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One of the most beneficial aspects of studying film isn't found in the immediate improvements it can yield. The true merit of studying film is in the embedding of "oline coding" taking place. The same way a computer is coded for particular functions, our brains undergo a similar process through film study. Much of the coding is conscious but majority of the benefits are unconsciously hardwired.

Now, there's a distinction between studying film and watching film. The bulk of your time during the season will be spent watching yourself in practice or game settings, this has immeasurable value. Watching film is like Twitter, the feedback is instant and clear. Studying film is more along the lines of Linkedin, results are less measurable, lots of information can be stored and just when you think it's worthless there's a contact that can help you when need it. What you "study" is encoded and you may not see the immediate value of it but you'll have an embedded tool that can be implemented when the time calls for it.

I was speaking to a player on why he chose a particular blocking technique during a recent preseason game. The player mentioned he didn't know why he did it but he'd seen Kevin Mawae do it, so he FELT the technique was applicable in that situation because he knew the way he was coached to block it was not going to work. This was something he'd never attempted before in practice or at anytime in his career but he'd seen the effectiveness of the technique and was able to physically regurgitate what he'd studied when the time was right. This is the value of studying film, you unconsciously place tools in your toolbox.

The flip side to studying film, you learn what NOT to do as well! When you see something not working for a player, it's a really good chance you aren't going to do it either. My father used to preach to me, "always profit off the mistakes of others", this is something I carried over to my football career, you should too.

Keep watching film but find time to study it as well.

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Comment by Darrin Nicoli on August 19, 2013 at 8:56pm

Most people are "visual" learners. You can explain technique and make corrections verbally, but actually "seeing" what you are talking about is priceless. I video my athletes when they are learning technique so we can review it, point out the good and the bad, and then walk through it. It's amazing how much the athletes gain from seeing, rather than hearing, what they're doing. Excellent article

Dwight Stephenson

Kevin Gogan

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