How to Watch Game Film: recap of techniques (4 of 4)

Work Your Mind Muscle

Using game film effectively can accelerate your abilities as a player. If you build the habit of categorizing your errors, the skill of zooming out, and the discipline of scrutinizing the entire context of every play, you can improve your execution four or five times faster than waiting for practices to get feedback from your coach.

Learning to remember the details of a chaotic game, predict the outcomes of every on-field decision, and evaluate your performance against your predictions is an invaluable skillset. As you develop it, you will find that the game slows down when you play. Decisions become easier to make. Tough opponents feel more manageable. Weak opponents can be steamrolled.

Developing these skills for reading the field makes you a fearsome defender, a perpetual threat as a thrower, and a wily cutter. And you can do all of that without any extra sweat invested on the field. You can do it without a friend to throw with you. You can do it at home, by yourself, with no one to criticize you.

I wish my football coaches had taught us this. My desk at home smelled a lot better than that old locker room and I’m much more receptive to feedback delivered perceptively than I was to being the tired, sore, grumpy butt of jokes on Saturday mornings. You have the tools. YouTube has the videos. Go work your mind muscle at being a better ultimate player. No shame required.

Oh yeah: Scouting

P.S.: Of course, you can use these same techniques to scout your opponents or to watch championship teams to figure out their secret sauce. Treat this operation the same way:

  1. identify one player to follow for an entire game
  2. categorize their errors
  3. try to predict their strategies
  4. compare predictions to reality
  5. pause & rewind often

The legends of the sport become very human when viewed this way–very fast, very consistent, very smart humans. You might just become one of them.

And, one additional benefit of becoming more consistent & smart on the field: you will position yourself better and reduce your workload during games. The fastest players and the smartest players need less endurance. You can become a faster player by following the programs in my first book, Fast Kids Don’t Train Slow. You can become a smarter player by watching game film using the techniques in this series.

Get to work!

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