Discover the Tell: How Video Can Help Uncover Opponent Tendencies

New Jersey youth coach Patrick Marzo uses video to dis­cov­er the opposition’s most like­ly moves.

Discover the Tell: How Video Can Help Uncover Opponent Tendencies

New Jersey youth coach Patrick Marzo uses video to dis­cov­er the opposition’s most like­ly moves.

Patrick Marzo made an impor­tant dis­cov­ery ear­ly in his coach­ing career, one that has come to define his coach­ing style and the suc­cess of his youth foot­ball team.

Marzo cap­i­tal­izes off the fact that every per­son has ten­den­cies. Just as a pok­er play­er has a tell or a cer­tain busi­ness­man tends to com­mon­ly invest the same way, foot­ball play­ers’ actions can give away what they’re about to do or what play their team will run. Catch onto these habits and you’ve gained a major advantage.

There are times when Marzo’s team, the Manalapan Braves, knows what its oppo­nent is going to run sim­ply by the way they’re lined up. That knowl­edge has helped them win every New Jersey state title since 2011, the year they start­ed using Hudl.

Everybody has ten­den­cies, right?” Marzo said. You’ve got a right guard com­ing up to the line of scrim­mage and you’re run­ning a sweep his way and he’s lean­ing. Or the quar­ter­back is back a step fur­ther when he’s about to hand off to the back. Beyond foot­ball, there are some human-nature tells that you can get off the film. You get some teams that pass the ball a lit­tle bit in youth, and you’ll get a receiv­er whose pos­ture is just hor­ri­ble when it’s not a pass play. If it’s a run play going oppo­site him, he just stands there like, I can’t wait for this play to be over so I can be involved in the next one.’

They almost know what play is com­ing, or what type of play.”

A for­mer Division II play­er, Marzo has long under­stood the val­ue of find­ing these ten­den­cies, but Hudl has stream­lined his abil­i­ty to do so. Instead of load­ing up the pro­jec­tor or dis­trib­ut­ing DVDs or tapes, Marzo sends out the video to his play­ers with draw­ings and notes, bring­ing to their atten­tion cer­tain signs on what the oppo­nent might be doing.

It’s like how much eas­i­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion is with an iPhone,” Marzo said. It’s an upgrade from a phone booth or a land line. All forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion work, but how much eas­i­er is it now?”

Hudl has become so effec­tive for the Braves that Marzo has cut out a phys­i­cal prac­tice each week and instead requires his play­ers to watch video. The squad only prac­tices twice a week but each ath­lete is now required to watch a cer­tain amount of video.

And Hudl allows Marzo to track their usage. Miss one of his quiz ques­tions dur­ing prac­tice and get ready to run.

I want to test these kids like home­work — are they watch­ing Hudl?” Marzo said. If not, I have to get them to the field a third day. I’m try­ing to give them more time for their fam­i­lies, their friends and their school­work. Hudl is anoth­er prac­tice for us.

We’re cir­cling and not­ing and that just makes it so much eas­i­er to reach every­body in one broad­cast. It’s mak­ing life more efficient.”