As soon as Mike Neighbors was named the head coach of Arkansas women’s basketball in April 2017, he began planning how he would implement his “Race and Space” offense. Neighbors used the uptempo system to lead Washington to the Final Four in 2016 and figured the style of play would have similar results in Fayetteville.
But Arkansas didn’t play particularly fast the previous season and ranked among the lowest scoring teams in the SEC. The players weren’t used to playing at a faster pace, and Neighbors had only a few months to get them caught up before season began.
The NCAA rules that restrict how much time coaches can spend with athletes in the offseason further complicated the transition. He was going to need some help.
That’s where video stepped in.
Neighbors and Jeff Brazil, the team’s director of video and scouting, put together playlists of video clips for players to study, to speed up their learning curve for the limited amount of practice time they do have.
“We can say, ‘Hey, look over this tonight. Tomorrow when you come in with a coach, have this fresh from what you’re watching,’” Brazil said. “Then they already know a little bit about it and when they come in with the coach it’s not something brand new where you’re just wasting time. They already have access to it. They can talk and give feedback as well. They already have an opportunity to watch it before they come in there.”
Brazil shared clips from Washington’s previous seasons to provide an example for the players, but focused more on the Razorbacks’ practice video. Arkansas records every practice, allowing the coaches to highlight mistakes and share them for easy correction.
“After each live five-on-five action, we can share with them their shots and say, ‘Is this a good shot or a bad shot?’” Brazil said. “There are all kinds of things that we can show them. You can pull out all their shots. You can just send each player their own plays—all their turnovers, all their rebounds, it was all in one thing. If there was something where they wanted to see their turnovers from practice, that was easy because you already have that information logged in there.”
But the Razorbacks don’t have to wait until practice is over to start making improvements through video. The team live captures each practice and has the ability to watch plays back on an 80-inch Smart Board from the court.
If a player isn’t hustling down the floor or finding the right spot in transition, the coaches can take the team over to the screen and make corrections instantly instead of having to wait until after practice.
“If there is something that they see right there during practice, the coaches can show them right then, instantly, on our Smart Board,” Brazil said. “We can also have preloaded video where we can show things. We can show film instantly because we’re live-capturing with Sportstec.”
Video proved to be crucial in Neighbors’ transition to his new program. Without it, his team would have been much further behind in learning its new offense.
Check out the power of video firsthand.