do on offense is present the illusion of sophistication but all-in-all remain very simple and basic.” I disagree with Gruden on his notion of “the illusion of sophistication.” If you’ve gone through the first phase of simplifying the what, how and why you do what you do, it provides the opportunity for greater sophistication, greater expansion, and more time to fundamentally coach in greater detail. Complexity is key.

I’d argue that, as coaches, our goal shouldn’t be to present, “the illusion.” It is difficult to successfully do that against the very best teams in terms of being simple while presenting the, “illusion of sophistication.” Good programs see through the smoke – so eliminate the smoke. Seize the opportunity to develop something special. We should want the other team to know that we can attack every inch of the field in a variety of ways and that we have the ability to attack specific techniques of each opponent with multiple approaches. Teams should know that even though their Jimmy is a better player than our Joe that we will attack in complex ways that allow our Joe to knock your Jimmy into the turf. Force the other team to have to respond with the most basic of questions – how in the world are we going to stop all of this?

Which leads us to Simplexity – What is it? (I promise you I didn’t make it up). This term, combining the words simplicity and complexity, by definition has to do with working toward simple ends through complex means, the relationship between outcome and process. This idea has gained traction recently in the fields of science and systems engineering but has more recently made its way to sport. The term as I apply it to our offensive system reverses this relationship to deliver complex ends through simple means. Simplexity is paramount.


About the author

Coach Scott Mueller Offensive Coordinator, Washington University in St. Louis

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