The purpose of a walkthrough is the same for all sports—it’s the final step to prepare your team for game day. The process of how a coach physically and mentally prepares the team can vary depending on the opponent, and what a coach does during a walkthrough can change the outcome of a game.
A lot of football coaches already use Hudl, but not all teams take full advantage of the reports they offer. I’ll share my Sheets of Success tool and how I combine it with the data provided in Hudl’s reports. Together these tools allow me to improve players’ confidence by showing them the correct alignments, which better prepares them both mentally and physically. The pictures below change weekly so the players don’t know what to expect each week–it keeps them on their toes. Check out all the reports Hudl provides.
My dad, who is a Marine, shared this insight with me when I first started coaching, “Son, if you are still teaching the players during walkthrough practice, then you are in big trouble!” Since then I’ve told my quarterbacks, “Listen, if I am still coaching you on Thursday, then I am not coaching you right on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday is the culmination of everything you have learned.” I do a quiz with the quarterbacks where they give me the questions and answers of everything they have learned that week.
Have the quarterbacks wear shoulder pads during walkthrough practice. This physically and mentally prepares them with the aspect of throwing a football and improves their throwing accuracy by creating a game-like environment.
My Sheets of Success is a tool I created to use at the middle and high school level. It includes what I learned while coaching all levels, but I tweaked it so players get to experience different variables that might arise during the game.
This list helps coaches communicate their expectations with players so they’re on the same page during the game. For example, when the clock is ticking and the team scores, the players will already know who needs to go out on the field so coaches can save a timeout. A player could forget if they are on special teams or not realize it was already fourth down. The list helps put the responsibility on the player while subtly training them to be a leader. As a former quarterback, when I wasn’t in the game, I was on the bench listening to my offensive coordinator or talking to my center, wide receivers, and running backs preparing for the next drive.
As coaches, we need to make sure we have continuity the day before the game, even if your team is on a losing streak. It shows you believe in your players and the team mentality. Sheets of Success will help your team prepare by providing them with a practice plan. I change it weekly so the players don’t memorize it. We must ensure the players are prepared both mentally and physically for the upcoming opponent.
A walkthrough allows the team to come together and mentally prepare for their opponent. It is important to give the players time to process what they have learned and focus on one mindset and one goal.
So, how do you run a walkthrough practice utilizing Hudl reports? Let’s chat. #HUDLReports.
Anthony Stone is a physical education teacher at Gregory Elementary School and quarterbacks coach at Boylan High School in Rockford, Ill. He is also the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Women’s Australian National Outback 2017 Team & writes blogs for Firstdown Playbook.
In July 2016, he was named to the Hudl 100 list. He has presented at IAPHERD, the top physical education convention in Illinois, on how to get students moving with his Games Galore presentations. He has also presented at the Chicago Glazier Clinics on quarterbacks & special teams. He was the defensive coordinator for the 2010 U.S. Women’s National Tackle Football Team, winners of the IFAF Women’s World Championship in which Team USA did not allow a point in three games with an overall score of 201-0. Stone has coached in the CIFL and the IWFL Leagues as well as Beloit College (linebackers/special teams coordinator) and Rockford University (quarterbacks/wide receivers).
Stone has also coached football at the youth, middle school and high school level. He will be putting on fundamental youth football camps around the world in 2017. Please contact him to bring his “Back to the Basics Youth Football Camp” to a city near you.
Follow him on Twitter @Coach_Stone_MT.