Game film: a tool that is used, or should be used, by every coach at every level of sport. It was important before COVID-19, and it’s now more important than ever.
Game Film & How to Use It
Film isn’t just for games anymore. There was a time not too long ago when many coaches only worried about filming games and possibly obtaining scout film on future opponents. Technology has made it so that film is not only more accessible than ever, it’s also easy to edit, mark, and send out to players. The highest-level coaches have integrated film review into gameday using tablets on the sideline to quickly review mistakes and identify strategy adaptations.
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Jim Calder has lived a lacrosse life. His experiences as a player, fan, coach, and parent are the stuff of legends. I recently sat down with Jim to discuss his latest book, Tales of a Lacrosse Troubadour.
Jim Calder, born in Canada but raised in New York, grew up as one of the only Canadians to play purely field lacrosse. He took his talents to Hobart College where he was a 2x All-American and 2x National Champion. In 1978 he would be named to the Canadian national field team, a team that would win the World Championships. Calder’s accomplishments in the game are to long to list but the fact that he is in both the Canadian Lacrosse Association and Hobart College’s Hall of Fames tells you just how special his life have been.
About the Book
This is Jim’s third book related to lacrosse, following in the footsteps of “Lacrosse the Ancient Game” and “Women Play Lacrosse”. The purpose and theme of the book are best described in an excerpt from Jim below:
Jim CalderThis book is a product of the pandemic. We all miss our sport and it has been painful to deal with the realities of our time and what they’ve done to the game being played. Hopefully, we are almost through the worst. There has been a positive side as I was able to devote hundreds and hundreds of hours to the project. It kept me occupied when I needed something to help me deal with the drudgery of the days. It has been medicine.
For those of us who don’t quite have the resources, the man power, or the desire to review film during a game, there is another way to take your team to the next level through film: start filming practice.
If you already do, then great – you’re ahead of 90 percent of high school coaches and a lot of low-level college coaches. The advantages of filming practice are endless. Not only does it allow you to focus on coaching and skill development in real time, it also lets you look at the tendencies of each individual player and identify weaknesses that are often hidden due to sensory overload and the pure chaos that is running practice.
Film practice, watch it, take the good, the bad, and the ugly plays, and have a pre-practice film session of no more than 15 minutes to set the standard for the upcoming training session.
Film is everything, but it’s also nothing. Your recruiting highlights are a way to get the attention of a coach and earn that initial contact, but after that, it loses most of its meaning. Once a coach has seen your film and has started the conversation with you, it’s about selling yourself, your work ethic, your personality, and your academics. Film opens the door, but you have to be ready to walk through it.
A few tips for when you’re putting together and using your film: get as much good film as you can so that you can be picky with your clips. Put a few jaw-dropping clips at the front of the reel to grab a coach’s attention, but don’t only focus on flash. Make sure you display substance in your reel (hustle plays, defense, etc.). Be forthcoming and put your GPA and test scores in the reel – you can’t hide from it, they’ll find out anyway, and you might as well be upfront.