How to Watch Football Game Film | FBCP S09E10

Breaking down football game film is one of those iconic football coaching activities. Sitting in a dark room running the same play forward and back. Watching each footstep and demanding perfection from a recording that never changes.

Unfortunately, it is mostly a waste of time. Looking for those little game film hacks does not lead to victory very often. It’s time to learn how to watch game film like a pro.

black and silver cassette player
Photo by Vova Krasilnikov on

The First Watch of Game Film

  • Watch the film one time through to get the feel of the game. Watch offense, defense, special teams. The entire thing. Do not try to learn everything, though.
  • If you have a hard time doing this, put the remote away. Football game film should take less than 30 minutes to watch this way.
  • You want to get a feeling for the game. You are formulating ideas. Take some notes but do not try to get everything in one watch. This is a leisurely watch. Also your only chance to watch the game as a fan.

Studying Exchange Tape

  • ODK your exchange tape before you do anything else. I do not understand the psychopaths who do not ODK the film. Do you even watch it?
  • Get a feel for who your opponent is. What is this team? Who do THEY think they are? Who is their best player? Worst player?
  • Once you know who they are, you can start game planning. Watching the game film 100 times over usually does not get you anywhere. It just wastes time. If you find errors that are glaring, just know that they saw them too. If you are looking for secret game film hacks, you are wasting a lot of time.

Self-Scouting Your Football Game Film

  • You need to take time to watch your football game film and self-scout. It is easy to watch your film back one time, grade the film, and move on. You need to pay attention to what works and does not work.
  • Evaluate the play calling. The only way to make better play calls is to have a plan, execute the plan, evaluate the plan, and make adjustments. Rinse and repeat.
  • Find the one thing. Look for the levers to pull that will make the most difference. Once you have identified the levers you want to pull this week, and evaluated the play calling, you can move forward. No need to keep beating yourself up.

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