19 October 2015
Down, Set, Communicate: A Discourse Community Analysis
If there is a discourse community that utilizes communication unlike any other, it has to be Houston High School’s football team. From a simple word such as “apple” to a complex phrase such as “X post Rail drag 54,” communication of plays during football games are complicated and difficult to understand for regular bystanders. The dialogue used during communication must be precisely said, translated correctly, and understood by the players on the football field and the coaches on the sideline. On any competitive level, communication among Houston High School’s football team is ...view middle of the document...
The goals of winning games, getting better, and competing are fluid throughout the whole team. The football players and coaches alike arduously work together to meet their common goals. Swales’ second characteristic is participatory mechanisms. Teammates can talk amongst themselves during practice, in class, and during pre-game meals. The coaches are able to converse with each other during coaches’ meetings and film evaluation in a more serious manner. Both the coaches and players communicate through meetings, e-mails, text messaging, and practice. Swales’ third characteristic is information exchange. The coaches are able to critique the players, teach techniques, and translate the playbook to the players through practice. Practice helps the players be taught skills such as tackling and blocking, and at the same time, receive feedback from the coaches on what was done right and what needs to be improved.
Swales’ fourth characteristic is community specific genres. This discourse community uses schedules to help them stay organized within practice and game plans for opponents. Workout plans are given to the players to help them become better, faster, and stronger athletes. One of the most essential genres that the team uses is a playbook. A playbook shows the name of each play, the concepts utilized in the play, and how the play is executed as far as where each player must go. Each playbook is derived from different systems and concepts and then translated into code words in which only one team can understand. The football team’s playbook can help support the team as a discourse community due to the fact that it is a specific type of writing that is only geared to those who are on the team. Swales’ fifth characteristic is highly specialized terminology. Examples of this characteristic are passing routes such as “Y corner,” “Follow,” or “Purple motion fake.” They could also be blocking schemes such as “Sweep,” “Eagle,” or “Combo.” Swales’ sixth and final characteristic is a high general level of expertise. Within the football team, the experts and novices are separated into coaches and players. The coaches are experts of the game; they form game plans and teach players vital skills needed for success on the football field. As students of the game, players concentrate on what coaches want them to do and then execute that during games.
Now that it is understood that Houston High School’s football team can be defined as a discourse community that is eligible for research and argument, I can now explain the focus of my research and my methods of obtaining and analyzing sources. In football, there are various, specific ways to communicate and have a play properly executed on the field. Code words, hand signals, and diagrams are used as mental blueprints for plays, and each player on the field must decipher the plays to know his duty on a given play.
With my research, I wanted to achieve a better understanding of the...