Learning Offensive Holes, Gaps & Position Names with T-Shirts

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Learning offensive holes is very important when coaching youth football players offense. Communication is one of the top keys to success in coaching youth football. Along with the name game drill, learning offensive holes and position names is very important. 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 and most importantly easier to learn more than just a few plays. 

To do this I developed a t-shirt learning offensive holes 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. Plus you can move around and players can eventually wear the t-shirts if needed.

Benefits of setting up the T-Shirts as an Offense

  • Learn Offensive Holes
  • Teach O-line Gap Splits
  • Learn Defensive Gaps – ABCDE
  • Learn Offensive Position Names
  • Learn Basic Position Responsibilities
  • Learn Player Numbering
  • Learn Offensive Formations
  • Easier to move positions around with tshirts
  • Players can wear the tshirts too

Learning Offensive Holes with T-Shirts

learning offensive holes with tshirts
t-shirt offensive line tool

In the learning offensive holes 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, formations. and basic player responsibilities.

Update – 1/31/2021 – The learning offensive holes numbering, backs and formation example below is for a double wing formation. This has a slightly different hole numbering than the t-shirt example above.

learning holes with tshirts

The Hole numbers you use should go on the t-shirt sleeves. The Player numbers along with their position name abbreviations go in the middle of the t-shirt. In real life I add right R or L left on the o-line names like RG and LG.

At first you lay the t-shirts down on the ground in your formation and start talking about the offensive formation, players, holes, alignments etc. Then you start having the boys point or move to the tshirt and eventually if you want they can wear the tshirts in practice to help them learn the holes. I had to do this one season in a scrimmage so one of my backs could find his holes.

The t-shirt learning offensive holes system is great for younger youth football players from 5 to 8 years old, especially rookies. We will lay this out over multiple practices for younger inexperienced teams and maybe 1 to 3 times for older teams, then point them to a hole numbering video or print out we gave them.

The cost to make the t-shirts is minimal, maybe $25.  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 running back, hole numbering system and offensive formation you chose to use.

learning beast formation holes with Tshirts

For the first two weeks of practice each season, we spend 10-15 minutes a practice learning offensive holes, backs and our formations using the t-shirt system.  I lay the t-shirts out on the ground with the players on the defensive side of the football and talk about each position and general responsibilities.  

After going over the info once or twice, 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. Like what is a split end look like to the right side. Where is the 4 hole? Get the players involved and maybe break up into teams and make the learning a game quiz show format.

learning i formation holes with tshirts

I also use this t-shirt system to teach defense and I have a defensive set. Take a look at my Everyday drills if you are looking for more things to do in your pee wee football practices. You can also find a practice plan video and pdf here.

Here is a video on Offensive Hole numbering in the Power Wing Beast Offense playbook for youth football.

Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime. I love talking youth football, and learning offensive holes.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller / N Fort Worth

PS: Stay Safe and remember we are all on the same team in the end. Be Nice.

PSS: I have started a new Youtube Channel and website with my other past time; World of Tanks. Check the online game out if you need a distraction during the crazy time. WotNoobz.com and WotNoob.com.

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  1. 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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