How does watching film improve athletes’ gameplay?

By Julia Sparco

Elm Staff Writer

Usually before or after game days, teams will watch films of themselves playing to understand mistakes, watch their own techniques, and help them notice things that they had not seen in games for future references. 

Teams will also watch film of their opponents to study their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses before playing them. 

The coaches will lead the film session, pointing out certain things to the entire team to force them to critically think about how to make themselves better or defeat opponents. 

“Watching film is a very unique way of getting better, we don’t actually engage in any playing, but are still getting better,” junior Washington College women’s volleyball player Jennifer Kabrick said. “It shows how mentally driven sports can be.” 

According to Adam Folker, former University of California Irvine’s men’s basketball player, watching film is “enlightening” because “in sports, preparation is everything.”

“The insight you can gain on yourself is even more powerful than what you can learn about your opponents,” Folker said. “By giving an honest evaluation of yourself, you can superiorly put to use every aspect of watching game film.” 

“[Film] allows me to analyze my movement patterns more than I could without video as a pitcher,” junior WC men’s baseball player Michael Roseman said. “I see film as another tool for getting better.” 

“Reviewing film allows me to acknowledge what went right or wrong in the moment [of play],” sophomore WC sailor Andrew Tran said. “Identifying individual mistakes from a different perspective makes a huge difference.” 

According to Folkner, film also allows teams to work together to use their strengths as a team instead of individually. Film can show which players work best together, who can achieve different skills, and what isn’t working. 

“Watching film of my practices or regattas helps me break down what [my team] needs to work on,” sophomore WC sailor Stewart Gurnell said. “I can look at the details better to notice the small things that will make us better.” 

Film studying is also commonly used in higher-level sports like the NFL and NBA. Film study is taken extremely seriously in their practices; some teams have entire practices dedicated to watching film of themselves and opponents. 

But watching film of professional athletes can also be extremely beneficial to lower-level athletes, like collegiate and high school athletes, because watching a higher level of play can teach athletes game strategies and techniques as well. 

“We watch Olympic and professional swimmers all the time to try to implement different strategies and stroke mechanics to our swims,” junior WC women’s swimmer Teresa Draves said. 

Film is extremely beneficial and a popular practice break among athletes. It helps them to take a step back to review their own gameplay and their team’s for strengths and weaknesses.

Featured Photo caption: Film watching is a common tactic used by athletic teams of all levels. Photo by Mark Cooley.

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