Structured Team Footage Reviews
Watching footage of a bout as a team can be really beneficial…it’s social cohesion, it gets skaters who ordinarily just don’t prioritise footage watching to make sure they do, you’re all there in the same room watching the same thing. BUT in my personal experience, often it ends up being like you’re at the movies…you’re watching but possibly in a disengaged way while sinking beers and getting into the salsa and corn chips, cheering at good bits, groaning at the bad bits, commenting on that ‘terrible ref call’. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with snacks, however the whole experience is not perhaps the most effective for ‘reviewing’ and then setting team and individual goals.
Or you could be a team who doesn’t tend to do footage watching as a team. Brawling never really had a formalised process for team footage watching, if it happened, it was rarely—- it was expected that you would watch the games on your own, and that leadership would compile notes and set training goals. My team-mate Kami wrote a blog a while back about How To Watch Footage on your own, here’s a link:
I am not sure how it came about, but our Bench Coach, Ballistic (Balls) was chatting with the coaches at Dynamic Sports Academy (the guys that do our fitness program, and also our mental conditioning sessions) about reviewing games as a team, and they suggested a more formal structure. We started doing this after the West Coast Tour we did last year when Olivia and Kami were Captains, so total props to the previous leadership team!
The idea was that Leadership will have reviewed the footage and noted down 6 things that the team did well (whether that be consistently, or a one off that we should explore further, individually, or as a pack, things we nailed that we had been specifically trying to work on) and 6 things we could improve on (again, either consistently, a one off example of dealing with a particular passage of play, individually, as a pack, things we didn’t nail that we had wanted to focus on). Then when we got together, the idea was to have timestamped those moments and to only show those passages of play, rather than watching the whole game. Often I think when you watch the whole game, you can get caught up in the many things happening and it gives you too much of a broad focus.
DSA had suggested quite a formal presentation, where it would almost be in a classroom setting with the coach sitting at the front on a higher level than the team. The idea being that the coach was TELLING the players how it was rather than it being a discussion or suggestion.
(We tried it this way the first time and it was ok, but subsequently we have done it at Kami’s place with Balls sitting at the back and just narrating what we were about to see)
By just watching specific passages of play, it narrows the wandering mind to really specific instances of the good and the bad. A key element to success is accountability, and we didn’t want to pussyfoot around our weaknesses. So being able to point out areas we could improve on in a public setting held everyone accountable.
Balls is extremely thoughtful in the way he presents the information and the language he uses. Before showing the particular passage of play, he will say whether it is a good thing (YAY) or ‘something to improve’ and then go on to describe the situation. Mostly he will refer to us, not by name, but by ‘The Player in Lane 1’ or whatever. What this does is shift the notion of finger pointing at specific players. I mean, we obviously know who it is doing what, but it never sounds like he is saying: ”Right here, Kitty did something shit”. It is always backed up by a recommendation of what we SHOULD be doing or something we could perhaps try instead, and often leads back to referencing past training focuses.
The rules of the review is that it is not a discussion. It IS a presentation of information. Sometimes we will ask questions if we are not 100% sure about what is being said, but it’s not the time to give your reason for why you did what you did, or for it to be an all-in discussion about what we’re seeing.
And of course the important part is the training goals we then set as coaches for the team and following that up with individual feedback to players.
I feel like this kind of more formal process is one way to encourage maturity and accountability within the team mentality and also with individuals. I can see that some players may be really uncomfortable with having their faults pointed out in front of the team, but that really needs to be transcended (it’s also really important that all of your ‘need to improve’ things aren’t only of one person and that the tone of the presentation is right) in order to move forward.
I really enjoy doing the reviews this way, our strengths and weaknesses are laid bare but in a constructive way—-and now as Captain, I get to really deconstruct and watch for the timestampable moments too! The process was definitely something that helped us out coming into Play-Offs knowing we had to face Rose AGAIN after just losing to them by 45-odd points. We watched the game we played against them in this way and it really helped to focus on those key moments where we were able to hold their jammers (What were we doing, and how can we do more of that?) and what errors were we making against that particular opponent that we needed to tighten up? It’s just a really effective way of using your time. After the get-together, a spreadsheet is posted on the forum with the timestamps, the description of the passage of play and then notes as to why it was good or how it can be improved. That way, team members who weren’t there or who want to be able to go over it with a fine toothed comb in a private setting can do so.
And even though it is a more formalised process, we still manage time for jokes. And snacks.
Here is us at the review the other night: