New technology helps coaches become more efficient

by Tim LoneStaff Writer

In preparation for every game, basketball coaches spend a good portion of their time breaking down game film from opponents, a task that has become frustrating in recent years because of the quality of the film they were receiving.

In the past few months, the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference decided to make DVDs mandatory for film exchanges for men’s and women’s basketball to increase the quality of the film being exchanged. This is a change that is welcomed by Brian Niemuth, head women’s basketball coach.

“It’s a lot easier to break down tape off of a DVD,” Niemuth said. “It makes the time that you’re using to break down the film much more efficient.”

Niemuth added that the higher quality makes it much easier to identify players from opposing teams on film, something that he says is critical to a team’s preparation.

“For me it’s a lot easier to identify the players’ numbers off of a DVD because it’s a lot clearer,” Niemuth said. “When you’re looking at opponents that you don’t really know, numbers are very important to identify who the players are.”

Athletic Director John Sirianni says that the switch to DVDs is a big step forward towards leveling the playing field in the conference as far as the quality of the film goes.

“Some teams were getting significant advantages because of the quality of the tapes that were being exchanged,” Sirianni said.

Sirianni added that in the near future the exchanging of game film may be as easy as downloading it to your computer from a central server.

“I think that in the not too distant future we will be going to a download on the computer,” Sirianni said. “There are a few Division III schools that are already using computers as their medium for transferring game film.”

According to Sirianni the drawbacks to now using the DVDs are fairly limited.

“One of the only drawbacks to this is that the transition at each institution might not go at the same time frame as the rest of the school,” Sirianni said.

In the meantime Tyler Erwin, assistant coach of men’s basketball, is taking advantage of the implementation of DVDs by using a special computer program to breakdown game film.

“We purchased a software editing system called Game Breaker,” Erwin said. “The program is used to break the game down into segments such as our offense, defense, or any special plays we run.”

Erwin said the progress being made with the computer system was made possible by the conference upgrading the technology.

“With the conference going digital we can utilize it to its fullest potential,” Erwin said. “This is a huge teaching tool and it’s a much better way to evaluate opponents and players.”

Erwin added that the new system for breaking down tape is a big time saver for coaches. Erwin estimates that the new system cut about 30 minutes off of game evaluation.

Niemuth also thinks that the switch to DVDs helps coaches to spend their time a little better.

“It will save me a lot of time,” Niemuth said. “I feel like we will be a lot more efficient with breaking down tape.”