Trinity-Pawling hockey wins league championship using video technology

June 18, 2018 / HockeyTechnology
The Trinity-Pawling Varsity Ice Hockey Team, champions of the Founders League. Photo: Trinity-Pawling School

{Sponsored} The 2018 varsity ice hockey season for Trinity-Pawling School was one full of firsts. The college preparatory boarding school in Pawling, New York became Founders League champions for the first time since the league’s inception in 1984 and qualified for the New England Large School Tournament for the first time in school history. The season was also the team’s first with SmartRink technology powered by PlaySight.

Six cameras strategically placed around the hockey rink and video technology supported on PlaySight’s video platform gave the Trinity-Pawling varsity hockey team a new perspective on and off the ice.

Six cameras have been installed around Trinity-Pawling’s Tirrell Rink. Photo: PlaySight

“It’s served our players really well with their overall development — watching the film and learning from themselves,” Assistant Varsity Coach Chris Gillman said. “The feedback our players are getting is the biggest help. It’s helped with skill and confidence.”

The team used the video technology as a learning tool and a way to connect with players in and out of practice. Working primarily with the team’s forwards, Gillman focuses on how players enter zones and their skill development such as footwork. His favorite feature is the slow-motion replay, with the ability to pause the playback, write on the screen and make notes, Gillman said.

He uses multi-angle video recorded by cameras throughout Trinity-Pawling’s Tirrell Rink to break down shifts for players in real-time using the instant replay feature.

“For me in particular with the forwards, the side angle views are able to capture the players entering the offensive zone. We’re able to really hone in on certain things that the players are doing,” Gillman said. “When you’re able to break down a clip or shift — especially when you’re doing small skill development — it’s so nice to slow that down and sit with a player as it plays. It’s incredible to watch their reaction, good or bad, to their habit and watch how they can change that.”

Trinity-Pawling’s Tirrell Rink is the first SmartRink in the world. Photo: PlaySight

From practices to game days and everything in between, the PlaySight cameras are always rolling. Coach Gillman, Assistant Varsity Coach Scott Harff and Head Varsity Coach Robert Ferraris created a catalog of practice drills throughout the season from all of the film recorded. On any given practice day, the coaches would sent send out their practice plan to players during the day with clips of drills the team had previously done.

Sharing film with players ahead of time lead led to improved communication and time-management during practices, according to Gillman. “Instead of wasting time doing chalk talk or doing drills on the board, the kids have already seen all of the drills,” he said.

When it came to in-game use, the Trinity-Pawling varsity hockey team did more than just record plays. The instant-replay feature gave the team an advantage none of their competitors had.

“We can make adjustments to power plays in defense and penalty kills,” Assistant Varsity Coach Scott Harff said. “Before, we’d have to wait until after the game to analyze the video. With PlaySight we can analyze right on the bench.”

Viewing in-game replays also helped players process and get familiar with getting feedback in a different way.

“The biggest adjustment for players was in-game, taking information in during the middle of a game and utilizing it in their next shift,” Harff said. “With the different angles and bird’s eye view of both ends, it’s a lot easier for players to process what we’re teaching, like spatial awareness.”

As players learned to make adjustments after seeing video in real-time, they were also being prepped for the next level of coaching.

“They’re more ready for when they get to college,” Harff said. “They’re getting used to being critiqued on film and dealing with that coaching style.”

With the cameras at Tirrell Rink always recording, one might think viewing, editing and cataloging hundreds of hours of film may be daunting. But Gillman, Harff and Ferraris said it’s the complete opposite. The coaches are able to edit film within the PlaySight platform on any mobile device or computer and share it with their players instantly.

“PlaySight cut down our actual time working on film,” Harff said. “It’s so intuitive and doesn’t take a lot of time to learn. The ease of it and the time it saved was most important for us.”

“It’s nice to not have to buy separate software to edit film,” he added. “The technology is just so far ahead of what we would have if we didn’t have PlaySight.”

Once a coach creates a film clip they get a shareable link that can be sent to anyone — players, other coaches, parents and more. Head Varsity Coach Robert Ferraris said that’s the feature he takes advantage of the most, sharing links regularly with the school’s communications department and college coaches in addition to players.

“I love that I’m able to click one button and share it many different ways,” Ferraris said. “Someone anywhere can open that video up. I don’t have to send a video file anymore to college coaches. I can just send game film links to them. It’s incredibly helpful.”

As a boarding school, coaches at Trinity-Pawling School may have more access to their players during the school year but that often means players are hundreds or even thousands of miles away during breaks.

Trinity-Pawling has a whole week off for Thanksgiving with an additional three weeks off for Christmas. Ferraris said that using video technology helped maintain communication between coaches and players.

Players are able to review highlights filmed through the SmartRink anytime from anywhere. Photo: PlaySight

“PlaySight has helped tremendously for this season to keep guys on the same page during breaks,” he said.

In addition to viewing clips created and shared by coaches, the players can access film at any time by logging into their PlaySight account. This engagement on their part says a lot about each player’s dedication to the team and the game, Ferraris said.

“You have these student-athletes show how committed they are — they’re going out to run, they’re in the weight room, etc. But when you give a kid access to a tool like PlaySight, you can really see how committed they are. It shows initiative on their part.”

Having their own 24/7 access to video and analytics gives players an inside look into a coach’s perspective.

“We’ll use that film and actually present it to our guys and ask them for feedback, to analyze it as a coach,” Ferraris said. “It allows our players to get closer to the coaches’ office and see film how we see it. It’s like they’re right in the coach’s office when we’re planning practice.”

All in all, the varsity hockey coaching staff is looking forward to producing more wins and further developing players next season with the support of PlaySight’s video technology.

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