Using Game Tape for Coaching

The Importance of Using a Game Tape

I watched all of the March Madness games with my husband and was excited to see number two seed, Michigan State, beat number one seed, Duke. The Michigan State coach, Tom Izzo, attributed their win to two things: mental toughness and the team’s intense game tape analysis.

As an educator, I saw a direct connection between a basketball team’s game tape analysis, practice, and coaching in classrooms. I realized how heavily all sports teams rely on game tape and video analysis to prepare for the teams that they will face, and thought about how powerful the debriefs can be when I review videos with my coaches in schools. Coaches are often hesitant to submit videos because they are not perfect or because they hate watching themselves on tape. And while I understand that it can be a little uncomfortable, I want to recommend incorporating game tape analysis in classroom coaching, because my coaches that do get stronger, coach more frequently, and ultimately have a greater impact on their school!


Why should you record yourself coaching?

You get a chance to analyze your own independent practice.

  • You can reflect on your coaching, analyze strengths and areas of growth, and determine next steps and focus areas before your next coaching conference. Share this practice with teachers to build a sense of humility and trust.
  • Take it to the next level and have another coach review and provide time-stamped feedback. This will help you note your trends, get precise about game tape, and practice again before your next round of coaching (interested in this? Ask CT3 for Real Time Teacher Coaching (RTTC) Video Support).
  • Check out this article in The New Yorker for more on the importance of coaching across high-profile careers.


You get better, faster!

  • My coaches who tape themselves coaching, analyze their video, and get feedback consistently have stronger data, grow faster, and coach more frequently than those who do not tape themselves coaching. These coaches ultimately have a greater impact on their schools.
  • Check out Michigan’s quarterback using game tape (19:50-20:50 – Amazon Prime required) or this blog on the Kansas Coaching Project.
  • Here’s a look at what some of our Real Time Teacher Coaches have said about their experience taping themselves coaching and getting feedback:

Having an opportunity to reflect on my coaching and receive feedback to improve allowed me to identify blind spots and areas of growth.

-Hands down, I am a strong coach now because of the reinforcement I received through RTTC Video Support.

-I felt more confident during in-person visits after receiving video support. Seeing myself on video allowed me to be super aware of my coaching moves and better support teachers on my team.


You help build buy-in for a culture of coaching when you let teachers know that you are taping yourself for your own growth and development.

  • When you position yourself as a learner, you model for your coaches a culture of coaching, as well as a growth mindset. So, tell your teachers how you plan to use your videos to improve your practice!
  • Check out this article for more reading on creating a culture of coaching to improve teacher effectiveness.


So, in the spirit of March Madness (although it’s already May), take some time and figure out when you can videotape yourself and use the “game tape” as a way to quickly improve your practice by just taping what you already do! Prepare for the championship game (coaching) by analyzing your own practice and you, too, could be cutting down the nets (increasing teacher effectiveness and student achievement) at the end of the year!

Two more things:

  • If you love sports and like what I said, check out this article by my colleague Joy Treadwell: 4 Lessons for School Leaders from Sports Coaches.
  • Have you tried using video to improve your practice? What did you find worked best? How else do you utilize video at your school to improve? Leave a comment to let me know!


By Heidi Towne
CT3 Associate
Click here to read her thoughts on four quick, easy ways to prioritize coaching mid-year. Heidi also recently wrote a blog post on how coaches can start to build relationships with the teachers they will be coaching.
Check out CT3 Education programs such as No-Nonsense Nurturer, Real Time Teacher Coaching, and Real Time Leadership Coaching to find out more about Professional Development for Teachers and Leaders, classroom management strategies, and building relationships with students and their families, and properly addressing important issues in the classroom and school.
Category: Coaching