A two-minute conversation is all that’s needed to understand how important video is to Bob Rickman. The head coach of the Alton High School (Ill.) women's basketball team estimates he spends between 10 and 20 hours each week breaking down the Redbirds’ performance and scouting their upcoming foes.
But Rickman knows he can’t be the only one to dive into video. To have the impact really hit home, he needs his players watching as well.
“There is no better feedback than video and stats right there, so they can learn from what they did in the past,” Rickman said. “If our goal is to make our team better, it’s one of the most valuable tools that you can have to make your teams better, more so than buying equipment or whatever. It’s the most valuable thing that you can do to make your kids better.”
It was easy to get players to want to watch video initially – the Redbirds relished seeing their highlights and positive moments.
“Most coaches that I’ve talked to say, ‘I don’t know if I have the time,’ and I’m like, ‘How can you not have the time?’ You explain to them the things that (Hudl) does and it really kind of blows their mind.”
But to really get his team to improve, Rickman needs them to watch everything, not just the good stuff. He creates playlists, adds comments and drawings, then shares the videos with players to help them see where they can improve.
“That’s when I would break out some clips and email a player and say, ‘Look at these shots you had last game,’” Rickman said. “Or, ‘Look at these series here. What are we doing right and what are we doing wrong?’ That’s a good way to get them to focus in on the particular areas you want them to.”
Despite his best efforts, Rickman knows he can’t deliver all the video his athletes need to see. He already spends hours watching video himself—he doesn’t have the time to dive deep into each player’s strengths and weaknesses.
Instead, he’s taught the athletes the right way to watch video. After the first few games each season, Rickman sits his players down and combs through the stats from the previous game. He teaches them how to use stats and filters to find the clips each player was involved in. If they have any issues, Rickman encourages them to come meet with him one-on-one.
“The kids use technology all the time, but not necessarily do they know how to navigate through it,” Rickman said. “It’s a learning process. They might not realize what reports mean, so they never go to the Reports tab and look at it. You’ve got to show them and teach them. You can’t just assume that they know how to get it, where to get it and how to use it.”