Drone footage helps Stratford capture new angles during football practice

Actually, it is none of the above. It is a drone, one of two that the Stratford Spartan football team uses to film portions of its practices. John McClain: Texans fire coach/GM Bill O’Brien after 0-4 start Coach Todd Rankin brought over the use of drones from Klein Collins, where […]

Actually, it is none of the above. It is a drone, one of two that the Stratford Spartan football team uses to film portions of its practices.

Coach Todd Rankin brought over the use of drones from Klein Collins, where he had been the offensive coordinator. Rankin was hired as the head coach at Stratford before the 2018 season.

“The film is top-rate,” Rankin said. “You can go from a lower angle or you can go from a higher angle right over the top just like the skycams at the NFL games. We can get all the same angles, so the film work is tremendous. You can coach a lot better than with a ground level film. You can see a lot better angles and a lot better techniques and things like that.”

Josh Hall, Stratford’s assistant offensive coach and video coordinator, had used a drone recreationally but had never used one for anything football-related. Once he got the drones set up and did a few trial runs, things have been running smoothly.


These days, the drone is mostly flown by senior Cade Cox, who serves as the equipment manager. Cox suffered a back injury playing football as a freshman and again as a sophomore but still wanted to be a part of the team.

Once Hall showed him how to fly the drones and take video, it took him about one practice to get the hang of it.

“One thing about these drones is they’re so high-tech,” said Cox. “They adjust to the wind, and they adjust themselves while flying, so, as long as I get it in one position, until it runs out of battery, it will stay in that position until I move it.”

Hall said the biggest issue with the drones is battery life. Even with the higher-end model that Stratford uses, the battery only lasts about 25 minutes. He will usually charge eight batteries a night and have to change out multiple batteries over the course of a practice.

Stratford uses the DJI Phantom drone, which has high customer reviews online.

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