Copyright 2007 John T. Reed

I am often asked if I offer coaching videos or if I will make copies of videos of my teams. The answer is, “No.”



Under federal law, the owner of the copyright to a game or practice video is the person who pushes the record button and aims and focuses the camera. That is almost always some parent because when I am coaching, I am coaching.

So I cannot copy or sell game or practice videos unless I am the cameraman. Before you ask, my wife would not be interested in such activities.

How do the other guys who sell videos get around this? I don’t know, but my best guess is that they just ignore the law and steal the rights of the cameraman. The amount owed to the cameraman for that can be as much $300 per illegal copy made. At a minimum, it is probably the profit made by the illegal seller.


Youth football leagues are virtually all non-profit. As such, they would typically regard a coach trying to make private money for himself from videos of team activities as improper. Arguably, they are correct.

If there is no written prohibition against it in their charter or rules, I expect they would promptly put one in as soon as I or any other coach started selling videos of the team’s practices or games. Typically, they would require that any profit go to the youth football organization in question.

How do others get around this? I don’t know but my best guess is that they avoid mentioning that they are doing it and hope no one notices.

Arguably, a coach who sold videos of his youth team would have an unacceptable conflict of interest as a result.

Personal appearance releases

Videoing of a minor may require that the parents of that minor sign a written release allowing you to photograph their kid and sell the photos of him.

Some parents would no doubt demand payment. Others would no doubt refuse, thereby rendering useless any video with that kid in it. Or you would have to blot out the face and numbers of the kids in question in the video.

Nowadays, some would be concerned that a pedophile might use such a video to target their son.

Small market

The market for videos is much smaller than the market for books so the potential profit would be very small.

10-to-1 ratio

I asked one football coaching writer-video seller about the details of the business. He said consumers are used to high-quality video on TV and complain if the stuff made by a coach is not as high quality. But TV quality requires pro cameramen, extra lighting, expensive cameras, and numerous takes.

In particular, he said he had to do about 10 hours of filming for every usable hour he sold. I do not have time for such inefficient activities especially when the market is small.

Practice time limits

Youth football practices are typically strictly limited to six per week. Additional practice, including during the off-season, just for filming would violate league rules.

Nothing to see

I have shown some of my videos to local guys who asked. There was nothing to see. We run a play. Sometimes it succeeds. Sometimes it fails. Same with the opponent running plays against our defense.

Highlight films that others sell show one spectacular success after another. I could do the same if I just made a highlight film. It would predominantly consist of our games against weak opponents. I once ran the double wing and had made great use of films about it. But I concluded that it was not anywhere near as good as the films made it look. I got into a little bit of trouble because I used the films to sell the staff on the offense and when it did not work as advertised and as shown in the highlight films that came with the book, they were made at me.

Highlight films misrepresent the scheme in question. Only if films are complete games and from the most average game of the season or show representative plays that succeeded and failed against all opponents can you get an accurate impression.

I think a film of my tackling drill and low defensive line charge drill would be helpful to readers, but I still have most of the above problems with it.

I also think a film of the way I organize a practice and how I talk to the kids would be useful, but again…

Game film, other than to show characteristic failures and their causes probably would prove very little. A game against our weakest opponent would make me and my scheme look great, but when you ran the same scheme against a stronger opponent, you would not see the same results and you would feel, or should feel, like you had been defrauded.

A video of me giving a clinic would be about the same as a book only harder to reference and harder to study except when you are where there is a video playing device. I also have not given a clinic on youth football since around 2001.