Basketball

4 Reasons Every Practice Should Start with Video

Showing video before and/or during practice is the best way to get your players to retain what you’re teaching 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 cannot.

Video becomes and even stronger tool when used at the most opportune times. Sharing it with athletes at certain moments allows for deeper understanding and better retention, and that brief pre-practice period is an opportune time to utilize 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 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 handling full-court pressure? By creating condensed playlists, you give your athletes quick-hitting information that they can take with them onto the floor. Pepper in some drawings and comments to truly bring your points to life.

Get Your Players Locked In

Conducting video sessions after practice can still be effective, but it’s probably going to be less efficient. Your players are tired and want 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 for mind space and battle 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 that they’re most likely to truly digest what they’re seeing.

On a similar note, don’t be afraid to sprinkle video into practice as well. Many coaches have some kind of monitor down on the court to review and address certain things during practices. Some even record practice live and watch 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 at Whitman-Hanson High School (Mass.),

Encourage Athletes 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 certain aspects of their game that 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.

Get Them Hyped

Have some fun with the 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 them their top moments over again. Allow them 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 any more work on your plate - let us make the highlight for you. Just tag your game or send it in to Assist and your work is done. Now your players hit the hardwood with confidence, the right mentality and a touch of swagger.

Got any creative ways your team incorporates video into practice? Feel free to share in the comments section below or the Hudl Forum.