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Seeing is Believingby: AFM Editorial Staff
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While the days of coaches scratching out X’s and O’s on a chalkboard or huddling around a 16mm projector to review game film are long gone, some football programs have not, until recently, taken full advantage of the high-tech teaching tools available to coaches today. Case in point – Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California.
To call the Oaks Christian football program high-profile would be an understatement. Not only had Head Coach Bill Redell’s Lions won five consecutive CIF Southern Section championships heading into 2008, they had, in one stretch, set a Southern Section record with a 48-game winning streak. And then there are the noteworthy players. There are alumni like Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame and several current players who also get their share of attention – starting quarterback Nick Montana, son of Joe, and JV standouts Trevor Gretzky, son of Wayne and receiver Trey Smith, son of Will.
So it is somewhat surprising that Oaks Christian was still using videotape to analyze their games and practices. “Until this year, we were behind the times,” recalled Offensive Coordinator Mark Bates. “We were still using VHS.”
For the 2008 season, Oaks Christian made a change. No longer stuck with 80’s era technology, the staff entered the digital age with their new PowerEdit digital video editing system from CoachComm. The results? According to Bates, “PowerEdit has enabled our coaches to prepare more effectively in less time. The quality and convenience of digital was incredibly superior to what we had been using.” Oh, and the team went 14-0 and captured yet another championship.
At Oaks Christian, that promise has been kept. PowerEdit has given the coaching staff added capabilities that save time and create a better visual teaching tool for their players. “Because it is digital, we can take it and view it on our laptops, so not all of our preparation needs to be done at school.” said Bates. “Also, we are able to show more film of practice to the players, because so little time is needed to prepare it and show it.”
Since coaching requires visual as well as verbal communication and today’s young athletes are so visual-oriented, having a state-of-the-art system like PowerEdit allows coaches to get and keep their players’ attention. “The players appreciate the better quality the new system provides,” Coach Bates commented. “The ability to interweave the sideline and endzone view, the ability to quickly separate the offense, defense, and special teams, and the ability to use a text overlay to identify the type of play are a few examples.”
An important feature of PowerEdit allows coaches to isolate specific video clips that can be grouped together to build “Custom Reports” that help analyze specific game situations. “We have used the Custom Reports feature to self-scout our tendencies, whether it be play type, formation, or down and distance,” according to Bates. “We’ve also used it to create cut-ups for particular groups of players such as the pass plays for the QB's, the FG's for the kicker, etc.”
With a system as versatile as PowerEdit, coaches will inevitably find new ways to take advantage of its broad capabilities. At Oaks Christian, PowerEdit will be an important teaching tool in the off season for Mark Bates and the rest of the coaching staff. “When we present a new defensive front to next year's team, we will use cut-ups from this season to show them how it looks against different offensive sets,” said Bates. “Also, we will use cut-ups of different defensive pass coverages to teach our QB's the strengths and weaknesses of each coverage and where we want to attack them with the pass and run games.”
Coach Lunney saw immediate results from his decision to go with PowerEdit. “It has been a tremendous tool for us as a coaching staff in preparation for each game,” said Lunney. “If we are better prepared as a staff, it certainly benefits our players.” By the end of the season, that preparation had paid major dividends as Bentonville finished at 12-1 and captured its first Arkansas 7A state championship since 2001.
Like other athletes raised in the video-game generation, Bentonville players are visually-oriented. PowerEdit, Coach Lunney has found, allows coaches to tap into that with its cutting-edge visual presentation and unique features. “This is a visual generation,” said Lunney, “and the more we can play on that in preparations the better off we are. A chalkboard does not keep their attention the way it used to.” To further enhance the visual experience, CoachComm has built features into PowerEdit that can be fun for young athletes as well as instructive. As Coach Lunney notes, “They always enjoy it when we use the telestrator.”
Fun aside, it is the extensive list of features built into PowerEdit that is so important to coaches who want to improve their video analysis and find more effective ways for their staff to use their time. At Bentonville, for example, they utilize the 10X MPEG4 small video format that allows them to save space and still maintain high-quality video. “We’re able to store several games on each laptop without having to use an external hard drive,” according to Lunney. “This makes the laptops more portable.”
Another valuable feature for Coach Lunney is PowerEdit’s ability to capture and print one frame. “We like to use the “snapshot” feature and take the still shots from the video and use those as our pictures for our scouting reports. Instead of using X’s and O’s we use the freeze frames from our games to bring the scouting report to life.
It can take time to learn how to fully take advantage of any sophisticated technology product, so CoachComm provides a solid support program to PowerEdit buyers after the sale. Bentonville’s Lunney is impressed. “The support network at CoachComm is unbelievably helpful. This is truly the greatest aspect of the whole system,” he said. “The support team probably knows a few of our coaches by name. They are extremely helpful.” Mark Bates of Oaks Christian agrees. “The support has been excellent,” he confirmed. “The tech guys have answered our questions quickly and easily.
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