Mistakes are par for the course when taking on any new skill — watching video is no exception. Check out these coaches’ suggestions to avoid the common missteps.
Driving is an essential part of nearly every life. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a city with efficient public transportation or have the financial means to pay someone else to drive, it’s almost impossible for an adult to live without getting behind the wheel.
At this point, you’ve done it so much you don’t even have to think about it. But look back to the first few times you got in the driver’s seat and the overwhelming feeling of responsibility that brought. Between rapid stops and starts with the pedals, curb checks and simply understanding the rules of the road, few are proud of their first few weeks as a driver.
The same can be said of video use. Once coaches see its power, they’re typically giddy to get started and improve their teams. But as with any new skill, there’s a learning curve. We talked to some coaches about their first experiences with video and what they’ve learned to improve their processes.
Don’t Go Overboard
So much can be learned from video and there’s a temptation to share everything. Coaches want to help their athletes improve, so why not give all the information they can?
Unfortunately, this results in overload for players’ minds. At best, they take in some of the concepts (but not all). At worst, they start overthinking and freeze up during games. Robi Coker, the head coach at Plainview High School (Ala.), regrets overwhelming his players at first.
“I showed way too much video at a single sitting,” he said. “We now try to keep it less than 10 minutes so they can focus for the entire session.”
Video provides so many potential solutions, but you have to carefully choose which strategies to employ. Pick only the most impactful opponent tendencies or ways to improve your squad and really focus on those areas when sharing video with your players.
“Obviously you can’t take away everything. You don’t want to overwhelm your team,” Andre Noble, the head coach at Imhotep High School (Penn.), said. “So you look for the key emphasis points. We know things as a staff, but we try to get things down to our kids in small phrases. We don’t want them thinking about 50 things. We want them to be small, simple phrases.”
Trust Your Assistants
Players aren’t the only ones that can suffer from information overload. Coaches can become so locked in on finding the next insight, they suffer from burnout.
That’s where your assistants come in. Lean on them to not only gut check you on what you took from the video, but encourage them to watch as well. Several pairs of eyes are better than one, and their perspective will catch things you may have missed.
“I’ve tried to take on a little too much myself at times,” Paul Romanczuk, the head coach at Archbishop John Carr (Penn.), said. “I should put a little more onto the assistant coaches helping. If I don’t have them do it, how are they going to get any better moving forward? That’s something that I have a head coach understand now more than I did. It’s tough giving up control, but you can’t be everywhere at once. You only have limited time in the day as far as scouting goes.”
Focus on Your Team Too
The term “scouting” generally conjures up thoughts about the opponent, discovering their strengths and weaknesses and finding ways to chip away at them. But scouting your own team can be just as, if not more, important.
Because they see their team every day in practice and watch every game multiple times, coaches believe they have a good handle on their own squad. This is true for the most part, but there’s always more to learn. Stats provide a great way of using the video to find one’s own faults and look for ways to improve.
Check the shot charts to see where your team is struggling and develop ways to improve from that area. Take a look at lineup data to see if there are certain groups of players who really mesh together on the court.
“Worry more about your team than the opponent,” Coker said. “Do more self scouting and use video to help your players become better.