Sunday, December 8, 2013
When high school football coaches in Maine began using game film as a coaching tool, it wasn't easy. Former Lawrence High School coach Pete Cooper remembered how it started in central Maine in the late 1960s. Area coaches would drop their 16 millimeter game film off at the Fairfield home of Dick McGee, the head coach at Colby College. A courier on his way from Boston to Orono to pick up the University of Maine's film would stop in Fairfield, pick up the local film, and bring it to Boston, where it was developed.
PLAYBACK: Waterville football offensive coordinator Ken Lindlof monitors a game video as players and head coach Frank Knight, standing, watch it on a larger screen Wednesday at the high school.
Staff photo by David Leaming
On Sunday, the developed 16mm film was back in the box on McGee's porch, ready for pick up.
Now, a high school football coach can download game film from the digital camera on which it was shot to a website, or email it to his players, who can watch it on their smart phone.
Studying film has been an important part of football game preparation for decades. With today's technology, coaches can streamline what their players scrutinize.
"What I'll do for the D-line and O-line, I'll give them certain plays. I'll send them play lists for certain aspects of the game I want them to isolate on. They get it sent to their email," Lawrence assistant coach Jake Rogers said.
This season, Lawrence started using hudl.com, an online video software program site that is changing the way film is viewed and exchanged. A majority of schools in southern Maine have used hudl.com for a few years. It is, say some coaches, a game-changer.
"It's a great teaching tool," Marshwood head coach Alex Rotsko said. "It has a lot of benefits. After we play Friday night, for example, we download the film into the system. We can make comments on plays and circle things on plays. We can break the film down into formations. It takes a few hours to do, but on Saturday morning we'll send it off to the players. They have full access. They can then watch the film and see our comments. Before we even meet on Monday, they'll have already seen it.
"It's also a huge benefit when it comes to film exchange. We can do it all online now."
Opposing coaches will swap game films prior to their game. Because the film is often on DVD, coaches must pick a meeting spot and do the swap in person.
Online software programs can eliminate this practice.
"We can now exchange film over the Internet," Rotsko said. "I just got an e-mail from the Messalonskee coach (Brad Bishop). They aren't on (hudl.com). We play them (Oct. 4). I am going to have to meet him in Freeport to do this. That is an hour drive and an hour back."
Cheverus coach John Wolfgram said his team is in its third season using online video software programs. Like Rotsko, Wolfgram says the benefits are far-reaching.
"All our coaches use it and all our players use it," he said. "It's easy to send off film to colleges, too. All you do is upload it to a college coach's e-mail. You don't have to mail in film anymore. Kids watch a lot more film than they used to. You can glean a lot out of doing it this way. Everybody down here is using it."
Added Bonny Eagle coach Kevin Cooper, whose team is 3-0: "This makes it a lot more like a college program. The kids watch it all the time. We can analyze stuff differently now. We can watch film more effectively."
Coaches can use the system to highlight specific plays, even specific players.
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