How coaches can get their teams to break down their own games

For both team and individual sports, most coaches would agree that videos are a powerful tool for helping athletes improve their performances. When I was in high school, this meant gathering the entire team into a room (usually on a Saturday morning), cramming around the biggest TV our coaches could find, and watching the film together (usually there was yelling involved too).

While sessions with the entire team have their benefits, now there are easier ways to use video and sports. For my latest season of coaching, I experimented with youtube commenting to have my players break down their own games.

This was middle school girls basketball, so I didn’t want to make it too intense. My goals were to have the players:

1) Reinforce positive basketball habits.
2) Build up each others’ confidence.

The prerequisites here are to be able to upload videos to youtube and have some knowledge about the sharing settings. If you are new to this, Craig has a detailed post that will fill you in. If you wondering if your teenage athletes have gmail/youtube accounts, I can answer that: they do.

The instructions were simple: watch a youtube clip of a game, and whenever you see somebody do something positive, add the time and what they did well in a comment. When they put in the time (3:23, for example), youtube will automatically skip to that part of the video when you click on the number.

Check the comments here for an example of what this looks like (to see the comments, you need to open in youtube rather than watching the embedded video):



As you can see, there is nothing revolutionary here, but if you are already uploading game film to youtube (which I recommend), this is a simple way to have players watch the games more actively, reinforce what you are trying to teach, and have your athletes build each other up.

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4 Responses to How coaches can get their teams to break down their own games

  1. Jana Poukka says:

    I think this is a great idea! I remember having to watch choir performances in class before a big competition. However, the class can only listen to one voice at a time for the 15-20 minutes we had to reflect. If you push that all on to YouTube and use the comments function, the barrier more students could engage at one time. Plus the pressure of talking in front of the group is eliminated. I love the focus being on positivity, especially by pinpointing the time in the comment when the student saw that particular positive behavior.
    I could also see this being used in the classroom when recording group work. Sometimes I casually record groups as they are working. Afterwards we discuss collaboration and positive behaviors we want to see when working in groups.
    Is there a way to upload it to YouTube and only have the video and the comments visible to select individuals? I’ll have to look into that!
    Thanks for the great idea!!

    • Jeff Lewis says:

      Thanks, Jana, I agree that this would work for a choral show, or group collaboration, or any kind of performance. One thing I like is it keeps our time together (practice) focused on improving skills. Just as a choir director would want their choir singing as much as possible, I want my team playing basketball as much as possible. But youtube still gives them the benefit of breaking down the video on their own time.

      There are settings to control who can see videos, and it’s not too complicated. I will write another post to explain it soon.

  2. This is so great. It’s such a great way to capture student learning and then to have kids work together to get better (and not just at the athletic component). Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jeff Lewis says:

    Quick update on this post…the trick of putting in the time before your comment and youtube automatically skipping to that part of the video no longer works. Not sure why youtube changed this…I’ve read that Google is trying to push Google+ in all of their products, so this may have something to do with it. I will research and see if there’s another way to do it.

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