VHS Game Tape

20 Years of Evolution through Game Tapes – Part 2

In the first post we talked about all the wonderful items I found in my basement.  We documented the media that was used and how “game tapes” is such an outdated term.  However, when coaching during this time and this was the media available to you, you had to get creative on how to watch the film with the team.  Part 2 follows some of those fun hurdles and flashback to what you had to do to watch this media.

VCR Player

VCR PlayerThankfully as I stated before my wife still has this cool purple VCR player available and still works so after I get done rewinding the tape with my pinky, I can watch the game tape again.  Watching game tape in the school wasn’t as big of a challenge in those days because most schools, if not each room, had a VCR.  The VHS tapes were so prolific for educational purposes you actually didn’t have much trouble.  In fact, I had more issues with DVD’s than VHS because it took longer for the VCR’s to leave the school than it did DVD players to enter.  My favorites for game tape viewing were the TV/VCR carts all in one.  You would just roll it into the front of the room, plug in the power strip, and you were watching.  

Some of the biggest challenges back in the day were size of TV’s for a group of 20+ kids was not optimal to view game tapes all together.  Quality was rough making it difficult to identify individual players.  The only way players could view the video on their own was to share your game tape library.  Here was another area for disaster to happen because if something happened to that tape you were out of luck.  You could have duplicated your tape library but boy what a hassle that would have been (size and time constraints).

DVD Player

Portable DVD PlayerIt was exciting when we moved to this much smaller media.  You could now store 5 game tapes in the space where you used to store 1.  This was also great from a quality standpoint.  The screen was better and identification was easier…still not perfect, but easier.  During this time we transitioned from TV’s to projectors in schools as well.  This helped drastically on the size of screen that would enable more players to be able to see the action.

As stated above though, while these circular disc were better on a number of fronts, access to a DVD player became the hassle.  VCR’s were everywhere and already hooked up to the schools Television system.  DVD players were not.  Pictured above was my favorite tool I carried with me to watch game film.  The creation of a portable DVD player was amazing not only for travel viewing, but great enough that I could pull up a DVD in any classroom.  It had the RCA video and audio output that allowed me to connect to any TV or projector (just needed a tall enough kid that could reach).  This also gave me the first chance to watch game tape wherever I was, on the bus to away games, at lunch at work, in a room without a tv, anywhere!  Portable game tape it was awesome!

But the same challenge with sharing of game film that existed with the VHS was also an issue here.  However, I will say it was much easier to double you library with DVD’s because burning a new one and storing it wasn’t as bad.  Random downside, with the projectors the lights often have to be off for viewing.  This led to the sleeping during game tape epidemic.  If you are tired, please stand in the back of the room, don’t sleep during a film session.  

To use the phrase from the ESPN segment, C’MON MAN! 

Any device that players Digital Media

Technology then took us from this physical media to a whole new world.  Gone are the days of the DVD and and the VHS tape, and enter in the digital age. The ability to put tape into a simple file on your computer opened up new avenues for game tape.  It’s no longer about just viewing, third parties can analyze it for you, kids can build highlight tapes, and all of this can be done instantaneously.  

There isn’t one source that plays this media either which is another beauty.  Computer, phone, tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, any connected device can now get you the game tape.  With the advancement in TV’s, projectors, and recording equipment, instead of watching the entire offense and defense sets, we can watch individual players for certain clues of what is going to happen next.  Now in that same classroom where I had to connect VCR’s or DVD players, I can wireless sync from my phone or just utilize a simple plug-in from a computer.  

As I mentioned in the last article, I fell in love with Hudl and Krossover (now owned by Hudl) for their share-ability with not only your team but other coaches as well.  Now I can get scouting reports in minutes swapping with other teams instead of meeting a coach in a parking lot to exchange tapes like I’m doing something illegal.  And now these services can breakdown your tape for you!  Not so shocking fact of the day, “most coaches have careers outside of coaching”. We have to do something to put food on the table, so giant time savers like this really help us build a better team and ease a small amount of the stresses of coaching.  The other no-brainer benefit of this is the ability for every player to watch tape on their own time, wherever, and on any number of devices.  No longer do they need to loan it from the coach and risk losing it for the entire team.  Simply log on with any device and get up to speed for the scout for the next game. 

Hopefully that fun walkthrough about the challenges and benefits of the different media gave you some good memories as it did me.  Game tape can turn into unintended comedy at times, but I always felt it was very important to see.  As my college coach always stated and I regurgitate, “the tape never lies”.

If you missed part 1, you can find it here.

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