Breaking Down Film

13 Jan

First ask yourself do you need to do film work?  It is after all, youth football.   At the Senior-level, with the 12-14 years olds, we can see where the extra work can gain you an advantage.  But below that we don’t think it’s necessary unless your opponent is extraordinary. 
We coach 12-14 year olds, so we have and we do use film for particular opponents.  What we’ve learned from coaching in high school is that you don’t need extraordinary skill or talent to break down film.  We’re an example of that.  What you do need is a free afternoon, a loving wife, and some pizza.  Beyond that, you need a plan or process that keeps you focused.
For us, the process begins by viewing the game without hitting the pause or rewind button.  What we hope to acquire is a sense of the game’s flow.  Was it clean or sloppy?  Was it a blow out or tightly contested?  Who dominated?  So on and so forth. 
As we watch the game, we script it by writing down the sequence of plays.  We use the form pictured below and in the space next to where we diagram the play during the second viewing, we note the play number then circle the abbreviation below it that describes the overall action in the play:

(Click on image to enlarge it.)  

P = pass
R = run
PA = play action
TP = trick play
TO = turnover
PT = punt
PTR = punt return
PAT = point after
KO = kick-off
OS = onside kick
KOR = kick-off return
PEN = penalty

Now, when we view the video a second time, we know what to expect.  We also know when to stop viewing the film because the game is a blow out and our opponent either won handily or lost badly.   Many times, we only have to watch the first half of a game or up to the 3rd quarter to get the intel that we need.
The second time we watch the video, we’re more deliberate.  We pause and rewind so we can accurately diagram each play.
When our opponent is on offense, we diagram the formation they use and the play they run.  We then chart the down and distance, the yards gained (or losted), who carried (or caught) the ball, and the direction of the play.  Was it right or left?  Was it to the boundary or field side?
We basically do the same thing when they’re on defense.  We identify and diagram their scheme and any blitz or stunt they might have used.
As with the offense, we chart the down and distance, the yards gained (or losted) and, in the case of the defense, who made the tackle.
The same can be said of special teams.  We are interested in the formations they use in each situation, the kicker’s leg strength, the direction of any kick and of any return, and the type of coverage used.   Lastly, as with the defense, when our opponent is kicking, we’re looking to see who made the tackle.
Now, armed with this information, we compile our data to see what “tendencies” our opponent might possess.  We determine that by adding the number of times they do a certain thing.
On offense, we determine:
— What are their top 3 formations?
— What are their top 3 run plays (including motion)?
— Who is their top 3 RBs?
— How many times did they run inside, outside, and off-tackle?
— How many times did they run right?  Left?
— How many times did they run to the boundary? To the field side?
— If they like to pass, what are their top 3 pass plays (including motion)?
— Who are their top 3 receivers?
— When did they pass?
— When did they use any trick play?
On defense, we look for:
— What is their base defense?
— What are their top 3 adjustments?
— What are their top 3 blitzes?
— What are their top 3 stunts?
— Who are their top 3 tacklers?
On Special Teams; we focus on:
— What was the kicker’s leg strength?  An average distance works.
— Did they favor a particular direction when kicking?  When punting?
Once we do our math, we will have some numbers to either support our observations and initial impressions or counter them.  So when we view the video a third time, we use the slow-mo and rewind repeatedly to look for details that undoubtedly escaped us in our previous viewings.
Some of the details that we look for are:

On defense:
— How do they play contain on both the playside and the backside?
— Who is their best DL?  Their weakest?
— Who is the best LB?  Their weakest?
— Who is their best DB?  Their weakest?
— How effective is their force?
— What is their speed pursuing to the outside? 
— Versus a slot, do they bump a LB or invert a Safety?
— How are the DL mechanically?  For example, do they stand up or fire out?
— What are their tackling skills on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being a decleater?
— Who is their leader?
On offense:
— Who is their best RB?  WR?
— What are their line splits?
— Do they adjust them according to the play?
— Do they flop the line, always running behind their best OL?
— How are the OL mechanically?  Stand up or fire out?
— Who is their best OL?  Weakest?
— Who is the leader? 
— Do they use a hard or silent count?
— Can we strip the ball?
— How do they set the edge?
— What is their principal run blocking scheme?  Gap?  Man?
— How do they react to press coverage?
— Can we tell by formation ( and motion) what play they’re going to run?
— Do they give up or get tougher when confronted with adversity?
— What is their general demeanor?  Confident or cocky? 
After three viewings (and, when I can sneak it in, a fourth and fifth), we’ll have developed a good sense of what our opponent does and how well they do it and we can game-plan accordingly.  It’s not a perfect process, in that it’s not as detailed an analysis as what we performed in high school but, given our level of competition, it works for us and maybe it will for you as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: