Video has become an essential tool in the the modern coaching process. Whether it’s post-game review, live feedback or opposition analysis, more and more teams are doing it. Cameras and analysis software now come at extremely affordable prices, and as the modern player has evolved to learn in different ways, so must the modern coach. If you’re not doing video with your team, there’s no better time to start.

We spoke with a few of the coaches and analysts who contributed to our Evedence-Based Coaching course to highlight some key principles of an effective video session:

Don’t make it longer than it needs to be. Remember, the video session is about the players, not the coach. If you have 6 or 7 clips of a similar event, that’s a great sign that what you are showing is relevant, but most players, especially at a young age have a short attention span. In this case 3 clips will get the point across just fine, especially if it’s negative feedback. The last thing you want as a coach is for players to see video as a time where their weaknesses are highlighted in front of the team. If you truly feel like they need to see all of the instances, then make it available to them in private via a tool such as Hudl or TeamXstream. Other options which are slightly more rudimentary are Youtube, Dropbox, Vimeo, Google Drive and Vimeo.

Players will respect an organized session. There’s nothing better for a player than arriving at training with a well planned out session already set up on the field. It’s even better when the session transitions smoothly from drill to drill and there’s clearly been some planning and thought from the coach. Your video sessions should be no different, and everything you do reinforces the culture you are creating as the leader of your group. Clips out of order, problems rewinding or forgetting your coaching points will all undermine the message you are trying to deliver. If you are going to spend time planning a field session, make sure you do the same with video. You’ll notice a huge difference in the engagement of your players.

Control the controllables. Somewhat tied to the point above, take ownership of the things you can control about your video sessions. No coach would be okay with people walking on the field during a session or shouting things from the sidelines, so don’t accept it in your video sessions either. A sign on the door will stop people entering the room, and do your best to make people aware there’s a video session inside so they keep the noise down. Close the blinds to avoid glare on the screen and avoid distractions from the other side of the windows. The small details will make a big difference.

Keep your message consistent. The fact that you’re doing video means you’ve spent some time finding some learning opportunities for you team. It’s also safe to assume that you have some coaching points to get across to your players relating to these clips. Make sure you stick to these points and your message is clear. Be prepared for questions from players that might arise. Don’t just commentate on what’s happening, because that isn’t coaching!

Involve the players. This was potentially the strongest piece of advice coming from the analysts and coaches. Players will learn quicker and enjoy the sessions if you involve them. Ask questions, spark constructive debate and if at all possible make the session interactive. Can you ask players to come to the front and point to the screen? Even better, project onto a whiteboard and give them a pen!

Video feedback is an area of the coaching process covered extensively in our Evidence-Based Coaching course. Designed and delivered by professional coaches at the senior and youth levels of the game, it draws on their experiences to offer an insight into best practices at the highest level.

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