Show your X on O.

Thank you to football coaches for your questions about our Stretch Run Play. Here’s part of the answer.

Here’s our 40-year formula for building a high school football championship team in Football Poverty with no JV team, no recruiting, nobody getting paid, no free agents, no draft, no scholarships – Show your X on O. Xtend the play that they can’t defend. 

That means: 

  1. marking our Primary Focus of run-attack with an X for the purpose of extending the running play horizontally and/or vertically. 
  2. Declare our Primary Intention to the defense by forcing the defense to cover the most ignored zones in football – the 4 Zones over the Intended Point of Attack of every stretch running play.

Here are the essential lessons we teach our players:

  1. Don’t hide – dual meaning. (i) never hide Primary Focus. (ii) Never hide from any challenge against rich teams who have more than you – multiple meanings.

2.  Announce to the defense that our Primary Focus is a Running Stretch Play aimed directly at the tight end.

3. We draw an X in front of the right tackle and right tight end.

4. The X extends from the farthest point of the right tackle’s left shoulder pad to the farthest point of the tight end’s right shoulder pad.

5. The X forms four 90-degree quadrants representing 4 Zones that the defense must occupy on every Stretch Running Play.

6. The 4 Zones represent Quarter Coverage at the Run Stretch Play intended Point Of Attack (POA).

7. The Run Stretch Play is a Discretionary Play. It is a running play that gives the ballcarrier POA-discretion based on uncovered zone or zones at the X.

8. The 4-zone X forces the defense to occupy all 4 zones. Our 40-year film research revealed that 98.6% of stretch plays will include at least one open zone. 

9. Only 1.4% of stretch plays result in full 4-zone coverage.

10. We use the same 4-zone Principle on defense.

11. Our defensive objective is to occupy all 4 zones at the X over the IPOA to prevent any extended stretch play.

12. The main benefit of the X 4-zone Concept is multiple stretch running plays with minimum change. Limitless system without an encyclopedia for a playbook.

13. When their defense declares its Primary Focus that matches your Primary Focus, their defense weakens by overcompensating.

14. We don’t kick on 4th down for one simple reason – if we can’t average 2.5 yards on every down, our incompetence will manifest of punt coverage and on the field goal team. The hell of a winless 0-10 season in my rookie head coach year in 1984 forced radical change to achieve radically new outcomes. I made the deliberate decision to throw away conventional thinking and establish the Work Culture I learned from my poor illiterate, immigrant father Antonio. He did what worked in poverty, not what worked in wealth. Every lesson I learned about starting from scratch and building it from scratch formed our SWAT no-huddle offense, defense, special teams, and strength training mentality – Minimalist Ideology centred on Concentrated Hard Reps. If you don’t out-rep them, you will get ripped apart from the inside-out. And vice-versa.

Conclusions that we teach our teams:

  1. Reveal it – dual meaning. Show them intention and production.
  2. The more they think they know about you, the less they actually know about you.
  3. The biggest mystery is not deception. Its production after revealing intention.
  4. That mystery dismantles the opponent, ripping them apart inside and out. 
  5. Fear of going for it on 4th down tells your team you fear them, you don’t believe in them, you don’t trust them.
  6. Fear of going for it on 4th down broadcasts your fear of your reps – your teaching, your lessons, your system. 
  7. When going for it scares you out of your mind, its your conscience telling you that you left reps behind. You didn’t work your team and your team didn’t work to go for it.
  8. When they decided to give the offense 4 downs, they unknowingly titled the playing field by giving the offense an unbeatable advantage. 
  9. But, that advantage eroded by the deep, profound, painful effect of conformity. The moment you feel compelled to be the same as everyone else, you lose more than a game. You lose identity and originality while settling for superficiality and artificiality.

X Fitness has been committed to free coaching for players & coaches for 45 years. New #podcast compliments of X Fitness at:

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Blessings and all good things


Gino Arcaro