The condition of the field is an important factor in every football contest. Knowledge of the gridiron's individual peculiarities is just as essential to the football captain as is thorough familiarity with his battle ground to a commander of an army. Some time before the game the coach and captain should go over the field carefully and note its condition. It may slope toward the end or the side. It may have good footing in parts. It may be partly sod and partly bare. It may just have rained or snowed and the effect of the weather on the different parts of the field may be vastly different. Every condition must be minutely noted, for the commander must maneuver his forces along plans that will take every possible advantage of existing conditions.
The sun and wind are important factors that enter into the playing of the game and their influence on the play must be carefully noted and considered. On their direction depends largely the style of kick to be employed and the number of times kicking should be resorted to.
If the ground is soft from the nature of the soil or from rain or snow, great care should be taken that all the players' shoes are well cleated. No one can play the game unless he has a good and secure footing. Any player who has an injury should have it well protected by proper bandages or padding, this being especially important on a field that is hard or frozen.
The captain should know his own men, their strength and weakness as a whole and individuals. This can all be acquired during the practice season by noting carefully the playing of the team and men at all times.
The coach, captain and quarter back should go over the plan of the game to be played. This should be done in detail the day before the game. At this meeting all data concerning the players of the opposing team must be considered. Their make-up and their possibilities, singly and as a team, both on the offense and defense, should govern largely the plan of campaign to be decided upon. Knowledge of this sort can best be gained by actual observation of the opponents in action against some other team.
Ground rules should be agreed upon where any obstacles are likely to interfere with the playing of the game. Many gridirons have the stands or fences where they will interfere with plays and kicks that go out of bounds and in goal. An understanding beforehand will settle any difficulty that may arise later.