How to Study Film

How to Study Film

When should you watch film?

  • Preseason
    • Recap last season and set new season goals.
  • In Season
    • Prepare for upcoming opponents by studying their game film (study what they do and how you can attack them).
    • Study each of your games with a developmental mindset. Identify what works and find areas for improvement.
    • During a slump watch film to look for things you do well, opportunities to steal points, and quick fixes like body language to get back on track.
  • Postseason
    • Breakdown your game film from the season to build your offseason development plan.
    • Study other players and identify skills/traits you want to incorporate into your game.
    • Watch film of your off season training workouts!!!

What kind of film should you watch?

  • Watch entire games not highlights.
  • Study the good and the bad aspects of your game.
  • Study all three layers of the game (Offense, Defense, Deadball-Demeanor)
  • Watch skills, intangibles and interactions with others for a holistic study.

How should you watch film of yourself?

  • Before Film
    • Write down what you want your role to be.
    • Write down how you think you impact the game.
    • Write down what you think your coaches expectations of you are.
  • During Film
    • Watch yourself the entire game on the court and on the bench.
    • Write down what you did well.
    • Write down where you see missed opportunities and areas for improvement.
  • After film
    • See if your actual production lines up with what you want your role to be. 
    • See how your actual production lines up with what your coach expects from you.
    • Build a plan to meet your coaches expectations first (this gets you time on the court). Next build a map to develop and grow into the role your want.

If you are unable to answer any of these (for example you do not know what your coach expects from you in a game) then you need to have conversations with the right people to find out specific answers. This might mean having what could be tough conversations with your coach, trusted teammates, a trainer or someone else who can give you unbiased honest feedback.


How should you watch film of players you want to play like?

  • Choose a player that has a similar position and style of play.
  • Pay special attention to them when they don’t have the ball in their hands (how do they read the court, set the defenders up,  make plays for teammates, hunt opportunities and make plays without the ball).
  • Take note of what actions and concepts actually translate to your situation.
  • Look at how the player reads the defense and gets to their spots.

What questions should you answer when watching film?


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