Player Ranking Process

As coaches, we always want to make sure our best people are on the field at the correct time. Personally, I also want to make sure, as much as possible, that these decisions are based on good data and accurate information… that personalities and biases are not included in the equation.

To help insure this, when I was at the University of Central Missouri, we started a procedure to that end… a Player Ranking system.

Here is how it worked.

Immediately after every practice each position group coach would rank every player in their position group, assigning them a number (if you had 10 players in your position group then 1-10) based on their performance at that practice. I always tried to mentally go through each period and recall how each individual did… both good and bad for each period… and then assign the ranking after that thought process.

The important part of this, which we stressed to our players, was that the practice ranking was for their performance at that practice only.

It was not an indication of…

  • how good a player they were
  • who the starters were
  • what we thought they were capable of
  • how we thought they practiced yesterday
  • if we “liked” them
  • their potential
  • how they did at the end of practice

It was based on that practice … that entire practice… only.

As defensive coordinator, I collected all of the coach’s rankings and entered them on a spreadsheet. We sorted each position group by the rankings for that day, printed and posted them in our team room. We also had a column for their average ranking each week.

This process, tedious as it could be during double day practices in August, gave us some valuable information, and forced our coaches and players to be more accountable on a daily basis.

The players knew they were going to get ranked, and their rank was based on the entire practice… period by period… and those rankings would be printed and displayed.

The coaches, too, knew that their position group rankings would be displayed… and that they must be able to discuss the “whys” … the specifics… with their players.

As coaches by noting any variance in our player’s weekly average, we could see and spot (hopefully early) any trends that were developing and address them.

And, of course, it also became a valuable tool to fall back on when setting our weekly depth chart. We had very few discussions when the depth chart was posted as to players positions on the chart… there were few surprises.

This process was independent and separate from our film grading (see post – Film Grading Tool) procedures which we used during game and scrimmage situations.

Here is a sample player-ranking template for the Linebacker defensive position group at Anytown High School… made up names, but this is pretty much what it looked like in the day.

Defensive Player Ranking

You can download the template by clicking this link – Player Ranking Template.

Related Posts:

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –

Tech Tips, Part 2

I received some great comments regarding last weeks post, Tech Tips, and noticed a spike in my sites analytics for the search term “Making a Screen Recording”… so here goes with this week’s post – Tech Tips 2

I have a few “go-to” programs/ apps that I use nearly every day… especially when implementing “flipped coaching” or “flipped teaching” concepts. Included are…


Grab is a resident program on Macs that allows you to grab an image of your entire screen,

screen shot

or a portion.

screen shot2

It comes in handy when capturing telestrated images from Hudl, or individual frames from any video.  It is extremely easy to use…. very intuitive… and places the image on your clipboard where it can be quickly pasted or exported to another program.  There is an explanation of how to do this on a PC at this link:  How to take a screenshot in Microsoft Windows, but I am not sure if this is the only or easiest way to do it on a PC.

QuickTime Player

This, too, is a resident program on Macs.  It allows you to make a screen recording, also known as a screencast (see post, Making a Screen Recording), of anything that is on your computer screen.  It could be a recording of a telestrated Hudl video that you want to imbed in a PowerPoint presentation, or a recording of an animated PowerPoint presentation that you want to put on YouTube.  Whatever action takes place on your screen after beginning a Screen Recording (using QuickTime Player) will be recorded in a video that can be saved, embedded, used in other programs, or sent to the web.

As with Grab, you can record your entire screen

or a portion.


The app and platform Aurasma is an augmented reality program that allows users to unlock digital content from the world around them through the use of a phone or tablet. It is like QR codes, but with pictures or diagrams.

It is a little difficult to explain, but fairly easy to see in action.

Here is an example.

I have this picture of two students jumping rope… that I captured with the program, Grab!


I have this video (.mov file) of the two students actually demonstrating the various jump rope drills.

Lets say I have a printed picture of the students jumping rope laying on my kitchen counter right now… which I actually do!

The app Aurasma can link the video file, overlaying it via phone or tablet onto the actual picture … augmenting the “real” picture sitting on my counter with the video.

Here is Aurasma doing just that:

The Aurasma  app works with a tablet or smart phone in exactly the same way.  Here is a video showing the same trigger picture and video using a phone… you will also see in this video that you can “layer” overlays so that different commands “single tap” or “double tap” will perform different functions…. In this example a double tap will take the user to my blog post about these jump rope drills.

Cool technology… but how could you use it in coaching and teaching?

Here is a simple example… I printed pictures of the 4 Core lifts we do in class.  I put the pictures on a bulletin board in the weight room.  Lets say the students had a quick question regarding technique, spotting, or what muscle groups the lift worked.  They could pop over to the board, scan the picture using the Aurasma app and get a quick tutorial on the lift.

Some other possible uses – trigger image and overlay (video, image, or website) for each of these

  • One for each piece of equipment in your weight room…
  • One showing the muscle groups worked on each lift…
  • One detailing each station in a fitness circuit…
  • One showing complimentary auxiliary lifts for each core lift…
  • One showing medicine ball drills …
  • One showing resistance band drills…

Like any other use of technology, these things will not replace the teaching and coaching you do, but supplement (augment) it.

Related Posts:

You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you… Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –

Flipped Coaching Resources and Tips

A long post, I know… but some good information with some excellent links and sources for information.

flipped practiceFlipping” 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, interactive learning opportunities.

A recent article in the THE Journal (Technological Horizons in Education) provided 10 tips for a better flipped classroom.  The article dealt specifically with the classroom, but most of these tips easily translate into the arena of athletics and coaching as well.

1) Devise a flipped strategy. Will you make your own videos, curate material from other sources or do a combination? What video-creation software will you use? And what will you do with class time when you reduce or eliminate lecture time? I wrote about the nuts and bolts (including software) of making a screencast in my post, Making a Screen Recording

2) Start small. “I jumped in all at once and nearly drowned,” says Sherry Spurlock, an Illinois chemistry teacher who tried to flip all four of her classes at once. “Making the videos was a very big time commitment. I would recommend doing it in smaller chunks.” In my post, Flipping the Practice Field, I suggest each position coach start my making a teaching video of their most important drill.  Check the post to see some ideas on what that video might include.

3) Get student buy-in. Student-athletes may initially resist the idea of watching videos and doing other work outside of practice. The rationale for flipped pedagogy needs to be explained well.   I think most athletes will understand and relish in the fact that doing their “homework” will lead to more actual on the field coaching and teaching… the end result is that they will be more successful come game time.

4) Teach students how to watch videos. “You don’t watch instructional videos in the same manner as a popular film,” explains Jon Bergmann, a flipped learning innovator. Students need pointers on when to hit the pause button, when to go back and watch something again, and how to write notes and questions as they watch.  We try to educate our athletes about how studying film on Hudl is not at all like watching an NFL game on Sunday.  The same is true for your instructional videos.

5) Reach out to parents. Spurlock reports that her biggest roadblock at first was parents who didn’t understand what flipping was all about. She held parent conferences, created a short video, and sent an online newsletter to parents. Gradually parents became excited and supportive.  Many new platforms are helping with this process… with communicating safely with both students and parents and posting online content.   A relative newcomer to the field, Dewsly, has some great built in tools to help streamline this process.

6) Encourage (don’t punish) students. “If half of your students don’t watch your video content, don’t rescue them by teaching what is already in your video [in class],” says Bergmann. “All that will accomplish is to tell the students who did the work that they wasted their time.” A better solution is to have homework slackers watch the video at the back of the room while the rest of the team gets face-time with their coach going over higher-level material.  Like anything else in coaching, if you are clear with the expectation that they need to watch the “homework” video to see the field, then this should not be an issue.

7) Don’t use videos as the only engagement tool. Using the same blog format may become stale to students. Many students prefer to watch videos on their smartphones.   Some school districts have implemented a 1-to-1 philosophy, providing every student in their district a computer or tablet device.

8) Make videos short and interactive. Bergmann and his colleague Aaron Sams started with full-length lectures in their videos and quickly learned to limit each video to one discrete objective.  Videos should also be broken up into sections, have a table of contents, and if possible, have interactive features – for example, a quiz that takes students who get questions wrong back to the relevant section of the video.   There are many apps available to help with this process… several are described in Coach Grabowski article on flipped coaching, Making an Impact with Flipped Coaching.

9) Find fellow flippers. “I jumped on Twitter and blogs and ran things by people so I didn’t feel like I was stuck in my own little world,” says math teacher Chrystal Kirch. “You can feel like you are alone, but there are people out there that are willing to share.”  Here are several coaches that you can follow so that you will not feel alone:

  • Jason Hanstadt – Assistant Coach- New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL.
  • Blog – The Flipped Coach

10) Focus on what happens during classroom time. “A big misconception is focusing too much on the video,” says Kirch. “Video is valuable, but it is just one tool. Flipping is defined by what you do in class and student-centered learning.”   It’s not all about the videos… it’s about the extra in-depth classroom time, or on the field learning time you get by using this method.

More posts about Flipped Coaching:

Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!

Jeff Floyd –

Film Grading

film roomIt is that time of the year, and that time of each week during the season… game film evaluation.  I have always believed in the value of grading game film.  As a coach, it gives you a tangible, quantifiable idea of what your players (and you) did well, as well as what they (and you) need to work on.  I have written about the film grade template we have used in our programs… grading each athlete on every play.

  • You can read the post at this link – Film Grading Tool
  • Download the Excel Template at this link – Film Grade Template
  • Or watch the video below to see how to use the Template.

It is easy to then use the data on this spreadsheet to determine what your coaching emphasis needs to be for the upcoming week.  It is a great tool to give the athletes, which helps regarding accountability… both yours as a coach, and theirs as a player in your program.

I have also had serious internal dialogues with myself about the value of watching the entire game, either as a team, offense or defense, or as a position group.  Is it really the best use of 60-90 minutes having your entire position group, starters, subs, role players, and non-players, watch the entire film?

Here is another method that we have used in the past, and which I believe has merit.  Every position coach, after grading the film, determines what their players did well, and what they need to work on to improve as a position group.  By using the film grading template, or something similar, this process is relatively easy.  Once the area(s) of emphasis has been decided, the coach then makes a 20 play (or so) cutup, showing 10 plays that his position group played well, using correct technique, great effort, angle, pad level, etc.  He discusses how these factors led to a positive outcome on the play.  He also includes 10 plays that highlight mistakes (ideally the most common mistakes of the game, and what they will be emphasizing during the next week) and explains how these missteps led to problems on those plays.

The position coach can easily focus, teach, and explain to his position group the main emphasis for the upcoming week by showing these clips… and can do so in a time efficient manner.   It becomes easy for the coach to say, and show, “When we do things right, here is the outcome, when we make mistake _______ , here is the result.”

The players will still have the film grade sheets, and can watch the video on their own to see how they played individually.  It is another example of “flipping” the traditional classroom.  For other posts about this concept see:

Have a good Labor Day … don’t work too hard…. ironic, isn’t it?

Jeff Floyd –

Must Read – Must “See”

Coach Keith Grabowski of Baldwin Wallace University, hit it out of the park with his article, Making an Impact with Flipped Coaching, for this month’s American Football Monthly online supplemental edition.

13julcoverIn this article Coach Grabowski pulls together resources from Urban Myer, (Urban Meyer – On Edge Coaching ), Coach Jason Hahnstadt, (The Flipped Coach – John Hahnstadt), some of my examples (Making a Screen Recording and Defensive Game Planning – Flipped Coaching) as well as many of his own ideas and implementations.  Additionally, Coach Grabowski includes examples of using technology for review and assessment with your players.

The article also has information and links to a great “flipped learning” resource from John Bergman – Turning Learning on its Head.

Coach Grabowski’s  article is the single best piece I have seen written on this topic.  It has video, practical examples, links to resources, and a narrative that excited me as to the possible uses for integrating this into my (and my colleagues) coaching bag of tricks.

The article itself is an excellent example of integrating technology into teaching and coaching. It is a must read…. really must SEE because of the many video examples and hyperlinks in the piece… article for 21st century teachers and coaches.

Again, the article for the American Football Monthly online supplemental– Making an Impact With Flipped Coaching.

I cannot emphasize this enough…. if you are a coach wanting to learn cutting edge teaching and coaching methods, read Coach Grabowski’s blog – Coach and Coordinator, and follow him on Twitter @CoachKGrabowski.

Jeff Floyd –


I never wanted to be one of those “old” coaches that was always saying…

Well, back in my day we…..  “ ,  fill in the blank.

But, the game HAS changed.  Recent rule changes, and discussions at all levels from Pop Warner to the NFL regarding contact, concussions, and practice restrictions have made it necessary for coaches to adapt.  Outcomes of pending lawsuits in the NFL regarding concussions and head injuries will trickle down to all levels of play.  I am not saying these discussions and rule changes are bad, but as coaches we may need to change some of our “time worn” ways of doing things.

To all of us, the safety of our players is paramount.  Most of us took the “head” out of our tackling vernacular years ago.  We must continue to teach safe tackling.  But, here is the rub… the conflict… the thin line we have to walk.  We ALL want to teach safe tackling, but we also ALL want to teach effective tackling.  There is a physical nature to the game that we have to prepare for.  We have the responsibility to prepare our athletes, mentally and physically, for the games they will be playing in on Friday nights.  If we have no contact (or the 5 minutes a day the players in the NFL will be getting) will our players be ready for the full speed, physical action on Fridays.

It will be up to us to become even better teachers, and even more efficient with our practice time (see a previous post, Practice, Not a Minute to Spare).  It will be up to us as coaches to come up with new ways to practice and prepare our athletes physically and mentally.  I will share one idea that we have used for years to help our athletes get quality “mental reps” during the week.

This works best in a large area with an overhead projector.  Often on a Thursday, if we wanted to limit the physical part of practice (during a collegiate work week) we would assemble our defense in a meeting room or on the auditorium stage.  We would arrange 11 desks (or chairs) facing the screen, roughly in our defensive alignment… 4 desks up front for the DL, 3 behind those for the LB’s, and 2 desks outside for the corners, and 2 behind for the safeties.


Our defensive starters would take their place in their respective desks, and we would roll video off a script of our opponent’s offense.  We would signal in the front/ stunt/ coverage call we wanted to run, the LB’s would make the call, and everyone would communicate just as they would during an actual play… “Tight” (run strength) call, Down and Distance tendencies, formation checks, etc.  As the play on the screen developed, they would mentally play the play, defeating the block, reading their key, mentally pursuing to the ball carrier, and talking through routes.  We would “play” a series or two, and then sub players into the chairs.  Everyone not in the 11 desks would be in the back getting a mental rep.

We would try to make this as “lifelike” as possible…  similar to the concepts of mental visualization (refer to post, Mental Visualization). We use calls that will be on the call sheet for that week, and communicate down and distance every play.  A large screen with an endzone shot is ideal.  It almost becomes like your players are in a video game, or one of those golf simulators.  We have even done this same thing with no desks or chairs with the athletes standing in their respective positions.  I really believe this type of interactive teaching could be used daily with your scout script to prepare you athletes for practice.  I discussed this, and the concept of “flipped coaching” in a previous post on my blog, Defensive Game Planning – Flipped Coaching.

There is an excellent article on CoachBook detailing Coach John Gagliardi’s approach at St. John’s University, at this link:  Winning With Limited Contact in Practice.  

This will be an ongoing situation we will need to deal with in our changing sport… adequately preparing our athletes, physically and mentally for our weekly contests.  The coaches that are good at adapting and creative in their teaching and coaching methods will have an advantage.

Thanks again to PrepsKC, for featuring this post on their site today!

Good luck to you all as head into this exciting time of the year!

Jeff Floyd –

Defensive Game Planning – Flipped Coaching

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

Daily Scripts

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 :

  1. To print so our staff knows the plays/calls during team time
  2. We print scout team cards via Hudl directly from the script
  3. 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.

Linebacker Reminders

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.

lb test

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 –