Organizing Your Notes From “Clinic Season”

It’s clinic season and whatever clinics you go to, schools you visit, coaches you talk to or magazine articles you read, you are sure to have a bunch of notes on new ideas and new thoughts for your defense whether it be scheme or drills.

For me, there have been too many times I’ve come back and put the notes away in a file, only to get in a position months later when I needed the notes and ended up scrambling to find them. And, to me, if you can’t find them when you need them to apply them into your current defensive scheme or practice time, you might as well have not taken notes at the clinic.

So years back I came up with my own system that I would like to share with you. It’s a system to keep these notes organized electronically, where I would always have a copy, when I needed it, to refer to in season or out of season. To do ,I have been using Power Point, Evernote, Dropbox and Box.

Power Point

First, in Power Point, you can put in screen captures, pictures, plays (we use Power Point to draw our scout cards in season), text, whatever you need.

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You can have a different Power Point for different situations – 2 minute, 4 minute, Red Zone, 3rd Down, etc.

Also, a different Power Point dedicated to defending unique formations – empty, unbalanced, tackle over, etc.

Or even notes for future coaching positions you may be aiming towards. That is, a Power Point with your defensive playbook and notes for being a defensive coordinator or even a head coach.

Come back from a clinic or visiting with some coaches and plug your notes into the appropriate Power Points. Maybe even while taking notes make a note on the side to which Power Point it should go into later.

This way, the notes are organized so the next time you are trying to remember the unique way “Such and Such Coach” talked about adjusting his robber coverage to trips, you know exactly where to find it.

We even created a power point for all positions – DL, LB, DB – that we continue to add to and edit after different coaching visits and clinics we attend. These eventually turn into our position manuals. The first page of each manual is devoted to new notes from our latest pro development trip that need to be incorporated into the manual.

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Dropbox and Box- Cloud storageEvernote

This is an app that I have just started using recently to keep up with my notes. In Evernote, you create notes that then can be placed in notebooks that then can be placed into “stacks” of notebooks. Each notebook could then be filled with notes that replace the Power Points.


It syncs across all of your devices, so there is no need for a cloud storage app. Their partner apps of Penultimate and Sketch will allow you to draw documents that will then go directly into your Evernote folders. Within these notes, you can record audio which then becomes a part of that note.  There is also a presentation mode on Evernote that will allow you to turn your notes into slides on a projector or screen.

I have found myself using Evernote to capture online articles and links that I want to analyze more later. You can save the article directly from your browser into Evernote by saving the article or taking a screen capture. With Evernote’s “tag” feature, I will tag those articles “TO READ” so later, when I have time, I can go back and really spend time on pulling things out of the article and putting the info into my appropriate notes or Power Points.

There is a lot to Evernote and more than I can fit in here with many online articles showing how to use the app. So check it out and see if it is a system that works for you.

Before you attend clinics or visit with coaches this off season, come up with a system that works for you to organize those notes and new ideas so that when spring football, the preseason or even the season comes around, those notes can easily be found. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions on this article or any other topic that I might be able to help with.