Football coaches are always looking for ways to improve their players and Union High School has found a unique way to take modern technology and use it to their advantage.
On a visit to spring practice at SMU a couple of years ago, Redskins Head Coach Kirk Fridrich witnessed something that intrigued him. He saw the Mustang coaches using a drone to videotape scrimmages and individual position drills.
Fridrich returned to Tulsa and quickly implemented using a drone into the team’s practice routine. The result is unique point-of-view video footage that helps coaches and players improve and better prepare for their opponents.
“Pretty much all of our positions use it,” said the five-time state champion head coach. “Being able to read a player’s eyes from that angle, we’re able to see the game the way they see it.”
“It gives our offensive and defensive lines a better picture of splits and shades,” added assistant coach Jon Davis, who is often responsible for manning the drone during practice. “It’s probably the best film that we get.”
The position that may get the most out of the aerial footage is the quarterbacks.
“It’s great to see details,” said quarterbacks coach Richie Roepke. “If you’re looking for leverage or the exact depth or spacing of a defender, you may not be able to get that from a sideline shot.”
“A lot of times when we’re showing the game to the kids it’s from a press box view,” added Fridrich, “but our kids never see football from a press box view. So it’s just a way for us to be able to see what they’re seeing.”
Union coaches are also often able to show players video from a just-completed series as soon as they come off the field .
“The way we’re able to do things with streaming services and the way we’re able to use video these days is pretty incredible,” admitted Fridrich. “Even some of the virtual reality stuff is making leaps and bounds. It won’t be long til it’s at the high school level.”
Union faces a stiff test this week when the Redskins play host to defending state champion Broken Arrow live on Yurview Cox Channel 3. The game is also available via streaming at YurView.com.