We took a poll of our Hudl coaches to find the top ten things to focus on when studying film.

The following is a guest post from Greg Nelson, a Hudl employee and head football coach at Lincoln Lutheran High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Between my work at the University of Nebraska as a student assistant and as an assistant coach for a local high school in Lincoln - I’ve spent many hours pouring over film. I have my own style of analyzing video, but I was interested to find out what you look at during your film sessions.

I took a poll of our Hudl coaches to find the top ten things to focus on when studying film.

Survey says:

1. Read Coverages

Your offensive players need to be able to tell the difference between coverages. Knowing the coverages will tell you the ‘hot’ read versus a blitz, what routes your receivers should be running, and where your quarterback should be throwing the ball.

2. Differentiate Defensive Fronts

Blocking responsibilities will be determined by how the opposing defense lines up. Knowing detailed information and possible variations about each front will help prepare your team to execute your scheme correctly.

3. Recognize the Blitz

Receivers may run ‘hot’ or short routes if a blitz occurs or your running backs may have to stay in the backfield to help your protection. When your players understand where the blitz is coming from, they are better able to adjust protections or routes to exploit weaknesses in the defense.

4. Isolate by Position Group

Defensive linemen, running backs, quarterbacks. Send specific playlists of important plays to each of your position groups. Help them better analyze the players and schemes they will be going against. Ex. Send your wide receivers all of the great plays by your upcoming opponent’s defensive backs.

5. What You Did Incorrectly

Focus on what you did incorrectly in your last game or practice; whether that be the way a specific play was ran, reading the defense, or our overall strategy. Figure out exactly what series of plays or decisions caused the problem and make sure the players learn the correct way to run the play.

6. Find Their Bread and Butter

If a team has to get a first down or a score in a game what play are they going to run. What are their players most comfortable running/what play do they run against any front or any blitz.

7. Use Scouting Reports to Dictate Film Study

Use percentages to uncover tendencies in the opponent's offense or defense. Allow these percentages to dictate what situations or plays you focus on to be the most successful. Ex. If a team loves play action on 3rd and short, spend extra time analyzing their fakes and see if they change their blocking scheme when they execute the play. If a team runs the ball 80% of the time on first down, focus on making sure your defense is properly aligned to their most used first down formations.

8. Find Star Players Ex. 

Sort for big defensive plays and see if a particular corner is always making good plays on the ball or search for long runs to see if a specific running back is great at breaking tackles and always racking up extra yardage.

9. Analyze Their Shifts/Motions

Is there a rhyme or reason to it, or do they do it to make your team uncomfortable? See if they gain a strategic advantage in their motion and prepare your players for their response. If they are just moving pre-snap to confuse the defense, make your team confident in where they are lined up regardless of shifts.

10. Exploit Special Teams Personnel Weaknesses

Do they have a player on kickoff coverage that isn’t a great tackler or a player on the FG team that doesn’t have great blocking technique? Analyzing special teams personnel can give you a huge advantage in an often overlooked area of the game.

Greg works a dual role at Agile Sports Technologies in both client support making sure you coaches stay happy and quality assurance making sure Hudl stays in tip-top shape. Outside of Agile, Greg coaches football for a local high school.