Kill the Learning Curve: How Video Gets New Athletes Ready for Your Program 

Roster turnover is a nec­es­sary headache for all coach­es, but video can make the process eas­i­er to handle.

Kill the Learning Curve: How Video Gets New Athletes Ready for Your Program 

Roster turnover is a nec­es­sary headache for all coach­es, but video can make the process eas­i­er to handle.

One of a coach’s most dif­fi­cult chal­lenges each off­sea­son is deal­ing with ros­ter turnover. Between grad­u­a­tions and trans­fers, a ros­ter can look dras­ti­cal­ly dif­fer­ent from one sea­son to the next.

While coach­es should be flex­i­ble in mak­ing sub­tle adjust­ments to their play­ing style based on the ath­letes at their dis­pos­al, they also can’t sway too far from their core beliefs. This means younger play­ers must be groomed to step into big­ger roles vacat­ed by grad­u­at­ing veterans.

Video can help short­en the learn­ing curve. While ath­letes can’t ful­ly adjust until they’re test­ed in live action, video aids them in mak­ing con­nec­tions between what is need­ed from them and how they can use their skills to match that responsibility.

Have a Plan in Place

While each year will add new play­ers to your ros­ter and ask some to step into larg­er roles, they all should have a basic under­stand­ing of what your pro­gram is about and your over­all expec­ta­tions. From the moment an ath­lete starts their career on the fresh­man or junior var­si­ty squad they should be learn­ing the bedrock prin­ci­ples of your program.

Train your fresh­man and JV coach­es on the foun­da­tions of your play­ing style so the mes­sage will be con­sis­tent from the moment fresh­men arrive to when they’re depend­ed upon for var­si­ty minutes.

We have a very con­sis­tent mes­sage. There’s a stan­dard that we live by,” Tim Olszewski, the head girls coach at Howell High School (Mich.), said. They find out very quick­ly if this is a place they want to be play­ing. We have high stan­dards and we have cer­tain cri­te­ria. Girls in our pro­gram know from the third grade what it is. We’re nev­er low­er­ing our stan­dards. They’re going to be what they are. It’s up to the play­ers to come up and meet those stan­dards as opposed to us adjust­ing ours. My play­ers know from ele­men­tary school up what to expect.”

If you would ask all our kids from sixth grade through high school, most of them would be right on with what we’re about.”

Establish a cul­ture of video ear­ly on. Players should be engaged with and watch­ing video from the moment they arrive at your school. By the time they’re ready to play var­si­ty, they’ll like­ly have years of expe­ri­ence watch­ing and will know how to max­i­mize their time with video.

Show Athletes Their Role

There are times when the pro­duc­tion of a grad­u­at­ing senior sim­ply can’t be replaced. Expecting a junior var­si­ty play­er to inher­it the same role as say, your program’s all-time lead­ing scor­er, isn’t fair. Neither is ask­ing a defen­sive hound to devel­op a dead­ly 3-point shot like the senior he’s replac­ing had.

But often times new­com­ers inher­it sim­i­lar roles to the ones held by the play­ers they’re replac­ing. By watch­ing video of the depart­ed athlete’s move­ments and respon­si­bil­i­ties, they can gain a stronger grasp on what they’ll be asked to do.

If Player B is kind of going to be in the role of Player A, who has grad­u­at­ed, you’re able to show that,” Brett Hilliard, the head boys coach at Hilliard Bradley High School (Ohio), said. When Player A is a good play­er, you can say, These are the kinds of things that you can learn by watch­ing the film, areas of your game that need to grow as you devel­op into your role.’ 

Most kids are visu­al learn­ers and the film is a great way to teach. To be able to give them exam­ples of past play­ers who have done things well is a real­ly, real­ly pow­er­ful teach­ing tool.”

Have new­com­ers watch video of depart­ed vet­er­ans dur­ing the sum­mer and fall so when the sea­son rolls around, they’re ready to hit the ground run­ning. They’ll have a strong under­stand­ing of their responsibility.

Promoting play­ers and rebuild­ing your ros­ter after grad­u­a­tions is sel­dom easy, but video helps to sim­pli­fy the process. It sets the stan­dard for younger ath­letes and shows them what to expect as they move up your program’s lad­der. See how video can speed up the learn­ing curve for yourself.