Drafting Your Fantasy Training Team (Part 2)

  | September 19, 2013

Last week we kicked off our Fantasy Football league by drafting offensive players. This week, we will draft the key players on our defensive training team. As you may remember from last week, U.S. organizations spend over $150 billion per year on training (ASTD 2012 State of the Industry Report). With this much money being spent on training, organizations have to ensure that they minimize or eliminate barriers to successful training outcomes leading to improvements in the bottom line. They also have to make sure that their team is better prepared than competitors to guarantee success.

The Fantasy Training Draft (Defense)

The defensive team in football lines up on the opposite side of the offensive team with the objective of preventing the offense from scoring. This is accomplished by forcing the offense to turn the ball over by not getting a first down, punting, or forcing a fumble or interception. The primary goal of the defense is to stop the offense!

Unlike the offensive team, the rules do not restrict the defensive team into certain positions. A defensive player may line up anywhere on his side of the line of scrimmage and perform any legal action. However, defenses and defensive roles have become defined into three main sets of player and several primary alignments.


Defensive Line

The defensive line consists of one or two defensive tackles and two defensive ends who play outside the defensive tackles. The defensive line works with the linebackers to try and control the line of scrimmage. On running plays, the goal is to tackle the ball carrier, while passing plays, the defensive line tries to reach the quarterback by “sacking” him for a loss of yards, or by putting pressure on the quarterback to force a throw before a receiver is open.

Since the defensive line is the first line of defense, your offensive line is critical in blocking oncoming defenders to open up holes for the running back and to keep the defense away from rushing and sacking the quarterback. Last week we noted that your training offensive line was your training environment. Available budgets and finding time to schedule training are some of the biggest barriers to successful training. Since running backs are your trainers, the bigger hole they can run through, the more yards they gain and the more they contribute to organizational success. Challenges, or the defensive line, to successful trainers include relevant content and topics, understanding of employee’s needs, trainer connection to audience, and evaluation and timely feedback to improve training events.


Linebackers in the NFL usually line up behind the defensive linemen and in front of the defensive backfield. The linebackers are a team’s second line of defense. Each team has two outside linebackers and may have one or two inside linebackers depending on defensive strategies and schemas.

Defensive Backs

Defensive backs, also known as the “secondary,” play either behind the linebackers or line up to the outside, near the sidelines. Defensive backs defend against pass plays by covering wide receivers and tight ends to prevent them from catching the ball or by intercepting the pass from the quarterback. Defensive backs also act as the last line of defense on running plays to stop ball carriers that have gotten past the other defenders. The defensive secondary usually consists of two cornerbacks and two safeties.

One of the key strategies that linebackers and the defensive secondary use is the blitz. The blitz in football is a defensive strategy that is extraordinarily effective at disrupting opposing offenses. When the defense blitzes, they are gambling that the extra defensive pressure up front will either result in a sack of the quarterback, interception, incomplete pass, or a quick containment of the ball behind the line of scrimmage. Blitzing the quarterback is high risk, high reward.

The blitz in training is:

  • the lack of integration of training content to improve job performance;
  • lack of customization to meet a variety of learner needs and expectations;
  • lack of perceived value to increase learner engagement;
  • lack of convenience for a distributed learning model available 24/7; and,
  • being reactive, rather than proactive.

Defensive Alignment

Football teams run all sorts of defensive schemes and formations. Defensive players must be able to react to the offense and play both the run and the pass. Defensive formations are often known by a numerical code indicating the number of players at each position. The two most common formations are the 3–4 defense and the 4–3 defense, where the first number refers to the number of defensive linemen, and the second number refers to the number of linebackers (the number of defensive backs can be inferred, since there should be eleven players on the field.)

Your quarterback is key to reading the blitz and making adjustments to make the big play (proactive is much better than reactive!). Remember, your MVP quarterback is video role-playing. You can use role-playing in any situation (defensive schema) for capturing and sharing best practices, knowledge transfer, distributed learning, evaluation, feedback, mentoring, team building, performance improvement, and guaranteed ROI.

It is often said that defense wins championships. In training, your defense comprises all the issues, challenges, and barriers to successful training and organizational improvement; so in this context, defense can inhibit your success and stop you from reaching goals. You have to address changing and evolving defensive schemas with new offensive formations, strategies and plays.

To make video role-playing prevalent and successful in your organization, you need an internal champion. These are your managers. Research shows that managers are the most important factors in improving employee performa­­­nce. Managers who focus and involve themselves in learning and training activities are critical to game-changing performance improvement of all team members.

Training and development of your employees is a primary factor in remaining competitive in business. Not only does it allow you to keep up technologically with your competitors, it gives you a competitive edge when recruiting and retaining your team. Putting the right team on the field ensures that you maximize your sales opportunities leading to increased revenue.

People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” ~Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame Football Coach


By Dr. Chip Pike, Chief Product Officer of InterviewStream

Dr. Chip Pike has worked in business and education for over 25 years with vast experience in delivering measurable improvements to product development, knowledge management, performance evaluation and technology optimization.

Throughout his career, Chip has served in a variety of leadership roles relating to technology, learning and product development, during which he oversaw day-to-day operations and led significant technological advancements and innovations for the likes of Quality Learning, Community Education Partners (CEP), and Accelerated Learning Solutions (ALS).

In addition to his rich educational background, having received a total of four degrees, including his Ph.D. from The University of Miami, Chip brings a passion for technology and research to his role leading the top product innovations at InterviewStream.


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