Four Steps to Get Players into Film Review

High school vol­ley­ball coach Lindsay Peterson has ideas on how to keep your play­ers engaged dur­ing film review.

Four Steps to Get Players into Film Review

High school vol­ley­ball coach Lindsay Peterson has ideas on how to keep your play­ers engaged dur­ing film review.

Film. As coach­es, we know it helps us under­stand what our teams do well and what we need to work on. It allows us to scout our oppo­nents and gives us insight into their performance. 

However, for play­ers, it can be cum­ber­some. They might see it as just anoth­er thing they have to do.” Players often don’t know what to look for, or they get caught up in what they indi­vid­u­al­ly did or didn’t do. 

That’s why it’s impor­tant for coach­es to use film as a learn­ing expe­ri­ence, so it’s ben­e­fi­cial for every­one on the team. Watching film can build vol­ley­ball IQ and, for your visu­al learn­ers, it can be real­ly eye-opening. 

Get It on the Schedule

My teams use film in dif­fer­ent ways, but it’s most pro­duc­tive for us to watch togeth­er as a group. I like to take the first 45 min­utes of prac­tice to do this. It’s not every week, but I do it as often as I can. Why? Because going back and watch­ing match­es can be as impor­tant as prac­tic­ing itself. 

I always watch the film first to edit out time­outs and side changes. Most of the time I have them watch one set, or at the most, two. This ensures it catch­es their inter­est and keeps their focus. I try to use dif­fer­ent edit­ing tools to high­light what I want the play­ers to pay atten­tion to the most. 

Set the Goal

Having film meet­ings at the start of prac­tice means it’s already a time where the play­ers planned to be togeth­er and work on get­ting bet­ter. But it’s impor­tant to be clear that this isn’t a time to point the fin­ger at any­one or any posi­tion. Volleyball is a game of errors. If we want to get bet­ter, we have to see where we’re mak­ing our errors and then work hard to cor­rect what we can. 

In the same breath, we also need to cel­e­brate what’s going well for us and where we have improved! I like to start there, with the good things we do, then move into the things we need to get bet­ter at.

Choose the Assignment

I’ve found a few dif­fer­ent ways to keep play­ers inter­est­ed dur­ing film sessions. 

Have players take notes 

While they’re review­ing match­es, have them look for three things they did well and three things they need to improve on. Or have them track those same cat­e­gories for the team instead of them­selves. Then share with part­ners or the whole group.

Stat sets by position

Here’s how to divide it up:

  • Setters can stat set selec­tion, kills, digs
  • Middles can stat blocks, kills, hit­ting efficiency 
  • Right sides can stat kills, hit­ting effi­cien­cy, digs
  • Outsides can stat kills, hit­ting effi­cien­cy, digs
  • Liberos/​Defensive Specialists could stat serve receive, digs, pass­ing efficiency

Once they’re fin­ished, have each posi­tion group share their results with the rest of the team.

Scout opponents

Divide the team in half — one half will make notes on your team, the oth­er will make notes on the oppos­ing team. Have both groups study how they could beat oppo­nents, and how oppo­nents could beat them, then have them share their find­ings with the team.

Don’t Skip the Last Step

No mat­ter how you watch film, I rec­om­mend end­ing the ses­sion with the same two steps every time:

  • Set prac­tice goals for them­selves based on what they learned from the film. 
  • Have them help you cre­ate a prac­tice plan based around these goals. In my expe­ri­ence, play­ers real­ly enjoy hav­ing a say about what we do! It’s a great way to keep them engaged dur­ing prac­tice. And if they for­get, remind them why you’re prac­tic­ing it — because you all rec­og­nized it need­ed work in film review. 

Both of these steps are extreme­ly impor­tant because it makes the film-watch­ing process tan­gi­ble. And when your play­ers are bought in, they’re already on the path to improvement. 

Lind­say Peter­son has been a var­si­ty head coach for eight years. She played for the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Alaba­ma, help­ing them win the DII Nation­al Cham­pi­onship in 2003. Peter­son has led her Mil­lard North High School team to the state cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment sev­en times, win­ning in 2016 and 2018. She was named one of the top 40 coach­es in the coun­try by the AVCA, and Coach of the Year by the Oma­ha World-Herald.