Learning Offensive Holes, Gaps & Position Names

One of the first things I teach my young football players is the offensive holes, gaps, position names and formations.  Once we establish our base offensive vocabulary, then it is much easier to learn running and blocking assignments.  To do this I developed a t-shirt system very similar to the using a numbered fire hose, but I believe this system works better because you can add more information to the t-shirt and also use t-shirts for the backfield positions.

t-shirt offensive line tool

In the example above, the Center and Guards are shown, but I make t-shirts for all of our offensive positions and move them around accordingly to teach our gap splits and formations.

The cost to make the t-shirts is minimal, maybe $20.  I use old t-shirts and have also bought cheap t-shirts from Wal-Mart.  I think men’s X-large white tshirts work best.  I use a large back permanent marker and write the positions in the middle of the t-shirt and my hole numbering schemes on the sleeves.  For backfield positions, I write position and the back number; QB – 1, HB – 2, WB – 3, FB – 4.  You can customize the t-shirts to whatever system you chose to use.

For the first two weeks of practice each season, we spend 10-15 minutes a practice learning our formations using the t-shirt system.  I lay the t-shirts out and talk about each position and general responsibilities.   I then turn the t-shirts over and ask the players where each positions, hole, gap etc, is located and to turn over that t-shirt.  When learning our various formations, I will ask the players to move the t-shirts to the new locations.

I also use this t-shirt system to teach defense and I have a defensive set.

Coach Parker



Filed under Blocking, Offense

7 responses to “Learning Offensive Holes, Gaps & Position Names

  1. wear are the numbers of the holes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. from the post above “I use a large back permanent marker and write the positions in the middle of the t-shirt and my hole numbering schemes on the sleeves. ” I also write the hole number under the position #. I thought it was pretty obvious from the post.

  3. Coach Frye

    I’ve coached junior high and high school, but a friend asked me to assist coaching a bantom & pee-wee group… ages 6-8 some are playing for the first time. I think this is awesome. How did you do this with defense?

  4. Anonymous

    Thanks. I will give this a try for the 7 -8 year old team this year.

  5. Anonymous

    I coach 4th, 5th and 6th graders. We use markers on cones. On the offensive side I write numbered holes. 2, 4 ,6, 8 on the right and 1, 3, 5 and 7 on the left. On the other side of the cones are the defensive gaps. A,B,C and D. We leave them up the 1st couple weeks, especially on walk throughs and assignment drills. The kids see them every time they line up and learn it in no time.

  6. russ

    thanks for the tips am first time coaching

  7. Coach Hens

    Way back when i got a donated fire hose an marked the positions an holes on the hose for offense alignment. Works great for the younger players to learn. Tip…. Take the hose away about 4 practices in an see what the kids have remembered 😎

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