This veteran coach explains how to use video as the driving force to get your team ready for the postseason.

You know it’s imperative for your team to be playing at its peak once playoffs start. You want your squad to hit the postseason with momentum and confidence, ideally riding a winning streak.

That makes the next few weeks extremely pivotal. Your performance in this span of time will go a long way to determine just how far you advance. And few tools can help you the way video can.

We solicited the advice of a long-time Hudl user for tips to ensure performance is at its peak at the right time. Gordon Eck, now the offensive coordinator for Lancaster Catholic High School (Penn.), has been using Hudl since 2010 and lives for video. Here are some of his top tips to get the most out Hudl and keep the pedal to the metal for the playoffs.

Start Every Practice with Video

Video should be a part of practice before you even hit the field. The less time there is between your players viewing the video and putting those lessons into action, the better they’ll comprehend and retain what they just saw.

Lancaster typically starts each practice with half an hour of video, starting with a review of Friday’s game on Monday. Throughout the week, the staff will continue to show key clips from the last game, opponent scout videos and even previous practices (more on that in a minute).

“We’ll pick out specific plays and clips that we want to watch,” Eck said. “We’ll point out something a guy did well or something a guy didn’t do well and how he can fix it in the future.”

Eck has found this method really gets his players in the right mindset for practice. With the video’s information fresh in their minds, the athletes are already in tune with what they’re about to work on. This allows for better preparation and stronger results in that week’s game.

The kids are watching the film and on Friday night when they see that formation, they’re already expecting and thinking, ‘All right, their best play out of this formation is this, so I’ve got to be ready for that,’” Eck said.

Record Practice

Everyone reviews games, but involving cameras in practice can give you an extra edge. It’s one thing for a coach to try and explain a correction that must be made. But if athletes are able to see an error, it can be a game changer.

“If we’re watching practice film, when we go out and run the same stuff, we’re not making the same mistake,” Eck said. “The ease of being able to pull up that practice film or immediately being able to upload film with an iPad, it makes the whole process easier. It makes you feel like you’re getting a lot more coaching done.

“You can pay attention to detail so much more by having the ability to watch the film and coach off of it and put notes on there for your players.”

Get Your Game Plan Online

Most coaches hand out physical game plans to players, but pieces of paper can be lost or torn easily. Create your game plan on Hudl to not only ensure your players will always have access to it, but also to link every teaching point with relevant video.

“I can attach the clips from the plays we’ve already run,” Eck said. “Any bit of reinforcement to remind them what they’re doing on this play or where they’re lining up against this defense, that little kind of stuff which you tell kids, but they’re kids… I’ve been doing this long enough that I can coach things up on the fly and I just know it. It’s automatically in my head that we’re running a play against a certain defense and I know where the cuts should be or where the quarterback should be reading. You can tell kids that, but if you give them something they can look at, study and review, it’s going to help them more than just saying it.”

Between pre-practice work and watching on their own time, Eck estimates his players see around 3.5 hours of video each week. This includes review of their own performance and that of the upcoming opponent.

You only have so much time with your players, so you need to maximize every second to hit your stride as the playoffs begin. Video can be the tool that helps your performance make a leap.

“Time is short,” Eck said. “In preparation for a game, you only have a certain number of hours and any film you can add to it where kids can view it on their own and review, it makes them better ultimately.”

If you have any other tips for using video to get prepared for the stretch run, please share them with @hudlusfootball.