It’s not just for football — film can and should be a part of every team’s routine. Athletic director Jameson Pelkey explains how his water polo and wrestling teams use Hudl.

We want all of our varsity teams to compete at the very highest level, and in order to do so, we know that they need to be able to review film. 

Everyone knows our football, lacrosse and basketball teams review film during their seasons. But what most people don’t know, is our water polo team is doing the same thing.

Make Video Part of the Routine 

Our water polo team already practiced a couple hours a day, five days a week, making it a challenge for head coach Jeff Fiore to fit film review sessions into the regular practice schedule. 

They started by taking some time out of their Saturday workouts, or an hour out of practice, to review film. It became routine to record Saturday scrimmages, then review the film immediately afterwards.

Time wasn’t the only challenge. There’s no spot or angle to film from that can get the entire pool in the shot. But setting the camera up in the balcony seating area, above the pool, got the best shot possible. And really introduced the benefits of film review. 

The coaches started reviewing how our team was spaced in the water. Being able to review the players’ transitions from offense to defense—a big priority—was extremely beneficial. It also helped the counter-defense significantly.

“It’s been awesome for us because our boys have never really been able to watch themselves play on film before, so we record every game, and analyze it over the next few days,” said Fiore.

Being able to review performance is extremely beneficial.

Get Players on Board

Fiore quickly found value in the ability for our water polo players to watch the film on their own time. Since they can view it as many times as they’d like, then have conversations about what was reviewed the next day, they jumped on it right away. 

Those team film sessions during practice started showing their worth too. Our coaches could use the film to show players without the ball how they should be moving, or where they should be placed.

There was no real learning curve for our athletes at all. In fact, now after home games, kids basically start reviewing the film as they leave the pool! 

A Resource for Every Team

As St. John’s athletic director, I want all of our teams to be able to access this valuable resource. Every team should have the same capabilities and opportunities, whether it be new uniforms, equipment, film, whatever the case may be. 

That’s why we have our fencing, wrestling and rugby teams utilizing video analysis as well.

Our assistant wrestling coach, Ryan Harding, said video has already impacted several areas of his coaching. He uses slow-motion video to analyze positional performance cues with his athletes, and establish strategies for offseason training. He also reviews past matches to prepare for the same opponents in the future.

We want to stay consistent with what other schools are doing, or even be ahead of the game. These are just a few of the ways a few of our teams use video. Our coaches and student-athletes love this learning tool—and as the saying goes, the eye in the sky don't lie! 

Pelkey took over as ath­let­ic direc­tor at St. John’s Prep on July 1, 2019. He joined the staff in August 2006 as an assis­tant var­si­ty foot­ball coach, became a staff assis­tant in the ath­let­ics depart­ment in 2007, and was named assis­tant ath­let­ic direc­tor for grades 6, 7 and 8 in 2015. A native of Barre, Vt., Pelkey holds a B.S. in sports man­age­ment and an M.S. in ath­let­ic admin­is­tra­tion, both from Endicott College in Beverly, where he was a three-sport athlete.