Utilizing the 80/20 Rule to Improve Flexbone Triple Option Offensive Performance

In 2015, I authored scholarly research entitled, Utilizing the 80/20 Rule to Improve Football Coaching Performance.

This proved that teams must spend 80% of the time on the 20% of their offense, defense, and special teams concepts that they utilize the most/give them the best results.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.  Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896. Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

It is an axiom of business management that “80% of sales come from 20% of clients.”

Mathematically, the 80/20 rule is roughly followed by a power law distribution (also known as a Pareto distribution) for a particular set of parameters, and many natural phenomena have been shown empirically to exhibit such a distribution.

If we apply the 80/20 Rule to the Flexbone Triple Option Offense, there are 10 primary concepts that were utilized by Army, Navy, and Georgia Tech in 2018:

1- Triple Option

2- Zone Option

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3- Triple Pass

4- Toss

5-7- Heavy (Follow/Sneak/Zone Kick)

8- Zone Dive

9- 60/70

10- Midline Lead


Therefore, you would spend 80% of your time on Triple Option and Zone Option, which is conclusively the top 20% of the offense, and has been over the last five years.

The average high school football game is 48 plays, and the average high school football team averages an offensive time of possession of 19 minutes and 36 seconds.


If the 80/20 Rule was applied in terms of practicing plays, this is how you would practice.

Triple Option and Zone Option- 38 plays.

Triple Pass, Toss, Heavy, Zone Dive, 60/70, and Midline Lead- 10 plays.


If the 80/20 Rule was applied in time percentage, this is how you would practice.

Triple and Zone Option- 15 minutes and 36 seconds.

Triple Pass, Toss, Heavy, Zone Dive, 60/70, and Midline Lead- 4 minutes.


In summary, to oversimplify the process, if you truly believe in the 80/20 rule, and that the 80/20 will maximize your Flexbone Triple Option Offense, you are going to spend 80% of your offensive practice time on Triple Option and Zone Option.