Film… video… has been a primary teaching tool for coaches since the use of 16mm film in the 1950’s. Virtually every high school, college and pro team in the country films, and views game and practice video. As a coach, I am constantly searching for a way to ensure that we are not only viewing or watching the video, but also analyzing and learning from it. We always tell our athletes that they need to watch the video with a critical eye, and view it as a learning tool, which is much different than they would watch an NFL or College game on the weekend.
The process of “grading” game and practice video has helped to change the film viewing from a social event (like watching an NFL game) into a teaching session for both coaches and players. I am sure most of you reading this post grade your game and practice film; it is a tried and true process. The film grade sheet (download the template here: film grade template) that we have used has been an important tool in this transformation, giving the players concrete feedback on their play, and helping our coaching staff to “check for understanding” and focus our teaching in needed areas.
This template has room for 16 games or practices (you might copy the template and have one for practices and one for games) and can easily be customized using your terms for fronts, stunts, coverages, plays, etc. If the coordinators have time, they will try to have the sheets ready to go, with the defensive calls or offensive plays from the game or practice already entered on the position coach’s spreadsheet. Otherwise, each position coach can enter this from the game’s call sheet. From there it is simply a matter for the coach to fill his athlete’s jersey numbers and click on the pull down menu in the grade box for each play. Here is a brief video explaining how to use the excel film grade template that I am sharing.
We grade every player on every play and they get a copy of the grade sheet. We do it by position group, so the most any one coach is grading is 3 or 4 athletes. We give each player a “plus” or a “minus” each play. If we have given them a minus, then our “rule” is that we have to explain why they received that grade. At the end we total how many “pluses” they have, divide that by the total number of plays that they played, and that gives us a percentage “grade” for that game or practice.
By grading every play, it shows the athletes that you care about them becoming a better player, and that your evaluation of their play is not arbitrarily arrived at – it is based on their performance for each play. The other thing that it gives us as coaches is a reference for what areas may need more work. It is a way for us to “check for understanding”. We total up the various categories that players have received a minus grade, which gives us an area of emphasis for the coming week. If we see that “missed tackle (MT) ” was one of the leading categories contributing to minus grades, they we can adjust practice accordingly. If we see an abundance of alignment/ assignment mistakes, we know that either some concepts are too complex, or we need to do a better job of teaching these concepts. At the conclusion of the season, this workbook becomes part of our end of season analysis(Becoming a “Stronger” Coach in the Off-Season). We can go back and calculate the total number of minus grades in each category to give us an idea for teaching and coaching priorities in the off-season.
If you have any questions, or would like help customizing this grade sheet to your offense or defense, just drop me a line!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org