As a coach and teacher, I have a continuous, internal dialogue that takes place. Time is at a premium, and it is inflexible, so whenever I am contemplating adding something else to my plate, this internal conversation begins. I try to figure out the balance between doing something that may be really cool and the latest thing, with the kind of impact it will have on instruction. There are a lot of really cool ideas that I come across… just about daily. The trick is figuring out (due to time constraints) which cool idea(s) will have the biggest bang regarding instruction for the amount of time spent:
Instruction Bang/Time Invested
The bigger the bang, with less time invested, the better.
This is critical when it come to your weekly meeting, prep, and practice time in season… when you are formulating and teaching your weekly game plan. Today I want to regress a little, and go back to the Weekly Workflow schedule that I discussed last week. I believe there are a couple of ways to tweak this schedule, utilizing technology to “flip” your meeting time and practice time.
“Flipping” the classroom or practice field refers to the concept of using technology to flip the traditional classroom/ meeting time; using online, shared content to provide student-athletes with learning opportunities traditionally reserved for classroom presentations, freeing up that time for more in-depth, hands-on learning opportunities.
Coach Keith Grabowski writes on this topic today with his post, “Flipping the Classroom (Flipped Coaching)”, which previews his upcoming American Football Monthly article on the topic and has links to all of his posts on the subject.
I have written a number of posts on the topic as well and links to most of them can be found at my post, “Flipping the Practice Field”
Looking at our Weekly Schedule for defensive game planning, I believe there are three areas that we will be able to effectively implement technology to flip our meeting and practice time:
- Daily Scripts – Emphasis
- Position Group Reminders
- Position Group Tests
As discussed in my post, Defensive Game Planning – Weekly Workflow, we have an emphasis for each day of the week:
- Tuesday – 1st Down, Second Down, 3rd and Short
- Wednesday – 3rd and Medium, 3rd and Long, XL, Goal Line
- Thursday – Gadget, Review All
On each of those days, we put together our script, pulling directly from Hudl, plays that our opponent has run in those situations, adding our Front/Stunt and Coverage to the script. In the past we have used these scripts for three purposes :
- To print so our staff knows the plays/calls during team time
- We print scout team cards via Hudl directly from the script
- Occasionally we review the video after practice.
We already pull this script and make a Play List on Hudl each of these days. The logical next step is to have the expectation that each of our players will have watched and studied this Play List, on their own device, as many times as they want, prior to practice time. This should reinforce daily what our emphasis is, and give our players an idea prior to practice what those plays and formations look like, what fronts/ stunts/ coverage we will be running, and ultimately should speed up their reaction/ recognition time when practice actually begins. This addition has a huge upside regarding the Instruction Bang/ Time Invested formula. The only additional time investment is making sure the script is completed and Play List posted on Hudl in time for your players to study prior to practice. Your team time vs the scout team offense will be filmed, and you can evaluate that film after practice.
A sample Tuesday video might look something like this – In this sample I just give the intro and run through a few plays… the actual script video from Hudl would be 20+ plays long depending on the day of the week.
Position Group Reminders
As part of our Friday routine at the University of Central Missouri, we gave everyone in our position group a written sheet with reminders for that week.
An effective way to reinforce this information would be to attach a video clip and make a screencast (see my post Making a Screen Recording) of those situations. The expectation would be to review these reminders, both written and video, prior to Friday’s meeting.
Adding the video reminders may increase slightly your prep work time, but I believe the learning benefits will pay off. The student athlete would be able to access the video on their own device, and review at their own speed. It incorporates many different learning styles, including audio cues, visual diagrams, straight text description, and game video.
Here is what a sample reminder segment might look like.
Position Group Tests
As part of our Friday routine, we also gave written tests to our position group.
Adding an interactive AV segment to the test would be efficient and productive. As a coach you could put together a screencast of a video test, with your players completing the written portion on their own prior to Friday meetings, or … even better… take meeting time, and create a truly interactive quiz as Coach Grabowski explains in his post, “On Edge Coaching Pt. 2 and another app”.
A “take home” video test question might look something like this:
A few considerations when implementing “flipped” practice techniques:
- The video does not have to be perfect… if you stress about making the perfect Cecil B. DeMille production every week, you will drive yourself crazy.
- The video does not have to be long – A quick 5 minute video that the student-athletes can replay as many times as they want can be very effective
- The more you can make it cross-platform, the better. If your student-athletes have to physically go to the library and sit in front of a computer, the less likely they will be to watch the video. They are used to watching and interacting with their phones… try to use a system that can be viewed on their own device… their phone.
- Many schools are moving to a 1:1 philosophy, where every student will have their own device to receive instructional content. If your district is moving in that direction, you are in business.
- If you are truly interested in incorporating technology into your teaching and coaching, you need to follow Coach Grabowski’s blog (Coach and Coordinator) and follow his Twitter feed – @CoachKGrabowski… it is the best stuff out there regarding coaching and technology.
Jeff Floyd – email@example.com