Why Video Analy­sis Is Cen­tral to Every Stage of the Lacrosse Season

New­ly appoint­ed ath­let­ic direc­tor Jame­son Pelkey sat down with his lacrosse coach John Pyn­chon to find out if video analy­sis was giv­ing his teams enough bang for its buck. Pynchon’s response? Unequiv­o­cal­ly, yes.

Why Video Analy­sis Is Cen­tral to Every Stage of the Lacrosse Season

New­ly appoint­ed ath­let­ic direc­tor Jame­son Pelkey sat down with his lacrosse coach John Pyn­chon to find out if video analy­sis was giv­ing his teams enough bang for its buck. Pynchon’s response? Unequiv­o­cal­ly, yes.

As an ath­let­ic direc­tor, a lot of my time is spent try­ing to make my coach­es’ lives eas­i­er. One way I do this is by get­ting them the tools they need to do their jobs. And check­ing in to make sure the tools we’ve added are work­ing well. 

I recent­ly spoke to our head var­si­ty lacrosse coach John Pyn­chon about how he, our assis­tant coach­es, and our stu­dent-ath­letes uti­lize video analysis. 

Pre­sea­son Prep

To help get every­one back into the swing of things at St. John’s Prep (Mass.), Pyn­chon will use video playlists to put a few clips togeth­er from pre­vi­ous sea­sons, show­cas­ing our core offense, defense, clear­ing and rid­ing pack­ages. He’s found this to be the best way to get every­one focused on the same thing dur­ing the first cou­ple weeks of the sea­son. And that’s installing our program’s system. 

We’ll spend a day or two look­ing at clips of our offense, defense or rides/​clears,” Pyn­chon said. Some are clips that include mis­takes and oth­ers are clips that show prop­er exe­cu­tion of our system.”

The team goes over these dur­ing pre­sea­son film review, which starts two weeks before the reg­u­lar sea­son begins.

Sea­son Grind

Our lacrosse team, like most I’m sure, pret­ty much uses video every day once the sea­son is under­way. They start by meet­ing for dai­ly film review.

St. John Prep's lacrosse team uses video review consistently to teach players how to improve.

First Pyn­chon goes over a few clips of what the team did well or needs to work on. Then he switch­es it up. For the past few years, he’s set quo­tas for indi­vid­ual film review, mak­ing it part of their team goals with I com­mit to…” vocabulary. 

As play­ers watch the film from prac­tices and/​or games on their own, they know to come to film review ready to dis­cuss two or three clips that stood out. Pyn­chon then asks them to lead dis­cus­sions around what they picked up on. 

The assis­tant coach­es han­dle one-on-one and get spe­cif­ic with posi­tion­al group dis­cus­sions. They review the game film, make com­ments, then share those clips with the play­ers. Then they do the same to pre­pare for upcom­ing opponents. 

Of all the lacrosse posi­tions, Pyn­chon has found that face off men and goalies ben­e­fit the most from indi­vid­ual film work and game preparation.

Face off tech­nique is very spe­cif­ic and repet­i­tive. Unlike oth­er lacrosse posi­tions, face offs have set moves and counter moves that can be used. Film is a great way for face off men to study their own tech­nique and make sub­tle adjust­ments as needed.”

Mid­sea­son Adjustments

One of the best advan­tages to using film? It’s prob­a­bly one you’ve heard before — film doesn’t lie! Our head coach stressed the val­ue of being able to ana­lyze their film and use what they learned to their advan­tage for the sec­ond half of the season.

The film study we did between games was a major part of our suc­cess in the playoffs.” John Pynchon, St. John's Prep

Using reports, we like to see when and where we are scor­ing goals or giv­ing up goals,” Pyn­chon said. We also look at turnovers in a few ways, caused, unforced, etc.”

The coach­es self-scout, then gen­er­ate reports off of that data to show the team areas where they could improve. And this all hap­pens before play­offs begin. 

This past year, we won a real­ly close game 8 – 7 over a rival team to end the reg­u­lar sea­son. When we went back on film, we were able to iden­ti­fy some mis­takes we made and some things they were doing against us that we strug­gled with. We end­ed up play­ing them in the sec­tion­al semi­fi­nals two weeks lat­er and won 12 – 7. The film study we did between games was a major part of our suc­cess in the playoffs.”

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.