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There are three basic methods of scouting another team. Teams scout "in person," via video tape or film, or by written reports or charts. Most use some combination of all three. Usually conferences have some system of rules for exchanging films or other scouting data, but when the play offs come around against non conference opponents schools sometime "ignore . . . common . . . courtesies," as evidenced by long time coach Bob Reade.

No one method can stand alone. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Film allows visual inspection of an opponents play calling tendencies, provided the correct film was supplied and the opponent still follows those tendencies. But since the camera usually doesn't run between the plays no useful information concerning player substitutions or game day conditions is provided. Also, film can be expensive as can today's computer programs designed to analyze a team. Scouting reports can provide detailed information on facts that one would have to be present at game time to compile. Aspects like weather conditions and the caliber of the opponents as well as other personal observances are also augmented by such personal observation. But such reports are often subject to the interpretation of the scout and only so much information can be humanly absorbed during the course of a game. Written reports and especially tendency charts can also provide a wealth of information. Basic formations, tendencies, and adjustments can be categorized.

The best way to ensure the scouting desired is to have the team scouts actually scout your own team in the pre season. In this way the scouts can be instructed as to the type of information being sought and, in the process, one's own tendencies and markers can be observed and modified so as to make other's scouting of your team more difficult.
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