Showing video before or during practice is the best way to get your players to retain what you teach them.

There is no questioning the power of video. It allows you to make critical adjustments, eliminate bias and disagreements, and connect with your players in a way that words and whiteboards simply can't replicate.

Video becomes an even stronger tool when used at the most opportune times. Sharing it with athletes at key moments allows for deeper understanding and better retention. The brief pre-practice period is an opportune time to use it.

Here are our top four reasons why using video just before practice is ideal.

Keep It Fresh

The sooner the players get to put what they just watched into action, the better chance they have of retaining the information. Watching video and heading directly to the court eliminates that in-between time that invites forgetfulness.

Showing video provides greater clarity when you're trying to drive home a point. It's proven to be an effective teaching tool for coaches all across the country.

“The saying is that the tape don’t lie, so it’s great to take the things that happen on the floor and slow them down, be able to pause, rewind and play a segment back over and over again," Shaka Smart, the head coach of Texas basketball, said. "Then to be able to take individuals and groups of players and say, ‘Here’s an area where you’re doing really well. Keep doing that.'"

If you’re looking to solve your opponent’s 1-3-1 zone, watch video of them running it, then run your offense against the scout team. Is your squad struggling to handle full-court pressure? With condensed playlists, you can give your athletes quick hits they can take with them onto the floor. Pepper in some drawings and comments to truly bring your points to life.

Lock Your Players in

Conducting video sessions after practice can still be effective, but it’s probably going to be less efficient. Your players are tired, most likely wanting to relax and take their minds off basketball. Their thoughts can stray to their upcoming meal, significant other, homework, jobs, etc. All these other topics compete with what you’re trying to teach.

When players arrive to practice, they’re fresh and their focus is fully on basketball. This is the time they’re most likely to truly digest what they see.

On a similar note, don’t be afraid to sprinkle video into practice as well. Many coaches have some kind of monitor on the court to review and address certain things during practices. Some even record practice to instantly review what just transpired.

“We record every practice in real time. We’ll actually use our phones to do our breakdown drill. We call it the one-on-one paint drill and we’ll break up into groups of three and they’ll be recording with their own phones. They’ll stop and watch and say, ‘How come this guy was able to beat me?’ What ends up happening is kids don’t question stuff as much because they know it’s recorded.” Bob Rodgers, Head Coach, Whitman-Hanson High School (Mass.)

Encourage Them to Watch on Their Own

It’s very important for players to not only watch film as a team, but also as individuals. If a player just sat through a film session, he or she likely won’t feel motivated to go home and watch more.

Starting practice with video (or having it interspersed in practice) allows for a little breathing time. It gives the players a break from video, so they’ll be fresh and encouraged to watch later in the night.

Give them specific things to look for. Create playlists that highlight the aspects of their game they need to improve on, such as handling tight pressure (show them their turnovers) or their shooting from the right block (include a playlist of shots from that zone). By using symbols and notes, you can effectively communicate with your athletes even when you’re not in the same vicinity as they are.

“We’ll have a lot of times where they watch it with their notebook and we give them four or five things to find in the clip or this session of the game,” Rodgers said. “It’s a little treasure hunt for these nuggets that they need to have.

Pump Them up

Don't be afraid to have some fun with video! A happy player is much more likely to be confident and engaged in practice.

If your team scored a big victory in the last game, show off their top moments. Give them a chance to watch their successes and get in a good mood. The more upbeat they are, the better their performance is likely to be.

This process doesn’t add any work to your plate—we'll make the highlight for you. Just tag your game and your work is done. Now your players hit the hardwood with confidence, the right mentality and a touch of swagger.

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