The Eighth Man

Film Study in Quidditch

Video from the World Cup V semi-finals and finals have been used to analyze the game.casing the entire game, rather than

Video from the World Cup V semi-finals and finals have been used to analyze the game.casing the entire game, rather than

We will be publishing guest articles on a semi-regular basis. If you are interested, please contact us at This submission is from Tyler Rafferty; we hope you enjoy it!


Quidditch is unique in its complexity of game play. Seven players between four positions play against an opposing team using four balls and a snitch runner. There is too much action at any given time for one person to see and process how every position interacts, and how those interactions impact a game. This is where coaches, captains, and analysts use video. With video, anyone can rewind, pause, and focus on key points in game. Video allows for accurate statistics to be taken, highlight reels to be made, and recognition to be given to silent stars of a game.



What is Film Study?

 Film study refers to using video footage to study and analyze a game, team, or player. Since the ability to record motion picture was first introduced, it has been used by coaches of all sports to revisit past games and breakdown the x’s and o’s of the game, identify hard working players, and game plan for future opponents. Recently, more video of quidditch has been appearing on the internet. More importantly, these are often full games averaging between twenty and twenty-two minutes. There is video from the sidelines, from high above the pitch in the stands, multiple camera angles, and even video shot from behind the hoops. All of these give different perspectives on the game, and all can be used for film study.



Studying an Individual

Using film to study an individual has the advantage of watching for detail. Watching for detail of every player on the pitch would take an entire day to accomplish, but watching closely for detail on a single player (such as a top player or yourself) can give great insight into technique. The most important aspect to watch for in an individual is footwork. All great plays across all positions start with good footwork. A popular phrase in many sports is “athletes don’t cross their feet,” and this applies to quidditch as well. Every stop needs to take a player to where he/she needs to be.


The next important thing to watch for is body position and technique. This varies depending on playing style and positions, but there are some commonalities such as athletic stance, follow through, pump fakes & jukes, and proper body position necessary to make plays.


The hardest aspect to watch for, but still very important, is vision and awareness. This includes no-look passes, watching the beaters when going for the snitch, and locating offensive players when on defense. The ability to predict an opponent will separate athletic players from great players.


Lastly, watch for hustle. Sprinting everywhere on the pitch, fighting for loose balls, and always being in an athletic stance are all things that every player should aspire to do 100% of their time on the pitch.


With many things to get critical over while watching a game, a film studier has to be careful not to be too negative. Good criticism is key in improving individual play, and it can be easy to point out everything a player does wrong. While it is important to correct these things, building on the positives is equally as important. Every player has something they can use as their foundation, whether that be footwork, technique, hustle, or passion for the game.



Studying a Team

Effectively studying a team requires more attention be given to the overall movement of players – which will give insight to a team’s strategy and organization – while still analyzing top players. Particularly, a team’s structure and strategy will become most evident when their top players are off the pitch. When a team’s star players are off the pitch, the rest of the team will be forced to resort to some other strategy or change their style of play.



Emerson: Emerson likes to run screens and runs them well, whether or not David Foxx is on the pitch. David Foxx is big and physical, and without his ability to drive to the hoops on offense, Emerson tends to pass more when he is off.


Michigan State University: Similar to Emerson, when their most notable quaffle player, team USA chaser Lawrence Lazewski, is off the pitch, Michigan State tends to pass more. Lawrence possesses incredible agility, and without his ability on the pitch Michigan State needs to pass to get around defenses more consistently.


Bowling Green State University: BGSU is known for having success with two athletic male beaters. However, their two starters have to substitute out at some point. This is when they switch to a one male, one female set. When they do, their quaffle players are forced to become a bit more physical on defense because their second string beaters, though still good, are not as athletic and fast as the starting set. The increased physical play helps to slow their opponents quaffle passes, giving more time for their beaters on defense.



Studying a Strategy

Studying a strategy pays little attention to any particular individual or even a team. Whether you want to look at screens, tackling, long range passing, or effective beater use, there will be more than one team that uses the strategy. Looking at variety of teams and opponents helps to highlight key points of any particular play, set, or strategy as well as where they tend to breakdown.


When studying strategy through film, it is very important pay close attention to where players are located on the pitch as well as where they are looking. Driving down the side of the pitch will give very different passing opportunities than driving down the middle of the pitch, and good head fake can open a no look pass behind the hoops. Chasers being two yards to the sides of the hoops gives very different angles than a shoot-to-pass positioning. These are key things to look for when watching teams that are good at passing behind the hoops.



Studying for Your Team as a Coach or Captain

Coaches and captains are leaders on a team, and they are often the most knowledgeable about the game. As such, they should lead their team in film study by studying their own players, their team, and their opponents. Coaches know their players better than anyone else, and using film study will help them see things they can miss watching in person. Film study improves on-pitch coaching and player improvement.


Group film study is most efficient with preparation by the coaches/captains creating a list of what they want to show the team then have the team watch as a whole, and having a big screen helps too. They need to lead the team through watching the film, and pause at important points to discuss with the players what happened, what was supposed to happen, and how to improve in the future. Great points to pause video during film study are to highlight a play by a player, a segment with great passing/teamwork, highlighting great hustle (not necessarily a good play in technique or result), plays with obvious/important mistakes, and breakdowns in defense.


Laser pointers are a great investment for coaches and captains for leading group film study. It lets coaches and captain move around while pointing at the screen, quickly transitioning between demonstrating proper technique and what happened on video. Depending on the amount and quality of available film and team size, it may be a good idea to do separate position film studies in addition or substitution to team film study.


As a coach or captain, it is extremely important to not get too critical of a player or team’s performance. The amount of criticism versus compliments to give to players comes down to individual coaching style. With film study it is often easier to point out what went wrong than to point out what went right, but using video to point great plays by players and teams can become a confidence booster and enhance performance on the pitch.



Future of Film Study in Quidditch

In the past year, many hours of video have been uploaded to the internet for anyone to view. The video is becoming of better quality, and is being taken from ladders and bleachers. Film study will soon become a tool that top echelon teams will use to extend their dominance of teams in regions they may only play once a year. Analysts will use film to justify their claims of team A being better than team B, despite never having played each other nor having many opponents in common. Video will grow the sport of quidditch as well as create specific niches in the sport for analysts, reporters, and film study coaches.

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