How To Approach Watching Game Film

November 1, 2021 / Athletic LeaderCoachingTechnology
Nowadays every coach is watching game film, whether it be of their own team or upcoming opponents.

The classic cliche of a coach post-game telling reporters “we’ll have to look at the tape,” is a dated phrase — referring to the time when a game was recorded on VHS tapes — and shows just how far technology has come in aiding both coaches and players.

game filmBut how should one approach watching game film? A recent story on outlines why film study is important. Below is an excerpt from that article.

Set a clear goal for what you want to get out of this session. Are you focusing on personal skill development? Are you scouting an upcoming team? Are you breaking down plays? Once you know what to focus on, you can choose the best type of film to watch.

Watching Opponent Team Film / Scouting

Scouting an upcoming opponent has a few different aspects. You can focus on general team performance, including the defenses, offenses, and any press they may run. You can prepare for specific plays they may run. Or you can even narrow it down to specific positions and players that you may be guarding.

If you’re watching for the opposing team’s plays, it is best to watch multiple clips of them running that play. Look for where the plays are successful and where they break down. What do you need to watch out for so you don’t get beat? How can you anticipate and disrupt their plays?

If you’re watching a specific player or position, break down the film session into offense and defense. While watching offense, analyze their dominant and weak hand, what special moves they use to beat the defense, and how they are utilized within the offense. When watching their defense, analyze where and how they typically get beat, weaknesses in size/speed/strength/agility that you can exploit, and tendencies for fouls.

Watching Your Team Film 

This is a great option for watching as a whole team, or even in position groups. Watching your team play is great for noticing areas of improvement in execution, movement and position on the field, and teamwork.

Specific moments to analyze include:

  • Why and how an offensive play breaks down
  • Where and how the opponent is beating your defense
  • Connections between positions (i.e. Guards feeding the ball into the post)
  • Which plays are effective in specific scenarios
  • What leads to offensive success

It can be very beneficial to discuss what you see with your teammates when watching your team film. They may have a different perspective to offer. You may not have been on the same page about how an offense was run. This discussion will heighten your cohesiveness and improve your overall teamwork.

To read the full article from, click here