Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Prelude to a Turbulent Season

Paideia Gruel 2014, and also the entire Paideia Ultimate program is going to have quite a season of Change.  First, and least important for this post, our women's team finally has a permanent coach (Miranda Knowles), just in time for their youngest team on record.  There is likely to be a dip in their performance this year, but Miranda will be able to grow a program and is in a good position to get the women's program to JV-worthy numbers in the next year or so.  Meanwhile our JV numbers have blown up so that JV is wondering if they need to have 2 JV teams (which would still put us 3 or 4 behind Amherst).  Growth is clearly in the air for the players.

While Miranda adds some stability to the coaching situation, the growth presents new problems.  Miranda is clearly going to need an assistant, but until that is solved I will still be helping out with that ladies from time to time.  The men's varsity team is about to go through a totally different upheaval with the arrival of Michael's first child.  That should be happening any day now, which will put the "interim head coach" hat on my head for a little while.  I'll write more about that in a second, but then later on in the season I will have to bow out for a bit as our second child is born.  So during the season Gruel will have two different head coaches, and perhaps most importantly both of them will be learning how to be a head coach with a child for the first time.  Life is going to be different.

One of the changes I am hoping to implement is to continue to work on producing useful film for our Varsity program.  Hopefully I am going to get a "team manager" to film our practice scrimmages and if that is the case I am going to end up with a wealth of film.  Games would be awesome, but I don't know if that is as realistic.  What I hope to do with the film is the following:
-Take the film from a practice and watch it over the weekend, breaking each one down into 4-8 clips no longer than 20 seconds each.  Take each of the clips and write my own notes on them.

-During rain days have the players watch the film and tell me what they see.  They will most likely be hyper critical (sensing that it was I will try to be) and have them go through the process of recognizing what is a reasonable level of criticism for players on the field.  Have them come up with a prompt for the clip.  Some thing along the lines of "I would show a person this clip if I wanted to show them . . . "

-Share my notes with the players and have them see if my notes change how they think about the film.

-Finally, get them to reflect on how they can recognize that situation on the field themselves, rather than having to see it from a bird's eye.

-Towards the end of the season, use their categorization to group the film into sections (I imagine it is going to be something like, "good swing passes," "good defensive positioning," etc.)

This exercise with the players shouldn't take more than 5 minutes per clip (2-3 times watching it at 4 minutes for discussion).  The end goal would be to have a grouping of film to remind them of certain things that we had seen and to be able to use that in the future to both remind current players of what we already know and to help teach new players as they come into the program.

At this level what we are doing is teaching players.  The film is directed more towards improving the play of the players out there (and the team) and less about learning opposing team tendencies.  With that in mind (although I guess it would work in both settings) teaching the players how to recognize a situation they saw in the film room when they are on the field is incredibly important.

There are other big changes for Paideia Ultimate in the works.  I'll write about those later as they come up.  This year's film project might be a complete bust.  But either way we will work towards finding a better method for improving our players and playing better as a team.