November 13, 2019 • Football

Making self-scouting work for the whole team

{Sponsored} Self-scouting can pay off generously for student-athlete performance on the field. It’s a practice that professionals are already doing, and coaches should strongly consider having their players learn the technique.

Although self-scouting is definitely not without its challenges and frustrations, starting with the right attitude will help student-athletes overcome negative feelings they may develop due to self-critiques involved. Approach it with humility, openness and with the knowledge that it is a tool for improvement on an individual and team level.

Organizing your efforts

In order to maximize efforts, split the self-scouting into several groups: individual, coach and team. Each student-athlete will review their own efforts and create some takeaways. The coaches will do the same, based on the work throughout the season that they’ve done tracking plays, turnovers, points and yards. Then the team will come together to discuss what they’ve learned.

The tools for self-scouting will include video footage, play reports that coaches and assistants compile during and after each game, coach feedback given throughout the season and discussions coaches have with each student-athlete after the season is over.

Things to look for include:

  • The tendencies each player has toward certain moves that opposing players may notice in film and prepare for.
  • Any bias the team has toward certain plays — especially if they are usually successful or unsuccessful
  • What plays and moves help gain or lose yards?
  • Ways to keep opponents guessing what the team will do next.

As a team, ask these questions:

  • What are we doing well?
  • Where can we improve?
  • What plays have the most turnovers or interceptions and how can we improve those plays? Or are they worth keeping in the lineup?
  • What are the magical combinations of players that execute plays the best?
  • What can each player personally work on?
  • How can weaknesses be improved during the offseason?
  • How can the team, as well as each student-athlete, make improvements during the off season that will impact next season?

Coaches should suggest that student-athletes work to improve using the results of the self-scouting, including adjusting lifting and conditioning routines. This can be accomplished by working with the strength and conditioning coach to change how players approach weights and drills.

The final piece to the puzzle is intangibles, such as diet, sleep, caffeine and studying. Student-athletes are likely letting at least one of these categories slide. Talk about how you can get better in all of these areas as a team. If a nutritionist is on staff, get suggestions on dietary changes that can improve the game.

For skill-specific evaluation and self-scouting, check out USA Football’s Advanced Tackling System. The tackling progression not only helps coaches teach and troubleshoot players abilities when it comes to tackling, but it also helps coaches breakdown film and identify specific drills and key performance indicators to help their defense tackle better. Learn more at


© 2019 USA Football

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